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Cougar Duoface RGB Mid-Tower Case Assessment


In terms of PC circumstances, there are two colleges of thought. For some, their case is an extension of their gaming persona, with glass panels and RGB lighting excessive on their checklist of required accouterments. Others couldn’t care much less a couple of case’s visible enchantment; airflow and decrease temperatures are their solely concern. With an interchangeable entrance panel, the Duoface is Cougar’s try to appease each audiences with a single mid-tower case. They usually largely succeed at assembly the problem. Principally.

Specs

  • Worth: $89.99
  • Type Issue: Mid Tower
  • Dimensions: 230 mm x 491mm x 386mm (91in x 19.3in x15.2in)
  • Motherboard Kind: Mini ITX, Micro ATX, ATX, CEB, E-ATX (as much as 177mm vast)
  • I/O Panel: USB 3.0 x2, USB 2.0 x1, 4 Pole Headset Audio Jack, Reset/RGB Button
  • Drive Bays: 3.5” x2, 2.5” SSD trays x2
  • Cooling Fan Assist
    • Entrance: 120mm/140mm x2 (140mm ARGB Cougar CR-140 x2 put in)
    • Prime: 120mm/140mm x2
    • Rear: 120mm/140mm x1 (120mm ARGB Cougar CR-120 x1 put in)
  • Water Cooling Assist
    • Entrance: 120mm / 140mm / 240mm / 280mm
    • Prime: 120mm / 140mm / 240mm / 280mm
    • Rear: 120mm / 140mm
  • Max Graphics Card Size: 330mm (13in)
  • Max CPU Cooler Top: 190mm (7.5in)

The Design

The Duoface is Cougar’s try at including some pizazz and suppleness to a mid-tower case whereas maintaining issues primarily utilitarian. Visually, it has among the “gamer crowd” options with out going excessive loopy like they did with the Conquer 2 case. To differentiate the Duoface from the remainder of the utilitarian circumstances accessible, Cougar added a plastic molded angle to the entrance vertical edges. As a substitute of taking the everyday method of incorporating vents instantly into the bevel, there’s a three-eighths-inch hole between the sides and the entrance panel for airflow. 

The Duoface’s namesake comes from its two interchangeable entrance panels. For aesthetics, there’s a tempered glass panel to match the tinted facet panel. If thermals are your main concern, you’ll most likely change to the mesh entrance panel. The panels connect to the case by means of a ball and socket design, and swapping between the 2 is fast and simple. A small addressable RGB strip constructed into the case sits behind the underside of the entrance panel. The strip offers off a faint glow alongside the underside of the case. As an added contact, the sunshine additionally shines by means of the Cougar identify printed on the backside of the glass panel. 

No matter your desire for the entrance panel, a perforated metallic panel sits behind the primary face plate. The secondary panel serves as a filter, is hooked up to the facet bevels, and could be eliminated for cleansing. Not like the ultra-thin mesh filters discovered in lots of different airflow-focused circumstances, the Duoface’s panel is roughly 1.5mm thick. In apply, the holes are too massive to catch any small mud particles; nevertheless, they’re sufficiently small to scale back airflow into the case, and the “filter” is substantial sufficient to detract from the aesthetic features of utilizing a glass panel within the first place.

Past the entrance panel, the remainder of the outside takes on a well-known design. There’s a detachable metallic panel that covers the whole thing of the best facet of the case. On the left facet, a tempered glass panel sits atop a metallic base that conceals the CPU. The glass panel has a metallic bracket alongside the highest and backside edges. The underside bracket has two tongues that slide into tiny slits within the metallic base to safe the underside of the glass. The highest is held in place by two small magnets constructed into the case, and the bracket wraps across the again of the case the place a thumb screw can absolutely safe the panel for transport.

The again panel is a typical mid-tower design, with a single fan spot positioned above seven horizontal slots for add-in playing cards. The additional width of the Duoface is put to good use, although. Anybody wishing to mount their video card vertically will discover three further vertical slots subsequent to the horizontal ones. The duvet over the vertical slots is hinged on one facet and held in place by two screws on the opposite, so you’ll be able to mount a card vertically with no third-party mount (you’ll nonetheless want a riser cable, although)  or DIY modifications to the case.

Protecting the entrance of the case trying clear, the IO ports are positioned alongside the highest of the case. Going from entrance to again alongside the best facet are the ability button, a reset/RGB change, a headphone/microphone audio jack, one USB 2.0 port, and two USB 3.0 ports. I used to be shocked on the lack of a USB Kind-C port. The rest of the highest panel is perforated with massive holes and coated in a mesh filter.  

In terms of the inner design, there isn’t loads to speak about. The case can accommodate nearly any dimension motherboard, from mini-ITX as much as a 277mm vast E-ATX. There’s room for a complete of 5 120mm/140mm followers – two on the entrance, two alongside the highest, and one on the rear. Radiators as much as 280mm could be put in within the entrance and high, and as much as a 140mm radiator might match within the rear fan spot. The ability provide shroud is a stable piece of metallic, so mounting a radiator or further followers on the underside of the case is an automated no-go.

Cougar didn’t skimp in terms of pre-installed case followers. The case comes with two Cougar CR-140 followers put in within the entrance and a CR-120 within the rear slot. All of the included followers are ARGB, so you might be already off to a great begin in case you prefer to gentle up the within of your case. 

It’s extra of the identical sensible design while you open the best facet panel and expose the again of the motherboard tray. As is customary today, a detachable arduous drive bay massive sufficient for 2 3.5” mechanical drives lives beneath the ability provide shroud, and there are a pair of SSD holders positioned on the again of the motherboard tray. 

The Construct

When it got here time to construct out my system within the Duoface, I used to be pleasantly shocked with how large the within of the case felt, and putting in the motherboard and different bits was a bit of cake. One space I typically battle with throughout a construct is the highest left nook of a case. Many circumstances mount the motherboard so near the highest of the case that it may be a problem to get my fingers into the tight nook to plug within the fan header and CPU energy cords. Luckily, there’s loads of area above the motherboard within the Duoface, and I might plug each connectors in with out contorting my wrist into some uncomfortable angle whereas I blindly tried to align holes and pins. 

That further area on the high of the case additionally turns out to be useful when top-mounting an AIO cooler. The additional top of the Duoface leaves a niche between the motherboard and the underside of the radiator followers. The hole isn’t sufficiently big to be unpleasant in case you air cool your CPU, however it’s massive sufficient to suit a radiator and followers alongside the highest of the case with out them hanging under the highest of the motherboard. Including further followers for a push-pull configuration will go away the underside followers hanging under the highest of the motherboard, however the vast chassis ensures the setup will keep away from the RAM slots and VRM heatsinks.

Whereas the additional top of the Duoface makes putting in an AIO radiator on the high of the case a breeze, the additional vast chassis additionally leaves loads of room for even the tallest air cooler. A possible subject does come up in case you plan on front-mounting a radiator, although. Putting in the radiator is simple sufficient; the face plate and filter are simply eliminated, and the case has mounting area for each 240mm and 280mm radiators. The issue lies in becoming a big graphics card behind the radiator. With a mere 3cm between my card (300mm lengthy) and the entrance followers, the hole drops to only a few millimeters with a radiator added to the entrance of the case. With the radiator in place, the cardboard blocks a lot of the airflow from the underside fan, and an extended card wouldn’t match in any respect. So though the Duoface is properly fitted to a top-mounted radiator, you’ll positively have to seize a tape measure in case you plan on front-mounting a cooler.

As for cabling, the Duoface routes all the things alongside the highest and facet of the motherboard (ATX energy, SATA, and fan cables) by means of small cutouts within the motherboard tray. The opening configuration is properly thought out and lined up with all the foremost plugs on the motherboard, leaving solely a minimal quantity of cabling uncovered.

Sadly, I do have a slight subject with the dealing with of the headers and cables alongside the underside of the motherboard. This consists of the HD audio cable, USB 2.0 and three.0 cables, and any fan and RGB connectors your motherboard could have. It’s simple sufficient to plug all of those in; there’s loads of area, particularly earlier than you fit in your GPU and another add-in boards. 

In lots of circumstances, together with the Duoface, my downside is the aesthetics alongside the underside of the motherboard. With just one small gap to string the entire cords by means of, the Duoface design leaves a number of inches of the cables in plain sight. And in contrast to the cabling hidden behind the motherboard, there isn’t any strategy to cleanly safe them. A couple of extra well-positioned cutouts, like there are alongside the highest and facet of the motherboard, could be sufficient to tidy issues up.

As soon as all of the cables are routed to the bottom of the motherboard tray, there are many arduous factors alongside the case’s high and backside to tie all the things down. Nonetheless, the position of the vertical channels leaves somewhat to be desired. They served adequately sufficient to safe any cables operating from high to backside, however the arduous factors have been positioned too removed from the recessed edges of the case to maintain the a number of followers, and energy cables tucked out of sight.

The included RGB controller additionally poses some cabling points. As a result of its placement between the primary cable throughway and the left fringe of the case, attaching fan headers to the controller could be difficult. If you may get the fan cables to remain in place, although, the controller is a godsend for anybody who doesn’t wish to take the time to route fan cables individually or has restricted RGB headers on their motherboard. The controller has six connectors, sufficient to deal with the total complement of followers you would stuff into the Duoface. And whereas your motherboard’s software program suite can management the lighting, a restricted set of lighting choices could be cycled by means of utilizing the case’s reset change; there isn’t any want for a type of cheapo remotes that come packaged with some controllers.

The Thermals

The Duoface has stable construct high quality, is simple to work with, and the swappable entrance panels supply a duo of aesthetic decisions. All of that’s for naught, although, if the case can’t deal with the warmth of contemporary gaming. All through testing, the next system was used:

  • Video Card: ASUS TUF Gaming GeForce RTX 3080, core clock +120MHz, reminiscence +100MHz, 80% fan pace (2140rpm)
  • CPU: AMD Ryzen R7 3700X, all cores set to 4.0GHz
  • Reminiscence: 2x16GB GSkill Ripjaw V @ 3200MHz
  • Storage: Gigabyte Aorus NVMe Gen4 1TB
  • PSU: Thermaltake Toughpower GF1 850W

To check the Duoface’s air cooling means, we used a Noctua NH-U14S single-tower cooler. The air cooler was then changed with a Cougar Poseidon 240GT AIO cooler with the radiator mounted to the highest of the case. Lastly, assessments have been accomplished with the radiator moved to the entrance of the case and the 140mm followers positioned on the high to assist with exhaust circulate.

All through all assessments, all case followers have been set at most pace (900rpm for the 140mm followers, 1000rpm for the 120mm rear fan). The Noctua cooler makes use of a Noctua NF-A15 140mm fan (set at its most 1500rpm) to chill the fin stack, and the Poseidon 240GP makes use of two Cougar MHP-120mm followers, which have been positioned to push air by means of the radiator. The AIO followers can ramp as much as a loud 1900rpm, however we stored them on the identical 1500rpm used on the Noctua cooler to try to maintain issues as equal as attainable (and somewhat quieter, too).

For every configuration, we first examined idle temperatures. CPU and GPU temperatures have been recorded quarter-hour after a chilly boot. Unsurprisingly, the mesh faceplate resulted in higher temps. The small facet vents simply don’t present sufficient airflow for optimum cooling, however the distinction in temperature with the system at idle is minimal, and going with the glass panel doesn’t make a lot distinction throughout non-intensive duties, both.

Selecting glass or mesh does make extra of a distinction when enjoying video games. To check how the Duoface handles the additional warmth produced from gaming, we examined every configuration with three trendy titles: Whole Warfare: Warhammer 3, Cyberpunk 2077, and Dying Mild 2. Ranging from a chilly boot, every sport was performed for quarter-hour to get the CPU and GPU heated up. Every sport was then performed for an extra 10 minutes, with the common temperature recorded throughout that interval.

Though CPU and GPU temperatures different by sport, there have been some frequent traits. Similar to throughout the idle take a look at, the mesh panel reigned supreme. CPU temps have been nonetheless fairly shut, although, with the glass panel including solely a few levels to each AIO configurations. The front-mounted AIO setup gave the most effective CPU temps no matter which entrance panel was used. Though CPU temps with the Noctua cooler have been solely a few levels greater than the top-mounted AIO with the mesh panel, it struggled with the glass panel in place. The selection of the entrance panel had a extra important influence on GPU temps, with each AIO configurations having no less than a three-degree enhance and the Noctua configuration taking a six-degree hit beneath glass. 

Closing Ideas

At first look, the twin faceplates of the Duoface appear extra of a advertising and marketing gimmick than the rest. I imply, is there actually a have to ship a case with each a glass and mesh panel? I can’t recall ever having a dialog the place somebody talked about that as a function they needed in a case. And it’s not like I’m going to place the glass panel in for optimum aesthetics, then slap within the mesh panel once I’m able to do some hardcore gaming and wish higher temps. One panel or the opposite will get saved away and forgotten, however no less than it doesn’t really feel just like the case is overpriced due to the additional materials prices.

Whether or not or not the entrance panels are a gimmick, the Duoface continues to be a reliable case. Though there isn’t something modern in regards to the design, Cougar doesn’t appear to have lower corners to return in at an $89.99 value level. The case is sturdy and well-built, with loads of room contained in the case to construct after which showcase your costly tech. The included 140mm ARGB entrance followers really feel like a luxurious at this value level, and the sunshine bar on the backside of the entrance panel is a superb addition for some further RGB lighting. 

All the flaws I see within the case might simply be corrected. First, the additional thick metallic filter behind the primary entrance panel distracts from the RGB, and a finer mesh filter would most likely catch extra mud particles anyway. Second, whereas the remainder of the cable administration is dealt with adequately, there should be extra cutouts alongside the underside of the motherboard to scale back the quantity of seen wires. Lastly, the position of the fan controller places it too near the primary cable runs, and transferring it to a different place would make it simple to connect the fan cables.

The product described on this article was supplied by the producer for analysis functions.



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