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Cougar Forza 135 CPU Air Cooler Review

Mitch Gassner Posted:
Hardware Reviews 0

When it comes to cooling your CPU, the stock air cooler can easily handle the heat of your day-to-day productivity tasks and web browsing. But when it comes to prolonged gaming sessions or overclocking duties, you can quickly run into thermal buildup that a stock cooler can’t keep up with. For some, an all-in-one water cooler is the way to go, but traditionalists will prefer the look and safety (water and electricity don’t mix) of a large air cooler. With the release of the Forza 135, Cougar has finally taken the leap to a dual-tower design to combat the ever-rising thermal output of modern CPUs. Is the Forza 135 up to the task at hand? Read on to find out.


  • Current Price: $89.99 (Amazon)
  • Type: Dual Tower
  • Dimension (WxDxH): 128 x 140 x 160mm
  • Weight: 1041g (1391g with fans)
  • Heat Pipes: 7
  • Block and pipe material: Nickel-clad copper
  • Fin Material: Aluminum
  • Fans: MHP120 x 1 (600-200rpm), MHP 140-A x1 (500-1500rpm)
  • TDP (W): 250W

Design And Installation

The Cougar Forza 135 has a large, dual-tower design. It measures 128mm x 140mm x 160mm and weighs 1041g without fans. The brushed aluminum accents and intricately cut fins make it an attractive yet sturdy appearance. Heat transfers from the nickel-plated copper base to the fin stacks through seven nickel-plated copper heat pipes. The heat pipes have a diameter of 6mm, and their direct-touch design helps dissipate heat efficiently.

Installing the Cougar Forza 135 cooler is a relatively straightforward process, but the cooler's large size may pose some challenges depending on the case and motherboard being used. The cooler is compatible with most modern CPU sockets, including the most recent Intel LGA1700 and AMD AM5 CPUs.

The Cougar 135 uses mounting brackets that screw into the CPU’s backplate to handle its hefty weight. Installation hardware is provided for both Intel and AMD CPUs. The Forza 135 doesn’t have thermal paste pre-applied (a small tube is included in the box), so after attaching the backplate, you'll need to apply thermal paste to the CPU's surface before placing the cooler onto the mounting brackets and bolting it down.

One potential challenge with the Forza 135 is that its large size may interfere with other components in the case, such as tall memory modules or massive VRM heatsinks; in my instance, the front fin stack extends over the first two RAM slots. Cougar has taken this into account, and the outer third of the fin stacks has the bottom eight fins removed, giving an extra 14mm of clearance on both sides.

Once the cooler is mounted and tightened down, the fans can be installed. The Forza 135 has two fans, a Cougar MPH120 for the font stack and a larger MPH140-A to place between the two towers. The fans are quite loud at their maximum speed, but even at three-quarters speed, they can effectively push air through the fin stacks. 

The fans are held in place with tension clips that require some dexterity to snap into place, so it would be best to install the cooler onto the CPU before fitting the motherboard into the case. There is an extra set of clips if you want to install a third fan on the back end of the cooler. Given the large cooler size, there was very little room to do so in my case, so I didn’t test to see if this improved cooling.

Thermal Performance

The Cougar Forza 135 cooler is designed to deliver high-performance cooling for demanding gaming and workstation applications. In our testing, we compared its thermal performance to other aftermarket coolers. For our testing, we used the following setup:

  • CPU: AMD Ryzen R7 3700X, all cores set to 4.0GHz
  • GPU: ASUS Tuf Gaming GeForce RTX 3080, core clock +120MHz, memory +100MHz, 80% fan speed (2140rpm)
  • Memory: 2x16GB GSkill Ripjaw V @ 3200MHz
  • Case: Cougar Duoface Pro RGB mid-tower

Along with the Forza 135, we also tested our Noctua NH-U14S for an air-to-air comparison. I wanted to try the Forza 135 against AMD’s Wraith Prism cooler to see if it’s really worth upgrading from the 3700X’s stock cooler, but the locking bar snapped in half during installation, so that was a no-go. Instead, I went the other direction and ran a Cougar Poseidon GT360 through my standard suite of synthetic and game benchmarks to see if an AIO gave any further cooling advantage on the aging chip.

For testing, we first set a baseline by checking idle temps after allowing the system to settle and sit idle for 10 minutes. From there, we tested the CPU under load with a 10-minute Cinebench R23 run. We also ran a torture test with 3DMark’s Timespy Extreme GPU Test 1 on a 10-minute loop to see how the coolers handled the extra heat added to the case’s interior from the GPU. Finally, we tested all the coolers with three modern games to see how they performed under a typical gaming scenario. All tests were allowed to run for 10 minutes to ensure a decent amount of heat saturation, with average temperatures recorded during an additional 10-minute runtime.

The Forza 135 performed exceptionally well. In the air vs. air battle,  The Forza 135 beat out the Noctua cooler by a couple of degrees in almost every test, losing out only in Total War: Warhammer 3 by less than half a degree. It also held its own against the Poseidon GT360 in Cinebench R23, but the fin stack’s proximity to the GPU definitely pushes the temps up in the 3DMark torture test. Still, under more reasonable loads, the Forza managed the extra heat from the GPU quite well.

Final Thoughts

With its large dimensions, direct-touch heat pipes, and high-performance fan, the Forza 135 delivers excellent thermal performance even under heavy loads. Its build quality is also top-notch, with a sturdy metal frame that looks as good as it performs. Installation of the Forza 135 is simple, with the only issue being maneuvering the fan clips into place inside of a case. However, once installed, it offers a secure and effective cooling solution for all mainstream CPU sockets. Overall, if you're looking for a high-performance air cooler that won't break the bank, the Cougar Forza 135 is an excellent choice. Its solid build quality, easy installation, and exceptional thermal performance make it a top pick for anyone needing reliable CPU cooling.

The product described in this article was provided by the manufacturer for evaluation purposes. This article may contain affiliate links the result in a small commission for the site. Author's are not compensated based on clicks or commissions. 
  • Great thermal performance
  • Brushed Aluminum gives it a great look
  • Designed to work around other PC components
  • Fans are noisy at full speed
  • Fan clips are difficult to install inside a case
  • Proximity to the GPU raises temps slightly


Mitch Gassner

Part-time game reviewer, full-time gaming geek. Introduced to Pac-Man and Asteroids at a Shakey's Pizza in the '70s and hooked on games ever since.