What makes this case the Panzer EVO RGB is the inclusion of four 120mm Cougar Vortex RGB fans, coupled with a Cougar Core box and remote. The fans themselves are standard, high-quality hydrodynamic bearing PWM fans with a direct-addressable strand of LEDs mounted behind a translucent ring. Each fan has two cables running from it: the traditional 4-pin PWM connector, and a new 5-pin connector to attach those LEDs to the Core box.
The Cougar Core box itself has a couple of magnets to clip it to the motherboard tray, and there’s a convenient recess next to the PSU that’s the perfect size. This breakout box can also support four additional fans, plus direct-addressable LED strips that use a standard-ish 3-pin motherboard connector. Annoyingly, however, it draws on the bulky 4-pin PSU connector for power.
Instead of providing computer control via USB, the Cougar Core comes with a credit card-sized remote control that provides access to a variety of lighting modes, together with direct access to particular colours. For many this will provide plenty of control, but Cougar has also included adaptor cables to bypass the box completely if your motherboard supports direct-addressable RGB lighting. Unfortunately, the fans aren’t directly compatible with lighting control kits from other suppliers (such as Corsair’s Lighting Node Pro).
When wrapping up the test build, it was clear to see that the Panzer EVO RGB isn’t making efficient use of space to pack in hardware. Instead, the focus is on a clean build with good airflow that can work as a showcase for what’s inside. Meanwhile, the modular design and high number of removable parts make this a case that’s ripe for custom work. Even the PSU shroud has a removable sticker, while the case itself comes with a microfibre chamois cloth to remove pesky fingerprints from those glass sheets.
It’s also clear that aspects have been reused from other models in the Panzer range, and not always in a good way. The motherboard tray is the same one that’s used in the Panzer Max, and still has grooves and cutouts from where the optical drives would be located. The inclusion of a fan speed selector switch alongside three high-quality PWM fans seems a little odd. And while we’re looking at that front panel, why preserve the solitary USB2 socket?
I was also a little disappointed with the barebones instruction leaflet. For a case that presents so many options, the eventual build required a mix of planning and trial-and-error to achieve.
Despite all of this, the case looks spectacular, especially when it’s been loaded up with additional RGB lights and fans. It would have been even better if the Cougar Core box would interface directly with the PC, possibly through the motherboard USB header, but the RGB setup is otherwise incredibly easy to setup and expand on.
The Panzer EVO RGB is a superb new case from Cougar, and a great first entry into the RGB full-tower market. Build quality is solid, and the choice of tinted tempered glass adds a unique touch of cool class to an otherwise aggressive design. The layout provides plenty of build options that would work for most gamers (including storage-hungry MMO players), while creating a clean look that you can’t wait to show off. Just don’t expect to carry it far (even with the handles), as this is one heavy beast.
Yes, there are a few drawbacks that stem from the Panzer EVO RGB’s heritage, including the watercooler limitations, some redundant cutouts on the motherboard tray, and some strange choices on the front panel. But overall, these fail to pull away from the overall function or aesthetic of Cougar’s latest creation. The heavy use of thumbscrews means that this is also a rig that supports easy expansion when it’s time to upgrade. Just keep that chamois cloth handy.
There’s also a bigger question, and that’s about the sheer size of this titan. With the glass panels and preinstalled RGB lighting, the Panzer EVO RGB is begging for a place on your desk. And yet, those mammoth dimensions and sheer weight would suggest it belongs tucked away on the floor. It’s worth making sure your gaming space can handle this imposing full tower before commiting to a build.
At $219, the Panzer EVO RGB is priced at a $60 premium for the RGB kit and USB-C, but Cougar’s implementation is worth the extra if you’re after multi-coloured versatility. Understandably, the TRON-meets-Saturday Night Fever aesthetic might not be to everyone’s taste, but the regular Panzer EVO or Panzer Max have you covered if you’re after something more subdued. Ultimately though, for the proud rainbow magpies among us, this is one spectacular case.
- Good build quality
- Tinted tempered glass looks great
- Design isn’t overly aggressive
- Headset hook
- Easy to make a clean, good looking build
- Limitations on fan placement when watercooling
- Shame about RGB-USB integration
- Including USB2 on the front panel seems unnecessary
The product discussed in this article was provided by the manufacturer for the purposes of review.