Cougar 1000CM 1000w PSU Revisited
I'm going to cut straight to the point. The Cougar 1000CM is everything its HEC branded counterpart should have been - and more. Not only has Cougar made some worthwhile changes to the units external appearance, but they've also seriously upgraded the internal components with a whole PCB full of solid state capacitors and a Nippon Chemicon primary. In fact I would go as far as to say comparing the two units is akin to comparing a genuine Nokia mobile phone to Nookya look-alike purchased from some dodgy eBayer based in China. It really is that different.
But do these upgrades actually make any difference to the performance? Well as we've seen over on the previous page there's certainly no denying that the ripple results for the Cougar are worlds better than those from the HEC. Whereas the latter barely managed to keep its ripple below 200mV in my original review, the unit on review today managed around 60mV on its +12v rails and between 50-56mV on its +3.3v and +5v rails during full load. I do have to of course say that at some points during the review the ripple did still exceed ATX specifications (but only by a bit), which is a shame considering how much extra money Cougar must have thrown at all those uprated caps.
On a more positive note, the appearance of the unit is still among the best I've ever seen. The orange paint job looks great, the snake-like sleeved cables are totally unique and the whole unit exudes quality. Efficiency also exceeded expectations with the Cougar achieving around 89% at 500-750w loads. Only in tests 5 where the unit was subjected to a heavy cross-load did the efficiency drop to 80%, but this is pretty much expected as a 170w load on only the +3.3v and +5v rails is not going to be something easily replicated in any ordinary PC system.
Finally, the voltage stability was ever so slightly better than the HEC branded model with the +12v rail managing to keep the fluctuation from idle (test 1) to load (test4) to only 1.87%. The regulation on the +3.3v and +5v rails however wasn't quite as tight with the rails dropping around 4.5% from idle to load. Of course, all results here were well within ATX spec, but as I mentioned in the previous HEC review, there are still plenty of other PSU's out there than can achieve much tighter regulation.
In summary the Cougar 1000CM is good, but not great. What really annoys me though, is how close it is to being 'great'. With just a little bit more work mostly on the +3.3/+5v rails to bring down the ripple a tad and tighten up the voltage regulation I'd have no reservations in awarding the unit "Editors Choice". However, taking into consideration the fact that the unit is priced at a very reasonable £133 over on Ebuyer, I feel that a recommended award is far more fitting, especially for those of us who are looking for a bit of zest in their next PSU purchase.
- Orange paintwork looks great.
- High quality, unique sleeving.
- Great efficiency at medium load levels.
- Silent operation.
- Appearance of PSU is only likely to appeal to small market segment.
- Voltage regulation is fairly ... mediocre.
- Ripple results are MUCH better than previously, but could still use a little more improvement on the +3.3v and +5v rails.