We would like to thank Cougar for supplying the review sample.
Cougar is a German company that specializes in manufacturing PC cases, power supplies (PSUs), fans, and other minor accessories. Their PSU offerings easily stand out of the crowd because of their unique style and nice look. Cougar says the CMX series to belong to the high-end category; however, we think that it actually belongs to the mid-level category since these units are only 80 Plus Bronze certified and cannot compete with the high-end Platinum- and Gold-certified PSUs. But that is not necessarily a bad thing because Bronze units usually offer a higher price/performance ratio.
Today’s review will be of the fresh CMX 850 W V3 model promising up to 89% efficiency. The new models unfortunately only use normal double ball-bearing fans, contrary to the older CMX PSUs that used fans with Hydro Dynamic Bearings (HDB). Currently with the best bearing type, HDB fans have a higher lifetime, but are also much more expensive. Production cost restrictions apparently necessitated changing the fan. Our dB meter will clearly show how much the unit's output noise is affected by this choice. Cougar may have made the right choice because a Bronze unit's increased thermal dissipation requires a high speed fan, and the noise difference among various types of bearings is smaller at higher RPMs. In the end, the difference in noise probably didn't justify the large price difference between the HDB and double ball-bearing fan.
The CMX850 uses a semi-modular cabling design, has an amazing finish that many enthusiast users will appreciate, uses DC-DC converters for the generation of the minor rails, making it compatible with the new sleep states (C6, C7) Intel introduced with its Haswell processors, is equipped with two +12V rails, and uses a Japanese bulk capacitor, which will last longer than a Chinese one.