Cougar originates from Germany and originally specialized in advanced computer peripherals. During the past few months we have looked at several of their high end peripherals and mice. The company however produces more than just keyboards and mice, having diversified towards PC power supply units and cases. Cougar however is not particularly well-known for their cases, even though they have nearly a dozen designs available. One of their most recent releases is the their first Mini-ITX case, the QBX, which was unveiled at Computex and even won a design & innovation show award in the process. This is the case that we will be reviewing today.

Cougar's marketing is making some very bold claims regarding the performance and capabilities of the QBX. "Powerful Graphics". "Massive Storage". "The Best Cooling of Its Class". And then we notice a $53 price tag, which makes everything sounding a little bit too good to be true. So today we are putting the QBX to the test to see for ourselves where the new case excels and where it falls short.


11.2 oz Coke can for size comparison

Cougar QBX
Motherboard Size Mini-ITX
Drive Bays External One slim ODD (slot-loading only)
Internal 1 × 3.5"
4 × 2.5"
Cooling Front 80 mm (optional)
Rear 92 mm (included)
Top 2 x 120 mm (optional)
Sides 120 mm (optional)
Bottom 2 x 120 mm (optional)
Radiator Support Front -
Rear -
Top -
Sides Up to 240 mm (only one 120 mm fan)
Bottom -
I/O Port 2× USB 3.0, 0× USB 2.0, 1× Headphone, 1× Mic
Power Supply Size ATX
Clearances HSF 105 mm
PSU 140 mm
GPU 350 mm
Dimensions 291 mm × 178 mm × 384 mm
11.46 in × 7.01 in × 15.12 in
Prominent Features · Expandible: Powerful Graphics
· Expandible : Massive Storage + ODD
· The Best Cooling of Its Class
Price $53 incl. shipping

Packaging & Bundle

Cougar supplies the QBX in a relatively small (but tall) box that hints the proportions of the case. The artwork of the box follows the orange/black color theme of the company and is mostly based on pictures of the case itself. The main features of the case are clearly printed on the sides of the box. Inside the box, the lightweight case is well protected with Styrofoam and wrapped inside a nylon bag.

The bundle supplied with the QBX is very basic, which was not unexpected considering the retail price of the case. Inside the small cardboard box we found only a very basic leaflet with installation schematics, black screws and mounting hardware, two small cable ties and one nylon filter for a 80 mm fan. 

The Exterior of the Cougar QBX Case
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  • SpartyOn - Friday, November 13, 2015 - link

    I like the exterior look of this case and will definitely keep an eye on it, but I think for practicality purposes, I'll have to stick with my Cooler Master 120. The Cougar just looks a little big for my tastes in the wrong dimension (too tall).

    Before Cooler Master released the 130 without the drive rack (though by the looks of the 130, the cage maybe would still take some modding) I modded the CM 120 by removing the internal bays and mounting two 120x120x52mm CLCs in it with three 120mm fans in a stacked rad configuration (F-R-F-R-F), one for the GPU and one for the CPU. The overclocked CPU gets the fresh intake from the front and then I was actually still able to cram in two 120mm fans, one on each side of the rad stack, to blow fresh air through to the second interior rad. Add in CM's 80mm side mobo fan and the Antec 92mm spot cool I threw in there for the mobo and the VRAM on the back of my GTX 770 4GB and I've got a whopping SEVEN fans in that shoebox with two radiator systems. And that's not counting the 92mm an I have on the modded GTX VRAM. All of the fans are PWM except for the 80mm and the spot cool, so it's quiet when it needs to be and boss when things ramp up.

    Been daily driving a 3570K @ 4.65 GHz and a GTX 770 4GB @ 1400 MHz core/7940 MHz memory for three years now.

    Still my favorite ITX to tinker with.

    Been waiting for Pascal to drop before considering an upgrade, but it's all good; I'm almost hitting GTX 970 3dMark scores with my overclock.

    If I can see this Cougar in-person before Pascal drops, I might give it a go if I feel it can suit my needs, otherwise it may be back to the 120.
    Reply
  • jwcalla - Friday, November 13, 2015 - link

    Somebody make something smaller. Reply
  • romrunning - Friday, November 13, 2015 - link

    This Cougar case does seem too big for mini-ITX. My Silverstone SG05 seems like it's half the height of the QBX. To me, that's part of the point of going mini-ITX - you want something small. Reply
  • tabascosauz - Friday, November 13, 2015 - link

    In 10-15L ITX designs, there are essentially only two conventional designs. One moves the PSU to the side so that a cooler like the D9L or U9S can be accommodated, and the M1, SG08 and QBX follow this route. The other is to suspend the PSU over the motherboard, saving space but limiting CPU coolers to a maximum of something like the L9x65. The SG05, SG06, and SG13 follow this design. IMO the Elite 130 doesn't make a whole lot of sense aside from long GPU support, seeing as how the case is large yet can't accommodate a decent air cooler. Reply
  • Samus - Friday, November 13, 2015 - link

    The FT03-mini is 17.6L but is a complete mindwarp to work inside. Once you figure it out it's actually quite genius. Once you figure it out...

    I'd never recommend one to a novice. I think Cougar is targeting a wider audience than Silverstone, which I've always considered to be a niche brand.
    Reply
  • sna1970 - Friday, November 13, 2015 - link

    this case is stolen from NCASE M1 , the same design . SHAME ON THEM !

    https://www.ncases.com/
    Reply
  • techxx - Friday, December 30, 2016 - link

    Similar design. I think it's great they could bring something this good to the masses at this price point. Reply
  • Xajel - Monday, November 16, 2015 - link

    I would like to see a review like this for the croudfunded NCASE M1, small yet very feature rich, including ODD, large graphics cards, Water cooling support, etc.. the only drawback some might see is it support mainly SFX PSU, and has a very limited ATX PSU support

    hmmmm. when we will start to see Type-C ports on cases, AFAIK only one case now have support for it... hope AnandTech will make an article in this regard, maybe case manufacturers will rethink again about adopting it...
    Reply
  • sna1970 - Wednesday, November 18, 2015 - link

    front bay USB 3.1 Already exist from Asus , Gigabyte and Asrock.

    you can add front USB3.1 to any case available.
    Reply
  • DanNeely - Thursday, November 19, 2015 - link

    Filling an entire drivebay up for a pair of ports you can hide under your thumb is inelegant at best. If you've got a case that hides the drive bays behind a door (aside from visual aesthetics, this offers better noise suppression in most cases) it's borderline unusable.

    Unfortunately it's probably going to be a few years before we see a widespread and largescale replacement of A ports with C ones on the front panels of cases. Worse is that because they're a different size; even if the case manufacturers offer a swapable upgrade part in most cases it's not going to have a particularly clean look. (The only exceptions being designs that put the ports bezels on a separate case part instead of just cutting holes in a large front/top panel.)
    Reply

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