The Exterior of the Cougar QBX Case

Cougar went with a simple modern design for their Mini-ITX QBX case, employing basic geometric shapes formed by 45° angles. Most of the case is made of steel, with the exception of the plastic front and top panels. Although the front and top panels are plastic, they have been treated so as to resemble an aluminum surface. The craftsmanship is exceptional for such a product and only very experienced eyes will be able to tell the difference.

Cougar is strongly promoting the QBX's compact design. Measuring 291 × 384 × 178 mm (11.46 × 15.12 × 7.01 in) and with a volume of 0.0199 m3 (19.9 liters), it truly is relatively small but also rather awkwardly shaped and exceedingly deep for its proportions. Still, the QBX is more compact than other cubic-shaped cases such as the Obsidian 250D (28.2 liters, +68%), but not as small as truly compact Mini-ITX cases that were designed for living room applications, such as the Milo ML05 (7.1 liters, -64%). The QBX however can take a full size ATX PSU and long graphics cards and, if we make these two parameters a requirement, it definitely is the most compact Mini-ITX case that we have encountered to this date. However, if cost is not an issue and volume is, the much more expensive Streacom F12C can even take full ATX motherboards and much more hardware with a volume of just 25.9 liters.

The power button is to the right side of the plastic faceplate, right above the two USB 3.0 ports and 3.5 mm audio jacks. Although the location of the power button is well-thought, the position of the I/O ports could be problematic if the case is placed inside a furniture or against a wall to its right.

There are no openings for optical drives to the front of the case but Cougar decided to provide an option for optical media to those that really one by providing one slim ODD slot. The slot is at the top of the case, near the front, and can only be accessed by sliding the top panel backwards slightly. Note that only slot-loading drives will work, as the slot is facing upwards and tray-style slim ODDs are not mechanized. A slot-loading DVD-RW, let alone a Blu-Ray device, can be an expensive option, but at least it is an option for those that need to have an ODD.


Both of the side panels of the QBX are almost entirely covered by a metallic mesh, aiding passive airflow and providing intake openings for the PSU and optional side fans. The mesh is not particularly dense, allowing good airflow but being ineffective against dust.


The rear of the QBX is black and not of great interest, with the exception of the AC cable plug visible near the top. No, the QBX does not have a PSU preinstalled, but it has its PSU compartment located at the front of the motherboard's tray. This is just an extension used to keep all of the plugs at the rear of the case.

Instead of installing typical feet to the case, Cougar went with two long plastic stripes that slightly resemble caterpillar tracks. These can be used to support up to two 120 mm fans. A nylon filter is also installed there and can be removed by pulling it from the rear of the case.

Introduction, Packaging & Bundle The Interior of the Cougar QBX Case
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  • Ninhalem - Friday, November 13, 2015 - link

    Best cable management cases would have to be the Case Labs' cases, hands down.
  • Samus - Friday, November 13, 2015 - link

    Hah, yeah, Case Labs are awesome cases, but for $500 they should be :)
  • kmmatney - Sunday, November 15, 2015 - link

    I'm happy with the Corsair 400R I bought for my server. I bought it as it can take 10+ hard drives, but it also has decent cable management, at a good price.
  • simonpschmitt - Friday, November 13, 2015 - link

    Well there is the Fractal Design Node 304.
    It's a M-ITX Case with just 19.7 liters volume and it has exelent airflow, especially for the 6(!) 3.5" disk bays and room for a long graphics card. Tough it has no ODD slot.

    I have mine now for 3 years as a 6 disk file server and I'm thinking of building my next gaming rig (i7, GTX980) into it. Based on my experience with it I very much expect it to handle the thermals well.
  • zsolmanz - Friday, November 13, 2015 - link

    I have one of these too, excellent case. When I get round to changing my server to itx, it'll go into the Node - you just can't fault a 19L case with 6 disk slots (plus extra space for 2.5" drives if you get creative).
  • HollyDOL - Friday, November 13, 2015 - link

    Built a M-ITX on Fractal Design Core 500 for relative, got Fractal Design Define R3 myself, both work perfectly.
  • Samus - Friday, November 13, 2015 - link

    A well known problem with the Node 304, even pointed out in the review you linked, is one of the oversights Fractal and NZXT cases are always plagued with, in this case, fitting a tall or long video card. As far as what you say about fitting a GTX980 into one...I don't think there is a GTX980 in existence that'll fit into the Node 304 so you might want to research that. Some 970 cards will fit, but since they are not blowers and have top down coolers you are going to have a furnace inside the 20L case.

    I had this temperature issue with an FT03-mini and inevitably ended up using a GTX970 with a blower to exhaust all the heat the card generates out the back (top) of the case, instead of venting it into the case. Fortunately, unlike the Node 304, the FT03-mini is well engineered and accepts a 10.5" videocard AND accounts for power connections on the top AND the rear of the card. It's a tight fit, but that's expected, and in the end, it works. Everything works. You can fit a water cooler, 10.5" card, 2x2.5", 1x3.5", 1 ODD, up to a 600w SFX PSU, organize all the cables, and the case is 17.6L. You get what you pay for.

    The Node 304 is really a crappy engineered case. You might not realize it until you see a properly engineered ITX case, though.
  • zsolmanz - Friday, November 13, 2015 - link

    Hey now, I wouldn't give them *too* much credit for their design. At least one of them will have seen NCase M1:

    Still, can't complain about such a similar case for a quarter of the price.
  • jtd871 - Friday, November 13, 2015 - link

    The M1 is 2/3 the volume at less than 13 liters.
  • DavidBrees - Friday, November 13, 2015 - link

    The NCASE M1 just seems like a better designed case. The layout of the M1 seems to utilize the space much more efficiently.

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