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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  • 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.
  • jwcalla - Friday, November 13, 2015 - link

    Somebody make something smaller.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • sna1970 - Friday, November 13, 2015 - link

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

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