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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  • 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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