Description

I wanted to downsize from my old ATX mid tower so I could put the case on my desk and get it off the floor. I was originally going to wait for the NCase M1 ($200) to restock, but the $65 price tag of the QBX seemed like a no brainer. It (mostly) was.

If you use this case without any modifications it will choke the airflow to the video card. It's a bad design. I wound up taking off the bottom dust filter and raising the case about an inch off the desk and the GPU temperature dropped from 95C (throttled) to 68C. I don't understand why they thought their design for bottom air intake was acceptable. I've added some 1" tall rubber feet to the bottom of the case.

I could not get the GTX 1080ti to fit in the case with the fans installed on the bottom so I pulled the fans out and installed the video card, then tried sliding the fans in to no avail. I wound up taking a dremel tool to cut out a small part of the frame that allowed the video card to slide in with the fans already in the case.

Otherwise, the Cougar QBX is fantastic. Plenty of room inside (you can even fit an ATX PSU if you get a short video card) for cabling and cooling, two fans on the top, two fans on bottom, a 90mm on the rear and an 80mm on the front. See one of the last photos for how I set it up.

Overall, I'm super happy with how everything turned out. It took some tweaking, but the temperatures and noise are very satisfactory. Performance, as well.

Part Reviews

CPU

Holy moly. Handles every game that I've tried and renders videos nearly three times as fast as my old i7-6700k. The motherboard originally gave it 1.45V at stock which was waaay too high for me, so I dropped it by 0.025V increments and checked the Cinebench R20 scores. See one of the last photos. I settled on 1.3V with no drawback to performance at stock clocks, which range from 3.6-4.3 GHz. I decided the all-core overclock wasn't really necessary and just let it do its own thing at stock clocks.

CPU Cooler

It's funny looking due to the small size, but it's a workhorse. One of the best small tower coolers according to multiple reviews and I have no reason to disagree. It's also strangely quiet, considering the small fan size.

Motherboard

Took me a while to figure out how to turn off the RGB. Turns out, there's three settings under two different menus in the BIOS that all need to be turned off. Otherwise, it's a great motherboard with a decent layout. It only has one CPU fan header and one case fan header, so I had to use two Y-splitter cables for the three case fans.

Memory

I got it to boot at 3600 MHz and 1.375V, but didn't notice any difference in gaming (Rocket League crashed after 3 minutes of gameplay.. so I guess that's a difference) or rendering, so it's back down to 3000 MHz at the stock XMP profile.

Storage

It's hard to believe this tiny thing holds a terabyte, but here we are. 100% recommended. 95% of the performance of a Samsung 970 Pro for nearly half the cost. It also makes installation a lot easier - no cables.

Video Card

The big daddy. ASUS's top tier version of the then top tier card. I found it as an open box deal at MicroCenter in the fall of 2017 and couldn't pass it up. I felt a little silly when I bought it, but I wound up with zero buyer's remorse when I saw the RTX 2000 series benchmarks. I essentially got an RTX 2080 two years in advance - for $100 less. I wound up removing the plastic shroud and stock fans and replacing them with two of the Noctua NF-A12x25s blowing directly on the stock heatsink. Looks kind of goofy, but the results speak for themselves.

Power Supply

Works great. I hear a little coil whine on heavy GPU load, but with headphones on it's inaudible.

Case Fan

The hype is real. They move a lot of air with very little noise. Pricey, but worth it.

Monitor

2560x1440, 144 Hz, G-SYNC. The colors are impressive for a TN panel. Can't be beat for the price point.

Comments

  • 4 months ago
  • 2 points

One of the best Mini-ITX builds I've ever seen. Love the sleek look. +1

  • 4 months ago
  • 1 point

Thanks! I’m very happy with the final result.

  • 4 months ago
  • 2 points

Nice write-up, and I’ll have to remember that case.

  • 3 months ago
  • 1 point

Which bios update you have on the motherboard?

  • 3 months ago
  • 1 point

Version 2606.

  • 3 months ago
  • 1 point

The tables I posted were using v 2501