Black Opal - The QB One, a little seen SFFPC case

Nosuchthing

Trash Compacter
Original poster
Feb 27, 2017
51
53
Hi all,

I've been lurking around these forums for some time, I've even posted a handful of times, mostly to try and find answers. It was probably a couple of months ago that I decided that I really needed to downsize my PC.

I had always been interested in having a fairly small PC anyway, but I was drawn in by the Corsair 380t marketing without realising just what a behemoth it was. At 40 liters it has to be one of the largest mITX cases out there and it even rivals most mATX. Simply put, it is just too big.

However, I wanted to keep as much of my rig as I could.
PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant

CPU: Intel - Core i7-4790K 4.0GHz Quad-Core Processor (£257.84 @ BT Shop)
CPU Cooler: Cooler Master - Nepton 240M 76.0 CFM Liquid CPU Cooler (£99.99 @ Amazon UK)
Motherboard: MSI - Z97I GAMING ACK Mini ITX LGA1150 Motherboard
Memory: Kingston - HyperX Savage Red 2x8GB
Storage: Crucial - MX300 750GB 2.5" Solid State Drive (£208.00 @ Amazon UK)
Storage: Samsung - 850 EVO-Series 1TB 2.5" Solid State Drive (£295.98 @ YoYoTech)
Video Card: MSI - GeForce GTX 970 4GB Twin Frozr V Video Card
Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available
Generated by PCPartPicker 2017-05-13 18:52 BST+0100


So began the quest for a small PC case that could fit all of this hardware. It was a difficult one.

Posting on here was some help, people recommended a few cases or changes that I could make. Unfortunately it seemed that the only real suggestion was the NCase M1. Here in the UK the NCase would cost somewhere in the region of £200, and that wasn't even factoring in the additional cost of adding a PSU. No, I wanted to do this as cheaply as I could (mainly cause I didn't have the money to drop on the NCase.

Seriously. You don't realise how under served the SFF market is until you really try to find a case that hits all of your criteria without breaking the bank.

Eventually I found a case, more by luck than skill.

The Sharkoon QB One.


It's cheap, it's simple, and more importantly, it's small. At a hair under 15 litres it is less than 2.5 litres bigger than the NCase M1, and it does that at a fifth of the price.

Now don't get me wrong, I would love to get an M1, it's a beautiful case, well designed and worth every penny. Unfortunately training as a teacher does not pay well, so I had to do this as a budget, and I was sick of the leviathan that is the 380t.

So of course I started researching the QB One. Which is where it became more difficult. This case isn't available in America, which means that there are virtually no reviews or build logs online, in English or otherwise. I found a few, either in the C10 (the QB One's sister) or in the QB One, but none of them answered the question I was asking.

Would the Nepton fit?

According to the Sharkoon website the answer is no. With fans, the Nepton 240m radiator hits 52mm. The QB One only allows for radiators of 50mm. Eventually I came to the end of my final placement and final assignment. I was tired of getting home and working until dinner, so I decided I would do something else, build a new PC (sort of).



I ordered the QB One from Amazon (good old Prime) and this Friday I set about dismantling Ruby (the 380t) and transferring components into this new case.


Already it looks so small.


The first step was to open up the QB One, and like the SG13, it is pretty much just a frame. There is a power cord included so that the PSU can be mounted at the front, and that is very neatly tidied away and cable tied before sale. That certainly made my life easier.


Now when I first built my PC I did so with the help of a friend, and although I had changed the RAM and drives since then, I had never done a full-blown build by myself. That and the whole flat is carpeted, so I was a little nervous. Equipped with an anti-static wrist strap I first removed everything from the 380t. It was relatively simple, big the case may be, but it's lovely to work in.

That done, I began to transfer components into the QB One. Oddly enough I had no problems popping the I/O shield into place, it snapped in satisfyingly and without a fight. There will be no baptism of blood for the Black Opal.


Clearly not baptising the case was a mistake, my PSU (a Superflower HX750W semi-modular) wouldn't fit! that is the last time I trust Overclockers specifications. I knew I was taking the risk in truth. Superflower themselves listed the PSU as 165mm long, but the 380t should only fit 160mm. Overclockers listed it as 145mm, right on the limit for the QB One. I wagered that Superflower was factoring in the length of the modular connectors as well. I was very wrong.


My GPU fits easily, it was a little awkward and involved some contortion to get it in, but I managed it (removing and replacing the RAM to do so). Also, that cable management of the power cable I mentioned? Those cable ties push against the fan blades. A moments work with a pair of scissors and they were short enough that they should cause no issues.


After a few false starts where I mixed up screws I added in my 1TB 850 Evo. Fortunately there are screw holes provided on this bracket, but I can't help but wonder why they didn't swivel the placement 90 degrees and allow you to place two SSDs side by side.


Cue the next day (thank you Amazon Prime). The SF450 is pricey yes, but I was intending on moving to this PSU in the future anyway. Being able to sell my old PSU should soften the blow somewhat.


It fits! Also, damn this PC needs a lot of cables. The absolute minimum I could get by with ended up being all but one of the provided cables with the SF450.


My first mistake. In a case this small and tight, that I have already (foolishly) placed the GPU in, it is damn hard to plug in the front panel headers. It's even harder when you have already plugged in the 24pin... And that hole above the power connectors for the GPU, that's just so you can access it. If you route cables through there then the lid of the case won't close properly. I don't have particularly large fingers, but I found it a challenge to route the cables through the tiny hole above the GPU and below that bracket. It might be an idea to plug these in before you put the GPU into the case.


A bonus pic taken by my girlfriend (I highly recommend one, small fingers, ideal for the fiddly bits). Please forgive how messy my work space is, normally I'm much tidier, but I got a little over excited ;).


Please, when you put the faceplate back on, remember to turn the PSU on. It's a pain to take that faceplate off when the whole thing is assembled. Strangely the cable provided by Sharkoon is a little long here. You might have to wiggle it about a smidge to squeeze it in behind the front panel.




Adding the Nepton to the case. A little fiddly, but with an extra pair of hands to hold the radiator out of the way it is a lot easier.


This is where I faced another challenge. Two in fact.

240mm AIOs are big. Really big. So big in fact, that no matter how hard I tried the lid of the case would not shut. The cause of this were the two challenges that I already mentioned. One was that the screws used to attach the fans to the radiator are thumbscrews, these screws increase the depth of the radiator by about 2-3mm. Fortunately I had some screws of the right length and screw thread. That one was easily solved. But still the lid would not shut. The radiator reservoir would catch on the lip of the case. The solution? Unmount the radiator, close the lid, and awkwardly move the radiator about with one hand until you can screw it in from the top.


Also, the SF450 SATA connectors are just a fraction too short to make use of the rear SSD mount, and I'd rather have the potential ventilation that offers anyway. Hence our friend the crucial SSD tucked away in the corner there.

Also, please forgive me for my awful cable management here. At this point I was exhausted from wrestling with the radiator and the 24pin. I was also very upset when I realised that my tea had been sat unattended for nearly an hour at this point...


And now my computer actually fits on my desk!


I'm still not set on the shorter orientation, but it looks good and I'm happy to try it out for a while. I can always take the feet off and move them around if I want to experiment.

Well there it is. The first build log I have ever written. I apologise for the quality of the pictures, but it was my first time.
 
Last edited:

Nosuchthing

Trash Compacter
Original poster
Feb 27, 2017
51
53
Very tiny! Kinda reminds me of the Elite 110. I love the way the LED lights look on the bezel.

It's not a dissimilar design, once you get to that kind of size there is only so much you can do with it I suppose. It's simple and I like that. It doesn't need bells and whistles.
 
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Phuncz

Lord of the Boards
Editorial Staff
Moderator
Gold Supporter
May 9, 2015
5,216
4,554
Well done ! That ODD bracket seems to block a great deal of the front 120mm radiator fan. You could remove it by drilling out the rivets, you'd have plenty of space to mount the SSDs in the front or on a side panel (double-sided tape or double-sided plastic "velcro").
 

Nosuchthing

Trash Compacter
Original poster
Feb 27, 2017
51
53
Well done ! That ODD bracket seems to block a great deal of the front 120mm radiator fan. You could remove it by drilling out the rivets, you'd have plenty of space to mount the SSDs in the front or on a side panel (double-sided tape or double-sided plastic "velcro").

It does yes. Unfortunately it also blocks pretty much any airflow that the SSDs might have enjoyed. I feel like this case would have done better if it was designed for an SFX psu as that drive bay isn't a fantastic design.

I am intending to drill it out eventually but I don't actually have a drill right now. I'll likely leave it a little while until I have a little more spare time and reason to buy a drill.
 
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JZG_Pedro

Minimal Tinkerer
New User
Aug 23, 2017
3
0
Hi all,

I've been lurking around these forums for some time, I've even posted a handful of times, mostly to try and find answers. It was probably a couple of months ago that I decided that I really needed to downsize my PC.

I had always been interested in having a fairly small PC anyway, but I was drawn in by the Corsair 380t marketing without realising just what a behemoth it was. At 40 liters it has to be one of the largest mITX cases out there and it even rivals most mATX. Simply put, it is just too big.

However, I wanted to keep as much of my rig as I could.
PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant

CPU: Intel - Core i7-4790K 4.0GHz Quad-Core Processor (£257.84 @ BT Shop)
CPU Cooler: Cooler Master - Nepton 240M 76.0 CFM Liquid CPU Cooler (£99.99 @ Amazon UK)
Motherboard: MSI - Z97I GAMING ACK Mini ITX LGA1150 Motherboard
Memory: Kingston - HyperX Savage Red 2x8GB
Storage: Crucial - MX300 750GB 2.5" Solid State Drive (£208.00 @ Amazon UK)
Storage: Samsung - 850 EVO-Series 1TB 2.5" Solid State Drive (£295.98 @ YoYoTech)
Video Card: MSI - GeForce GTX 970 4GB Twin Frozr V Video Card
Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available
Generated by PCPartPicker 2017-05-13 18:52 BST+0100


So began the quest for a small PC case that could fit all of this hardware. It was a difficult one.

Posting on here was some help, people recommended a few cases or changes that I could make. Unfortunately it seemed that the only real suggestion was the NCase M1. Here in the UK the NCase would cost somewhere in the region of £200, and that wasn't even factoring in the additional cost of adding a PSU. No, I wanted to do this as cheaply as I could (mainly cause I didn't have the money to drop on the NCase.

Seriously. You don't realise how under served the SFF market is until you really try to find a case that hits all of your criteria without breaking the bank.

Eventually I found a case, more by luck than skill.

The Sharkoon QB One.


It's cheap, it's simple, and more importantly, it's small. At a hair under 15 litres it is less than 2.5 litres bigger than the NCase M1, and it does that at a fifth of the price.

Now don't get me wrong, I would love to get an M1, it's a beautiful case, well designed and worth every penny. Unfortunately training as a teacher does not pay well, so I had to do this as a budget, and I was sick of the leviathan that is the 380t.

So of course I started researching the QB One. Which is where it became more difficult. This case isn't available in America, which means that there are virtually no reviews or build logs online, in English or otherwise. I found a few, either in the C10 (the QB One's sister) or in the QB One, but none of them answered the question I was asking.

Would the Nepton fit?

According to the Sharkoon website the answer is no. With fans, the Nepton 240m radiator hits 52mm. The QB One only allows for radiators of 50mm. Eventually I came to the end of my final placement and final assignment. I was tired of getting home and working until dinner, so I decided I would do something else, build a new PC (sort of).



I ordered the QB One from Amazon (good old Prime) and this Friday I set about dismantling Ruby (the 380t) and transferring components into this new case.


Already it looks so small.


The first step was to open up the QB One, and like the SG13, it is pretty much just a frame. There is a power cord included so that the PSU can be mounted at the front, and that is very neatly tidied away and cable tied before sale. That certainly made my life easier.


Now when I first built my PC I did so with the help of a friend, and although I had changed the RAM and drives since then, I had never done a full-blown build by myself. That and the whole flat is carpeted, so I was a little nervous. Equipped with an anti-static wrist strap I first removed everything from the 380t. It was relatively simple, big the case may be, but it's lovely to work in.

That done, I began to transfer components into the QB One. Oddly enough I had no problems popping the I/O shield into place, it snapped in satisfyingly and without a fight. There will be no baptism of blood for the Black Opal.


Clearly not baptising the case was a mistake, my PSU (a Superflower HX750W semi-modular) wouldn't fit! that is the last time I trust Overclockers specifications. I knew I was taking the risk in truth. Superflower themselves listed the PSU as 165mm long, but the 380t should only fit 160mm. Overclockers listed it as 145mm, right on the limit for the QB One. I wagered that Superflower was factoring in the length of the modular connectors as well. I was very wrong.


My GPU fits easily, it was a little awkward and involved some contortion to get it in, but I managed it (removing and replacing the RAM to do so). Also, that cable management of the power cable I mentioned? Those cable ties push against the fan blades. A moments work with a pair of scissors and they were short enough that they should cause no issues.


After a few false starts where I mixed up screws I added in my 1TB 850 Evo. Fortunately there are screw holes provided on this bracket, but I can't help but wonder why they didn't swivel the placement 90 degrees and allow you to place two SSDs side by side.


Cue the next day (thank you Amazon Prime). The SF450 is pricey yes, but I was intending on moving to this PSU in the future anyway. Being able to sell my old PSU should soften the blow somewhat.


It fits! Also, damn this PC needs a lot of cables. The absolute minimum I could get by with ended up being all but one of the provided cables with the SF450.


My first mistake. In a case this small and tight, that I have already (foolishly) placed the GPU in, it is damn hard to plug in the front panel headers. It's even harder when you have already plugged in the 24pin... And that hole above the power connectors for the GPU, that's just so you can access it. If you route cables through there then the lid of the case won't close properly. I don't have particularly large fingers, but I found it a challenge to route the cables through the tiny hole above the GPU and below that bracket. It might be an idea to plug these in before you put the GPU into the case.


A bonus pic taken by my girlfriend (I highly recommend one, small fingers, ideal for the fiddly bits). Please forgive how messy my work space is, normally I'm much tidier, but I got a little over excited ;).


Please, when you put the faceplate back on, remember to turn the PSU on. It's a pain to take that faceplate off when the whole thing is assembled. Strangely the cable provided by Sharkoon is a little long here. You might have to wiggle it about a smidge to squeeze it in behind the front panel.




Adding the Nepton to the case. A little fiddly, but with an extra pair of hands to hold the radiator out of the way it is a lot easier.


This is where I faced another challenge. Two in fact.

240mm AIOs are big. Really big. So big in fact, that no matter how hard I tried the lid of the case would not shut. The cause of this were the two challenges that I already mentioned. One was that the screws used to attach the fans to the radiator are thumbscrews, these screws increase the depth of the radiator by about 2-3mm. Fortunately I had some screws of the right length and screw thread. That one was easily solved. But still the lid would not shut. The radiator reservoir would catch on the lip of the case. The solution? Unmount the radiator, close the lid, and awkwardly move the radiator about with one hand until you can screw it in from the top.


Also, the SF450 SATA connectors are just a fraction too short to make use of the rear SSD mount, and I'd rather have the potential ventilation that offers anyway. Hence our friend the crucial SSD tucked away in the corner there.

Also, please forgive me for my awful cable management here. At this point I was exhausted from wrestling with the radiator and the 24pin. I was also very upset when I realised that my tea had been sat unattended for nearly an hour at this point...


And now my computer actually fits on my desk!


I'm still not set on the shorter orientation, but it looks good and I'm happy to try it out for a while. I can always take the feet off and move them around if I want to experiment.

Well there it is. The first build log I have ever written. I apologise for the quality of the pictures, but it was my first time.






Awesome ! Thanks for the thread / log.

I can see you could fit that mini ITX ( 17cm x 17cm) with well enough room left. Im thinking here if a 19.5 cm board (smallest ATX) wouldn't fit... what you think ?
 

Nosuchthing

Trash Compacter
Original poster
Feb 27, 2017
51
53
Awesome ! Thanks for the thread / log.

I can see you could fit that mini ITX ( 17cm x 17cm) with well enough room left. Im thinking here if a 19.5 cm board (smallest ATX) wouldn't fit... what you think ?

In terms of width it might, as the case is a little wider than the mobo I have in it. Depth might be an issue though, you'd have to use an SFX PSU (or smaller) as the board pushes right up into that space even with ITX. Plus the cables could be an issue if they impact on any RAM sticks you have in that area.
 

j_w

What's an ITX?
New User
Apr 25, 2018
1
0
Thanks for writing this dude! A year later and it's still a little known case with ZERO youtube build videos on it! I'm probably gonna get one myself.
 

Nosuchthing

Trash Compacter
Original poster
Feb 27, 2017
51
53
Thanks for writing this dude! A year later and it's still a little known case with ZERO youtube build videos on it! I'm probably gonna get one myself.

I can highly recommend it. I'd make a video myself if I had the camera to do it. It has it's drawbacks, but for the price you pay there is nothing that quite matches it. The SG13 comes close but sacrifices the ability to use a 240mm radiator. Plus, in my opinion, this case just looks so damn good.

I also have a second build log with this case when my girlfriend and I built her rig. A case so nice I bought it twice.
 

miptzi

SFF Lingo Aficionado
Oct 20, 2017
94
66
Thanks for writing this dude! A year later and it's still a little known case with ZERO youtube build videos on it! I'm probably gonna get one myself.

just a comment:

Here in brazil this case is very well known, and used all around. Since sharkoon is a "budget" brand, they shine in our budget country.
 
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bledha

Airflow Optimizer
Feb 22, 2017
307
266
A bonus pic taken by my girlfriend

I just want to say (slightly off topic), that this is a very nice picture. It hits me because it reminds me exactly of a photo that was taken by my girlfriend (now wife) many years ago when I was building one of my dream PCs at home after so much planning and saving. She has quite a good eye with photography, and she took a picture of me posed in almost that exact same way - head cranked back to look at her over my shoulder, hands buried in a gutted SFF chassis, boyish pure-joy smile drawn across my face, and that twinkle in my eye.

Looking through the photos later, I asked "why did you take that photo?" as it seemed it was taken in some hurried fashion. She replied, "becasue you looked so happy."

I know, I know, it sounds corny - but I see that same joy on your face. Good post, keep building, my man!
 

mindtrapper

Minimal Tinkerer
New User
May 21, 2018
3
1
Thanks a lot for the log. I am planning to do a build with a graphics card + Kraken G12 and an Arctic Freezer 240 (37mm) with some slim Akasa fans (15mm). That brings it to 52mm thickness, like yours. Will it fit?

For the CPU I can't figure out if a Cryorig M9 (125mm) will fit with an AIO installed. They say total case height is 180mm, minus 50mm for AIO = 130mm. Chassis+motherboard height must be more than 5mm so what is the max cpu cooler height with an AIO installed?
 

Nosuchthing

Trash Compacter
Original poster
Feb 27, 2017
51
53
Thanks a lot for the log. I am planning to do a build with a graphics card + Kraken G12 and an Arctic Freezer 240 (37mm) with some slim Akasa fans (15mm). That brings it to 52mm thickness, like yours. Will it fit?

For the CPU I can't figure out if a Cryorig M9 (125mm) will fit with an AIO installed. They say total case height is 180mm, minus 50mm for AIO = 130mm. Chassis+motherboard height must be more than 5mm so what is the max cpu cooler height with an AIO installed?

The AIO you're planning on using should fit, just, although depending on the style of screws they use to attach the fans you may need to swap them out to make sure they fit in addition to the drive bay at the front of the case.

I'd be very surprised if that CPU cooler also fit. Your AIO is not 50mm, it's 52mm, and those 2mm will make the difference. Plus the height of the case won't factor in the standoffs used for the motherboard. The max CPU height for the QB One (according to Sharkoon) is 150mm, and you're knocking off a good third of that space with your AIO. Maybe go with a low profile CPU cooler?
 

mindtrapper

Minimal Tinkerer
New User
May 21, 2018
3
1
The AIO you're planning on using should fit, just, although depending on the style of screws they use to attach the fans you may need to swap them out to make sure they fit in addition to the drive bay at the front of the case.

I'd be very surprised if that CPU cooler also fit. Your AIO is not 50mm, it's 52mm, and those 2mm will make the difference. Plus the height of the case won't factor in the standoffs used for the motherboard. The max CPU height for the QB One (according to Sharkoon) is 150mm, and you're knocking off a good third of that space with your AIO. Maybe go with a low profile CPU cooler?

Yeah, seems impossible to fit unless I place the rad outside the case and route the pump/block through the IO or something. I am thinking of getting an 120 AIO to use with the Kraken G12 on the graphics card and screwing that in the top front. Should leave enough space below for the M9, right? Back fan as intake, M9 pushing back to front and GPU rad fan taking that air and exhausting it from the top. Seems to be the best compromise, a low profile cpu cooler would also work but would be limiting, TDP-wise, while a 120 AIO for the graphics card will suffice. Not to mention a low profile cpu cooler would compete with the rad fans for air.
 

Nosuchthing

Trash Compacter
Original poster
Feb 27, 2017
51
53
Yeah, seems impossible to fit unless I place the rad outside the case and route the pump/block through the IO or something. I am thinking of getting an 120 AIO to use with the Kraken G12 on the graphics card and screwing that in the top front. Should leave enough space below for the M9, right? Back fan as intake, M9 pushing back to front and GPU rad fan taking that air and exhausting it from the top. Seems to be the best compromise, a low profile cpu cooler would also work but would be limiting, TDP-wise, while a 120 AIO for the graphics card will suffice. Not to mention a low profile cpu cooler would compete with the rad fans for air.


You could certainly try it, but bear in mind that due to the presence of the reservoir and the pipes, most 120mm AIOs are actually bigger than 120mm, at least in one dimension. It might still overhang the CPU cooler a little bit, so be careful with the one you choose as routing pipes could become a big issue.
 

Nosuchthing

Trash Compacter
Original poster
Feb 27, 2017
51
53
Well done ! That ODD bracket seems to block a great deal of the front 120mm radiator fan. You could remove it by drilling out the rivets, you'd have plenty of space to mount the SSDs in the front or on a side panel (double-sided tape or double-sided plastic "velcro").

I finally got around to drilling out the HDD bracket. It seems to have provided a great deal more airflow. I've stuck one SSD to the top of the PSU, and the other to the front panel. Unfortunately they still get pretty warm, as does the metal of the case itself.

I've also adjusted the PC to a vertical orientation, with the card at the top of the case.

I'll get some pictures this weekend to show the changes I've made. The radiator fans are currently running as intakes, would re-configuring them to run as output help shift some of that hot air?