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Ideal SFF Case For Air Cooling

Hustler One

Cable Smoosher
Original poster
Apr 19, 2019
11
9
Hello good people..

I'm new here..
Thanks to @confusis for welcoming me..

If I posted in the wrong place please direct me to the appropriate one.

I started building my own PC in 2017, from there I develop interest to a smaller and smaller and smaller systems significantly, my 1st build was a messy mid tower with cheap case which only survived for less than a year before I migrated all its components to Phanteks Evolv ITX, as I begin to interested about having a small but powerful system.

After only a year with Evolv ITX my interest to get an even smaller system is growing fast, but, I only interested to use air cooler for my system, no liquid coolers.

So I joined here to get the best feedback for what I'm looking for.

I'm in a quest of getting an ideal or close to it of SFF case which can accommodate good air cooling with reasonable price.
I'm interested to NCASE M1 but apparently it carries a heavy price tag, and my local import tax and others makes it cost me a whooping US$315 in the end. So it's a big NO from here for this beautiful case.

Could you recommend me a case which has similar style as Ncase M1 shape and size and have a good air cooling compatibility under $100?

I'm considering the Sharkoon QB One because of its similar style to M1 if it's seated vertically but I'm clueless of how good it is with air cooling. At first I thought its front mesh panel is for taking air in, but obviously not.

Please share me some feedback of Sharkoon QB One with air cooling or any other case with similar style and good price..

I completely just decided to jump into SFF since several days ago, so please be easy to me..
Thankyou in advance big time.
 
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tinyitx

Shrink Ray Wielder
Jan 25, 2018
2,103
2,061
Cougar QBX has a similar layout as the M1.
For under US$100, this might be one (if not the only one) of the few which fits the budget.
 

tinyitx

Shrink Ray Wielder
Jan 25, 2018
2,103
2,061
Thanks for the feedback. I'll take a look.
Is it good for air cooling?
IIRC, it is on par with the M1. This is as expected as their internal layouts are quite similar.
There are 2 versions of the QBX, one with a front ventilated panel and one with a solid panel.
I suppose the one with a front perforated panel, if fitting with an additional fan there, should be slightly better but this version is harder to find.
 
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Hustler One

Cable Smoosher
Original poster
Apr 19, 2019
11
9
IIRC, it is on par with the M1. This is as expected as their internal layouts are quite similar.
There are 2 versions of the QBX, one with a front ventilated panel and one with a solid panel.
I suppose the one with a front perforated panel, if fitting with an additional fan there, should be slightly better but this version is harder to find.

Aaah.. I googled the perforated variant of QBX, it's the QBX Kaze isn't it?
I'll look for its availability in my country or somewhere else, and how much it costs..

This QBX Kaze is exactly what I'm looking for.. I wonder if it suits the budget.
 

Smanci

SFF Lingo Aficionado
Apr 21, 2017
126
160
What's you setup like? I advise against the QBX because even though it's popular it doesn't do many things quite right. It has lots of fans but restricted vents and miniscule CPU cooler clearance for the size. It is not the ideal choice and ideal also depends on the exact parts used.
 
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Hustler One

Cable Smoosher
Original poster
Apr 19, 2019
11
9
What's you setup like? I advise against the QBX because even though it's popular it doesn't do many things quite right. It has lots of fans but restricted vents and miniscule CPU cooler clearance for the size. It is not the ideal choice and ideal also depends on the exact parts used.

I will use some of my current components I have, migrating them to the SFF case I will getting later.

CPU: 8700K delidded

Motherboard: Asrock Z390 Phantom Gaming ITX/ac

RAM: Corsair Vengeance LPX

GPU: Still undecided between RTX 2060 or older GTX 1080 just for bigger VRAM.

PSU: Will follow the case specs.

CPU cooler: Will use as biggest air cooler as possible which the case can accommodate.

Storages: 2x M.2 SSD + optionally adding 1x 3.5" or 2x 2.5" storage drives.


So what case you can think of to recommend me other than QBX for around US$100 and based on the components I will use?
What do you think about Sharkoon QB One?
 
Last edited:

tinyitx

Shrink Ray Wielder
Jan 25, 2018
2,103
2,061
IIRC, it is on par with the M1. This is as expected as their internal layouts are quite similar.
Aaah.. I googled the perforated variant of QBX, it's the QBX Kaze isn't it?
I'll look for its availability in my country or somewhere else, and how much it costs..

This QBX Kaze is exactly what I'm looking for.. I wonder if it suits the budget.
Yes, it is the Kaze version.

I think the price should be around 50's Euro or 60 USD. But as the case has been released more than a couple years now, its availability in the market is limited as it is not a large volume product, its price can vary a lot, I suppose. A local online store sells it for 50 USD (equivalent) though. Another online store lists it at 80 USD. So, you have to look around. Check out Cougar website's 'Where to buy'.
 

Hustler One

Cable Smoosher
Original poster
Apr 19, 2019
11
9
Yes, it is the Kaze version.

I think the price should be around 50's Euro or 60 USD. But as the case has been released more than a couple years now, its availability in the market is limited as it is not a large volume product, its price can vary a lot, I suppose. A local online store sells it for 50 USD (equivalent) though. Another online store lists it at 80 USD. So, you have to look around. Check out Cougar website's 'Where to buy'.

Yes, I looked for the Kaze variant and cannot find it available.

I'm really confused here of which case to get..
 

Hustler One

Cable Smoosher
Original poster
Apr 19, 2019
11
9

Thanks or the additional info and feedback.

Currently I'm overclocking my CPU at 5.0GHz in my Evolv ITX while maintaining happy temps with air cooler (64C while gaming, 77C in 2hr CPU stress test). I want to be able to bring this number to the planned upcoming SFF build with air cooler. So I think I need a case which capable to house an air cooler as biggest as possible which the case allows.

I found that the QBX can take up to 145mm tall of air cooler if we take the side bracket off, but what's the trade-offs I will get by taking the side bracket off?

If this true can take 145mm tall air cooler, the biggest and the strongest air cooler to hopefully able to sustain my 5GHz OC will be the NH-C14S (142mm tall with fan on top / 115mm tall with fan underside), but will it conflicts with any other parts inside the case?

Also which orientation is the best fit for NH-C14S to sit inside QBX and the beefy I/O heatsink of Asrock Z390 Phantom Gaming ITX board?

I'm starting to lean toward the regular QBX after some deeper research, but still want to get some further and detailed informations.
 

tinyitx

Shrink Ray Wielder
Jan 25, 2018
2,103
2,061
It is hard to say for sure if you can achieve the goal of having a 5GHz 8700K inside a smaller (smaller when compared with Evolv ITX) case while keeping the same temperature. As you must know, when a case gets smaller, it gets harder to keep both the OC and the temp. Sometimes but not usually, you have to take a little compromise. But you might be table to tweak and achieve it. I just do not know.

Anyway, if you ditch the side bracket, you will lose the option to add side fan(s) and a 3.5'' and two 2.5'' drives. And, of course, the option to use an AIO is ruled out (but it seems you are not interested in watercooling).
You might also consider using a 'smaller' air cooler (eg NH-U9S) and use the side bracket to mount some air intaking fan(s). With this, you sacrifice the size of the air cooler in exchange for better/more cool ambient air flowing into the case.

Check out pcpartpicker website for builds with the QBX and QBX Kaze.
In fact, I did a quick look and there is a guy with a stock clock 8700K cooled by a NH-U9S and its load temp is 65C. Not bad.
But, there are just many other factors (in addition to the size of the air cooler) affecting the CPU temp. One is the GPU. I think it makes a significant factor between using a traditional blower or using an axial fan cooling card (which exhausts inside the case). BTW, the guy used a Gigabyte 1080Ti (which dumps quite a lot of hot air internally).
 
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Hustler One

Cable Smoosher
Original poster
Apr 19, 2019
11
9
It is hard to say for sure if you can achieve the goal of having a 5GHz 8700K inside an even smaller case
I agree. I'm also not so optimistic myself for it, I just want to squeeze as much as possible to the achievable limit, I might try to bring back the numbers if only the condition allow me to do so.

Anyway, if you ditch the side bracket, you will lose the option to add side fan(s) and a 3.5'' and two 2.5'' drives.
But the front ODD bracket also can hold a single 2.5" storage drive right? CMIIW

You might also consider using a 'smaller' air cooler (eg NH-U9S) and use the side bracket to mount some air intaking fan(s). With this, you sacrifice the size of the air cooler in exchange for better/more cool ambient air flowing into the case.
Yes, I also considered the NH-U9S already, but I still have question for it. Can I still use the side bracket if I use NH-U9S (125mm tall) while QBX spec says its max cooler limit is 105mm (idk if 105mm is with or without side case fan)?
And I'm quite sure it won't allow me to get high OC.

there is a guy with a stock clock 8700K cooled by a NH-U9S and its load temp is 65C. Not bad.
Stock clock with Intel Turbo Boost enabled or disabled?
If it is actually enabled that turbo boost, which sometimes automatically boosts up to 1.36v and knowing the guy only get 65C of it, so I think I might get my 5GHz 1.34v OC with NH-U9S. What do you think?
 
Last edited:

rfarmer

Shrink Ray Wielder
Jul 7, 2017
2,367
2,439
Thanks or the additional info and feedback.

Currently I'm overclocking my CPU at 5.0GHz in my Evolv ITX while maintaining happy temps with air cooler (64C while gaming, 77C in 2hr CPU stress test). I want to be able to bring this number to the planned upcoming SFF build with air cooler. So I think I need a case which capable to house an air cooler as biggest as possible which the case allows.

I found that the QBX can take up to 145mm tall of air cooler if we take the side bracket off, but what's the trade-offs I will get by taking the side bracket off?

If this true can take 145mm tall air cooler, the biggest and the strongest air cooler to hopefully able to sustain my 5GHz OC will be the NH-C14S (142mm tall with fan on top / 115mm tall with fan underside), but will it conflicts with any other parts inside the case?

Also which orientation is the best fit for NH-C14S to sit inside QBX and the beefy I/O heatsink of Asrock Z390 Phantom Gaming ITX board?

I'm starting to lean toward the regular QBX after some deeper research, but still want to get some further and detailed informations.

Check this build log for modifications that had to be made to fit the NH-C14S in the Cougar.
 
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Smanci

SFF Lingo Aficionado
Apr 21, 2017
126
160
I will use some of my current components I have, migrating them to the SFF case I will getting later.

CPU: 8700K delidded

Motherboard: Asrock Z390 Phantom Gaming ITX/ac

RAM: Corsair Vengeance LPX

GPU: Still undecided between RTX 2060 or older GTX 1080 just for bigger VRAM.

PSU: Will follow the case specs.

CPU cooler: Will use as biggest air cooler as possible which the case can accommodate.

Storages: 2x M.2 SSD + optionally adding 1x 3.5" or 2x 2.5" storage drives.


So what case you can think of to recommend me other than QBX for around US$100 and based on the components I will use?
What do you think about Sharkoon QB One?

As CPU cooling is a priority, QB One should be better but still has that 150mm limitation (just able to fit a FUMA) and employs 80mm fan in the back. Core 500 will be clearly better than either.

However, the situation can change if you require a 3-slot aftermarket GPU heatsink. Core 500 can only fit slightly over 2 slots.
 
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Hustler One

Cable Smoosher
Original poster
Apr 19, 2019
11
9
I would go with the DanCase a4-sfx or the Loque Ghose with a medium top hat for extra fans. Take a look at both. Links below

https://www.sfflab.com/products/dan_a4-sfx?variant=20948231979121

https://www.louqe.com/

The DAN case is just as expensive as the NCASE M1, it will cost me US$315 in the end after import tax and everything. Out of the budget.
Idk how much is the Louqe Ghost.


Check this build log for modifications that had to be made to fit the NH-C14S in the Cougar.
I checked it out. Why didnt he put the NH-C14S in any other orientation which it doesnt interfere with anything?

As CPU cooling is a priority, QB One should be better but still has that 150mm limitation (just able to fit a FUMA) and employs 80mm fan in the back. Core 500 will be clearly better than either.

However, the situation can change if you require a 3-slot aftermarket GPU heatsink. Core 500 can only fit slightly over 2 slots.
So basically the QB One is better than QBX in term of thermal performance?
 
Last edited:

judokamak

Caliper Novice
Sep 25, 2019
33
22
QB one enables you to use the best top down cooler like NH-C14S in its full configuration (2 x 140 mm fans) with additional fan over it as an option.
There s also one 80 fan as an outtake. If price is the issue this case is the way to go..It also has lower volume than Cougar.
 

Fleurrose

Case Bender
Dec 13, 2019
2
0
As CPU cooling is a priority, QB One should be better but still has that 150mm limitation (just able to fit a FUMA) and employs 80mm fan in the back. Core 500 will be clearly better than either.

However, the situation can change if you require a 3-slot aftermarket GPU heatsink. Core 500 can only fit slightly over 2 slots.
audacity temp mail origin
the QB One is better than QBX in term of thermal performance or what ?
 
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