As Mini-ITX systems are moving away from the old slow systems they used to represent and are becoming more powerful with high-end hardware, they become more and more appealing to enthusiasts and gamers. Many companies design cases for Mini-ITX motherboards, with the usual design approach being the minimization of their external dimensions, as designers are striving to fit them into modern living rooms alongside gaming consoles and home cinema equipment.

Introduction

Very small Mini-ITX based cases that can hold powerful gaming systems do exist, but they do have a fair share of limitations - especially when it comes to cooling. Perhaps the most prominent example is the Fractal Design Node 202, a Mini-ITX case that rivals the size of gaming consoles and can hold a rather powerful gaming system, but with very limited cooling and power options.

NZXT is a company that took an entirely different approach with their Mini-ITX design. The company is known among gamers and enthusiasts for providing functional designs with high thermal performance. As such, the company has decided to design the Manta, a tower case reduced to fit Mini-ITX motherboards while still providing enough space for sizable air coolers and liquid cooling radiators.

NZXT Manta
Motherboard Size Mini-ITX
Drive Bays External -
Internal 2 × 3.5"
3 × 2.5"
Cooling Front 2 × 120 mm or 2 x 140 mm (2 × 120 mm included)
Rear 1 × 120 mm (included)
Top 2 × 120 mm or 2 x 140 mm (none included)
HDD -
Bottom -
Radiator Support Front Up to 240 mm or 280 mm
Rear Up to 120 mm
Top Up to 240 mm or 280 mm
Side -
Bottom -
I/O Port 2× USB 3.0, 0× USB 2.0, 1× Headphone, 1× Mic
Power Supply Size ATX
Clearances HSF 160 mm
PSU 360 mm
GPU 360 mm
Dimensions 426 mm × 245 mm × 450 mm
16.77 in × 9.65 in × 17.72 in
Prominent Features · New manufacturing technology offers unparalleled build quality
· Elegant, curved steel paneling and window
· Double the cable management space
· Dual 280mm liquid cooling support
· Kraken X61-ready with push/pull capabilities
· Integrated PSU shroud for a beautifully clean build
· Fully filtered, easy-to-remove intake
Price $130

Packaging & Bundle

NZXT is obviously not concerned about the looks of their packaging at all, as they ship the Manta into a plain brown cardboard box. If not for the small sticker on the side, nobody would be able to tell what is inside the packaging. Nevertheless, the box is very sturdy and the case is sandwiched between thick Styrofoam slabs, providing more than enough shipping protection.

The bundle of the Manta is very austere for a case with a $130 price tag, with the company supplying only the necessary mounting screws and hardware, a case sticker and a roll of small cable ties.

The Exterior of the NZXT Manta
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  • Connoisseur - Thursday, June 16, 2016 - link

    Exactly what I care about for my next build, which will be a mini-itx. Was looking at ncase m1 as it's definitely the most compact and clean-looking around but a little concerned about the lack of user-friendliness. Every build video I've seen seems like an exercise in putting together a 3d jigsaw puzzle.

    Ideally I'd like all of the items you mentioned plus fairly easy user access and cable management but I know the cases start to get larger at that point.
    Reply
  • Connoisseur - Thursday, June 16, 2016 - link

    Also, agree on the benchmarking. mini-ITX shouldn't be rated together since the internal volumes vary drastically. There should be a noise and temperature benchmark where they assess the temps at a given noise level (something similar to what SPCR does) accounting for a high performance vid card. Reply
  • Samus - Thursday, June 16, 2016 - link

    The ncase m1 is awesome. It is an oldie, just like the Silverstone FT03-mini, and it seems itx cases since have lost their sole purpose of the requirements you outlined. I think a minimalistic design with silent operation and as compact internal volume as possible are the key goals, while still fitting a 10.5" video card, even if an SFX PSU is required. Reply
  • Major_Kusanagi - Thursday, June 16, 2016 - link

    No offense, but don't lump every enthusiast into your viewpoint. I for one love my fairly recent Manta build (seen here: http://i.imgur.com/xJh9owx.jpg )which fits my needs perfectly. Reply
  • kyuu - Saturday, June 18, 2016 - link

    Very nice looking build. Kudos. Reply
  • Drumsticks - Friday, June 17, 2016 - link

    Personally, I've got a Corsair Obsidian 250D with a 240mm radiator running a 4.7 GHz i5-4670k. I have an ancient 7850 that is about to get replaced, but I'm pretty happy with the size, capabilities, and performance of my rig. It's not the smallest thing (the ncase m1 you mentioned is probably half the size), but it's definitely pretty easy to carry under one arm, which is really all I need from my mITX.

    While I agree that there is a need (and not an insignificant one) for the smallest case you can get, stuff the size of my case do fine, imo. Granted, the Manta in question is pretty big as far as I understand, but the thing I like about my system is I can fit essentially a full PC with no compromises (barring a single PCI-e slot inherent to ITX which is a given) and still manage a small build with good airflow.
    Reply
  • kepstin - Thursday, June 16, 2016 - link

    I'll be honest, I was initially wondering why the photographer was using a fish-eye lens to take photos of this case... that's a pretty unusual and bulky look for a PC case. Reply
  • ingwe - Thursday, June 16, 2016 - link

    I thought the same thing. Very...unique... Reply
  • zodiacfml - Saturday, June 18, 2016 - link

    They probably have a small room to do the product photography. Reply
  • dsraa - Thursday, June 16, 2016 - link

    16 inches tall is as tall as ATX Mid-tower, what's the point? It's a wierd shape too.....complete fail. Reply

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