NZXT Manta ReviewManufacturer: NZXT
UK price (as reviewed): £109.99 (inc VAT)
US price (as reviewed): $139.99 (ex Tax)
NZXT has not hitherto been a big name in the mini-ITX scene. It did release the Vulcan back in 2010, but has otherwise typically stuck to larger cases and form factors – and with a fair amount of success, we might add. The Manta, then, marks something of a new direction for the company, or at least a refreshed one. However, given the traditional tower design and dimensions that dwarf even the BitFenix Prodigy, it could be argued that NZXT is approaching mini-ITX with some caution and sticking to a layout it's more than familiar with.
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As you've probably seen already, the reason for its large footprint, which in width and depth is as big as many smaller ATX cases, is the use of curved, extruded panels. Clearly, there's an aesthetic element to this and whether it works for you or not isn't for us to call, but it certainly gives the Manta a unique look. There are some benefits to this approach in terms of hardware support and internal space, but equally it makes the case look and feel quite literally bloated; arguably not what you're looking for from mini-ITX.
NZXT says the curved panels are the result of a new manufacturing process. Each panel is structurally reinforced with steel and we have to say that you can definitely tell. This is a seriously solid chassis – even the windowed left panel is sturdy – and the finish on the all metal exterior is high quality too. The I/O panel and LEDs are integrated neatly into the roof and the power button has a firm, reliable action. With a price tag the wrong side of £100, the Manta falls very much into premium territory for mini-ITX, but this is true also of the materials and build quality.
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Mesh strips line the sides of the roof and front panels for ventilation, and the rounded edges of the side panels partially shield these from view. The front panel is easily removed by tugging at the bottom, and this reveals a clipped on dust filter guarding the dual 120mm intake fans. The fan mounts here both support 140mm models, however, and given the cost of the case it's not unreasonable to expect the larger size to be installed by default. The roof is also easy to remove after this, coming away cleanly without the baggage of any I/O ports or cables. There is space up here for a further two 140mm or 120mm fans, with elongated mounting holes also lending support to radiators with different screw spacings.
The case's airflow is completed with a third 120mm fan fitted as a rear exhaust. This mount also has height adjustable mounting struts for radiators and so you can align your fan neatly with your CPU cooler. Just to the left of the motherboard I/O panel is a tiny button, which is used to turn on and off the small, white LED above the panel that acts as a visual aid when you're trying to find that pesky USB port around back. The NZXT logo, visible through the side window, also lights up in white, and the button is used to toggle these LEDs on and off in different combinations.
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Lastly, a look on the underside reveals the case's four large rubber feet. We also see that the PSU receives protection against dust via a slide-out filter.
- Dimensions (mm) 245 x 450 x 426 (W x D x H)
- Material Steel, plastic
- Available colours Black, black and red, white and black
- Weight 7.2kg
- Front panel Power, 2 x USB 3, stereo, microphone
- Drive bays 1 x 3.5in/2.5in, 1 x 3.5in, 2 x 2.5in
- Form factor(s) Mini-ITX
- Cooling 2 x 140mm/120mm front fan mounts (2 x 120mm fans included), 1 x 120mm rear fan mount (fan included), 2 x 140mm/120mm roof fan mounts (fans not included)
- CPU cooler clearance 160mm
- Maximum graphics card length 363mm
- Extras Removable dust filters, rear I/O LED, PWM fan hub