NZXT Manta mini-ITX Final Thoughts
I had a lot of fun building a system with the Manta mini-ITX. There was a lot of work room to install a large graphics card and a 240mm radiator at the front of the case. Velcro straps for cable management were not present, but the many tie down points on the motherboard tray were enough to secure even the largest cables. Just make sure to have plenty of zip ties, but NZXT already included a number of zip ties in the accessory box for cable management. I am happy with the build overall and I could see many enthusiasts building a system with a full-fledged water cooling setup with the Manta mini-ITX.
NZXT Manta mini-ITX Conclusion
With water and air cooling capabilities, the NZXT Manta does well in terms of performance. Computer users can install up to two 280mm radiators for maximum cooling or a CPU cooler up to 160mm in height. I personally would have liked to see support for a taller CPU cooler as some users may not prefer water cooling. The ventilation gaps on the top and front panels are large enough to allow air to enter the system, but the top does not have a dust filter like the front panel.
The Manta mini-ITX looks great with its curved design and large side panel window. It does not have any of the gamer-like features that sticks out like a sore thumb, but the simple design gives it a very modern, elegant, and classy look all around. The built in LED feature on the rear I/O and power supply chamber are not too overly done, and does serve a purpose especially in a darker environment. Most SSD’s are going to be presented upside down due to the way the brackets have to be mounted. If the brackets mounted the other direction, this problem would not exist. But then the cabling for the drives would have to come from somewhere else instead of coming from underneath the cable bar.
The quality of the side panels are very strong even with the curved design. There is extra support to the case with the cable bar in the middle; similar to what we have seen on the NZXT S340. Once the side, top, and front panels have been removed, the internal frame is about as sturdy as a standard case. It may not be the sturdiest, but the curved panels do a great job at reinforcing the internal frame.
When it comes to functionality, the Manta mini-ITX does everything it should for an ITX case. Being able to support two 280mm radiators is a plus for a mini-ITX case. The body itself is on the larger side, about the size of a smaller micro-ATX case. But being a larger ITX case gives it more functionality when compared to a smaller ITX case. Something I would have liked to see was a tool-less design for the HDD and SSD mounts especially at this price point.
As of March 2016, the NZXT Manta is currently available for $139.99 (Amazon | Newegg). It may not be the most affordable mini-ITX chassis out there, but it does contain a lot of great features that are only included in some of the more expensive ATX cases. A cheaper alternative would be the Phanteks Evolv ITX case, which does have some of the same water and air cooling capabilities. The Manta ITX, however, has a fan hub for eight fans and a much stronger body construction thanks to a new manufacturing process to create curved steel panels. Enthusiasts who are looking for a mini-ITX case to build a water cooled system should be happy with the NZXT Manta ITX case.
+ Strong panels due to curved design
+ Large side panel window for an ITX case
+ Simple and elegant exterior design
+ LED control for rear I/O and PSU chamber
+ Supports up to two 280mm radiators
+ Good cable management system
+ Fan hub for eight fans
+ Captive thumbscrews on side panels
+ Removable dust filters for easy cleaning
– No tool-less mounting mechanism for HDD/SSD
– Cannot support CPU air coolers over 160mm in height
– Must remove SSD brackets to install 3.5″ drive behind motherboard tray
– Most SSD’s will appear upside down when mounted on SSD brackets