It’s no secret that the S340 is my all-time favorite NZXT case. Not only did I own an S340 before working at NZXT, I even chose the same case (color and all) to build my office workstation. And at $69.99 for a solid-steel case loaded with features, it’s a tough case to beat in terms of price-to-performance.
Simply put, the S340 is the NZXT case I’ve recommended to builders the most over the years…until Manta.
Why Mini-ITX and Why Manta?
The first time I saw Manta I knew I had to have it. In my eyes, Manta combines all of the great features I love about the S340 (cable management bar, PSU shroud, steel panels) with all of the great features found in NZXT’s most popular designs (excellent water-cooling support, superior air-flow, a beautiful design). To top it off, Manta has a unique look that can’t be found anywhere else.
I’ve never built a mini-ITX PC because I never knew I had to. But now that ODD’s are obsolete, SSD’s are cheap, and I have no need for more than one GPU; I realize there was a lot of wasted space inside my S340. Sure, that extra space could be considered “better airflow,” but air is not really my concern when both my CPU and GPU are being water-cooled.
But the biggest reason I wanted to build a PC inside Manta is because it’s different.
Manta Mini-ITX Overview
Manta is NZXT’s first mini-ITX case and is the first case built with an innovative new manufacturing process. This process allows for the creation of curved steel panels created with structurally reinforced steel to ensure uncompromising build quality.
These curves aren’t just for looks either. The curved side panels offer twice the cable management space of traditional ITX designs and the spacious interior allows for the installation of the largest power supplies on the market with even more space available for cable routing.
And while Manta is significantly smaller than the S340, it still supports dual 280mm radiators to conquer heat and offers excellent custom water-cooling support as well.
Swapping an S340 for Manta
Breaking down the S340 was easy and it was interesting to look at how I built a PC last year. I’ve learned a lot of new tricks since then and I think I would have built it differently had I done it today. The build wasn’t “bad,” but looking back I don’t think I made full use of the S340’s features.
When I had all the hardware out of the S340 and on the table, I made a checklist of what I could use and what I could scrap. The only new hardware I had to purchase for the Manta build was a motherboard and RAM. However, the RAM was purchased because I was going from 4 sticks to 2 and I still wanted 16GB of RAM.
Here’s a breakdown of all the hardware I swapped from the S340 into Manta:
- i5 4460 CPU
- GTX 970 GPU
- Kraken G10 Bracket
- Kraken X31 Liquid Cooler
- Kraken X61 Liquid Cooler
- 2 x SP SSD’s
- Hale 82 PSU
The Manta Mini-ITX Build Experience
Although I wasn’t skeptical of building a PC inside Manta, I wasn’t expecting the process to be so easy. There’s plenty of space to work in for a mini-ITX build and the curves also make cable management a breeze. In fact, I didn’t even have to use zip-ties.
My assumption that Manta combines the best features of cases from NZXT’s past was also correct. The cable management bar and PSU shroud helped me keep everything nice and tidy while new features like the SSD mounts and curved panels helped me install pieces exactly how they needed to go.
Overall, I would rate the Manta build experience as one of my best and would recommend it to new and veteran builders alike.