Page 3 - Physical Look - Inside
Removing the side panels on the NZXT Manta is a relatively simple job. With the thumbscrews, you can open it up without any tools. Even better is the fact these thumbscrews remain with the side panel, ensuring you do not lose them during installation. As you can see, the side panel is curved out. The benefit of this is the fact the back panel will allow for more room to cable manage your system, without adding too much to its overall footprint. That said, dealing with the panels on this particular unit was a bit finicky. It was not the easiest to line up the panel with the side, and I found the screws to be hard to align with the holes. I think though this is a singular issue with my unit, and could have been caused during transportation of the case, so I will not be docking any marks for it. Unfortunately, there is no sort of sound dampening material on the panels, which is rather unfortunate. I would have liked to see some sort of sound insulation here.
As for layout, the NZXT Manta is a standard state of affairs, and reflects the growing trend of opening up the front area for better airflow. Other than the two 2.5" drive sleds on the front, there is no dedicated drive bay. In addition, we have two chambers in this case. The main chamber is seen here, where the motherboard, cooling, and possible drive storage options go. Underneath there is the power supply chamber, separated by the large NZXT-branded shroud. This ensures the exhaust of the power supply does not heat up the system during operation. In addition, this allows users to hide a lot of their excess cables, as you will see during the installation. The NZXT wording is translucent here, and actually lights up using the switch at the back. As indicated previously, the Manta is a Mini-ITX case, and thus only a mITX form factor of motherboards can fit inside. Mounting risers are already pre-installed, but an additional riser is provided too.
From the back, there is a single 120mm fan as we have already mentioned. This fan is a 3 pin, voltage controlled fan, but it is connected to a PWM fan hub, located on the back of the motherboard. You can also see the large motherboard back opening, which allows ample space to work with mounting options for third-party CPU coolers. At the top of the case is spacing for up to two 120mm or 140mm fans, and radiators as large as 280mm. The top panel can be removed for easier installation of cooling options, and is done by removing the front panel first. This area is also ventilated with the two top side vents. It is somewhat filtered with smaller air holes, but there is no mesh to stop finer dust particles. It would have been nice to see some mesh here for better filtration of dust.
At the front of the Manta are a few more interesting things to point out. Once again, we have two more 120mm fans; both being 3 pin. Again, these are also both connected to the PWM fan hub located on the back of the case. The bottom fan actually sinks into the second chamber, and this is because NZXT has provided a large cutout to do so. This hole accommodates various fans and radiators, as previously mentioned. Next are two 2.5" mounting options, which can be used for mounting SSDs or laptop HDDs. Mounting the drive involves attaching it to the sled with provided screws, and sliding it into place. I should note, due to the height limitation from the protruding white metal piece and the installation method, thicker 2.5" accessories, such as the NZXT HUE+ will not fit in this area. This is rather unfortunate, especially since it is their own product. Otherwise, you can also see the slight ventilation holes going into the second chamber, and this provides some airflow to go between the two sections.
From the back of the NZXT Manta, you have a better picture of the power supply area. It is placed on four rubber feet, which actually grip the power supply quite well, and hold it in place without needing screws. On the front side, there is a larger empty area, where the aforementioned fans and possible radiators can be slotted through for compatibility. You can hide your excess cables in this shroud. The back of the Manta is also where you can put 3.5" drives, but it can only accommodate up to two of them. One would go on the back of the 2.5" drives, while another can be placed in the bottom chamber. Next, you can see all the cable holes, where you can run power and data cables through. Unfortunately, none of these holes have rubber grommets, and I think this is something practically every case should have. Even with the raised metal portion to hide a lot of cables, it does not completely hide things the way grommets can. Finally, at the back, we have the PWM fan hub, which can hold up to 7 three-pin fans. The CPU cooler fan can be plugged in here too. The hub then attaches to a PWM fan header on the motherboard, and a Molex connection to power everything. If the hub does not sense a pulse-width signal, it will run all the fans attached at full power. Overall, the back has ample room in cable management, especially with the bulging side panel to hold anything extra thick.
1. Introduction, Packaging, Specifications
2. Physical Look - Outside
3. Physical Look - Inside
4. Installation and Conclusion