Introduction and First Impressions
The Enthoo EVOLV ITX it is not a new enclosure, but this striking color scheme - black with a glossy red interior - is. We'll take a thorough look at this mini-ITX enclosure in this review, and see how well it performs enclosing a gaming build.
The EVOLV series from Phanteks includes ATX, micro-ATX, and this mini-ITX versions; with all three sharing a common design language, though some of the features naturally differ. With this smallest design Phanteks decided to retain enough size to permit the use of standard components, with room for ATX power supplies, full length graphics cards, and liquid CPU cooling with up to a 280 mm radiator.
The EVOLV ATX was my first experience with a Phanteks enclosure, and I was impressed with the build quality and thoughtful design touches. There is a different approach to building with mini-ITX that introduces new elements, including the ability of a system to remain cool and quiet with components in much tighter quarters.
Subject: Cases and Cooling | January 26, 2016 - 10:00 PM | Sebastian Peak
Tagged: small form factor, SFF, nzxt, mini-itx, Manta, enclosure, curved steel, case
NZXT has announced their newest enclosure, a mini-ITX design with curved steel panels called Manta.
This design looks quite round from the outside, and those added curves provide a lot of additional room for different cooling options in what is a very large case for mini-ITX. In fact, the Manta is actually bigger in overall volume than their Source S340, an ATX design! (The Source S340 is 7.87 x 17.52 x 17.01 inches, while this Manta is 9.65 x 16.77 x 17.72 inches.) So how did NZXT allocate all of that internal space?
The Manta offers a lot of room for fans and radiators.
Here's a look at the specs from NZXT:
- Motherboard Support: mini-ITX
- Expansion Slots: 2
- Power Supply Support: ATX
- Cooling System:
- Front: 2x 140/120mm (2 x 120mm included)
- Top: 2x 140/120mm
- Rear: 1x 120mm (Included)
- Radiator Support:
- Front: Up to 280mm
- Top: Up to 280mm
- Rear: 120mm
- Drive Bays
- Internal 3.5”: 2
- Internal 2.5”: 3
- CPU Clearance: 160mm
- GPU Clearance: 363mm
- PSU Length: 363mm
- I/O Panel: LED On/Off, Audio/Mic, USB 3.0
- Dimensions (WxHxD): 245 x 426 x 450 mm (9.65 x 16.77 x 17.72 inches)
- Weight: 7.2 kg (15.87 lbs)
Front view of the Manta enclosure
The Manta Mini-ITX case is up for pre-order now with a retail of $139.99, with availability estimated for February.
Subject: Cases and Cooling | January 18, 2016 - 12:39 PM | Sebastian Peak
Tagged: small form factor, silent case, SFF, mini-itx, fractal design, enclosure, define s, define nano s, case
Fractal Design has introduced the Define Nano S enclosure; a new, mini-ITX version of their popular Define S mid-tower.
The Fractal Design Define S was our pick for 2015 enclosure of the year (in our year-in-review podcast), and this new mini-ITX version retains the larger enclosure's design aesthetic - and its support for full-size components.
"The Define Nano S is an ITX case that features compatibility with high end, full-size components, superior sound dampening, and an ATX-like layout."
Key features for the Define Nano S from Fractal Design:
- A Define Series ITX case designed for silent computing with sound dampening and ModuVent™ technology
- User-friendly construction with superior cable management and compatibility for full-size components
- Flexible storage options with room for up to 4 drives
- Accommodates a variety of radiator sizes and includes brackets for reservoir and pump mounting
- Features two Dynamic Series fans — 1 GP-12 and 1 GP-14 — with an adapter included for motherboards with limited fan headers
- Featuring an open interior allowing an unobstructed airflow path from the front of the case to the rear exhaust
- Easy-to-clean filters on the top and bottom, spanning the PSU position, with the bottom filter ejecting from the front for easy-access.
The Define Nano S offers a great deal of room for a mini-ITX enclosure (the Nano S is approximately 13.5 inches high, 8 inches wide, and 16.2 inches deep), with support for up to a 240/280 mm radiator on both top and front fan mounts, with 6 fan mounts overall (two of Fractal's Dynamic Series fans - 120 mm and 140 mm - are included). And an important detail; both the bottom and front fan mounts feature removable dust filters.
The enclosure offers the same "ModuVent" removable top vents, allowing more silent operation if the user doesn't need to use the upper fan mounts. There is sound dampening in place throughout, allowing for a quiet build. Storage mounts are behind the rear panel (as in the Define S) supporting two each 3.5-inch and 2.5-inch drives. GPUs up to 315 mm and CPU coolers up to 160 mm are supported along with ATX PSUs up to 160 mm deep.
Pricing will be $64.99 for the standard version, and $69.99 for the version with a window. Availability is set for March 2016.
You can check out the full specs for this new enclosure after the break.
Subject: Cases and Cooling | January 10, 2016 - 01:02 PM | Sebastian Peak
Tagged: Silverstone, NAS, mini-itx, enclosure, CS380, CS280, CES 2016, CES, case, atx case
SilverStone had a pair of CS Series enclosures on display at CES this year, with both ATX and Mini-ITX form-factors covered with these storage-oriented designs.
Beginning with the larger CS380, an enclosure that had previously been shown at Computex in a Micro-ATX form-factor. This slightly modified final version now supports a standard ATX motherboard for additional build flexibility, but this enclosure is really all about the hard drives. With eight 3.5-inch HDD trays up front (along with a pair of 5.25-inch bays that can each be replaced with hot-swap HDD trays, sold separately), there is plenty of storage space for a NAS or storage server build.
Inside, a pair of 120 mm fans keep the hard drives cool, and while the bare metal interior looks plain by modern standards these CS Series enclosures were build with enterprise standards in mind. The rest of the interior is pretty standard for an ATX enclosure, with a bottom PSU placement, 120 mm rear fan, and 7 expansion slots.
The smaller of the two storage enclosures, the CS280, is a mini-ITX design that scales storage support down to 2.5-inch drives.
Offering 8 HDD/SSD trays and supporting standard mini-ITX motherboards with up to a 2-bay, full-height expansion card, the CS280 provides a lot of build flexibility. While it would make a very compact storage server or hold a tremendous amount of SSD storage for a high-speed NAS, the CS280 could also house a compact, high-power gaming rig with a GPU like AMD's R9 Nano - if you desired this much storage support, that is.
Panels in the front of both cases allow view of HDD activity lights
The two enclosures differ beyond size as the CS380 has a plastic front panel/door, and the smaller CS280 features a brushed aluminum front panel and a more rounded appearance. These enclosures will be priced a little higher than typical consumer drives given their construction and purpose, but we will await final retail pricing (and availability) to see where they fit in the market.
Follow all of our coverage of the show at http://pcper.com/ces!
Subject: Cases and Cooling | January 9, 2016 - 12:05 PM | Sebastian Peak
Tagged: Yacht, SFX, PC-Y6, mITX, mini-itx, Lian Li, CES 2016, CES, aluminum case
Lian Li was showing a Yacht-themed aluminum chassis at their booth on the CES show floor, and this is certainly among the most unusual designs we've seen for an enclosure.
There is room for a powerful system within the enclosure, as the length of the boat design (just over 30 inches) allows for longer graphics cards (up to 300 mm supported). You will need an SFX power supply for this mini-ITX build, and CPU coolers will need to be of the low-profile variety with a 60 mm clearance available.
Specifications for the PC-Y6:
- Motherboard Type: Mini-ITX
- Body Material: Aluminum
- Colors: Silver, white (pictured)
- Expansion Slot: 2
- Compatibility: VGA Card length: 300 mm; CPU cooler height: 60 mm
- HDD bay: 3.5” HDD x2; 2.5” HDD x2
- PSU Type: SFX
- System Fan: 120mm x1
- I/O Ports: None
- Dimensions (W x H x D) 764 x 293 x 259 mm (30.08 x 11.54 x 10.20 inches)
- Net Weight: 4.9 kg (10.8 lbs)
This is obviously not going to appeal to everyone, but if you've followed Lian Li over the years they release these novel enclosures from time to time. It was very impressive looking in person and feels well constructed with Lian Li's usual high level of fit and finish.
An RGB color changing system in integrated into the enclosure
This will not see a wide release, and no specifics on pricing or availability were released.
Follow all of our coverage of the show at http://pcper.com/ces!
Subject: Cases and Cooling | December 3, 2015 - 04:38 PM | Sebastian Peak
Tagged: water cooler, SFF, mini-itx, liquid CPU cooler, H5SF, cpu cooler, Corsair H5 SF, corsair
Corsair has launched the ultra-compact liquid cooler from their Bulldog chassis as a standalone product, and it's a unique solution for mini-ITX CPU cooling.
Originally announced at this year's Computex as part of the Bulldog DIY system, this low-profile liquid cooler is designed to allow users of some of the smallest mini-ITX systems to not only keep their CPU's cool, but even allows some serious overclocking with up to 150 W of thermal dissipation. The design uses a blower-style fan that pushes air accross a compact radiator, and the entire unit is only 84 mm high for use in spaces that wouldn't ordinarily be able to support a powerful CPU cooler.
Corsair provides this chart comparing performance against SFF air coolers
"Further expanding Corsair’s best-selling Hydro series line of liquid CPU coolers, the H5 SF is Corsair’s first liquid cooler designed specifically to meet the thermal demands of small form factor PCs. Easy to install and just 84mm tall, the H5 SF is compact enough to fit inside the most confined PC case, yet still offers up to 150W of heat dissipation, enough to cool today’s demanding high-end CPUs with overclocking headroom to spare.
The all-new design fits directly on top of any Mini-ITX motherboard with no need to attach the H5 SF to any external fan mounts or brackets, maximizing compatibility across a wide range of Mini-ITX and small form factor cases. A high-performance copper cold plate efficiently draws heat away from the CPU, where it’s then transferred into the integrated 120mm x 40mm radiator and exhausted by the H5 SF’s low-noise tuned 120mm blower fan. What’s more, the H5 SF’s blower fan also draws air over other heat producing motherboard components such as VRMs and chipset heatsinks, helping to keep your whole system cool.
Fully compatible with Corsair’s Obsidian Series 250D, Carbide Series Air 240, and Graphite Series 380T cases, the H5 SF is also critical to Corsair’s upcoming Bulldog chassis, allowing the new case to deliver low-noise, 4K living room gaming without compromising CPU choice. Now enthusiasts can take advantage of Bulldog’s H5 SF cooling for themselves and fit even the most demanding of CPUs, into the smallest of cases."
The mounting system is unique, with a bracket that attaches inline with the screws securing the mini-ITX motherboard, requiring no additional contact with the enclosure. It's a clever idea that permits the installation of this liquid solution wherever an air cooler of up to 84 mm is possible.
Here are the specifications from Corsair:
- Socket Support: AMD: AM2, AM3, FM1, FM2, Intel LGA: 115X, 1366
- Cold Plate Material: Copper
- Radiator Material: Aluminum
- Radiator dimensions: 167mm x 40mm x 57mm
- Total cooler height: 84mm
- Fan dimensions: 120mm x 32mm
- Fan speed: 1000 - 1800 RPM
- Fan airflow: 12 - 24 CFM
- Fan pressure: 2.5 - 8.3 mmH2O
- Fan noise level: 36 - 42 dB(A)
- Tubing: Low-Permeability Tubing
- Warranty: Five years
The H5 SF carries an MSRP of $79.99, and this cost (which is in keeping with Corsair's existing 120 mm pricing) seems pretty reasonable considering the unique implementation and thermal capability. Available starting today, the H5 SF is already listed for sale on Newegg.com for the $79.99 MSRP.
Subject: Cases and Cooling | December 2, 2015 - 09:39 AM | Sebastian Peak
Tagged: phanteks, mini-itx, matx case, Enthoo Mini XL, dual system, dual motherboard
Phanteks has announced a new version of their Enthoo Mini XL enclosure, adding their PSU splitter to the package to allow both systems to use a single PSU, and now including the optional mini-ITX upgrade kit.
"With the overwhelming response from the community, users have requested for a solution to the Enthoo Mini XL's dual system configuration setup. Today, Phanteks announces the release of the Enthoo Mini XL Dual System. The Mini XL Dual System will have Phanteks Power Splitter and the Mini ITX upgrade kit pre-installed. With Enthoo Mini XL Dual System, users can run two fully functional system independently of one another. The Mini XL Dual System provides users to have the option of having a high powered gaming system and workstation or Gaming system and streaming system all in one case."
The need for a dual-motherboard system is confined to a small percentage of builders, but the appeal of this enclosure package might create some additional interest. It's a cool idea, and while the Mini XL has been around since January the PSU splitter is a fairly new product, and interesting on its own.
"Using the Power Splitter, a dual system configuration can operate independently of one another. Powering ON/OFF on one system will not affect the other and vice versa. As long as one system is running the power supply will be fully operational until both systems are off."
The Enthoo Mini XL Dual System enclosure will be available this month, and the press release listed 209.90 Euro (about $222 US) indicating this might not be available in the US just yet.
Subject: Graphics Cards | October 23, 2015 - 12:29 AM | Sebastian Peak
Tagged: r9 nano, mITX, mini-itx, graphics card, gpu, asus, amd
AMD's Radeon R9 Nano is a really cool product, able to provide much of power of the bigger R9 Fury X without the need for more than a standard air cooler, and doing so with an impossibly tiny size for a full graphics card. And while mini-ITX graphics cards serve a small segment of the market, just who might be buying a white one when this is released?
According to a report published first by Computer Base in Germany, ASUS is releasing an all-white AMD R9 Nano, and it looks really sharp. The stock R9 Nano is no slouch in the looks department as you can see here in our full review of AMD's newest GPU, but with this design ASUS provides a totally different look that could help unify the style of your build depending on your other component choices. White is just starting to show up for things like motherboard PCBs, but it's pretty rare in part due to the difficulty in manufacturing white parts that stay white when they are subjected to heat.
There was no mention on a specific release window for the ASUS R9 Nano White, so we'll have to wait for official word on that. It is possible that ASUS has also implemented their own custom PCB, though details are not know just yet. We should know more by the end of next month according to the report.
Subject: Cases and Cooling | October 22, 2015 - 04:08 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: mini-itx, fractal design, core 500
For those building an HTPC or who prefer a tiny system to a full sized ATX build, Fractal Design is a common choice for a case maker. Their newest is the Core 500 Mini-ITX case, measuring 250x213x380mm (9.8x8.0x14.4"), with a single 5.25" bay on the front, up to six internal drives mixed between 3.5" and 2.5" and a front panel with two USB 3.0 and headphone and microphone jacks. The Tech Report liked the spartan exterior but did have some problems when installing components in the system, the all-in-one liquid cooler they used had issues fitting and larger GPUs will also prove problematic. On the other hand with a $60 price tag the case is much less expensive than other mini-ITX cases and if you plan your components carefully you shouldn't have issues fitting them into the Core 500.
"Fractal Design's Core 500 is the company's take on a Mini-ITX case that stays compact while making room for big radiators and graphics cards, along with plenty of storage. We poked around and put our Casewarmer test system inside to see how the Core 500 measures up."
Here are some more Cases & Cooling reviews from around the web:
- Thermaltake Suppressor F51 Mid-Tower Case Review @ Neoseeker
- Nanoxia Deep Silence 5 Rev. B @ techPowerUp
- SilverStone Fortress FTZ01 Mini-ITX @ Benchmark Reviews
- Silverstone Raven RVZ02B-W & SX500-LG @ Legion Hardware
- Noctua NH-D15S CPU Cooler Review: How the Best Got Better @ Modders-Inc
- Scythe Ninja 4 @ techPowerUp
- Noctua NH-C14S CPU Cooler Review: Balance Through Asymmetry @ Modders-Inc
Subject: Motherboards | October 9, 2015 - 06:00 PM | Sebastian Peak
Tagged: Z170, Skylake, SFF, ROG, motherboard, mini-itx, Maximus VIII Impact, lga1151, asus
ASUS has announced their latest mini-ITX offering in the Republic of Gamers series, and the Maximus VIII Impact motherboard packs an outrageous number of features into one formidable little 6.7-inch square. In fact, short of the second PCIe slot afforded the larger mATX form-factor, the newest Impact board looks to be every bit as powerful as the recently released Maximus VIII Gene motherboard.
"To push performance even further, Maximus VIII Impact has a full-scale voltage-regulator module (VRM) dubbed Impact Power III vertically-mounted onto the tiny board, allowing you full access to digital power management for ultra-precise and stable overclocks with your processor and memory. ROG has also managed to squeeze in 5-Way Optimization auto-tuning and Pro Clock technology so you can get the most out of your 6th Gen. Intel processor and overclocked DDR4 memory which goes up to 4133MHz or higher."
Let’s check out the specs on this new Impact board:
- CPU: LGA1151 socket for 6th Generation Intel Core i7/i5/i3/Pentium/Celeron processors
- Chipset: Intel Z170 Express
- Memory: Dual-channel memory architecture
- 2x DIMM, max. 32GB DDR4-4133(OC) non-ECC, un-buffered memory
- PCIe Slot: 1x PCIe 3.0 x16 slot (supports x16 mode)
- Graphics: Integrated Intel HD Graphics Processor
- HDMI 1.4b
- Intel InTru 3D/Quick Sync Video/Clear Video HD Technology/Insider
- Wi-Fi: 802.11a/b/g/n/ac supports dual frequency band 2.4/5GHz; MU-MIMO
- Bluetooth: V4.1, 4.0LE
- USB: 2x USB 3.1 ports (1 Type-A and 1 Type-C) powered by Intel USB 3.1 controller; 6x USB 3.0 ports (2 at mid-board)
- Storage: 1x U.2 port (PCIe x4, 32Gb/s), 4x SATA 6Gb/s ports. Supports Intel Smart Response Technology
- LAN: Intel® I219-V Gigabit LAN with Anti-surge LANGuard, ROG GameFirst Technology
- HD Audio: SupremeFX Impact III
- ROG SupremeFX 2015 High Definition Audio Codec
- ESS® ES9023P DAC with Hyperstream™ Architecture
- 2Vrms Headphone Amp into 32-600 Ohms
- SupremeFX Shielding Technology
- Optical S/PDIF output at back panel
- Sonic Studio II; Sonic Radar II; Sonic SenseAmp; DTS Connect
- Fan headers: 2x 4-pin onboard; 3x 4-pin on daughter card
- Form Factor: Mini-ITX, 6.7" x 6.7" (17 cm x 17 cm)
Update, 10/11/15: The ASUS ROG Maximus VIII Impact motherboard is now available at Newegg.com for $248.99.