BitFenix Releases the Portal: A Sleek Mini-ITX Enclosure

Subject: Cases and Cooling | March 16, 2017 - 09:34 AM |
Tagged: small form factor, SFX, SFF, Portal, mini-itx, enclosure, case, bitfenix, aluminum

BitFenix has announced the Portal, which is one of the more interesting-looking chassis designs to hit the market in recent memory. Available in both black and white, and with or without a top-mounted window to show off your GPU (thanks to the inverted motherboard layout), the Portal is a sleek mini-ITX enclosure with a smooth, rounded aluminum exterior that is certainly a departure from typical case designs.

portal-masterimage.jpg

One of the design concepts made possible by SFX power supplies is a slimming down of the standard tower concept, which leaving component layout identical. In the case of this mini-ITX mini tower case from BitFenix, you might at first think you are looking at a larger case, but that PSU opening is in fact SFX, and the case is just wide enough to accommodate a standard PCIe graphics card.

portal_ww2.jpg

A smaller mini-ITX case is often more challenging to work in, but here BitFenix has a clever solution with their dual-frame design:

"Designed for ITX Motherboards, the striking key component of the interior is the Dual Frame Design for easy access and quick installation. The inner chamber, equipped with enough space for high-end components, slides into the housing via a ball bearing runner design."

portal_bw2.jpg

The external housing slimply slides off to reveal a standard chassis frame, allowing for easy component installation. Beyond the requirements of mini-ITX motherboard and SFX power supply, the Portal allows for CPU coolers of up to 125 mm, and full size graphics cards up to 300 mm long.

Specifications:

  • Chassis Type: ITX Chassis
  • Colors: Black | White
  • Materials: Aluminum | SECC Steel | ABS | Transparent acrylic
  • Motherboard: Mini-ITX
  • CPU Cooler: Up to 125mm height
  • Graphic Card Length: Up to 300mm
  • Power Supply: SFX Form Factor
  • Storage Capacity: 3.5" HDD x2, 2.5" HDD 1+2
  • Cooling Capacity: Front 120mm x1 (included), rear 80mm x1 (included)
  • Radiator Capacity: (Front) Up to 120mm x1
  • Front I/O ports: USB 3.0 x2 | HD Audio Mic & Headphone
  • Dimensions (with stand): (WxHxD) 247 x 395 x 411 mm (9.72 x 15.55 x 16.18 inches)
  • Weight: 5.81 kg (12.81 lbs)

portal_bw1.jpg

Cooling is another area that has received BitFenix's attention, as they have implemented what they call their "intelligent cooling solution" with the Portal:

"To cool the built-in hardware, the portal is equipped with air inlets at all four corners and the bottom of the housing. The air-permeable inner chamber is further equipped with included 120mm intake and 80mm exhaust fan, for a stable airflow for basic Office and Home Theater PCs."

The BitFenix Portal is available now for $139.99 with your choice of color and window option (product pages already up on Newegg.com).

Source: BitFenix

BIOSTAR Shows Mini-ITX AM4 Motherboard for AMD Ryzen

Subject: Motherboards | March 4, 2017 - 11:32 AM |
Tagged: X370GTN, x370, small form factor, SFF, ryzen, racing, motherboard, mITX, mini-itx, B350GTN, b350, amd, AM4

The first images of a mini-ITX AM4 motherboard are here, courtesy of BIOSTAR (via ComputerBase). Part of their second-generation RACING-series of gaming motherboards, BIOSTAR is now the first company to show an AMD Ryzen-capable mini-ITX option with their X370GTN.

x370gtn_motherboard_1.jpg

Image credit: ComputerBase

There had been mention of an upcoming mITX board for AMD Ryzen CPUs from BIOSTAR, with a (rather low-key) mention of such a product in a recent company press release (“the exciting new RACING X370GTN in the mini-ITX form factor will also be available”), and these images from the company's RACING event are now circulating along with the specs of two different mITX offerings.

x370gtn_motherboard_2.jpg

Image credit: ComputerBase

There will in fact be two mini-ITX motherboards, with both X370 (shown) and the lower-end B350 chipsets (with the RACING B350GTN). ComputerBase provided slides with specifications (via Zolkorn, Thai language) who covered the BIOSTAR event:

x370gtn.jpg

Image credit: Zolkorn via ComputerBase

b350gtn.jpg

Image credit: Zolkorn via ComputerBase

BIOSTAR has not announced availability or pricing of their mini-ITX Ryzen boards yet, but given the pent-up demand for mini-ITX solutions for enthusiast AMD processors (with AM3 conspicuously absent from mITX), this is great news for small form-factor enthusiasts.

Source: ComputerBase

CES 2017: EVGA Announces a Trio of Intel Z270 Motherboards

Subject: Motherboards, Chipsets | January 6, 2017 - 05:24 PM |
Tagged: stinger, motherboard, mini-itx, kaby lake, intel z270, Intel Optane, Intel, FTW K, eatx, Classified K, CES 2017, CES, atx

EVGA has introduced three new motherboards based on the new Intel Z270 chipset, with new versions of their Classified K, FTW K, and Stinger designs.

EVGA_Z270.jpg

We'll start with the Z270 Classified K, an EATX form-factor board with all of the storage support bases covered (M.2, U.2, and Intel Optane Memory ready), Killer E2500 and Intel i219 NICs, Creative Sound Core3D audio, along with "a newly-designed VRM and hardware design built for cutting-edge performance and overclockability".

EVGA Z270 Classified K features:

  • Highly-Efficient 13 Phase Digital VRM
  • Onboard Power, Reset and Clear CMOS
  • EVGA E-LEET X Tuning Utility
  • Triple BIOS Support
  • M.2 NVMe PCI-E SSD Support
  • U.2 NVMe SSD Support
  • Intel Optane Memory Ready
  • Intel Thunderbolt Support
  • Switchable DC / PWM Fan Control
  • Onboard CPU Temperature Monitor
  • 300% Increase in CPU Gold Content

EVGA_mobos.jpg

Next there is Z270 FTW K, a standard ATX form-factor option that offers the same storage flexibility as the larger Classified K including Intel Optane Memory support, Killer E2400 and Intel i219 NICs, and 11-Phase Digital VRM power delivery (among other things).

EVGA Z270 FTW K features:

  • Highly-Efficient 11 Phase Digital VRM
  • Onboard Power, Reset and Clear CMOS
  • EVGA E-LEET X Tuning Utility
  • M.2 NVMe PCI-E SSD Support
  • U.2 NVMe SSD Support
  • Intel Optane Memory Ready
  • Switchable DC / PWM Fan Control
  • Onboard CPU Temperature Monitor
  • 150% Increase in CPU Gold Content

EVGA_stinger.jpg

Finally, there is the mini-ITX Z270 Stinger, which packs a surprising number of features into a 6.7-inch square, including 802.11ac dual band Wi-Fi, an Intel i219 NIC, M.2, U.2, and Intel Optane support:

  • Highly-Efficient 6 Phase VRM
  • Onboard Clear CMOS
  • EVGA E-LEET X Tuning Utility
  • M.2 NVMe PCI-E SSD Support
  • U.2 NVMe SSD Support
  • Intel Optane Memory Ready
  • Switchable DC / PWM Fan Control
  • 150% Increase in CPU Gold Content

Pricing and availablity information is not yet available.

Coverage of CES 2017 is brought to you by NVIDIA!

PC Perspective's CES 2017 coverage is sponsored by NVIDIA.

Follow all of our coverage of the show at https://pcper.com/ces!

Source: EVGA

Introduction

Fractal Design has reduced their excellent Define S enclosure all the way down from ATX to mini-ITX, and the Define Nano S offers plenty of room for a small form-factor case.

Define_Nano_S_Cover.jpg

Large mini-ITX cases have become the trend in the past year or so, with the NZXT Manta the most recent (and possibly the most extreme) example. Fractal Design's Nano S isn't quite as large as the Manta, but it is cavernous inside thanks to a completely open internal layout. There are no optical drive bays, no partitions for PSU or storage, and really not much of anything inside the main compartment at all as Fractal Design has essentially miniaturized the Define S enclosure.

DSC_0304.jpg

We have the windowed version of the Define Nano S for review here, which adds some interest to a very understated design. There is still something very sophisticated about this sort of industrial design, and I must admit to liking it quite a bit myself. Details such as the side vents for front panel air intake do add some interest, and that big window helps add some style as well (and builders could always add some increasingly ubiquitous RGB lighting inside!).

Continue reading our review of the Fractal Design Define Nano S enclosure!!

Manufacturer: NZXT

Introduction and First Impressions

The NZXT Manta is a mini-ITX enclosure that boasts better than average room for components and cooling, and is packaged in a rather unusual, rounded design.

manta_one.jpg

There is a reason for the Manta's somewhat bulbous appearance, and it's part of a recent trend in mini-ITX enclosure design; bigger is better. While you might think that mITX is all about fitting components into the smallest enclosure possible, there have been some recent examples of cases which expand the chassis to micro-ATX sizes (or above).

The Manta from NZXT is actually large enough to be a micro-ATX case, and its total volume exceeds their S340 enclosure; a full ATX design (!). So why on earth would you want a mini-ITX enclosure with that much volume? Three words: cooling, cooling, and cooling.

manta_exploded_view.jpg

As you can see from NZXT's graphic above, the Manta's protruding top and front panels provide a the additional space needed to allow for thicker cooling setups.

DSC_0922.jpg

Before we dive in for a closer look at the new Manta enclosure, let's take a look at the full specs from NZXT:


Specifications:

  • Motherboard Support: mini-ITX
  • Expansion Slots: 2
  • Drive Bays
    • Internal 3.5”: 2 
    • Internal 2.5”: 3
  • Cooling System
    • Front: 2 x 140/120mm (2 x 120mm included) 
    • Top: 2 x 140/120mm 
    • Rear: 1 x 120mm (Included)
  • Radiator Support
    • Front: Up to 280mm 
    • Top: Up to 280mm 
    • Rear: 120mm
  • Clearance
    • CPU Clearance: 160mm
    • GPU Clearance: 363mm 
    • PSU Length: 363mm
  • Power Supply Support: ATX
  • External Electronics:
    • I/O Panel LED On/Off
    • 1x Audio/Mic
    • USB 3.0
  • Dimensions (WxHxD): 245 x 426 x 450mm (9.65 x 16.77 x 17.72 inches)
  • Weight: 7.2 kg (15.87 lbs)

Our thanks to NZXT for providing the Manta enclosure for our review.

First Impressions

DSC_0921.jpg

At first glance the Manta is a departure from the typical enclosure design. The rounded panels are built around a standard rectangular frame, so it's really quite conventional underneath.

DSC_0928.jpg

The look from the front of the enclosure really shows off the rounded sides, and this will certainly not be everyone's favorite look - but anything beyond the norm tends be divisive in this market.

Continue reading our review of the NZXT Manta Mini ITX Enclosure!!

Manufacturer: Phanteks

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.

DSC_0355.jpg

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.

DSC_0400.jpg

Continue reading our review of the Phanteks Enthoo EVOLV ITX case!!

NZXT Introduces the Manta Mini-ITX Enclosure

Subject: Cases and Cooling | January 26, 2016 - 10:00 PM |
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.

manta_side.jpg

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?

manta_exploded.jpg

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
  • Clearance:
    • 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)

manta_front.jpg

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.

Source: NZXT

Fractal Design Introduces Define Nano S Mini-ITX Enclosure

Subject: Cases and Cooling | January 18, 2016 - 12:39 PM |
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.

nano1.jpeg

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.

nano3.jpeg

"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.

nano2.jpeg

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.

nano4.jpeg

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.

CES 2016: SilverStone CS380 and CS280 Enclosures

Subject: Cases and Cooling | January 10, 2016 - 01:02 PM |
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.

DSC_0173.jpg

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.

DSC_0172.jpg

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.

DSC_0171.jpg

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. 

DSC_0177.jpg

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.

Coverage of CES 2016 is brought to you by Logitech!

PC Perspective's CES 2016 coverage is sponsored by Logitech.

Follow all of our coverage of the show at http://pcper.com/ces!

Source: SilverStone

CES 2016: Lian Li Puts Mini-ITX on a Yacht with the PC-Y6

Subject: Cases and Cooling | January 9, 2016 - 12:05 PM |
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.

DSC_0305.jpg

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)

DSC_0308.jpg

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.

rgb_kit.jpg

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.

Coverage of CES 2016 is brought to you by Logitech!

PC Perspective's CES 2016 coverage is sponsored by Logitech.

Follow all of our coverage of the show at http://pcper.com/ces!

Source: Lian Li