Test Results And Conclusion
Today’s review uses the same MiniITX reference platform as past reviews, with no changes to the standard hardware.
Noise is measured .5m from the case's front corner, on the side that opens. The numbers are corrected to the 1m industry standard—used by many loudspeaker and fan manufacturers—by subtracting six decibels.
Additionally, the test duration for today’s review was two hours at full load and the ambient air temperature for the test was maintained at approximately 26 degrees Celsius (78.8 degrees Fahrenheit).
Test System Components
|Test System Configuration|
|CPU||Intel Core i5-4690 (Devil's Canyon): 3.50 GHz, Four Cores Locked at 3.90 GHz (39x 100 MHz) at 1.20 V Core|
|CPU Cooler||Noctua NH-L12|
|Motherboard||MSI Z97I AC: LGA 1150, Intel Z97, Firmware 4.8 (06/01/2015)|
|RAM||Crucial Ballistix Sport Low Profile BLS2K8G3D1609ES2LX0 16 GB (2x 8 GB) DDR3-1600 Benchmarked at XMP CAS 9 defaults (1.35V)|
|Graphics||Gigabyte GV-N970IXOC-4GD: GeForce GTX 970 1101-1241 MHz GPU, GDDR5-7012, Maximum Fan for Thermal Tests|
|Hard Drives||Crucial MX200 CT500MX200SSD1 500GB SATA 6Gb/s SSD|
|Sound||Integrated HD Audio|
|Network||Integrated Gigabit Networking|
|Power||be quiet! SFX Power 2 BN227 400W SFX 12V v3.3 / EPS 12V N/A, 80 PLUS Bronze|
|OS||Microsoft Windows 8.1 Pro x64|
|Graphics||Nvidia GeForce 353.30|
|Chipset||Intel INF 10.0.27|
Drivers And Settings
|Prime95 v27.9||64-bit executable, Small FFTs, 4 threads|
|3DMark 11||Version: 184.108.40.206, Extreme Preset: Graphics Test 1, Looped|
|Real Temp 3.40||Average of maximum core readings at full CPU load|
|Galaxy CM-140 SPL Meter||Tested at 1/2 m, corrected to 1 m (-6 dB), dBA weighting|
Since the Manta has the same fan controller as the Noctis 450, I also had issues with my CPU cooler operating properly at the slow fan speeds produced by the controller. I ended up running the NH-L12 off the CPU fan header and switching the controller over to the case fan header. Since that fan header also has PWM control, the controller and the rest of the fans in the case should still work properly. Once the computer was booted, I set the fan curve for the case fan header so that it matched the curve for the CPU fan. These changes should allow me to get a valid noise reading while still taking advantage of the case's fan control feature.
The Manta gave the Define Nano S a good run, matching its CPU temperature and coming close to its GPU and average temperatures.
Thanks to its stiff steel panels the Manta came out on top at full load noise levels and even came close to the sound dampened Nano S at idle speeds.
A solid design coupled with good overall temperature and noise numbers help to push the Manta just above the PC-Q10 in terms of efficiency.
The Nano S still commands a strong efficiency lead thanks to its low $70 price tag. Meanwhile, the Manta's $140 price tag is also the reason why it comes in third in terms of value. However, the value graph above doesn't always tell the whole story since it fails to consider the features of the cases listed. The extra $20 spent over the PC-Q10 gets you a much larger case with much more room inside to house all of your bulky, high performance hardware. It also lends to other value added features like a seven-channel fan controller and built in LED lighting.