One Neat Cube: Xigmatek Nebula Mini-ITX Case Review

By on February 12, 2014, 2:36 AM

It wasn't long ago that Mini-ITX was considered a niche form factor made up of a few motherboards and even fewer cases, but today major e-tailers such as Newegg have more than 60 motherboards listed and well over 150 cases, many of which are quite affordable. While we can't complain about having that kind of variety, it's increasingly difficult to know where to invest.

Enter the Nebula by Xigmatek, a striking solution with a neat cube design that offers a 2.2L capacity. It's safe to say the Nebula is unlike anything we've seen before, and that tends to come at a premium. The case is pretty new and pricing isn't entirely clear yet in the US, but it's going for €85 or about $115 in other regions -- over twice the Elite RC-130's price.

xigmatek nebula review

Read the complete review.




User Comments: 26

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Kibaruk Kibaruk, TechSpot Paladin, said:

"though some of the case's limitations won't be a problem if you're going to use an AMD APU such as the A8-7600 instead of a discrete GPU for a basic home theater-oriented build."

If this were the <case> I would buy something that didnt waste so much space!

Capaill said:

"In short the Xigmatek Nebula fails miserably when it comes to cable management, but then does it really matter without any case windows?"

I would say it matters for airflow. Cramming the inside with unsused cables or long cables won't do the already limited airflow any favours.

It's a somewhat pretty case but fails on the requirements of an enthusiast case, as many move to the challenge of smaller cases and motherboards.

1 person liked this | VitalyT VitalyT said:

A bite into that Apple of a trash bin, while keeping it fair and square to avoid lawsuits?

madboyv1, TechSpot Paladin, said:

It does look "interesting," but I'll agree with Steve on this one regarding what he marks as negative points of the case, especially the top and base of the case. Neglecting the difficulty of not having nooks or anchor points for cable management, being able to remove 3 of the four facing sides with no snags is really nice. There were times where I wished my prodigy case did not have the SSD mounts and the side I/O affixed to the panel itself.

Adhmuz Adhmuz, TechSpot Paladin, said:

It's seriously too big for what it is, especially when you look at the SG10 which is 23L and fits full size GPUs, CPU heatsinks and does so with mATX at the same price, plus it has ventilation. Also as soon as "Violence" is required to install components something can be said about internal design, also the limited GPU option without removal of the Power/Activity LED cover is nothing to be desired when again you can get better cards in smaller options. Looks good on the outside, but that's it, minus the crummy top panel.

1 person liked this | Sniped_Ash said:

Man, why the hell can't someone come up with a case that:

1. Has the minimalist Lian-Li aluminum look

2. Fits a full-length video card and those big Noctua-type CPU coolers

3. Only has perforations on the sides for an intake fan, exhaust fan, PSU exhaust AND intake, and for the GPU if it faces one of the sides of the case

4. Tool-less access

5. Good cable management

6. As close to a cube as possible and maybe have a handle

It's like all these mATX and mini-ITX cases get some, but not all. Or it's almost exactly this, but there are not enough perforations for ventilation or the whole case is perforated.

Kibaruk Kibaruk, TechSpot Paladin, said:

BTW I missed the temperature benchmarks you use to do on cases.

Capaill said:

@Sniped_Ash,

I use the Silverstone Temjin TJ08B-E. While it doesn't meet all your requirements (I'd love to find one that does!), it can fit very long video cards and large CPU coolers (it even has a stand for the CPU cooler and you could remove the hard drive bay for even more space), has great airflow from a 180mm fan and has decent cable management as there is a space to put unused cables. It also has a PSU intake or exhaust area. You need to be careful on the PSU length and it can be a little cramped to work in but is quite good. You also need to watch the airflow around the video cards as it doesn't get the main airflow so Silverstone recommend blower type fans (like a Titan cooler).

You don't mention silence on your list (important for me) but the main fan has 2 speed options and I reduce the RPM further using software that came with my Gigabyte motherboard so I'm currently happy with it.

madboyv1, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Man, why the hell can't someone come up with a case that:

1. Has the minimalist Lian-Li aluminum look

2. Fits a full-length video card and those big Noctua-type CPU coolers

3. Only has perforations on the sides for an intake fan, exhaust fan, PSU exhaust AND intake, and for the GPU if it faces one of the sides of the case

4. Tool-less access

5. Good cable management

6. As close to a cube as possible and maybe have a handle

It's like all these mATX and mini-ITX cases get some, but not all. Or it's almost exactly this, but there are not enough perforations for ventilation or the whole case is perforated.

The Bitfenix Prodigy basically has all of that, though the composite feet/handles/wings (whatever you want to call them) might not be minimalisitic enough for you. To wit: it has a fairly minimalistic design besides the aformentioned "wings," it'll fit a full sized card, it has perforations you describe, thumbscrews open the case and secure the GPU, and the 3.5" drives are at least tool-less, with a modular PSU there is enough space to stuff extra cables out of the way, it is not quite a cube but it is not far off, and if you don't take off the composite "wings" like many people do, you have handles to carry it around.*

*the composite flexes a LOT to the point of worrying many people. I've walked up three flights of stairs fully loaded with one hand/handle bobbing up and down and had no problems.

[link]

GhostRyder GhostRyder said:

Great Review as Always

I was very anxious to see some real world action on this case, im actually disappointed in the case itself since it looks nice from the outside, but the lack of cable management and fan ports makes me sad.

It looks like something I could really dig in a M-ITX build because of its nice sleek look, however I would like one mesh side mount for some extra cooling mounts otherwise it seems that even putting a 120mm radiator would be hard or getting any airflow in general.

RaFFass RaFFass said:

Can you make a list of all the hardware that wass installed on it? I want to build one of those!

thanks

Staff
Steve Steve said:

AMD A10-7850K

Asrock FM2A88X-ITX+

Corsair Vengeance 16GB

Gigabyte GV-R777OC-1GD

ENERMAX Platimax 600W

RaFFass RaFFass said:

And the HD and WiFi? Thank you a lot!

Staff
Steve Steve said:

The WiFi is onboard and I used a 16GB IDE Maxtor hard drive :P

RaFFass RaFFass said:

But can I use a any 2.5 HD right? If I want Intel is possibile? Thanks you a lot :D

Staff
Steve Steve said:

Yes you may select any 2.5" drive that you desire.

RaFFass RaFFass said:

And for the processor? Can I use intel?

Kibaruk Kibaruk, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Yes though you should select both an intel procesor and intel motherboard, which could change the ram used.

RaFFass RaFFass said:

OK thank you all :D

Staff
Steve Steve said:

Yes though you should select both an intel procesor and intel motherboard, which could change the ram used.

How so? All Intel and AMD platforms of the last few years have used DDR3.

Kibaruk Kibaruk, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Made a quick search, my bad, remembered the old 3 dim setups

Adhmuz Adhmuz, TechSpot Paladin, said:

The Bitfenix Prodigy basically has all of that, though the composite feet/handles/wings (whatever you want to call them) might not be minimalisitic enough for you.

Too bad those plastic handles are the cheapest crap I think I have ever seen on a case, the rest of the case is decent however.

madboyv1, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Too bad those plastic handles are the cheapest crap I think I have ever seen on a case, the rest of the case is decent however.

I was ready to say the same upon purchase, but after 6 months of regular moving around I'd trust those handles over most other plastic handles. They are MUCH stronger than first impressions provide. My only gripe is they can be a little sharp, but some sand paper or a grinder/buffing wheel fixes that quickly.

Adhmuz Adhmuz, TechSpot Paladin, said:

I was ready to say the same upon purchase, but after 6 months of regular moving around I'd trust those handles over most other plastic handles. They are MUCH stronger than first impressions provide. My only gripe is they can be a little sharp, but some sand paper or a grinder/buffing wheel fixes that quickly.

Would you think it's possible to reinforce said handles with steel or aluminum perhaps? I'm still skeptical, when I was working at a local computer store we had received them on launch and half of the cases had broken tops or bottoms, the corner where the screws secured the handle/base to the case had broken. That's where my concern lies really, that and fully loaded the case feels wobbly, at least our demo build was.

GhostRyder GhostRyder said:

Would you think it's possible to reinforce said handles with steel or aluminum perhaps? I'm still skeptical, when I was working at a local computer store we had received them on launch and half of the cases had broken tops or bottoms, the corner where the screws secured the handle/base to the case had broken. That's where my concern lies really, that and fully loaded the case feels wobbly, at least our demo build was.

Wow ive never actually seen one get broken or felt threatened by its weight that it might give way. But then again you never know and I agree that maybe reinforcing it would be a nice little feature. Plus those handles are not exactly the best designed handles for a portable machine ive seen.

madboyv1, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Would you think it's possible to reinforce said handles with steel or aluminum perhaps? I'm still skeptical, when I was working at a local computer store we had received them on launch and half of the cases had broken tops or bottoms, the corner where the screws secured the handle/base to the case had broken. That's where my concern lies really, that and fully loaded the case feels wobbly, at least our demo build was.

You're better off replacing them outright than trying to support them, as that flexibility is part of the point. I've heard of these cases breaking as you described. I bought mine at a local store and got lucky I guess. I've seen people attach Lian Li feet or similar to these cases and it looks pretty good; replacing the top portion might not be as simple depending on what you have installed up top.

I will not disagree that the case can feel wobbly fully loaded because it totally is, but this is only an actual problem if well... pretty much never. Correction, if the audio plugs are as tight as mine are you will push against the case awkwardly because of the flexing, but rarely does my case actually move. While it is not much (and probably does not matter), the flexing feet transfers slightly less vibration to whatever surface it's on as well.

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