Being a mini-ITX case, the Neo-G Mini is certainly compact relative to standard mid-towers, but as the PSU mount is in the roof, the motherboard is a little more central and accessible. The downside is that, along with there being no vents or fan mounts in the roof, there are no exhaust fans in the usual places to aid CPU cooling.
A large removable plate in the motherboard tray provides an aesthetic cover for a single 3.5" hard disk mount and two 120mm fan mounts behind. Unfortunately, these can't be used at the same time; it's either storage or cooling, but the fan mounts here can also play host to a 240mm radiator.
Cable routing is adequate rather than exceptional, with a large stowing area at the top of the rear of the motherboard tray along with the trademark Phanteks Velcro cable ties. It's enough for about 75 percent of cables in a typical build, but it came up short with our fairly typical kit, meaning we had to stow other cables down the central spine between the fan mounts and motherboard tray, which proved tricky.
Vertical GPUs will look tasty through the side panel, and unlike many we've seen this mount supports triple-slot GPUs and leaves plenty of clearance between cards and the side panel. If you have a standard dual-slot card, you can move the bracket closer to the side panel for extra visual punch. In the standard case, the graphics card simply sits horizontally in the base of the case, and either way that ventilation should help with ensuring there is cool air around the GPU.
There is one significant drawback to the vertical GPU mount, though, which is that unlike ATX cases where this mount is used, here, you'll be obstructing the motherboard, massively reducing the CPU cooler clearance. The actual clearance we can't be too specific about, as it will depend on whether your graphics card has a backplate and which location for the GPU mount you use, but it was enough to ensure that even our tiny 125mm-tall Noctua NH-U9s-based small form factor test cooler wouldn't fit, meaning we had to go even smaller with the Noctua NH-L9x65. In the Neo-G Mini, then, you have no choice but to use a low-profile cooler or an all-in-one liquid cooler. The front section is fairly handy here too, with space for 240mm or 280mm radiators, limited only by the length of your graphics card.
Restricted CPU cooler clearance would normally be a negative point, but if you'd prefer to use a large air cooler, Metallic Gear has the answer in that it offers the Neo Mini. In any event, the case is designed with positive air pressure in mind - there are plenty of filter-free holes and vents. The setup does mean, though, that your PSU may be taking the brunt of the heat removal, so if we were to build a liquid-cooled PC into the case, we'd likely use those side fan mounts to at least remove the CPU heat from that equation.
September 18 2020 | 18:30