I opted for Wiersbo (sp?) PEX at a remote cabin in WA state. The winter temps are very cold are we are absent for extended periods of time. I had the advantages of a one level cabin with free access to an unfinished "basement" beneath. Made the install and routing simple. The basement can, however, freeze up even when the cabin is occupied, which made the PEX decision easy.
I used the daisy chain method, 3/4" to 1/2" to local faucet connections. I also used the crimp-style connecting collars, which require a proprietary tool. I found it to be a reasonable investment ($125 if I recall). I have loaned it to several friends doing their own installations, and garnered a few favors in return - a win/win situation!
For a homeowner job, it was pretty good. I had to replace two connections due to user error until I got the tricks down. All other connections were solid, and after many freeze/thaw cycles (drained lines) no issues have arisen.
To address the OP's question directly. I suspect that a more complex installation might merit a manifold approach, while installation as described would suffice for simpler jobs.
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