Silverstone Fortress FT03 Review

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  Silverstone Fortress FT03 Review  


Introduction

Silverstone have had their Fortress series out for some time now, yet this is the first time one has graced the pages of OC3D. Thankfully though it's not the first time we have seen a Silverstone chassis that utilises one of, if not the, very basic law of thermodynamics: heat rises. SO when designing this range of cases Silverstone decided to incorporate this very basic characteristic and have the cool air coming in the bottom and the warm air straight out the top. This did how ever bring with it some design issues, most noticeably the fact all the cables are now at the top rather than at the back of the case!

The design for the FT03 was somewhat more complicated however. Silverstone decided they wanted to make a case with a much smaller footprint and build upwards, rather than back like they had with other chassis which were noticeably deeper than a normal case. Building upwards required some serious open minded designs and that's what we are here to look at today. Is this a step too far, or are Silverstone on to a radical winner?

To get a better idea of whats Silverstone's goals are for all their products let's take a look at a snippet from the philosophy section on their website:

SilverStone Technology’s philosophy is based on our recognition that merely having innovative expertise within the industry is not enough. Our objective is to ensure that our expertise is delivered to all products with consistency, in response to user’s needs, and with maximum user satisfaction.  SilverStone Technology thrives on challenges of rapid technological advancements and creating aesthetic standard for the industry.

Some very big claims there, but rather than dissecting the exact meaning of it let's just move swiftly on to the specifications before we make the tea and biscuits and get comfy for the video. 

Specifications

Model No.

SST-FT03B (black)
SST-FT03S (silver)
--
--

 Material

Aluminum outer shell, steel body

 Motherboard

Micro ATX, Mini-DTX, Mini-ITX

 Multimedia

--

 Drive Bay

 ExternalSlot loading slim optical drive x 1
--
 Internal3.5" x 3 * , 2.5" x1

 Cooling System

 Front--
 Rear--
 Side--
 Top1 x 120mm exhaust fan, 1200rpm, 22dBA
1 x 92/80mm optional fan
 Bottom2 x 120mm intake fans, 1200rpm 22dBA
2 x 80mm optional fan slots
 Internal--
 Hard DriveAluminum side panel heat conduction

 Expansion Slot

 4

 Front I/O Port

USB 3.0 x 2 (backwards compatible with USB 2.0)
audio x 1
MIC x 1

 Power Supply

Standard PS2 (ATX)

 Operating system support

--

 Expansion Card

Compatible up to 13.77” long

 Limitation of CPU cooler

167mm

 Limitation of PSU

up to 180mm deep

 Net Weight

6.7kg

 Dimension

235mm(W)x487mm(H)x284mm(D)

 

Video Review

Conclusion

I've been sat here for about an hour now trying to work out how to start this conclusion. I wanted to cram so much in I just could work out how to get it going. The fact of the matter is this case could have gone so very very wrong by being overcomplicated. Its definitely never going to win any awards for simplicity but any one actually able to match the right blocks for the cut out shapes on childs toys should just about be able to build a decent and tidy rig in this case.

CPU heatsink and GPU's do need to be thought about carefully but, at very worst, you do have the option to remove the case fans. It's worth noting something I missed in the video that if you do remove the fan for the GPU area you can still fit 2x 80mm fans in the floor to help provide airflow.

Something people have been worried about was hard drive temperatures because there is no active cooling. I've never really had any hard drive heat issues with what I'll call a normal drive though, unless you are running something that's notoriously a bit warmer like the WD Velociraptors I really don't foresee any heat related problems in this area.

With its small foot print and sleek exterior design I really can see this chassis being very popular with some one short on space or looking to build a slightly more powerful HTPC/cross over gaming system for their front room. I can also see this being a very popular case for people low on space where the case is built upwards from a small footprint. Managing this and keeping everything inside and outside in check definitely deserves some Brownie points.

The internal design is very well thought out and is much better to use in reality than I first thought. Silverstone definitely deserves the OC3D Innovation award for the design of the chassis and a Silver Award for the case as a whole.

     

Thanks to Silverstone for the FT03 tested today, you can discuss this and many other topics in the OC3D Forums.

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Most Recent Comments

20-05-2011, 08:54:26

tinytomlogan
The air in the bottom and out the top approach that Silverstone have been using is very popular, can they make it work in a compact chassis though?



Continue Reading

20-05-2011, 08:58:27

sheroo
I know you ain't got the time to do a full build for each case. But I would have loved to have seen you put a full on gaming system through its paces in that thing. Rip those 120mm fan mounts out. get a D14 in there, dual 80mm fans in the bottom and see how long you could go on a gpu.

20-05-2011, 09:08:17

SieB
Nice little case from Silverstone even though it's a bit restrictive with the fans being the way they are, but it's all good for cooling and air flow.

20-05-2011, 09:25:39

sheroo
For me the only thing missing would have been a grommeted hole at the top and another one in the floor so that if you wanted you could run the video and other cables behind the motherboard tray and out through the bottom. This for me would have finished the clean look.

I think that this could make an awesome gaming rig, more innovative than the SG07 and much better looking.

It reminds me of the Apple Mac G4 cube.

http://upload.overclock3d.net/images...8448838049.png

If they hadn't gone with the hot swap bay, they could have had a vertically mounted dvd drive and kept the front completely clean.

20-05-2011, 10:00:46

jonowee
saw the video yesterday... agh, magnets! Like the RV03 and the NZXT H2, magnetic tacked on junk should burn many points off. I thought the case was crampd when I saw it last year, but now with TTL look inside, now I'm claustrophobic.

20-05-2011, 10:14:19

dugdiamond
perfect for a web-surfer - small and compact

terrible for a power-user - not enough air OUT, for my liking

liking the hotswap mechanism

ALL those locking plastic panels will wobble after time, adding to vibration noise levels

20-05-2011, 10:41:42

sheroo
Quote:
Originally Posted by dugdiamond View Post

not enough air OUT, for my liking
hmmm lots of cases have a single 120mm exhaust?

20-05-2011, 10:55:57

dugdiamond
Quote:
Originally Posted by sheroo View Post

hmmm lots of cases have a single 120mm exhaust?
hmmm - alot of case have more than ONE 120mm (or better) exhausts

also, when the gpus are inserted, they are facing AWAY from the intake fan, which means the in-air will be hitting the backplates of the gpu(s)... if it gets that far!!!

also, if the cpu cooler is placed as TTL had it, the air is pulled in - straight through the cooler and out the case, starving the gpu(s) of fresh, cooler, air.

20-05-2011, 11:27:05

tinytomlogan
Quote:
Originally Posted by dugdiamond View Post

hmmm - alot of case have more than ONE 120mm (or better) exhausts

also, when the gpus are inserted, they are facing AWAY from the intake fan, which means the in-air will be hitting the backplates of the gpu(s)... if it gets that far!!!

also, if the cpu cooler is placed as TTL had it, the air is pulled in - straight through the cooler and out the case, starving the gpu(s) of fresh, cooler, air.
GPU's get fed cool air from the bottom of the case

20-05-2011, 11:45:59

dugdiamond
IMHO this is not an enthusiast's case, or has any traits that an overclocker would be looking for.

but, if someone is looking for a small build for web-browsing rig only, and this case was fitted with a single low-profile GPU, then it passes the test for simple practicality

20-05-2011, 13:09:35

sheroo
If you use a reference card that vents out of back/top I think you could get a gaming rig in there. I'm not talking super dupa bleeding edge but definitely a 560ti or 6950 with a 2500k with a mild overclock.

The more I look at it the more I like it.

20-05-2011, 15:22:45

LUVABBW
I actually own this case and I have to say it's simply wonderful. There are two things that have been overlooked in this review. The fan that sets directly below the GPU slots can be removed and second it can be replaced with 2 80MM fans. Also the design makes it easy to switch the air flow so that instead of air leaving out the top you can have it go out the bottom. Also all the fans in the system can be replaced with whatever brand you plan on.

System Specs

Intel Core i7-950 Processor

Cooler Master Hyper 212 Plus CPU IDLE 31[sup]o[/sup]

Asus Rampage Gene III

Asus Radeon HD 6950 2GB

Corsair Dominator 6GB

Asus SDRW-08D2S-U External

If you plan on getting this case PLAN YOUR BUILD. Depending on your After-Marke cooler you may need to remove the fan that sits above the Slot DVD Drive Cage. Also there is NO CPU CUTOUT on the back of the Motherboard tray area. So if you want an After-Market cooler add it during your initial build process or you'll end up spending a Saturday Afternoon like I did . If anyone wants pics I'll be glad to post.



Not sure what happened to the original link to the pictures but here they are.

FT03B

20-05-2011, 15:29:11

SieB
Quote:
Originally Posted by LUVABBW View Post

If anyone wants pics I'll be glad to post.


Pics please, we like pics.

20-05-2011, 15:31:33

sheroo
This might be my next htpc case. If I can get it past the finance commitee.

20-05-2011, 16:37:26

badtaylorx
i was thinking of using this case to build my 'lil cusins rig....but after my build with a small ff case i think ill go with a raven instead!!! thanx for the help

21-05-2011, 12:38:41

sheroo
Quote:
Originally Posted by LUVABBW View Post

Pictures added to the post.
Nice rig. Now I've seen those pics I'm even more impressed with the case. Silverstone are definitely the most innovative case builder at the moment.

This makes the SG07 look so last year....

21-05-2011, 16:10:09

SieB
Thanks for the pics LUVABBW.

Looks pretty good, it's a little to cramped for my liking but it's a good case for what it is and your temps are ok so it definitely has good air flow.
Reply
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