Introducing the SilverStone Fortress FT02

Ever since we reviewed the SilverStone Raven RV03, a lot of you have chimed in about their Fortress FT02 enclosure, with more than one even proclaiming it the best air-cooling enclosure ever; high praise to be sure. To be fair, we were impressed with the FT02 when we reviewed the DigitalStorm BlackOps, a monster of a boutique build that nonetheless ran remarkably quiet and cool given the massive overclock on its Core i7-950 and the pair of GeForce GTX 580s sandwiched together in precisely the way NVIDIA tells you to avoid. It didn't matter: the system was cool and quiet despite pulling nearly 700 watts under our testing load and undoubtedly capable of pulling more. The FT02 has been around for a couple of years now and SilverStone warns that it doesn't enjoy some of the conveniences modern enclosures do, but can it hold up?

Spoiler alert: it absolutely can. Those of you who found the exterior of SilverStone's Raven RV03 ostentatious, or just find many gamer-oriented enclosures ostentatious in general, it doesn't get much simpler than the Fortress FT02. But this is a luxury enclosure with a pricetag that has it competing squarely against the recently reviewed Thermaltake Level 10 GT, and like the Thermaltake case, SilverStone has made some unusual choices in the design of the FT02.

SilverStone Fortress FT02 Specifications
Motherboard Form Factor SSI CEB, ATX, Micro-ATX, Mini-ITX
Drive Bays External 5x 5.25"
Internal 5x 3.5"/2.5", 1x 2.5"
Cooling Front -
Rear -
Top 1x 120mm exhaust fan
Side -
Bottom 3x 180mm intake fan
Expansion Slots 7
Front I/O Port -
Top I/O Port 2x USB 2.0 (user-replaceable with separately sold USB 3.0 bracket), mic and headphone jacks
Power Supply Size ATX
Clearance 12" (Expansion Cards), 165mm (CPU HSF), 330mm (PSU)
Weight 33.1 lbs.
Dimensions 24.25" x 8.35" x 19.57"
Price $249

Just looking at the specs a few things should jump out at you: it's big, it's heavy, it's expensive, and it...has three massive intake fans on the bottom? As you'll see it's another unusual design from the mad scientists at SilverStone, and while it's definitely a major step up from the newer RV03, like every other SilverStone enclosure I've played with...it's a little bit special needs.

In and Around the SilverStone Fortress FT02
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  • sweetca - Tuesday, August 16, 2011 - link

    Thank you so much! I laughed so hard and ended up choking on the M&M I was eating. Reply
  • ACEkombatkiwi - Monday, August 15, 2011 - link

    Great review as all ways but I hope you cleaned up those cables :)

    It is one of the few cases that can fit a HWlabs Black Ice SR-1 560 internally without heaps of modding.

    Where did you get those USB 3.0 connectors from that is the only reason I had against this case for a build that is coming up.
    Reply
  • Rick83 - Monday, August 15, 2011 - link

    I actually see a USB 3.0 version being sold in Europe.
    Not sure about overseas.
    Reply
  • Bobben49 - Sunday, August 24, 2014 - link

    I just got a USB3.0 version from Amazon on July 28th 2014 to build my wife's new system in. They are currently in stock listed as "Silverstone Tek FT02B-USB3.0. . ." Reply
  • DLeRium - Monday, August 15, 2011 - link

    While I realize review data may be old, this is a CLEAR competitor against Antec's P183 or P182. I forget if you guys even did a P183 review, but this is clearly one of those ATX cases that come to mind.

    P183/Define R3/HZXT H2/Silverstone FT02 are very commonly debated cases on forums and stuff.
    Reply
  • radium69 - Monday, August 15, 2011 - link

    Jarred,
    When are you going to review the Lian Li a70F case?
    I've heard it's great value and a lot of nice features.
    Just need a little push to open up my wallet :)

    http://www.lian-li.com/v2/en/product/product06.php...

    It's quite an old model, but it looks very sleek. Especially if you take the LED fans out and replace them with normal black ones.

    Pricing is around 180 euro's in europe, can't get a hold of it though.
    The A77 is her bigger brother and looks very nice also!

    Cheers,
    Kevin
    Reply
  • don_k - Monday, August 15, 2011 - link

    Seconded for a Lian Li review :)
    Kevin you can get the A70 from caseking.de for 170EUR + shipping. They have most Lian Lis in stock. I actually have the A77F - it's a thing of beauty, words don't do it justice.

    To mention just one thing, humongous full tower case that weighs just about 9Kg (20lbs)..
    Reply
  • JarredWalton - Monday, August 15, 2011 - link

    Talk to Dustin, not me! ;-)

    I think we've pinged Lian Li before, as well as Fractal Designs. I'll tell Dustin to try again on both, though.
    Reply
  • R3MF - Monday, August 15, 2011 - link

    i have this case too, and it was worth the money.

    i agree with more room behind the tray, and side-mounted optical drives.
    Reply
  • Sunburn74 - Monday, August 15, 2011 - link

    The writer is wrong on anumber of accounts. These criticisms of his opinions come from someone who has owned the case for about 9 months now.

    Criticisms
    The writer says it is in dire need of an eighth expansion slot but doesn't say why. I yet to have found myself deficient in expansions and I have a dual slot gpu, a single slot sound card, and a single slot tv tuner card.

    There is an issue with the top 5.25 bay and the last expansion slot, but its something that can easily be avoided by populating your 5.25 bays from the bottom up. It still looks aesthetically pleasing and is perfectly normal.

    The FT02 doesn't need more ports in the top cluster. The fact that the vertical orientation puts all the difficult to reach ports normally in the back of your board right on top, makes it unnecessary to have an all inclusive top cluster at all. I'm even surprised you went as far as to add a USB 3.0 front port, when whever I need to use my 3.0 slot, I can pop the mesh and I have as many of them right there.

    The PSU strap is fine. Its only purpose is to hold the psu in place whilst you screw it in on the initial install. Once you've done that, the screws do all the work. The writer fails to understand that.

    The case costs 250 but its fit and finish and appearance is in line with the "premiumville' cases the writer mentions. No case is perfect, but at the 250 its just as clean and beautiful looking as the more expensive 800d and the lian li x2000f both of which I was considering at the time.

    The real issues with the case are as follows:

    The 2.5 mounting system is pretty lousy for running SSD raid setups. I ended up just sticking both my ssds into one of the 3.5 drive bays without any screws. They are ssds and do just fine, but it'd be nice if there were a cleaner solution. You can purchase SSD mounts but they don't work very well with silverstones railing system for some reason (i tried).

    The dust trays are easily accessible and relatively effective, but nonetheless a ton of dust will build up on the fans and cause them to get slightly noisy over time. The sata bays take a bit dust hit too despire the presence of filters. The internal mobo and etc will however remain very very clean.

    The back psu air supply is questionable and has cord reach issues with certain PSUs (corsair psus in general).

    Overall I don't see myself replacing this case for 3-4 years (this coming from a guy who replaced his case at a clip of every 5-6 months due to one issue or another). My internals are clearn and the case is quiet. Its also a stoic monolith in my room. On a scale of 1-10, I'd give it a 8.7 after 9 months of ownership.
    Reply

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