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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  • TheYeti - Tuesday, August 16, 2011 - link

    But seriously, positive pressure cases always out perform negative pressure cases in cooling tests. Fans will often increase air pressure by 2 psi, or 12%. vs the same pressure drop you might get 25% more cooling, maybe even more since the intake fans are supplying the exhaust fans, not fighting them for air.

    The trade off for positive pressure cases has always been the noise that they produce. I like the way that was managed by letting the carpet eat it up.
    Reply
  • shenjing - Tuesday, August 16, 2011 - link

    Come go and see, will not regret it Oh look

    http://www。ifancyshop。com
    Reply
  • dac7nco - Wednesday, August 17, 2011 - link

    some of these guys have legit beefs with the review. I may know 1 person in 50 who still uses a Zalman CPU cooler, and they would probably be rocking a C2D or AM2 CPU. As to snapping the "roof" off of the case to access USB3 ports... look at yourself in the mirror and recommend that. I've built systems with this case and Pus/Pull Megahalems you wouldn't believe had fans at all. Yes, I hate the dreadlocks out of the rear: being able to daisy-chain displayport ala SCSI will clean that up a LOT.

    A tip: I've found that rigid toslink (optical audio) cables don't clear the closed roof well... look for "thin".

    Daimon
    Reply
  • dac7nco - Wednesday, August 17, 2011 - link

    Edit: and your love for Lian Li's side-mounted optical bays is bizarre. Those are an abomination, which I'm sure you fancy, but have never used. New to this, eh? Reply
  • hurrakan - Thursday, August 18, 2011 - link

    I've been planning to get this case for my next build.

    scan.co.uk seem to have a new version with USB 3:

    http://www.scan.co.uk/products/silverstone-fortres...
    Reply
  • bramdb - Thursday, August 18, 2011 - link

    I just emailed SilverStone sales with a request to give me a price for the part. My request got forwarded to RMA EU (I live in Slovakia).

    Here's the result:
    part (no G113032): 20 euro
    shippping: 19 euro
    VAT on both: 7,58 euro
    total cost: 47,48 EURO

    outrageous!

    I expected it to be somewhere around 10 euro for the part (they're already making a profit like that) and another 5 or so for the shipping (this thing fits in a bubblewrap).

    This is the last time I bought a Silverstone case with this kind of aftersales on such a high-end product.
    Reply
  • Gonemad - Thursday, August 18, 2011 - link

    I guess vertical (90º rotated, whatever) cases like this are not something extraordinary, but I guess they are not exactly common either. I've been under a rock in the past 6 months and didn't see many of them, nor I know anybody that owns one. So I ask this, isn't it a bit of a concern the PCI-E socket being forced in a specific direction (I am trying to say short-circuit sliding here) specially if the case is under a desk where it may be close to people with 'happy' feet?

    Y'know, won't some bumping and nudging cripple the graphics cards, especially our 2-pound gaming rigs? Yes, mine is screwed tight and all, but running it on vertical still looks dangerous to me. Bending it on the side, OTOH, never appealed to me either. I'm still looking for a good design in desktop fashion, where the card sit its weight straight on the slot...

    On another view, USB ports are closer and more usable than ever. Instead of being tucked in the back, they are on top, which is great for cases that will be on lower shelves. I liked the design, and I'll look into it...
    Reply
  • Bobben49 - Sunday, August 24, 2014 - link

    I've been running vertically for 3 1/2 years and have never had a problem with card slippage even with double wide dual-fan video cards. The FT02 are very well manufactures so that the cards line up perfectly and the steel of the superstructure is stiff and thick enough that it does not warp down and the screws holding the card ends don't strip their threading. The thing weights over 30 pounds empty and is built solid as a tank. Reply
  • Oxygen12 - Tuesday, September 15, 2020 - link

    I have an FT02 since 2013 and still using it. I still like the case despite it's many quirks and shortcomings. I would buy an updated version in a heartbeat.

    Something I really don't understand with these results are the temps between low/high modes under idle. Under Idle: Almost always the results seem to show a much lower temp for CPU/GPU on the low fan setting compared to the high fan setting - that is completely counter-intuitive - a higher fan speed should have a lower temp at idle than a lower fan setting. At Load: The high fan setting manages to edge out the temps vs the low fan setting, this directionally seems correct, but i would have expected a bigger difference.

    What I conclude from this, is the tests done at the high fan speed had a significantly higher ambient temperature than when the tests were performed at low fan speed. It just doesn't make sense any other way to me - someone correct me please.
    Reply

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