Introduction

When it comes to high-end aluminum chassis, a few names come to mind. One name that should definitely be on your short list if you're interested in such a case is Silverstone. The Taiwanese manufacturer formed when a group of rogue engineers left Cooler Master to go their own way in 2003, and they have been building high-end cases and power supplies (and a few other products) since the split.

They recently introduced their new Fortress chassis series, and we will be looking at the black anodized version today. With this case, Silverstone follows the footsteps of Apple by producing the case - or at least the main frame - out of one piece of aluminum. That results in better stability as well as a cooler appearance since joints stay mostly unseen.


Silverstone chose to modify the cooling system relative to the ATX standard. The ATX standard says air needs to come into the case at the bottom front, which will allow airflow to cross over the mainboard and all the components, and then it will exit via the power supply and rear mounted fan(s). Minor tweaks in positioning of fans are one thing, but Silverstone mixes things up by having two large 180mm intake fans, one at the front and one at the top.

With more fans blowing air into the case, Silverstone creates higher air pressure inside the case, which in turn causes air to exhaust through every opening it can find. In the presentation on their website, Silverstone shows how the air will exhaust through the rear-mounted fan, the perforated side near the fan in the rear, and the front - again, wherever is an opening. One benefit of this design is that most of the air that enters the chassis will come through one of the two filtered fan intakes, reducing dust buildup and the interior. Silverstone has even posted a YouTube video demonstration.

There has been something of a debate among users for years about the best way to air-cool a case. Some people think it's best to have most of your fans as intake fans, creating positive air pressure -- like the Silverstone FT01. Others take the opposite view and feel it's best to have all of your fans exhausting air from the chassis, and there's the traditional matched intake/exhaust configuration that most cases use. Perhaps the best cooling setup depends on the overall case design, which is something we are working to test right now with the FT01. Initially, we will have results for the standard configuration of the FT01 that we can compare with other cases; however, we will update this article later today with testing results showing how reversing fan directions affects -- or perhaps doesn't affect -- cooling efficiency.

Specs

Silverstone FT01 Specifications
Motherboard Form Factor ATX, Micro ATX
Drive Bays External 5x 5.25"
Internal 7x 3.5"
Cooling Front 1x 180mm intake
Rear 1x 120mm exhaust
Top 1x 180mm intake
Side  
Bottom  
Expansion Slots 7
Front I/O Port 2x USB, 1x IEEE1394, 1x Audio, 1x Micro
Power Supply Size Standard ATX
Weight 8.66kg
Dimensions 211 x 486 x 495mm (WxHxD)
Exterior
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  • billt - Monday, November 10, 2008 - link

    Good looking case. But then I am partial to Silverstones; have a TJ09 and a SG03 (neither overheat). Wish they had made this case 1-2" deeper. Reply
  • MrX8503 - Monday, November 10, 2008 - link

    I think antec might of been the first ones to have the psu at the bottom, but what silverstone did to their psu is ingenious!

    I like how the psu fan is flushed to the bottom hole of the case with a filter on it. This lets the PSU suck air from the outside of the case and is separate from the entire case air flow.
    Reply
  • SilthDraeth - Monday, November 10, 2008 - link

    What amazes me, is you can get a bling bling case for $50. But if you want a simple case like this it will cost you around $200.

    I know quality of craftsmanship is one thing, but there is no reason you shouldn't be able to get aesthetics like this in a $50 case. It could look similarly, but maybe have a few sharp edges that need to be filed by the purchaser.
    Reply
  • Vidmar - Wednesday, November 12, 2008 - link

    That hard drive cage is a real problem with airflow. For what this thing costs I would expect a high end power supply as well.

    For my $$$ this Rosewill R6AR6-BK case has almost all of the features of that case, cooler performance and at 1/4 of the cost!
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N8...">http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N8...
    Reply
  • Sunrise089 - Monday, November 10, 2008 - link

    The TJ-07 model from Silverstone is a popular case for watercoolers. Does this case replace the TJ-07, or is there an even larger 180mm equipped case in the pipeline? Reply
  • Cardio - Monday, November 10, 2008 - link

    I have had 3 of their cases and while well made, they all had extremely poor thermal performance. Could only run one of their expensive HTPC cases with the top removed! Very poor engineering as far as I am concerned. Never again they must not even test these things! Reply
  • HOOfan 1 - Monday, November 10, 2008 - link

    Looks a little like the Coolermaster RC-690 Reply
  • HOOfan 1 - Monday, November 10, 2008 - link

    also it is nice for a change to see a black case with a black back panel.... Reply
  • strikeback03 - Monday, November 10, 2008 - link

    For reversed fan flow measurements, did you reverse all the fans? So that the rear 120 would be the only intake, and most airflow from it would be sucked right back out by the 180 on top? How would a more Antec-like configuration, with front intake and both rear and top exhaust, work? Also, would the stock fan configuration have any negative impact on air flow around a larger tower style cooler?

    Also, you mentioned that you wouldn't recommend using a PSU with an 80mm fan, why is that?
    Reply
  • Christoph Katzer - Monday, November 10, 2008 - link

    No, just the large one on top (then according to ATX spec) to see the difference. No 80mm-fan-PSU because one with 120mm fan can get fresh air through the bottom. Reply

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