Introducing the SilverStone FT03

Case testing is back at AnandTech with fresher, stricter, and much more thorough testing, and we're kicking it off with a doozy. We had a chance to meet with SilverStone back at CES, and their reps generously allowed us to "call dibs" on what was easily one of the most interesting enclosure designs at the show, the FT03. Since then it's been sitting cheerfully in my living room awaiting assembly and testing while we put together our testbed and settled on proper testing methodologies, and now the wait is over. The mad scientists over at SilverStone have produced a number of unique and memorable enclosures, but the FT03 may be their craziest one yet.

It's only fitting that we kick off our new slate of case reviews with an enclosure from the same manufacturer who produced the subject of our last review. The SilverStone GD04 HTPC enclosure review was the subject of some consternation from you, the readership, as well as our rep at SilverStone. This was a case I chose for my own personal use (and continue to use to this day) based largely on its recommendation from SilentPC Review, and my primary issue with it was noise.

My conversation with Tony Ou, the SilverStone rep I met at CES, was like a high tech rendition of "who's on first." He was upset because he felt like I gave the GD04 short shrift for griping about the noise levels, citing that once a fan controller is installed the case has exceptional thermal characteristics while being remarkably quiet. I agreed, but pointed out that I felt it shouldn't need the fan controller to begin with. But we left the conversation appreciating one another's points, and I took to heart just how impressive SilverStone's engineering really is. (If you had any idea how many different fan configurations they tested in the GD04 before settling on one capable of cooling a pair of Radeon HD 4870X2s and a 140-watt AMD Phenom, blood would shoot out of your noise.)

Today that conversation bears fruit. I've consistently felt that SilverStone was like the ASRock of the enclosure market, off in their own world engineering all kinds of crazy hardware, utterly unfettered by conventional design logic. The results are always exciting, and the FT03 is one of their most impressive designs yet.

SilverStone FT03 Specifications
Motherboard Form Factor Micro ATX, Mini ITX
Drive Bays External 1x Slimline Slot-loading Optical Bay
Internal 2x 3.5” or 2.5", 1x 2.5", 1x 3.5" hot-swappable
Cooling Front -
Rear -
Top 1x 120mm exhaust fan
Side Removable vent
Bottom 2x 120mm intake fans
Expansion Slots 5 (4 main, 1 accessory)
Front I/O Port -
Top I/O Port 2x USB 3.0 (routing cable), headphone and mic jacks
Power Supply Size Standard ATX
Clearance 180mm (PSU), 13.77" (Expansion Cards), 167mm (CPU HSF)
Weight 14.77 lbs.
Dimensions 11.18" x 9.25" x 19.17"
Price $169.99

Just to give you a preview of coming attractions, I'll point out that I have a boutique build in-house that uses a Corsair H70 to cool the CPU and two GeForce GTX 580s...all in this enclosure.

In and Around the SilverStone FT03
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  • ggathagan - Thursday, April 28, 2011 - link

    I believe he meant blood would shoot out of your nose. Reply
  • CloudFire - Thursday, April 28, 2011 - link

    Sorry, this thing is absolutely hideous. I want a computer case, not a refrigerator. I'm glad there is "nothing else like it", let's leave it that way. Reply
  • Fletcherea - Thursday, April 28, 2011 - link

    For realz mang, I want my glass walled techno glow stick massacre cases! Reply
  • DigitalFreak - Thursday, April 28, 2011 - link

    Looks like a fancy kitchen trash can to me. Reply
  • fic2 - Thursday, April 28, 2011 - link

    Not that fancy, but yeah a kitchen trash can was my first thought. Reply
  • tristangrimaux - Wednesday, May 04, 2011 - link

    Definitely does look like a cute fancy trashcan!!! Reply
  • InvertMe - Thursday, April 28, 2011 - link

    I think it's beautiful. I plan to make a special spot on top of my media cabinet to show it off. Reply
  • MilwaukeeMike - Thursday, April 28, 2011 - link

    No sarcasm this time… I think it’s very cool. Simple, beautiful, elegant, yes… trash can? Maybe.. I’d have to see one in person. This case made me go check out slot optical drives and mirco ATX boards. Do I like it more than a RV02-E? Tough question. Definitely makes me look forward to what’s coming next from them. Reply
  • InvertMe - Thursday, April 28, 2011 - link

    I already ordered mine and painted my PSU I intend to put in a porcelain white, ordered a fan controller and new mobo/cpu as well as a 128gb SSD.. I really only intended to swap out the case but you see how that went..

    I just consider my actions a healthy dose of economy stimulating.
    Reply
  • MilwaukeeMike - Thursday, April 28, 2011 - link

    I agree. There’s absolutely no way someone would see this case and think ‘pwner of n00bs’. Moar LEDs plz. The last thing I need is someone thinking I have a sense of style. They should sell this case with a roll of duct tape so you can reattach your l33tness. Worst. Design. Ever. Reply

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