Introducing the SilverStone FT03 Mini

One of the first cases we reviewed back when we initially established our case testing methodology last year was SilverStone's FT03, a very unique Micro-ATX design guaranteed to be both an eye catcher and a solid performer. It lived up to both of those claims. DigitalStorm even proved the FT03 was capable of handling a tremendous amount of power when they outfitted one with an overclocked i7-2600K and a pair of GeForce GTX 580s. The FT03 was successful enough that it was only a matter of time until SilverStone experimented with it a bit.

Today we have the results of that experiment. The FT03 Mini is the FT03 condensed further still, swapping out Micro-ATX for Mini-ITX and requiring an SFX form factor power supply in the process. Users who didn't care for the look of the FT03 aren't going to find anything new here, but people who dug on the FT03 are bound to find a lot to like.

That SilverStone took the FT03 and shrunk it further borders on being downright adorable, but in the process they've made a few changes to the internal design based on both feedback on the FT03 and the practical concerns with shrinking the design down to Mini-ITX. The result is an enclosure that looks functionally quite similar to its predecessor, but features a radically redesigned interior that in many ways encompasses lessons learned from the FT03 but also from the FT03's surprise competition, the TJ08-E.

SilverStone FT03 Mini Specifications
Motherboard Form Factor Mini-ITX
Drive Bays External 1x 5.25" (slim-line, slot-loading optical drive required)
Internal 1x 3.5", 2x 2.5"
Cooling Front -
Rear -
Top -
Side -
Bottom 1x 140mm intake fan
Expansion Slots 2
I/O Port 2x USB 3.0, 1x Headphone, 1x Mic
Power Supply Size SFX
Clearances HSF 78mm
PSU SFX
GPU 10" / 254mm
Weight 10.3 lbs.
4.7 kg
Dimensions 7.4" x 15.6" x 9.3"
189mm x 397mm x 235mm
Special Features USB 3.0 via internal header
Price MSRP $129

Like its predecessor, the FT03 Mini also comes in either black or silver, depending on what you're into. If you didn't like the whole icebox aesthetic before, the FT03 Mini isn't liable to change your mind, but SilverStone's design at least makes a good case (no pun intended) for aluminum as a construction material as the side panels are very thick and remarkably sturdy compared to the cases we've tested from Cubitek and to a lesser extent Lian Li. Let's get to the meat of the review now and see how it all comes together.

In and Around the SilverStone FT03 Mini
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  • Spunjji - Tuesday, May 22, 2012 - link

    Given that the power/cooling requirements of a Voodoo 3 barely register on the current graphics-card radar, I'm afraid I have to back up the "horrible ventilation" comment. Reply
  • GotThumbs - Tuesday, May 22, 2012 - link

    I'm sure Jobs would want you to take it as is...and be happy with it. Your such a good Ifanboy. Good boy.

    Oh...and "You're holding it wrong!". Words from a man who thinks everyone but him is an idiot. Maybe some are...but NOT the ones who can think for themselves.

    Best wishes,
    Reply
  • jonyah - Tuesday, June 05, 2012 - link

    Ya, cause the Cube was such a big success. Ugh. Thank god we can build quality machines with parts off of shelf. Reply
  • mmagnum77 - Tuesday, May 22, 2012 - link

    95% sure that's a SG05BB with nice fancy aluminum panels slapped on each side.

    Either way... I'm not complainin'. I've been prepping a i7 3770S + AMD 7970 ITX build on Newegg, gonna be hard to pass this case up.
    Reply
  • ViperV990 - Tuesday, May 22, 2012 - link

    As an SG05BB owner, yepp, the FT03-mini pretty much that.

    I hope the review will be amended with tests done with the GTX 670/680. I have a hard time figuring out just how much air the bottom intake can supply a 680.

    Another interesting tidbit about this case is that apparently you can fit a closed-loop water cooler in it easily.

    Personally, I'd probably prefer a version without the optical drive opening.
    Reply
  • slacr - Tuesday, May 22, 2012 - link

    In this video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zTdUpSukEt8 the Silverstone rep states this exactly, so it's not something they're hiding.

    I would also prefer one without the optical drive bay, i'm in the process of modifying my mATX FT03 by removing the drive bay and relocating the PSU to allow better air inlet.
    Reply
  • mmagnum77 - Tuesday, May 22, 2012 - link

    Just kidding about the 7970. Apparently I glossed over the 10" GPU clearance spec, sigh... back to the Lian Li PC-Q08B Reply
  • r3loaded - Tuesday, May 22, 2012 - link

    Why not the GTX 670/680? Both are quicker than the 7970 and use less power. The 670 is very short and costs less too. Reply
  • mepenete - Tuesday, May 22, 2012 - link

    This looks like an incredibly sexy (with the thermals/acoustics to back it up) case for an HTPC. I've been becoming more and more interested in Silverstone's case designs and this looks really promising. Simple lines yet still classy and not too understated. This would look excellent in a home theater cabinet.

    Great review as always.
    Reply
  • Samus - Tuesday, May 22, 2012 - link

    put a Geforce 670 in there and you'd have something ridiculous. Reply

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