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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  • Flunk - Tuesday, May 22, 2012 - link

    Ridiculously hot and noisy. I have an SG03 and while it's a great case and good fun the thermals are annoying. Reply
  • Synomenon - Tuesday, May 22, 2012 - link

    Did you guys get to test it with a liquid cooling kit such as the Antec Kuhler 620 or Corsair H60? It would be great if you could update this review later on with a build utilizing one of these liquid cooling kits AND a GTX 670 / 680. Reply
  • jigglywiggly - Tuesday, May 22, 2012 - link

    why are you guys reviewing a fridge Reply
  • gonks - Tuesday, May 22, 2012 - link

    I thought it was a trash can Reply
  • nikotttin - Tuesday, May 22, 2012 - link

    Hi there,

    How is the cabling going with this case? I see that the electric plug is facing upward. Same goes for the GPU ports.

    Does this mean that the plug and HDMI cables are going out through the top of the case? If so, this is not very elegant in a living room.

    Thanks for the clarification.
    Reply
  • piroroadkill - Tuesday, May 22, 2012 - link

    It has a cover, and a slot at the top rear of the case, so they'll come out the back, but at the top. Well, they actually come out of the top, but the cover.. covers them up. Reply
  • marvdmartian - Tuesday, May 22, 2012 - link

    The biggest problem I saw, is that the PSU is on one side of the top divider (which contains the power & reset buttons, and the USB ports), and the slot for all the cords is on the other side of it. Which means you're going to lose 6-8 inches of power cord, just routing it around that obstruction.

    IMHO, it would have been a better idea to either shorten that divider (so the power cord could be routed in a shorter direction), or a second slot provided. The second choice would be a fairly easy modification, though, if one were so inclined to do so.
    Reply
  • Bobsy - Tuesday, May 22, 2012 - link

    I have the same concern. Are there any pictures of this case with cables plugged in, so that we can see what it looks like for real? Cables coming out the top seem to be a show-stopper for me - I say "seems" because Dustin does not mind, so surely he found a way to set it up properly. I would like to know how this can be done.

    Thank you.
    Reply
  • nikotttin - Wednesday, May 23, 2012 - link

    see:

    http://hardforum.com/showthread.php?t=1642182&...
    http://hardforum.com/showthread.php?t=1642182
    Reply
  • jabber - Tuesday, May 22, 2012 - link

    ...I have no idea of the orientation or what way goes where etc. Reply

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