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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  • ikjadoon - Wednesday, May 23, 2012 - link

    http://www.maingear.com/custom/desktops/potenza/ga...

    This might help...but it's just one shot. :(
    Reply
  • terragb - Thursday, May 24, 2012 - link

    They are using a CPU water cooler in that shot which makes it look like there is much more space than there is with an air cooler. Reply
  • terragb - Thursday, May 24, 2012 - link

    Hey friends,

    So I know I'm a bit late to the party but I'm actually using the FT03-Mini right now with an i7-3770 and a GTX 680.

    For the record, assembly with a 680 becomes a completely different situation. Yes, there is physically enough room inside the case for the 680 but actually getting it in place is very difficult. I had to follow a completely different assembly order than recommended and actually had to unscrew the front grill/port cover/mounting bracket from the GPU to squeeze it in and then screw the front grill back in place with it lodged inside the case.

    I have pictures of the build that I need to find time to upload but I'll try and answer questions if anyone has any.
    Reply
  • mcbowler - Friday, May 25, 2012 - link

    So how do you like the set up? This seams ideal to me. Reply
  • terragb - Tuesday, May 29, 2012 - link

    I'm really happy with it. I really like the unique vertical orientation of the case. I'm still seeing how hot the video card runs since its definitely a little airflow starved given the GPU intake fan is only a few millimeters from the side panel of the case. Reply
  • ggathagan - Saturday, May 26, 2012 - link

    That's odd.
    Is the 680 a reference-based design or does it have a custom cooler like the MSI Twin Frozr?

    I used an EVGA GTX670, which is the same size as their 680 as both are reference design. I didn't have to do anything to the GPU.

    Yes, it's tight, but you can get the GPU in after everything else is installed and running.
    I did some testing with the built-in graphics before installing the 670.
    When I installed the card, I didn't have to do any more than take off the panel with the optical drive slot.
    And it didn't take any kind of forcing.
    That GPU size struck me as almost being made for the case.
    Reply
  • terragb - Tuesday, May 29, 2012 - link

    Its an allegedly reference Galaxy GTX 680. Honestly if it were only a few millimeters shorter it would have fit in without all the effort. Reply
  • Salem - Friday, June 15, 2012 - link

    I'm about to order everything, but when it comes to CPU cooler, I just realized there doesn't appear to be any room for the radiator from the Corsair H60 on the bottom while having a 10" video card like the GTX680 or 670. Does this sound right to you? How are you cooling your CPU?

    I have a spare Noctua C14, but there's no way that'll work in this thing.
    Reply
  • methudman6 - Friday, May 25, 2012 - link

    Where the heck can I buy this in the US? I can find only one Canadian retailer online called Sundial Micro. Reply
  • ggathagan - Saturday, May 26, 2012 - link

    Sundial is where my friend bought his.
    They're in California, not Canada.
    CA as domain name is Canada. As an address, it's California
    Got it quick, and the whole process was trouble-free.
    Reply

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