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  • IlllI - Thursday, April 28, 2011 - link

    why in the world would they decide to stick that ugly, plastic thing on the side?

    other than that it looks decent. i'd be willing to forgive the ugly plastic lid, but the thing on the side completely ruins the aesthetics
  • softdrinkviking - Thursday, April 28, 2011 - link

    what're you talking about? the silverstone snowflake? Reply
  • Spoelie - Thursday, April 28, 2011 - link

    no, check the gallery, third picture Reply
  • softdrinkviking - Monday, May 02, 2011 - link

    oh man. i didn't see that.

    that is really strange; not my cup of coffee.
  • heffeque - Thursday, April 28, 2011 - link

    He means the top grill.

    The tittle is "Nothing else like it", but seriously, the idea is extremely similar to this other casing:

  • headbox - Friday, April 29, 2011 - link

    I thought I was going to get RickRolled for a second there...

    Yes, even the best PC cases have NOTHING on Apple designs from more than a decade ago. The PowerMac G3 and G4 cases are still miles ahead of the "high-end" from Lian Li or others. And the PowerMac G5 and Mac Pro cases are just amazing. Hate on Apple all you want, but no one designs enclosures like they do.

    Oh, unless you like alien eyes on the front.
  • bman212121 - Monday, May 02, 2011 - link

    The G3 was interesting but I don't know if I would use that setup for a full sized build. It would probably work well for this scenario though using a mini ITX. (The mainboard is mounted to the side panel and when you open up the case you lay the board down and out of the case) With a smaller size having the board basically come out of the case to mount and work on makes it so much easier to add memory, an expansion card, or work on something else in the case. The outside of the G3 is all plastic and does still look good with it.

    The G5 is definitely one of the nicest looking cases, but I find it hard to work inside of. (it's a fairly large case too) The thermals are covered nicely in the PowerMac but it's a real pain to insert drives. The Intel Mac Pro has a better layout but I'd still change the inside around some. If anything the solid aluminum side panel is a blessing compared to most other cases.
  • tbutler - Wednesday, May 04, 2011 - link

    Yeah, from a easy-to-work-on standpoint, the G3/G4 design is probably the best I've ever seen. Unfortunately, towards the end of its run it started having cooling issues (remember the "Windtunnel" nickname?)

    The G5/MacPro case does much better on cooling; it's not as easy to work on as the G3/G4 case, but it's not bad. One thing that makes it gadget porn for me is the complete lack of cabling in the interior work area, and the near total lack of cabling at all; the only time I've ever had to mess with cabling at all was when I installed a second optical drive, and had to run a SATA cable down to the motherboard. That cable was a bit tricky to run and required disassembling more of the case than I'd like, but after that it wasn't bad. (I also had to hook up the second power lead to the optical bay, but that was pretty trivial.)
  • softdrinkviking - Monday, May 02, 2011 - link

    no he doesn't. check the third pic, like spoelie says Reply
  • Rasterman - Thursday, April 28, 2011 - link

    I agree, for $170 bucks, plastic is not allowed, it should be aluminum, or glass would be very cool. Reply
  • Metaluna - Thursday, April 28, 2011 - link

    The consensus over at SPCR is that the white plastic grilles make it look like a cheap clothes hamper :).

    Kudos to Silverstone for trying something unique. Sadly not every radical concept works out, but I hope they keep trying.
  • Egglick - Thursday, April 28, 2011 - link

    I agree that the white plastic vents look terrible on the silver model. If you look at the Black version though, it's a huge improvement. Reply
  • bman212121 - Monday, May 02, 2011 - link

    And one day you accidently overheat your computer when you mistakely throw your clothes on top of it... Reply
  • darkvader75 - Thursday, May 19, 2011 - link

    I agree that it should be either clear plexi right there or just drilled holes in the alluminum Reply
  • Th-z - Monday, August 08, 2011 - link

    That's the removable dust filter.

    AnandTech, you guys should mention any dust filter feature in your case review.
  • ckryan - Thursday, April 28, 2011 - link

    This is far and away one of the most interesting case designs out there. Unique cases are not plentiful and Silverstone at least has a couple to offer. I like cases that are a little different, ones like the Lian Li A05 which reverses airflow and motherboard placement to focus cool air one the processor. In that way, the FT03 is not alone, but it's not a huge crowd either. With enough money to spend on the extras, the Silverstone seems like it would make a fantastic system. Too bad slim line ODDs are the devil. Reply
  • michael2k - Thursday, April 28, 2011 - link

    Not really that unique. Vertical square orientation, upward ventilzation, etc.
  • mados123 - Thursday, April 28, 2011 - link

    Exactly. That was one of the earliest designs that I saw from Apple where my jaw dropped due to its creative thermodynamics and use of Acrylic. Reply
  • nubie - Thursday, April 28, 2011 - link

    They took an idea that has been floating around in my head and made it work.

    Vertical cooling and square footprint (or nearly). Also access to all ports without going behind the PC.

    I can't afford it, but it is nice to know it is out there.

    Fantastic, very forward thinking. I hope this spawns more (Lian Li are you listening? Maybe Power Cooler too for those like me: short on the green stuff.)
  • SilthDraeth - Thursday, April 28, 2011 - link

    I am guessing that was a strange attempt at a pun, or you were still hung up about noise levels!


    Back to reading the rest of the review now...
  • 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.
  • 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
  • GeorgeH - Thursday, April 28, 2011 - link

    When I want compact I almost always also want quiet, and 45dB is far from extraordinary.

    If they had used the unique design to facilitate more noise reduction this would have gone on my list. As it is I'm not impressed at all, especially when you consider that the extra costs this case will entail put it within spitting distance of the FT02.
  • slacr - Thursday, April 28, 2011 - link

    First off, the slimline DVD, I didn't get myself one as they are expensive. For the most part you can make do without it though, OS installs are readily available through USB and most drivers can be found online. It can be a bit of a chore when you REALLY need something of a disc but I figure that happens to me at max once a year.

    The stock fans are not very good though, there seems to be some unnecessary turbulence around the angled intake fan near the graphics-card too when using a mid-high flow fan. The noise is really bothering me too, still working on that (with i5 2500k, p8p67m-pro and asus GTX560).

    As for cable routing, it mostly works fine although some of the holes are a bit too small, when using an mATX board accessing the headers for sound/usb is not very neat. Fixing it would require added case depth though.

    Over all im quite pleased with the diminutive stature, fitting snugly on a tiny desk with 2 monitors, the plasticky side vent facing away from me, it sticks out a tad less in black too.
  • archer75 - Thursday, April 28, 2011 - link

    Saw this same case in my PC Gamer magazine for a computer digital storm is selling. It's certainly not new. Reply
  • Dustin Sklavos - Thursday, April 28, 2011 - link

    Not that long, this case has only been available for a couple months, and I actually have that DigitalStorm unit in house right now. That review'll be going up soon. Reply
  • Rick83 - Thursday, April 28, 2011 - link

    You didn't adress it :(

    Was hoping to see some GPU cooler recommendations, as down-pointing heat-pipes don't work well and down-blowing fans blow right into the lower fan. On the other hand, the radial, exhausting designs are often noisy under load (see the GTX580 in this case).

    I'm thinking about getting a HD 6950 with this case, but can't really decide on a cooling solution (and there hasn't been a VGA-round-up recently either...)
    Any pointers? I was eventually thinking about getting a dual fan solution, like a twin frozr III or a directCU, but then stock isn't too bad at load....but not optimal either.
  • slacr - Thursday, April 28, 2011 - link

    Ah, the heatpipe issue passed me by until you pointed it out.

    I first used this with a OEM cooler XFX 6950, it was LOUD at load, with the fan reving up to over 35% it was too much for me. I think the DirectCU2 should be the least noisy one, however you will orient the pipes down, I now use a DirectCU2 GTX560, which is only 2 slots with much slimmer fans, pipes pointing down. With a custom fan curve and less vcore (0.95) its quite silent (don't hear it over the case fans in the games i play). If the 6950 DirectCU were available when i bought it i'd have gotten that instead, it will end up veery close to the fan on the bottom though.
  • Rick83 - Thursday, April 28, 2011 - link

    Thanks for the info. Guess stock cooler is out of the question then.
    Next challenge is finding the right cooler, there's a lot of designs out there that have not been properly reviewed, from one to three fans...Still hoping for a sapphire Vapor-X to join the fray as well.
    Oh well, probably going to wait for Z68 to happen anyway, so I can get a third DVI output, without having to pay for the sapphire flex or an miniDP to dvi active adapter.. Just got DCS:A10, and I see a triple screen setup becoming a possibility. Thanks to spanning window mode now working, I won't even have to limit myself to eyefinity and whatnot..
  • 7Enigma - Thursday, April 28, 2011 - link

    I'm interested in some more specifics of how bad this issue really is. I've honestly never heard of it before. Are we talking for extreme overclocking or in general they are not very efficient?

    I've always hated the idea of having heavy cards "hanging" with tower systems and thought this method of vertical hanging would be great for alleviating that stress, but this heatpipe issue is new to me.

    Thanks for bringing it up and hopefully the author of the article can chime in.
  • Rick83 - Thursday, April 28, 2011 - link

    Well, the heatpipe works by evaporating a liquid which gathers at the bottom of the heatpipe and then rises to the top where it condenses. This doesn't work as well if the heat source is above the lower end of the heatpipe. The exact impact though, I've not seen it examined. It can't be that bad, as many heatpipe designs for VGA coolers double back on themselves, which has a similar aspect.

    Still, would be awesome if such obvious compatibility challenges would be addressed by even a single reviewer...
  • Spoelie - Thursday, April 28, 2011 - link

    Still working through the review, but thought I'd already chime in. The design is interesting for certain, I don't buy anything other than mATX boards lately, but would never consider this case because of the storage system.

    * 4 is really the bare minimum for me (currently have 3 3.5" and 1 SSD)
    * mounting system, took most of the timelapse video...
    * no airflow
    * direct contact with sidepanels/metal???

    Especially that last point surprises me, that truly is a worst case scenario for transferring vibration noise. Personally think suspension + airflow is a far superior alternative to "heatsink" type cooling for drives. Seems like I'll be sticking to my P182 for a while yet.
  • Rick83 - Thursday, April 28, 2011 - link

    Well, that's why I recently removed all mechanical disks from my tower and into the network. One SSD is all a system really needs, and I don't want spinning disks in my proximity. Of course, I was running ancient 80G and 200G disks which were proper noisy, so that may have been traumatizing. But in general, I don't want storage on my local machine, there's just no point, and to get where I'd want, I'd need a huuuuuge tower. This way, my disks reside in a nice Stacker, well cooled and as much out of earshot as possible, and my desktop system is reduced to a single 2.5" SSD that makes zero noise and has no trouble with getting a bit warmed up, as there are no mechanical tolerances that are impacted. I strongly recommend that approach for anyone who has more than one hard disk that they use...
    Also, with 3HDDs, why bother paying extra for less and getting a micro-ATX board? Most cases that fit 3 HDDs are so big, that they don't really take advantage of the micro-ATX form factor. (There are some, like the bigger of the Lian-Li cubes, and your P182, but these are already quite "big" cases...Going to a midi-tower is only about 3 cms of height away...
  • Spoelie - Thursday, April 28, 2011 - link

    Most NAS solutions have less than ideal performance (when moving >10GB files around) and less than ideal noise characteristics (high pitched 40mm fans, really??). My current flat is not that big so there is no out-of-earshot location ;). But to be honest, haven't explored that option very well.

    Instead I have one main, relatively silent desktop as the gaming/htpc/file/printer server, and smartphone/tablet/notebook "clients" for leisure computing. All 3 drives are 1TB WD Caviar Greens (EADS) though, and are a hell of a lot quieter than my older 250-500GB drives. In the current mounting mechanism, inaudible.

    mATX boards provide everything+kitchen sink nowadays, ATX form factor is really relegated to multigpu and some htpc configurations with specialized addin boards. The premium is not that much IMO, just a tad over a $100 is what I paid.

    I don't really have a genuine need for another case, but am always looking for improvement - and I have to say, something less heavy and less bulky with top mounted connections sounds mighty appealing. The P182 is a real back breaker to tug along. I just don't want to give up too much silence/cooling/mounting capacity.
  • Rasterman - Thursday, April 28, 2011 - link

    I did that too with my latest build, SSD only, NAS for storage. It works fine, but anytime I need to move large files its slow 15-25MB/s. I have been reading the green drives are very quiet and am considering one, but desktop is about as silent as it can get though (3 nexus fans at 500rpm), and ANY noise would be audible. The other thought I had was using a usb3 netbook for a NAS, that should provide much better performance than my synology and be: expandable, easily configurable, can host anything, while not using hardly any power, plus it has built in battery backup. Reply
  • rabidsquirrel - Thursday, April 28, 2011 - link

    I think I just threw up a little in my mouth...

    Seriously, that thing is hidious. Hopefully its thermal properties make up for that for some users.
  • kevith - Thursday, April 28, 2011 - link

    Ehm, do You seriously mean, that 45 dB of noise in an enclosure without a discrete GFX is "not obnoxious" or "dealbreaking.

    I´m a musician, 45 dB is LOUD, man!
  • Spivonious - Thursday, April 28, 2011 - link

    Thanks for including more useful noise info. 45dBA is loud.

    Was there any explanation for the odd tilted fan mounts? You allude to Silverstone's exhaustive airflow engineering but never go into details.
  • Rick83 - Thursday, April 28, 2011 - link

    45 db at one foot. Sound diminishes by the second power with distance.
    Commonly such things are measured at one meter distance. One foot is pretty close, much too close in most desktop scenarios, unless you have the box sitting right on the edge of the desk, and are bent forwards. Tripling distance leads to about a factor 1/9 for the sound attenuation, which results in a decrease of almost 10 decibel. (unless my physics are rustier than I thought they were)
    Additionally, no mention was made whether certain directions are noisier than others. I'd expect most of the noise to come out of the top, due to this case's design.
  • Spivonious - Thursday, April 28, 2011 - link

    I'm not sure of the rules for distance and attenuation, but it would mean that at 3 feet the noise level would be 40dBA (8/9 of 45dBA). Still pretty loud.

    I would love to see what Antec would do with this design. They could probably get it down to 35dBA with no impact on cooling.
  • Spivonious - Thursday, April 28, 2011 - link

    Looked it up

    You were right that the attenuation would be around 10dBA (taking it to 35dBA). Much quieter and easily acceptable with a noise floor of 32dBA.
  • Voldenuit - Thursday, April 28, 2011 - link

    Sound intensity decreases proportional to 1/r^2, but sound *pressure* (which our ears are directly sensitive to) decrease proportionally to 1/r. Most sound level meters measure sound pressure level (SPL) and it is the most common way of reporting sound loudness on tech sites.

    I've owned several Silverstone cases - a TJ08 and a KL01, and neither have been particularly silent or even quiet. Even swapping out the crappy stock Silverstone fans for 800 rpm Scythe Slipstreams didn't help much with the TJ08 - the KL01 unfortunately used a proprietary connector for its front panel fan, so I was stuck with its obnoxious sound volume and characteristics.

    If you want *quiet*, Antec P183s and Fractal Design R3s can be made to hover around 14-20dB at 1m, and Puget Systems' custom builds live around 11-14 dB.

    I love Silverstone's design and build (for the most part - the FT03 looks like a trashcan to me), but outside of a few exceptions like the FT02 and RV02, they are not exactly silent cases out of the box.
  • geniekid - Thursday, April 28, 2011 - link

    I disagree with the people who said it looks hideous. Surely their comments are hyperbole? I'm not saying it's beautiful, but with such a simple, unadorned, rectangular enclosure, the worst thing I could say about it is that it's boring. Not a deal breaker for me, ESPECIALLY for a well cooled, microATX case where the options are severely limited to begin with.

    It's clear they're aiming for quiet by keeping temperatures low rather than any acoustic dampening. In that respect, I wouldn't use this case for my primary gaming desktop, because the graphics card will always be loud. However, this would make a great HTPC case, where the slot-in aesthetic works well and you're likely to use passively cooled components that don't generate noise to begin with.

    Also, good job on the review and I'm glad to see the revamped testing methodology. Good case reviews are hard to find, but they're so vital for system builders, professional and amateur.
  • etamin - Thursday, April 28, 2011 - link

    I agree, it is definitely not hideous. However, I honestly would not want my pc looking like that. As much as I admire the internal engineering, the design is more suited for a refrigerator (it even has the snowflake...) Reply
  • InvertMe - Thursday, April 28, 2011 - link

    I put this case in my cart on Amazon last night and was debating pulling the trigger. I really like the looks of the silver model. I think I am going to buy it right now. Reply
  • InvertMe - Thursday, April 28, 2011 - link

    I already see my first mod. I will replace the plastic vent at the bottom with an acrylic window with a few holes for ventilation. Mmmmm case moding gets me excited. Reply
  • poeticjustic - Thursday, April 28, 2011 - link

    At first i thought this would be like an upgrade of the already awesome FT02 case, but this (FT03) is a totally new category (mini,micro), completely different than FT02.
    Pretty weird changing the fortress line to another category.
    By the way does that mean there won't be any upgrade to the good old FT02?
    The idea of having the whole backpanel as a top panel is just awesome, it really helps a lot, and also moving cool-hot air from bottom to top is pretty good following the natural flow of cool-hot air.
    I have the FT02 and i believe it's the best case of all i've tried so far (even better than my beloved p182),
    i hope the FT03 is as good, though too limited/restricted for my needs.
    All in all, good review for what seems to be a nice case for its class.
  • dcianf - Thursday, April 28, 2011 - link

    I would love to see what it looks like with a slew of cabling coming out of the top. I feel like it would be pretty congested up there with USB, DVI, networking etc. Reply
  • Aengex - Thursday, April 28, 2011 - link

    Great review, i was really curious for an in-depth one, when i saw the video at CES2011.
    Can't really be sure about the materials used though, as other users mentioned, plastic parts don't justify the price.
    I got a minor complaint and not just from this review, but from all the media that are reviewing hardware.
    This is a piece of hardware with half (at most) the aluminum of a normal ATX case. Yet, it's priced @170$ and in Europe will be @170€. And it's editor's choice, meaning that you are "promoting" it indirectly. So 170$ is ok? Do you also encourage, that a normal aluminum case should cost, what, 300$? I think not, but, being a media you can direct the prices for manufacturers, yet you don't do anything about it.
    All you are saying to the public is ok, it's a great one. But i doubt if anyone has e-mailed to a manufacturer about it's pricing politics.
    400$ Graphics card, 170$ a case, 300$ Cpu, 300$ MoBo, do the maths. 4 years ago the same (proportionally) PC would cost about half as much, wonder why?
    You are a part of it, you should.

  • MilwaukeeMike - Thursday, April 28, 2011 - link

    Why does a large fries cost more than a medium?
    Why does a large t-shirt cost the same as a small?
    Why does a pack of 25 blank DvDs less than a single movie?

    You're paying $170 for a case, if you want to buy raw aluminium and make your own to save some $$$, go right ahead. If you think it should cost less because it's smaller, then please direct your anger toward those price-gouging tablet PCs.
  • Aengex - Thursday, April 28, 2011 - link

    Great arguments there, but they do not apply to what i'm saying.
    In short, i would like to see consumers and media ( who play a major role) boycotting products that do not worth the money.
    Hopefully, many companies will then change pricing policies (not politics as i wrongly mentioned above).
    Sure i do like i.e. Apple, but as a consumer, don't agree with their prices. And i don't want other companies to follow that path.
  • JarredWalton - Thursday, April 28, 2011 - link

    "Worth" is all relative. Saying we should "boycott products that aren't worth the money" is the same as saying, "only buy products that you feel are worthwhile." Everyone already does (or at least should do) exactly that, but where you're going astray is in thinking that what you like or dislike is the only metric. I think MacBook Pros are well-built laptops, but I would never buy one. Millions of people disagree with me. Dustin feels this is a well-built micro-ATX case that has some interesting features and that certain people will like it a lot; others disagree.

    A thin aluminum case is cheaper to manufacture than a thick aluminum case. R&D also costs a lot of money, so doing testing to make sure your mATX case is capable of supporting up to two GTX 580 cards in SLI isn't "free", and that carries over to the price. Making an ATX case that can accommodate two high-end GPUs is practically a no-brainer by comparison. I haven't handled this case in person, but in the past SilverStone has typically used much thicker aluminum panels than the competition, and the reason you're paying $170 for this case is for the R&D, the four 120mm fans, and the overall build quality and aesthetic.

    For the record, a Bronze means a product is "very good". Silver would be "great", and Gold would be "exceptional". Giving this product a Bronze is our way of saying, "this is a very good micro-ATX case that will appeal to many users in the targeted market; however, it has flaws and will not please everyone."
  • Rick83 - Thursday, April 28, 2011 - link

    Actually, it's 140€
    Which is still as much as STC cost, and much less case, but - it looks sexy, runs on 120mm fans and allows a very clean build.
    Some people pay more for a certain piece of furniture, others for a certain car...For me, it's something desirable, mixed with a use, and thus I see no reason not to pay a price that the market bares - the first batch of these was sold out pretty quickly, so the price obviously isn't too high.
  • RagingDragon - Thursday, April 28, 2011 - link

    I like Silverstone's rotated motherboard designs. I like the tall and shallow design. If I were looking for a micro-ATX case this one would be contender. A case with full or extended ATX support and similar tall and shallow rotated motherboard design would definetly make the shortlist for my next case. At the moment this is my favourite:

    Though to get *exactly* what I want I'll probably have to build my own case.
  • Jonathan Dum - Thursday, April 28, 2011 - link

    Give me this case in an e-ATX size and we'd have an absolute winner. Reply
  • Sabresiberian - Thursday, April 28, 2011 - link

    I think this pretty much says it about Silverstone, from the article:

    "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. "

    Man-up, Silverstone, don't whine and cry when someone says your case design is loud, and say it's the fault of the end user for not using a fan controller and turning down the fan speed. What if the components used NEED more fan speed? Idiot.

    I have 3 Silverstone products. One is a PSU bought back when they were making their name and made some outstanding units, the thing is still powering a relative's machine today. The second is a high-end 1200W beast that has worked well enough, but had to be sent in for warranty because of a defect when I received it.

    I had bought that particular PSU by reputation alone, and it's how I learned to never buy one by reputation - after sending it back I began to read articles about it. Turned out the issue I sent it back for had been documented in reviews many months before I bought my unit!! On top of that, instead of the unit performing at the top of the tests, it barely squeaked by some of them; it just wasn't up to the standards I expected from Silverstone.

    The warranty service department snow-jobbed me very well. After being told that they were aware of the problem and had fixed it on their assembly lines, I requested a unit from that batch, What I got back was the same unit. When I called them, the word was "Oh, well, we don't have any of those." Okay, so, you've fixed the problem but you don't have any of the units with the problem fixed? Why didn't you tell me that when I requested a new PSU?

    The other product I have is a case. It's a nice enough case, and has some features I like, and some I don't. Remember the brief flirtation with BTX? It's a BTX case One of the things it came with was a plastic shroud to help air move from the front of the case across the CPU to the back. Unfortunately, the shroud wouldn't work with any CPU that needed enough cooling that the shroud would be a benefit to, because it wouldn't fit around anything but a small stock cooler. It was essentially useless, and very fragile. The worst part though is that the case has started to corrode on the inside, on some of the steel edges. Not badly, but I have an Antec case twice as old that shows no sign of corrosion at all.

    So, Silverstone is 1/3 for me, and the time I really needed them they failed. Well, I didn't believe they failed so bad that I refused to use the PSU, and it hasn't given me any trouble in 2 1/2 years, to be fair, but I'm not likely to buy anything else from them either. They are going to have to do something marvelous for me to change my mind.

    This case certainly isn't it for me.

  • DaveSimmons - Thursday, April 28, 2011 - link

    SPCR reviewed this case too recently if you're looking for a second opinion Unfortunately they did NOT give it high marks for noise or cooling, apparently making the case this small meant using awkward fan placements that hurt the cooling and added noise.

    If you have the space for them, the regular ATX Raven RV02 / Fortress FT02 from SiverStone do offer excellent cooling with very low noise, and are about the best you can do for quiet air cooling of a gaming system.
  • Slayeristight - Thursday, April 28, 2011 - link

    Or is it just me? Reply
  • SquattingDog - Friday, April 29, 2011 - link

    That is the EXACT thoughts I had when I saw it at a reseller evening at the end of last year. This is a great little case, and I am looking to build a gaming machine around it using my two 5870's and either Bulldozer or a 2600K (depending on what is better once bulldozer comes out, and what motherboards are available). The Asus P8P67M-Pro has the perfect PCI-e slot placement for this case, however...:D Reply
  • darkfoon - Thursday, April 28, 2011 - link

    I don't know if I am typical of the readership here at Anandtech, but I have been consistently reading reviews here since 2003.

    I like the new case reviewing process. I sort of wish there were more pictures of the system at various stages of being built, but that's what the video is for, I suppose. The testing methodology with the uATX/MiniITX and full ATX systems is also very welcome. I am curious about the shape of the room the acoustics are measured in, and the placement of the case in that room. Maybe this is nit-picking, but for example: my computer isn't terribly loud (I don't have any numbers to back this up) but depending on where I place it and my desk it can sound much louder or quieter. Right now, I have a corner desk and the case sits along one wall, with exhaust fans blowing back into the corner (with about 4 feet of space between the fans and the wall). This arrangement makes it sound louder than other places I've had it because the sound is reverberating off the corner and toward one ear specifically.
    Since the acoustic readings for reviews are taken from one foot in front of the computer, I am curious if it is near a corner, or if the room is carpeted, etc.

    I liked this review and it helped me to decide that this case is not the case for me. When I first saw the picture I thought, "Ooh! Pretty!" and continued to read on. The more I read, the more I learned that this case just doesn't meet my needs. Aesthetically, it does, but the size restrictions and the optical drive requirements have made it a no-go for me. I decide whether to read a case review based on the "Ooh! Pretty" response. If I get it, I read on. If not, I pass.

    Keep up the good work with the new reviewing process!
  • Dustin Sklavos - Thursday, April 28, 2011 - link

    Thank you for the kind words. I love this case, too, but it just doesn't suit my needs either. Mercifully there's a Raven RV03 in my living room awaiting review...

  • james007 - Thursday, April 28, 2011 - link

    If we're going to put together a system around this case, what about that optical drive? You say it has to be a slot-loading slim drive, but.. which ones fit this? You list in your setting simply "Slimline DVD+/-RW Drive" - which one is that?
    I'm also curious to know - are these micro-ATX mobos as overclockable as the full ATX mobos (I was thinking for example of the Asrock Extreme4 for a full-size ATX board, but I like the idea of a smaller package). Otherwise, thanks for creating this excellent review. James Hurst (New Orleans)
  • Dustin Sklavos - Thursday, April 28, 2011 - link

    Good micro-ATX boards will have the same kinds of overclocking goodies as their full ATX kin.

    Slimline optical drives are fairly standardized, so in this instance you just have to find one that slot-loads. SilverStone sells one on their site.
  • dalenchm0b - Thursday, April 28, 2011 - link

    I can answer some of your questions, since I am actually burning in one of these cases right now. The optical drive this case uses is the same type of drive found in those more expensive laptops where the drive sucks in the disc as opposed to a tray popping out. It's the same mechanism for the Wii and PS3 optical drives. There aren't too many models available, but you can readily find them on eBay. Just search for "slot load dvd" and "slot load blu-ray". Personally, I don't think I will buy one anyway because USB flash drives are cheap and I can just use that since we are moving towards digital distribution anyway.

    As for the motherboard, I am currently running stability tests on an overclocked i7-920 @ 3.8 GHz using the Asus Rampage III Gene. The RIIIG is a 1366 mATX mobo that supports SLI and CF, so I am definitely going to take advantage of that one day when I upgrade my old GTX 260 to some HD 6000 or GTX 500 series goodness. I am using a Corsair H60 with medium speed Yate Loons in push-pull. In fact, I replaced all the fans with Yate Loons since I have had good results with them and they are nice and cheap. I replaced the GPU fan at the bottom of the case with 2 80mm Yates, because the 120mm fan uses a bracket that directs air at an angle instead of directly upwards. I didn't bother going with an SSD, instead I am using two WD 640 GB black drives in RAID 0 for the OS and apps, while a 2 TB Samsung F4 provides storage. The reviewer isn't kidding about the side panels passively cooling the drives, because I can touch the side of the case and feel exactly where the drives are from the heat these bad boys are giving off. Powering this little bastard is a fully modular Seasonic X750. It should provide enough power for dual gpu goodness as long as I stick with mainstream level cards.

    Anyway, I'm currently benching at 3.8 GHz and its been stable for a few hours now but the 4 cores with hyperthreading enabled and all 8 threads active is making the CPU just a tad too warm for my taste at 72 C. I'll probably give the silverstone fans a test run and see if they can cool it down some more, but otherwise its doing pretty damn good I think.

    I am satisfied with the case and would recommend it to someone looking to maximize desk space while looking simple yet elegant. Thanks for reading!
  • coldcase - Friday, April 29, 2011 - link

    Sorry but I'm not finding that design appealing at all. Looks like a mini fridge. Reply
  • 7Enigma - Friday, April 29, 2011 - link

    Hi guys,

    Read your article yesterday and then this morning saw this deal on a slimline DVD/CD burner ($23). Hope this helps some of you reading this and wanting to get the FT03 (not me):
  • 7Enigma - Friday, April 29, 2011 - link

    Scratch my last comment, too early in the morning. This was for a slimline but not slot-loading it appears. Reply
  • james007 - Friday, April 29, 2011 - link

    I appreciate the in-depth article. However - what about that optical-drive, which has to be "slot-loading"??? Exactly which models are going to fit this thing? The "setup" table doesn't say what he put into this. I would think, since our whole purpose in reading this article is to gleen the benefit of the author's experience in order to ascertain whether to use this in our own build - and to help as a guide in building it -- that this is one of the primary items he'd cover.

    I see precious few slot-loading optical drives available from online retailers, and zero information on which to get. Any helpful thoughts on this?
  • araczynski - Friday, April 29, 2011 - link

    i guess to each their own, but to me, it looks like a silver paper shredder trashcan. Reply
  • EnzoFX - Friday, April 29, 2011 - link

    I just don't think these reviews do any cases justice. SPCR does it best, a case is about cooling, how well it can run at given tdp/overall power usage/and how quiet. Saying it has decent noise levels isn't very helpful. I remember an old review saying that noise was below the ambient 30+ dB's which then prompted me to ignore the entire thing. Reply
  • cordis - Saturday, April 30, 2011 - link

    "To be fair, though, I don't think I could armchair engineer a better solution than what SilverStone has done."

    Really? I came up with a couple variations:
    smaller wooden box -
    larger brass box -

    The easiest way they could have done this would be to just put one big fan at the bottom of the box, put the optical slot in vertically, maybe put the psu near the top of the case, and just keep the air paths open all the way up. If the fan at the bottom overlaps both chambers, you can easily get enough cooling that way. In my homemade cases, I put separate fans on each side, but I'm thinking about another one with a single fan at the bottom. I'm not thrilled with this case, it's not nearly as elegant as the other rotated motherboard cases they have. I appreciate that they're still being creative, though.
  • shyrix - Saturday, April 30, 2011 - link

    I love this case. i put in dual 6870's, asus p8p67-m pro, i2500k,h70, corsair vengeance sticks, ocz vertex ssd raid0

    fit it all, documented my build via facebook. lots of photos...just click through to facebook album.

    has strider psu, with short cable kit.

    i can answer any questions about this case/build
  • akahuddy - Monday, May 02, 2011 - link

    Why not use the Silverstone FP33-B. It comes with a front 3.5in controller and a rear expansion slot that has 3 dials. I've been using one for 5 years with great success in several different cases. That would cover all of the fans that you could put in a case like this. Reply

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