Introduction

When it comes to high-end aluminum chassis, a few names come to mind. One name that should definitely be on your short list if you're interested in such a case is Silverstone. The Taiwanese manufacturer formed when a group of rogue engineers left Cooler Master to go their own way in 2003, and they have been building high-end cases and power supplies (and a few other products) since the split.

They recently introduced their new Fortress chassis series, and we will be looking at the black anodized version today. With this case, Silverstone follows the footsteps of Apple by producing the case - or at least the main frame - out of one piece of aluminum. That results in better stability as well as a cooler appearance since joints stay mostly unseen.


Silverstone chose to modify the cooling system relative to the ATX standard. The ATX standard says air needs to come into the case at the bottom front, which will allow airflow to cross over the mainboard and all the components, and then it will exit via the power supply and rear mounted fan(s). Minor tweaks in positioning of fans are one thing, but Silverstone mixes things up by having two large 180mm intake fans, one at the front and one at the top.

With more fans blowing air into the case, Silverstone creates higher air pressure inside the case, which in turn causes air to exhaust through every opening it can find. In the presentation on their website, Silverstone shows how the air will exhaust through the rear-mounted fan, the perforated side near the fan in the rear, and the front - again, wherever is an opening. One benefit of this design is that most of the air that enters the chassis will come through one of the two filtered fan intakes, reducing dust buildup and the interior. Silverstone has even posted a YouTube video demonstration.

There has been something of a debate among users for years about the best way to air-cool a case. Some people think it's best to have most of your fans as intake fans, creating positive air pressure -- like the Silverstone FT01. Others take the opposite view and feel it's best to have all of your fans exhausting air from the chassis, and there's the traditional matched intake/exhaust configuration that most cases use. Perhaps the best cooling setup depends on the overall case design, which is something we are working to test right now with the FT01. Initially, we will have results for the standard configuration of the FT01 that we can compare with other cases; however, we will update this article later today with testing results showing how reversing fan directions affects -- or perhaps doesn't affect -- cooling efficiency.

Specs

Silverstone FT01 Specifications
Motherboard Form Factor ATX, Micro ATX
Drive Bays External 5x 5.25"
Internal 7x 3.5"
Cooling Front 1x 180mm intake
Rear 1x 120mm exhaust
Top 1x 180mm intake
Side  
Bottom  
Expansion Slots 7
Front I/O Port 2x USB, 1x IEEE1394, 1x Audio, 1x Micro
Power Supply Size Standard ATX
Weight 8.66kg
Dimensions 211 x 486 x 495mm (WxHxD)
Exterior
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  • Zepper - Monday, November 24, 2008 - link

    I notice that the author didn't bother to convert the measurements into English units - isn't this a mainly American site where only a minority is really fluent in Metric? It is basically a maxi-mid tower of about 19x8x20 (HWD) inches (assuming the values in the Specs. table are accurate) - SST has been known to be inaccurate in their specs tables and this one looks like it was "borrowed" directly from their Web site, so I do my own measurements and weighing.

    Otherwise and interesting, but not knockout case. Looks too much like Lian Li at first glance, but L-L would seldom round the edges like that.

    .bh.
    Reply
  • anartik - Thursday, November 13, 2008 - link

    Even the best of cases have some design issues and tradeoffs depending on its intended use. I think if you are looking for an air cooling only case or plan to use external WC the Fortress rocks in its simple high tech aesthetics. People whine about $200 for a case but in the scheme of premium, all aluminum cases it’s a pretty good deal. If you want fuzzy dice, uh bling, you can still do it tastefully with a window and some internal lighting. I hope SS offers a windowed version, as they usually do, and it’s not that crappy looking window they put on the TJ07 and others. If not… buy a nice window kit and install it yourself.

    The one thing I would really question is putting that 180mm top intake right on top the single 120mm exhaust and the overall air flow. I would have to suspect it is going to interfere with the airflow of some vertical CPU coolers. The one thing I would add to that case is a 3 bay intake (i.e. Kama Bay) w/ a 120 or 140mm fan. That might be the solution for the Fortress to provide better air flow to one or more video cards while increasing positive air pressure. IMO positive is the way to go for dust control where the dust is limited to your filtered intakes. Every week or two I wipe off my front panel and maybe every few months the two 140mm intake filters get cleaned. Overall the inside of the case stays clean. Nice case but for a little more money I think Lian Li still has a leg up on Silverstone.
    Reply
  • Van Squished - Saturday, November 15, 2008 - link

    Well I have just finished building an FT01 installation with 850W PSU, Rampage Extreme M/b Q9550 CPU, two ATI cards in Crossfire mode and two hard disks.
    The case is brilliant to work with, extremely good finish, and in operation the system is almost silent and I struggle to get any part of it above 42 degrees C even with CounterStrike 2 or Photoshop.
    So I would recommend it big time.
    Reply
  • NicePants42 - Wednesday, November 12, 2008 - link

    Anyone with even the most cursory interest in PC case modding could tell you that the The Silverstone FT01 is a basically a revised version of the Silverstone TJ09 internals with a TJ07-styled exterior.

    Implying that Silverstone's case designs are/were influenced by Apple implies that you are completely unaware of at least two products that have been highly praised (to put it mildly) by PC enthusiasts everywhere. The TJ07 has been on the market since the spring of 2005, and the TJ09 since the end of 2006.

    Making demeaning comments based solely on your own ignorance makes you look...ignorant.
    Reply
  • Griswold - Tuesday, November 11, 2008 - link

    It has an ashtray! Good for smokers. Reply
  • strikeback03 - Thursday, November 13, 2008 - link

    Would go well with this:

    http://www.geeks.com/details.asp?invtid=SIL-CIGCUP...">http://www.geeks.com/details.asp?invtid=SIL-CIGCUP...
    Reply
  • JonnyDough - Monday, November 10, 2008 - link

    It's pretty simple. Look at how a wood stove or car works. Air intake, air exhaust. The idea is to get a DRAFT going, using the rising warm air. Cool air should ALWAYS be sucked in through the bottom of the case, where the air is COOLEST. It should be expelled via the TOP of the case, where the warm air is naturally rising. An ideal case would "funnel" the air upward and have a chute blowing out the top like a chimney. As the warm air is condensed, it speeds up - sucking more air in through the bottom. Ideally, the hotter a PC is the LESS fans it would need because the increased temps would create more draft. There's a balance here between manufacturing technologies, voltages, and passive cooling. I believe we're nearing it with better case designs and new manufacturing technologies. Reply
  • JonnyDough - Monday, November 10, 2008 - link

    If I do plop down my left arm for a new case, this one will be it. Good job Silverstone! Reply
  • CEO Ballmer - Monday, November 10, 2008 - link

    I like this!

    http://fakesteveballmer.blogspot.com">http://fakesteveballmer.blogspot.com
    Reply
  • zShowtimez - Monday, November 10, 2008 - link

    Ive had a TJ case for 4 years now, the whole upside down motherboard/kinda BTX style... best case Ive ever owned. Kinda makes me want one of these new ones Reply

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