Introducing the SilverStone Fortress FT02

Ever since we reviewed the SilverStone Raven RV03, a lot of you have chimed in about their Fortress FT02 enclosure, with more than one even proclaiming it the best air-cooling enclosure ever; high praise to be sure. To be fair, we were impressed with the FT02 when we reviewed the DigitalStorm BlackOps, a monster of a boutique build that nonetheless ran remarkably quiet and cool given the massive overclock on its Core i7-950 and the pair of GeForce GTX 580s sandwiched together in precisely the way NVIDIA tells you to avoid. It didn't matter: the system was cool and quiet despite pulling nearly 700 watts under our testing load and undoubtedly capable of pulling more. The FT02 has been around for a couple of years now and SilverStone warns that it doesn't enjoy some of the conveniences modern enclosures do, but can it hold up?

Spoiler alert: it absolutely can. Those of you who found the exterior of SilverStone's Raven RV03 ostentatious, or just find many gamer-oriented enclosures ostentatious in general, it doesn't get much simpler than the Fortress FT02. But this is a luxury enclosure with a pricetag that has it competing squarely against the recently reviewed Thermaltake Level 10 GT, and like the Thermaltake case, SilverStone has made some unusual choices in the design of the FT02.

SilverStone Fortress FT02 Specifications
Motherboard Form Factor SSI CEB, ATX, Micro-ATX, Mini-ITX
Drive Bays External 5x 5.25"
Internal 5x 3.5"/2.5", 1x 2.5"
Cooling Front -
Rear -
Top 1x 120mm exhaust fan
Side -
Bottom 3x 180mm intake fan
Expansion Slots 7
Front I/O Port -
Top I/O Port 2x USB 2.0 (user-replaceable with separately sold USB 3.0 bracket), mic and headphone jacks
Power Supply Size ATX
Clearance 12" (Expansion Cards), 165mm (CPU HSF), 330mm (PSU)
Weight 33.1 lbs.
Dimensions 24.25" x 8.35" x 19.57"
Price $249

Just looking at the specs a few things should jump out at you: it's big, it's heavy, it's expensive, and it...has three massive intake fans on the bottom? As you'll see it's another unusual design from the mad scientists at SilverStone, and while it's definitely a major step up from the newer RV03, like every other SilverStone enclosure I've played with...it's a little bit special needs.

In and Around the SilverStone Fortress FT02
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  • brett.bdy - Monday, August 15, 2011 - link

    Definitely has its issues, but still better than the FT03. Still unsure about which case I'm going with my next build. The Fractal Design ones are stellar for a company I only just learned about.

    PS
    Fitting review for my birthday!
    Reply
  • headbox - Tuesday, August 16, 2011 - link

    $250 for a case that is still junk compared to a Mac Pro. Seriously JUNK! People wonder why Macs cost more? It's because they don't just round 2 edges of a cheap ATX case and have a jungle of cables inside. WHEN WILL WE SEE A PC CASE THAT ISN'T OVER PRICED CRAP??? Reply
  • truthbeacon - Thursday, August 18, 2011 - link

    " WHEN WILL WE SEE A PC CASE THAT ISN'T OVER PRICED CRAP??? "

    You see them all the time in (for instance) the Level 10 GT.

    When will we see anything from Jobsland that isn't overpriced crap? Never.
    When will we see anything that hints at creative diversity from Jobsland? Never.
    When will we see anything terribly original from Jobsland? Those days ended a long, long time ago in a galaxy far, far away.

    Damned crApple troll.
    Reply
  • DallasWits - Monday, August 29, 2011 - link

    Second this.

    I thought the apple trolls stayed over at Engadget and Arstechnica.....
    Reply
  • IAMTHEPROCESSOR - Monday, August 15, 2011 - link

    ANYMOO take off the steal grill at the top of the case improves airflow a lot i mean unless you know you have a wire that would fall in there if so do some cable tying on top of you case with your cables and just leave the top panel off for better temperatures you won't have to put fans on high! Put a noctua nhd14 then you never put those fans on high ANYMOO did you forget that not all the fans need to be put on high at the same time to get better temperatures! Now if you really want good temperatures change those fans on the bottom to 180mm fans without grill that are faster but make less noise then actually do some cable tying and don't complain like a noob about how lazy you are that you need to shovel your wires in the back of you case!!!! Also takoff psu fan grill!

    My PC specs

    GTX 590 700MHZ!

    2600K 5.0 GHZ!

    COUGH CABLE TYING COUCH!!!! NEAT LIKE A PRO!
    Reply
  • JarredWalton - Monday, August 15, 2011 - link

    What the heck is with the CAPS and ANYMOO comments? It almost reads like a spam comment with the additions of random comments. "COUGH CABLE TYING COUCH!!!" Thanks for that -- very useful. I'm not even sure it's worth responding, but at the risk of stating the obvious:

    This is a review of a case, and as such it looks at how the case ships. Given this is a $250 case, it should include everything you need for optimal performance. Do the filters restrict airflow? Yes, a bit, but they also keep out dust. Does the top cable cover do the same? Sure, and it also makes the top of your PC not look like a mess of wires.

    As the review points out, there's plenty that can be done to improve the case, but a lot of what can be done requires extra investments into an already expensive case. Different fans? $20 a pop for good quality options. USB 3.0 top ports? Probably another $20-$40. The FT02 is still a very good case, and the review is very positive overall, but that doesn't mean the case is perfect. Your suggestions amount to taking several of the key features of the FT02 and removing them, so why even bother in the first place?
    Reply
  • mtoma - Monday, August 15, 2011 - link

    You're right, the above comments are unusual, to say the least! It implies a lack of basic english. However, I have to pretty-please ask Dustin to put some extra photos in his future Silverstone cases reviews. Those extra-photos should present the case attached to a monitor, keyboard and mouse. I hope I don't ask for much, but I am concerned about the external cable routing (because of the I/O ports located on top of the case), and how neat it is.

    Maybe this would convince me about SIlverstone's original motherboard assembly, because, altough it's efficient, I want to see some esthetics to it.

    To date, my reference case-design is Antec P183 and future Antec P280.
    Thanks a bunch!
    Reply
  • Dustin Sklavos - Monday, August 15, 2011 - link

    That's a little more tricky to do, but for what it's worth the cable bundle spewing out of my tower through the routing hole in the back:

    3x DVI, one HDMI, 4x USB, Ethernet, FireWire, optical audio, eSATA, and a power cable.

    It's not the most attractive thing in the world, but I leave the top cover on and my GTX 580 barely hits 70C under load. I'd say aesthetically it's probably fine. Actually more than fine, because having to route all the cables through the back winds up bundling them together quite nicely. :)
    Reply
  • Samus - Monday, August 15, 2011 - link

    FT01 owner here, and I'll say for sure it has its problems (low quality, odd sized 180mm stock fans, expensive additional SATA backplanes, top fan filter that is irremovable without partial case disassembly)

    ...but it's still the best case I've ever owned.
    Reply
  • sweetca - Tuesday, August 16, 2011 - link

    Thank you so much! I laughed so hard and ended up choking on the M&M I was eating. Reply

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