Conclusion

Silverstone produces high-end chassis, and the build quality of the FT01 is virtually impeccable. There are no sharp edges or other areas of concern. Building the main body of the case out of a single piece of aluminum also creates a more rigid structure, allowing Silverstone to eliminate that pesky crossbar that often detracts from a clean interior. This case is sleek and very simple, and something people more inclined towards conservative appearances will appreciate. Those who love flashy cases on the other hand will want to look elsewhere. The overall looks and mostly screw-less design are very nice, and Silverstone did a great job designing this case.

That's not to say that we don't have a few complaints, but most of these are minor. We like the top-mounted ports for the most part, even if the depression will collect a bit of extra dust. Moving to the interior, the difficulty of accessing the dust filter on the top fan and the potential for conflicts with SATA connectors on certain motherboards are areas that could be improved with small changes.

Most of the internal design works well, but particularly on high-end configurations with multiple hard drives and graphics cards it is easy to end up with a cramped configuration. Users of extra long graphics cards will want to remove the top hard drive cage, but if you plan on such a system, we generally would recommend looking at larger full-tower cases. Also, note that the case is only capable of handling up to ATX size motherboards, so if you might want to use an EATX motherboard you will need to select a different chassis.

The case features a mostly tool-free design. Installing hard drives requires the use of screws on the hard drive cage, but cage itself slides and locks into place without any additional screws. Optical drives mount easily without the use of any screws or tools, although you can add screws if you prefer. One area where you will need to use screws is the expansion card slots. However, we don't really have any problem with this, as securing heavy graphics cards using potentially flimsy plastic clamps is less than ideal.

Airflow is another area that brings a few potential concerns. For example, the hard drive mounting structure is nice, but it blocks a lot of airflow from the front fan. The hard drives to stay at a reasonably constant 30°C; that's good for people running large RAID sets or similar configurations, but it's overkill for anyone running a single hard drive. Temperatures in the rest of the case are very good, with the CPU only increasing a few degrees at full load. The large 180mm fan directly above the CPU definitely helps here, but the graphics cards seem to struggle a bit more since they don't have any direct airflow. Silverstone intends for the front fan to cool down the graphics cards as well, but the hard drive cage and cables that run through the area make it difficult for this to work in practice. The result is that the cards need to be cooled with leftovers from the top fan, and this may not be sufficient for a top-end system running at full load.

That may explain why reversing the direction of the top fan hurt temperatures so much; as it stands, it seems like very little of the airflow from the front fan reaches the main body, so the top fan really needs to be an intake fan in order to provide fresh air for the CPU and graphics cards. In fact, during our stress test modified than configuration actually resulted in a system crash after 30 minutes. If you only use a couple hard drives, we would recommend removing the extra hard drive mounting cages to improve airflow from the front fan.

The dust filters in front of the two intake fans are a nice addition, and they are definitely necessary as 180mm fans can move a lot of air. Even during our short time of testing, we noticed quite a lot of dust buildup in the filters, as well as on the chassis grille. Some of this can be wiped off easily, but you'll probably want to clean the filters at least every couple months.

The noise dampening foam on the side panels is an extra that may or may not benefit you. If you are building a quiet system, it should help reduce noise levels from internal components, particularly hard drives and motherboard fans. It doesn't make as much of a difference on allowed system like our test configuration, however, and the added thickness of the foam interfered with routing cables behind the motherboard tray.

Prices start in the U.S at $199 at Directron, with other locations charging closer to $250. In Europe the prices start at 170€, which is about the same price as in the U.S but includes tax. For a sharp looking full aluminum tower like the Silverstone FT01, around $200 is a good investment for a chassis that should last a long time. The case is more than capable of running a triple-SLI setup, although that's probably not the primary market. If you run a lower configuration, you should be able to get much lower noise levels and temperatures.

Temperatures and Acoustics
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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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