Silverstone Fortress 3 mATX Case
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February 5, 2011, 08:47 PM
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Join Date: Feb 2010
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This case is a bit of a disappointment, for the most part the quality is substantially lower than all other Silverstone cases I've come across. The whole design concept is very, very good, just poorly implemented. Maybe Silverstone should try for another revision.
-The exterior finish of the case is absolutely impeccable, the sandblasted aluminum finish looks great in light and is very fingerprint/smudge resistant. I just can't stress enough how nice the finish on the shell is.
-Very few rivets are used and the side panels are mostly tool free. However, most of the screws used to hold the case together were not threaded properly. (this could just be an unlucky QC issue)
-Cable management was very well thought out with this case, I was able to do an incredibly clean job, cleaner than most mid tower builds I've done. (which is a pretty big deal)
-They also use a very thick awg14 gauge extension cord for the PSU, which is nice but difficult to route.
-All of the motherboard standoffs that are common to m-atx and mini itx/dtx standrds come pre-installed.
-The included fans are fairly quiet with decent static pressure, but still require undervolting for silent operation.
-The aluminum panels are of two different thicknesses, ~3mm and ~2mm, not the advertised uniform 2.5mm.
-There are also very few external IO options. But the rear IO is right next to the external stuff anyhow.
-Depending on CPU socket placement on your motherboard, the CPU intake fan bracket will interfere with the front fan of most tower coolers.
-There's a giant aluminum slab used to cool the hot swap drive, but it honestly doesn't do much except bring up the cost. A cheap thermal pad would have been more effective.
-The case requires a slim slot loading optical drive, which only Silverstone has readily available at a minimum cost of $70 at time of posting.
-The expansion slot covers are made of flimsy steel with a poor finish. Nothing like what's used in the separately sold product or the ones used in other Silverstone cases.
-Thicker 24 pin cables will interfere with video cards longer than 9.6", although the case advertises compatibility with 12" cards.
-The plastic top cover feels flimsy and does not fit very well.
-Installation isn't hard, but very, very time consuming. There isn't much clearance to use thumb screws, and everything aside from the panels and plastic parts need them. Plan your build well and follow the instructions included like it says on the box.
-They only included two cable ties.
-The interior steel body was a pretty big disappointment and it's not because of the fact it was steel. The paint job is very shoddy, some parts of the case had a few layers of white gloss, but others barely had half a layer of paint on them. (the grey colour of the steel is just visible) To be honest, Silverstone's $35 cases have a far better paint job.
-The fitting of the side panels was not done very well. It started out too stiff, but after taking them off a few times they're too lose, causing annoying aluminum vibration noise. They did use tiny foam pads to prevent this, but they definitely don't work very well.
-The bottom filter is magnetized and sits flush enough, but the 80mm fan ports aren't fully covered, leaving two gaps that render the filter useless for users that don't use dual 80mm fans. It also suffocates the PSU a little due to close proximity, leaving the height advantage ineffective.
-The side panel filter only covers most of the intake for the CPU. Not only does it not work, but due to design limitations it recycles hot air from the PSU into the CPU area while sucking in dust.
-The front panel HD audio gets a lot of static, its not even usable. However this could just be another unlucky QC issue.
-The launch for this case was originally delayed because Silverstone needed to find ways to bring down the cost of the case. It went from being a full aluminum body case with a few plastic parts and AP121 fans to an aluminum shell with a cheap steel body and plastic parts and no AP121's. Given how much they cut back on the quality, I find this case to be completely overpriced at its current MSRP. ($170USD) I did get a PM for $155 though, which made the price a little less revolting since I've been waiting for a long time for this case to launch.
All in all, it's a great concept but poorly implemented with overall questionable quality and an outrageously high price tag for what you get. Feels like a pre production sample of a good product, it would be a good value at ~$80-$90 IMO.
BTW Grampa, I snuck in your house the other night and took a pic of my Fortress on your fireplace.
You could really use some better lighting in your house, couldn't take any good pics. Say hi to grandma for me.
My System Specs
Intel Xeon X3440 @3.8 Prolimatech Megahalems
G.Skill Ripjaws X 2x4GB DDR3-1600
Zotac GTX 470
Hitachi Deskstar WD Caviar Black
Silverstone Fortress FT03S
Asus Xonar DG
Who needs one these days?
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