SilverStone Fortress FT01 Mid-Tower Case Review

by lemonlime     |     December 1, 2008

SilverStone Fortress FT01 Mid-Tower Case Review

Manufacturer Product Page: SilverStone Fortress FT01
Product Number:
SST-FT01B (black)
SST-FT01S (silver)
SST-FT01B-W (black + window)
SST-FT01S-W (silver + window)
TechWiki Info: Silverstone Fortress FT01
Warranty: 3-Year
Price: $230-260 CAD. Click here to compare prices.

The PC enclosure market has been saturated with a lot of the same lately: similar designs and uninspiring features. “A case is a case” is a familiar phrase that we hear from those who have never taken a step up and dished out a bit extra for a premium quality case. Here at Hardware Canucks, we’ve been keeping our eyes peeled for cases that truly break out of the cookie cutter and provide innovative features and unique styling. In our opinion, a case is not just a case; it is a home for the PC components you’ve invested so much in. Installing hundreds if not thousands of dollars worth of gear in a cheap low-quality case is like hanging a Picasso in a garden shed. Not only will it not look right, it’s simply not a good environment to keep it in.

We’re not alone in our views on the importance of quality cases; SilverStone just so happens to agree with us on this. SilverStone is a company that should be very familiar to hardware enthusiasts. Founded back in 2003, they have become well known for their premium quality cases and power supplies. They have also had a particularly potent impact in the home theatre DIY scene with over two dozen high quality HTPC enclosures released to date. Although best known for small form factor cases, many enthusiasts and overclockers have been very fond of their full-size Temjin series enclosures.

As popular as the TJ07, TJ09 are, they are massive cases. Measuring in at over 600mm deep, they were clearly designed with EATX motherboards and full-length expansion cards in mind. Not everyone needs beautiful monstrosities like this. After all, that extra unused real-estate does add to the cost of the chassis. Two years after the release of the popular TJ07, SilverStone has released a smaller, more affordable all-aluminium case; the Fortress FT01. Some of the unique features found in the Temjin series as well as the Sugo line of cases can be found in the FT01.

The Fortress FT01 is definitely not your average mid-tower. The engineers at SilverStone have put quite a bit of thought into the design of this case. The first significant departure from the norm is SilverStone’s decision to use a “positive air pressure” design. This is achieved through the use of use of greater intake flow than exhaust flow. Even a case having an equal number of identical intake and exhaust fans will still have an overall negative pressure due to the PSU fan, and sometimes the video card exhausting air from the case. SilverStone employed two massive 180mm intake fans in the FT01 to outweigh the single 120mm exhaust fan and create an overall positive pressure within. Not only does this reduce the amount of dust entering the case but SilverStone also claims that it can benefit high-end video cards as well. Hot air from the cards is not allowed to escape at or around the PCI brackets in a negative pressure environment. In the FT01’s positive pressure environment, a continuous stream of exhaust will be exiting the vented PCI-brackets as well as the other crevices in the case.

SilverStone has a video demonstrating this effect at the FT01 product page and details the advantages of the design in the tech talk area of their site. SilverStone’s Sugo SG03 case that we reviewed last year also uses a positive air pressure design.

The second noteworthy feature of the FT01 is its uni-body construction. Just like uni-body construction in the automotive industry, the case does not have a frame made up of several pieces of material. The entire center portion of the case is constructed out of a single piece of aluminium. This means an overall sturdier construction and removes the need for unsightly horizontal reinforcement bars and multiple riveted panels. SilverStone first introduced uni-body construction in the award winning TJ07.

There are currently four revisions of the FT01 to choose from; black or silver, with or without a window. Availability is currently very good—it can be found at many retailers across Canada. Priced at $230-260, it is clearly aimed toward the enthusiast. None the less, it is over $100 cheaper than the high-end Temjin cases, putting a high quality SilverStone tower closer to the reach of the average consumer.

Today, we’ll be taking a look at the SST-FT01B-W model.


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