SilverStone Fortress FT02 Mid Tower Case Review

by Mike D.     |     January 30, 2010

Exterior Impressions

Once we carefully removed the FT02 from it’s packaging, we were immediately taken aback by it’s dimensions. Although it is not a terribly tall case at only 19.5 inches, it measures over 24 inches in depth. It seems that interesting layout and features often result in interesting dimensions.

From an aesthetics perspective, the FT02 is a beautifully simple case. There is virtually nothing on the front panel and it’s smooth lines, subtlety and curves give it a style that we’d liken to the popular TJ07. There really isn’t anything to dislike about the appearance of the FT02, as it would look just at home in an office as it would on the desk of a PC gamer or enthusiast.

The model we’re taking a look at today is the SST-FT02B-W (black + window) model. We are told that a silver model should follow, and both black and silver will be available with and without a window. Although the window looks a bit smaller than what was on the FT01, it is really just the very long side panel that is creating that perception. The Plexiglas itself is nice and thick and in the typical SilverStone fashion, it is fastened with stainless bolts from the outside of the case.

The front of the FT02 is quite bare. Not even LEDs or switches will be found here – only a simple SilverStone logo and five 5.25 inch drive bays. Although the bezels are brushed aluminum, the front panel appears to have a rough powder coat of sorts which creates an interesting but subtle contrast that looks good in our opinion.

Those interested in 3.5 inch external devices won’t be able to use them in the FT02 without an adapter of some kind. This was unfortunately the case with the FT01 as well as TJ07 but SilverStone sells an adapter called the FP51 for this purpose.

Although the FT02 has what appears to be a stylish stand, this small gap underneath the body of the case is an important feature which allows it’s large 180mm lower fans to breathe freely. We were pleased to see this healthy gap present as it makes the case very safe to use in carpeted environments. Simple rubber feet don’t always work well as the case would eventually sink a few millimeters into the carpet, potentially blocking the intake. So not only does it look great, but it serves an important function as well.

Moving to the top of the case, we get a view of the large mesh grille that extends across about three quarters of the case. This portion of the top is removable – simply stick your hand into the small opening and pull upward.

Like the Raven RV02, a well “breathing” top is important in order for the bottom to top convection effect to work correctly. We’ll take a look underneath the hood shortly.

Farther toward the front of the top panel is the I/O panel, switches and LEDs. All of the I/O ports are located behind a not-so-stealthy, "stealth cover". Although the case looks a little cleaner with the cover closed, it is constructed with plastic and is a little flimsy in our opinion – especially considering the high quality nature of the rest of the case. We would have preferred a pull-up metal cover similar to what is found on the TJ09. On the flip side, we were very pleased with the high quality look and feel of the power and reset switches. For those curious, the LEDs between the two switches glow a bright blue.

Two USB ports and headphone/microphone jacks can be found underneath the I/O cover. Although many cases include eSATA and Firewire ports today, we won’t hold this against the FT02 as they simply add clutter and are not used by most buyers.

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