SilverStone FTZ01: Mini-ITX Fortress

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SilverStone FTZ01: Mini-ITX Fortress

August 25, 2015 by Lawrence Lee

Product
SilverStone Fortress FTZ01
Mini-ITX Case
Manufacturer
Street Price
US$130

Case manufacturers regularly make two or three variants of the same model, usually with minor superficial differences like adding a side window. SilverStone takes this one step further with the Raven and Fortress series. They're usually identical on the inside but vastly different on the outside. The Raven is more budget friendly, having a primarily black plastic build on the outside, featuring beak or feather like contours. The Fortress is the more elegant but expensive alternative with a stoic, minimalist style, and clad in aluminum.

Last year SilverStone released the Raven RVZ01, the first mini-ITX member of the family, a slim vertical tower or short horizontal chassis depending on how it was oriented. It looked like a home theater enclosure, a far cry from the big towers with giant fans that made up the rest of the Raven series. But what it lacked size, it compensated with design. It was capable of housing a full sized graphics card, a 3.5 inch hard drive, a slim optical drive, and up to three slim 120 mm fans within its lithe 14 Liter body.


FTZ01, black version, unboxed.


Vertical.

A year later, the other shoe drops, the Fortress version of the same case, the FTZ01. Our sample is the black version but they also have a silver variant available. Again, the main difference is the external material with a single striking sculpted piece of aluminum forming the front and sides of the chassis. This is another iteration of the single U-shaped aluminum extrusion (or unibody as they like to call it) featured first in the Temjin TJ-07 of 2006 and reprised in key large cases over the years.

In the FTZ01, gone are the RVZ01's slightly depressed sides, the feather lines, and scattered exhaust vents. The interior is the same with one minor improvement: an enlarged fan vent to support SFX-L power supplies, a variation of the SFX form factor that is 30 mm deeper, making it large enough to fit a 120 mm fan.

While these changes are minor, since I originally reviewed the RVZ01, our mini-ITX test system has been updated with more capable graphics card, a GeForce GTX 980. The FTZ01 is worthy of a retest to see if the design is truly appropriate for a compact modern high-end gaming system.


Accessories.


Stands.

Stuffed inside the FTZ01 is a white box containing its many accessories. It ships with three ultra fine mesh dust filters, riser card, dual fan connector, the components to assemble the video card holder, case feet that are attached with adhesive for horizontal operation, and two stands for holding up the chassis in vertical orientation.

The stands are composed of two interconnecting plastic pieces that only lock when fully expanded or contracted. When wrapped tightly around the case, they're loose with nothing to stop them from expanding outward. It's a basic, surprising screw-up. The dust filters have magnetic strip applied only to one side, so they need to be turned the right way to stick.

Specifications: SilverStone Fortress FTZ01
(from the product web page)
Model No. SST-FTZ01B (black)
SST-FTZ01S (silver)
Material Aluminum unibody frame, steel chassis
Motherboard Mini-DTX, Mini-ITX
Drive Bay External Slim slot-loading optical x 1
Internal 3.5” x 1, 2.5” x 3
Cooling System Top 1 x 120mm fan, 1500rpm 18dBA
Bottom 1 x 120mm fan, 1500rpm 18dBA
1 x 120mm fan slot
Expansion Slot 2
Front I/O Port USB 3.0 x 2
audio x 1
MIC x 1
Power Supply SFX, SFX-L
Expansion Card Support graphics card up to 13”, width restriction – 5.88”
Limitation of CPU cooler 83mm
Net Weight 4.6kg
Dimension 376mm (W) x 107mm (H) x 351mm (D), 14 liters
Extra Support Kensington locks


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