Silverstone Fortress FT02 ATX Case

Cases|Damping
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AUDIO RECORDINGS

These recordings were made with a high resolution, lab quality, digital recording system inside SPCR's own 11 dBA ambient anechoic chamber, then converted to LAME 128kbps encoded MP3s. We've listened long and hard to ensure there is no audible degradation from the original WAV files to these MP3s. They represent a quick snapshot of what we heard during the review.

Each recording starts with 7~10 seconds of ambient noise, then 8~10 second segments of product at various states. For the most realistic results, set the volume so that the starting ambient level is barely audible, back the volume control off a touch to make it just inaudible, then don't change the volume setting again while comparing all the sound files.

  • SilverStone Raven Two -- It should sound exactly the same as the Fortress FT02.
    — Minimalist High Performance System at idle, 17 dBA@1m
    — Single 4870 High Performance System at idle, 20 dBA@1m
    — Dual 4870 High Performance System at full load, two 18cm fans on High, 29 dBA@1m

Comparative Case Recordings

FINAL THOUGHTS

The SilverStone Fortress FT02, being so similar to the Raven RV02, is an excellent base for a premium gaming PC. Though it doesn't support EATX, the motherboard tray is big enough to accommodate oversized ATX boards, and there is enough clearance for high-end video cards like the Radeon HD 5970. The rotated motherboard that allows for low-to-high airflow, the same direction as natural convection, but this is not really the biggest strength. The configuration allows for three very large fans to be positioned deep in the case, as far from the user as possible. No other configuration can produce as much or thorough airflow while still shielding the fans from a direct path to the user.

Even if you forgo third party VGA heatsinks and stick with the stock cooling unit, the rotated layout and high airflow make a difference in internal case air temperature and therefore the speed and noise of the VGA heatsink fan. With direct outside air access, any power supply with a single large fan will run as cool inside the FT02 as on an open test bench. Finally, unlike most cases, the included fans are quiet and sound very smooth. The included tri-fan molex adapter makes it easy to hook up all three fans directly to the PSU. If the low speed position of the fans doesn't give you a sound level that's quiet enough for you, it's easy to connect the fans to motherboard headers that can give you greater speed reduction (and low noise).

A fusion of the Raven Two and original Fortress, the FT02 combines everything we liked about the RV02 with a uni-body aluminum frame, giving it a classier, less frivolous look, especially compared to the original Raven. Sometimes a simple, sturdy appearance creates a stronger statement than purposefully adding gimmicky elements in an attempt to draw the eye. The hard drive mounting system was the only true failure of the RV02 and thankfully it was thrown to the wayside in the FT02, replaced with the far more useful, side-sled backplane scheme from the first Raven.

The FT02 has a $60 price premium over the RV02. In essence, the only differences are hard drive mounting and appearance. The overall presenation is more subdued and classier, in our view, and unibody frame obviously strengthens the entire structure. (It's not as if Raven RV02 is weak, however.) Unless you're planning to purposely abuse the case, there is little practical value in the aluminum unibody. Still, the FT02 is a nicer case overall, quite suitable for the silence-loving gamer — a user category that would have been considered absurd at SPCR until the last year or two. It feels like progress.

SilverStone Fortress FT02B
PROS

* Very good cooling design
* Smooth, quiet fans
* Useful 2-speed switch on 18cm fans
* Very low baseline noise
* Excellent HDD mounting system
CONS

* Very deep
* Price

Our thanks to SilverStone Technology for the FT02B case sample.



The SilverStone Fortress FT02B wins an Editor's Choice Award

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