SilverStone Fortress FT04 Tower

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SilverStone Fortress FT04 Tower

September 23, 2013 by Lawrence Lee

Product
SilverStone Fortress FT04
Extended ATX Tower Case
Manufacturer
Street Price
US$200~$230

Though SilverStone is known for cool, classic looking cases, it is one of the most innovative brands in the market, readily adopting new ideas and often committing to them quickly. Many of their competitors are gun shy about veering from the mainstream paradigm. SilverStone has shown no such qualms and this attitude has helped to create some memorable high-end cases offering unrivaled cooling and acoustic performance.

SilverStone combined elements that a few others had experimented with — enormous fans, positive pressure, and a rotated motherboard tray — to create the landmark Raven RV01. Switching to a bottom to top airflow dynamic reduced noise by placing the fans further away from the user. Turning the motherboard 90 degrees allowed the giant fans to directly blow cool air through the GPU and CPU area and out the top. Dual video card configurations also benefited as there was no longer an upper card being bombarded by the heat rising from the card below. The Raven was also surprising for SilverStone as it was dressed in a fanciful plastic exterior. Critics of this design were silenced when the second iteration RV02 was released alongside a more SilverStone-like aluminum twin, the Fortress FT02. These two models are the best performing cases we've tested.


The Fortress FT04 (silver).

Interestingly, the FT02's successor, the FT04 (the FT03 was a much different microATX chassis) features a completely different design. This is evidenced by the dimensions — the FT02 is almost comically deep while the FT04 is much shallower and taller, with a footprint far closer to that of a "standard" tower case. It also has a softer, more contoured look and a thick concave front door. The bezel and intake vents are made of plastic, which purists will condemn as heresy. The door at least, is aluminum, and helps block out noise from the fans which have been moved to the front of the case. The rotated motherboard design has been taken one turn further; that is to say it's completely upside down. These two features and indeed most of the internal layout is taken from the equally innovative SilverStone Temjin TJ08-E microATX case. The TJ08-E is a fairly cramped case, though, and many of the design choices were made to improve convenience of assembly and maintenance rather than for performance concerns.

The latest Fortress is effectively modular, with a removable top panel, motherboard tray, and hard drive cage. More drives can be crammed inside: 7 x 3.5 inch and 4 x 2.5 inch drives are supported. On the down side, the FT04 doesn't offer as much cooling as its predecessor, having two rather than three 18 cm fans, and the 12 cm exhaust fan is optional, not included. The fans you do get are more powerful though, with a top speed of 2000 RPM. To tame these beasts, fan control is improved; both stock fans are connected to controllers with adjustable dials at the front of the case. We're glad to see the speed switches all the way at the back on previous iterations have been deposed. Plastic support structures for graphics cards and the CPU cooler are also present. These are not features users have been screaming for, but they come in handy with heavy components.

The FT04 is available in four different variants, black and silver, with or without a window. The FT04 also has a twin in the Raven RV04, which uses essentially the same design with a plastic fascia and lower asking price. The two cases can be purchased for approximately US$230 and US$160 respectively.


The box.


Accessories.

The accessory box contains the obligatory assembly guide, bag of screws and standoffs, and a few zip-ties to help with cable management. Also included are brackets to mount up to a 3 x 12 cm radiator in place of the two 18 cm stock fans, and the VGA holder, a plastic contraption with tabs to physically support up to three graphics cards, and a pair of odd looking 2-pin plugs. The included fans are 3-pin but use a 2-pin connector to hook up to the fan controller — these can be used as place-holders if you opt not to use it.

Specifications: SilverStone Fortress FT04
(from the product web page)
Model No. SST-FT04B (black)
SST-FT04S (silver)
SST-FT04B-W (black + window)
SST-FT04S-W (silver + window)
Material Aluminum door and top panel, steel body
Motherboard SSI-EEB, SSI-CEB, Extended ATX, ATX, Micro-ATX
M / B Support --
Drive Bay External 5.25" x 2
Internal 3.5" x 7 (2 hot-swap) , 2.5” x 4
Cooling System Front 2 x AP182 180mm intake fan 500~2000rpm, 17~42 dBA (compatible with 3 x 120mm fan)
Rear 1 x 120mm fan slot
Side --
Top --
Bottom --
Internal --
Expansion Slot 8
Front I/O Port USB 3.0 x 2
audio x 1
MIC x 1
Power Supply 1 x Optional standard PS2(ATX) no length limitation
Expansion Card Compatible up to 13.3” long, width restriction-6.69"
Limitation of CPU cooler 165mm
Limitation of PSU --
Net Weight 11.5kg
Dimension 219mm (W) x 546mm (H) x 482mm (D), 57.6 liters


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