SilverStone FTZ01: Mini-ITX Fortress

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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 ambient noise, then 5~10 second segments of product at various states. For the most realistic results, set the volume so that the starting ambient level is just barely audible, then don't change the volume setting again while comparing all the sound files.

FINAL THOUGHTS

The Raven RVZ01 was a hit for SilverStone, a small slim case that makes efficient use of the space allotted. The Fortress FTZ01 brings SFX-L power supply support and a stunning unibody aluminum construction to the table (although in my view, the silver color version shows off that prime feature far more attractively). With our newer, more powerful mini-ITX test system, the design holds up well. It offers gamers a reasonably quiet, compact alternative to the more bulky and boxy enthusiast cases as long as it's positioned upright. There are actually no other cases of the FTZ01's size and shape which can match its performance at this time.


Silver and black versions of the FTZ01 compared: It's your choice.

In terms of component selection, The FTZ01 is not as flexible as larger cases, but it should satisfy the needs of most users. Drive support is a concern only if you horde data and don't have another PC or NAS on the network for your storage needs. For everyone else, the single 3.5 inch and three 2.5 inch drive bays are sufficient. While ATX power supplies are off the table, Silverstone's own SFX models offer enough power to supply any single GPU configuration. By my measurements, CPU cooler height is limited to 85 mm (70 mm plus the top fan), but with a decent heatsink, this shouldn't be an issue.

Complaints are relatively few and minor. I loathe the plastic stands to hold the case vertically as there's nothing to stop the pieces from sliding away from one another. I would suggest taping or gluing them together to reduce the chance of the chassis being accidentally knocked over. Fitting the GPU bracket can be a pain, especially with larger cards, but thankfully this won't have to be performed more than once or twice. In addition, the contraption for keeping the card from drooping may not fit on wider video cards.

The SilverStone FTZ01 is currently selling for US$130, about US$50 more than the RVZ01. If you're in the market for a slim gaming tower, either would do nicely. In terms of value, you can't beat the RVZ01, but if you're turned off by the Raven's plastic avian-themed exterior, the Fortress' elegant aluminum styling may be worth the premium. The Milo ML07, a third variant of the same chassis, is also a viable alternative priced at around US$70. It has a plastic exterior with a reserved look featuring boxy contours but doesn't ship with any fans.

Our thanks to SilverStone for the Fortress FTZ01 case sample.


The SilverStone Fortress FTZ01 is recommended by SPCR

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Articles of Related Interest
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Phanteks Enthoo Evolv ITX Mini Tower
SilverStone RVZ01: A Mini Raven
Quiet Mini-ITX Gaming Build Guide #3: BitFenix Prodigy Edition
Quiet Mini-ITX Gaming Build Guide #2: NCASE M1 Edition
Quiet Mini-ITX Gamer Build Guide

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