Silverstone Fortress FT01: Positive Pressure Case

Cases|Damping
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FANS

The stock fans are Silverstone branded, with no indication of who the OEM is. Googling the model numbers turned up only results relating to Silverstone products. These fans are different from the ones in Silverstone's earlier cases: They are substantially slower. The fastest is the rear 120mm fan, rated at 900 RPM, while the two larger fans come in at 700 RPM. It's not unreasonable to expect these fans to be fairly quiet even at the stock 12V. With undervolting, a near-silent system should be possible, so long as the quality of noise is decent. All three fans have small 3-pin connectors designed to plug into the motherboard, not the power supply.


The CPU area, surrounded by fans. This "top corner" cooling is similar to Antec's P180 series, except the direction of the top fan is reversed.


The 180mm fans are fairly low speed: 700 RPM; rated for just 0.18 amps.


The 120mm exhaust fan is only slightly faster, rated at 900 RPM.

Both intake fans include removable filters that slide into the mounting bracket. For the front fan, this keeps things simple; the filter can simply be pulled out whenever it needs cleaning. However, cleaning the top filter is more involved, since the filter slides out towards the front — right where the optical bays are, and right where there is a cable tie for cable management. Getting access to it requires removing the whole fan bracket, a tedious and difficult task.

The brackets themselves are mixed blessing. They do two things: They allow easy removal of the fans, and make it possible to replace the large 180 mm fans with smaller (but more common) 120 mm models. However, they do not seem to fit especially well, and we were able to rattle the top bracket in place just by touching it. Surprisingly, this did not seem to be a problem during testing — perhaps the 180 mm fans are too bulky to transmit much vibration through the loose brackets.


The filters are plastic mesh, cleanable, and have struts that match the struts on the fan bracket to maximize structure and minimize impedance.


Front filter slides out easily.

 

SYSTEM INSTALLATION

Installation was not toolless, but not difficult. Access to both sides of the case is required mainly because drives are installed with the cables towards the inner side of the case. There are also a few screws that can only be accessed with the secondary panel off, notably the ones that secure the optical bay covers. Removing the second panel is also necessary to route cables behind the motherboard.

Once the bay panel is unscrewed, optical drives can just be slid straight in and secured with the push of a button. Users are free to provide extra security with screws, but this is not necessary (or convenient).


Optical drives can be installed screw-free by sliding them in and locking them in place with these buttons. The same mechanism is used in Silverstone's Raven case.

Hard drives are mounted in removable plastic drive sleds. A single hot-swap SATA bracket is included in the top bay to avoid this problem (since the bracket remains plugged in all the time), and further brackets are available for purchase for users who swap drives frequently. Drives are soft-mounted in the sleds through rubber grommets, providing a small degree of vibration isolation. The drives are quite tightly spaced; a full drive rack (with a whopping seven drives) would block a considerable amount of airflow.


Our test drive mounted in a plastic sled.

Cable management in the FT01 was good, and it was possible to keep almost all of the cables out of sight and out of the airflow paths, behind the motherboard or in the spare drive bays. There is a sizable cable port right beside the power supply, allowing most of the power cables to be routed out back almost as soon as they leave the power supply. There are additional cable ports flush with the motherboard tray all the way up the seam between the drive bays and the motherboard, allowing cables to stay against the inner wall of the case as close as possible to the appropriate sockets on the motherboard. There is also a slim cable port along the top edge of the motherboard tray for routing things like fan cables and the auxiliary power connector.


Cable ports are plentiful and well-placed, making cable management simple.


Fully installed. Almost all cables were routed around the back, leaving a very clean motherboard chamber. The single cable snaking across the motherboard would not be there in ordinary circumstances — it is a fan cable being routed outside the case to our external fan controller.

 



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