Silverstone Fortress FT01: Positive Pressure Case

Cases|Damping
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Test Results - Configuration #1 (IGP)

System Measurements (IGP)
State
Idle
Full CPU + GPU Load
Fan Speeds
6V
12V
6V
12V
AC Power
69W
71W
208W
205W
Noise Level
20 dBA
27 dBA
20 dBA
27 dBA
CPU Temp
31°C
28°C
56°C
49°C
SB Temp
37°C
35°C
45°C
40°C
HDD Temp
35°C
30°C
34°C
33°C
Ambient temperature: 24°C
CPU fan set at 70% with Speedfan (approximately 9V).

With all the system fans undervolted to 6V, the Fortress produced just 20 dBA. The dominant source of noise was the hard drive, which added a distinct hiss to the noise. The bulk of the additional noise was between 1 and 2 kHz, with a spike around 1.7 kHz. Unlike some other cases tested with this drive, the additional noise did not include much in the way of vibration resonance, proving that — for our single drive configuration at least — the rubber mounting grommets and plastic drive sleds were doing their job. It is also possible that any resonance contributed by the hard drive was masked by the noise of the fans, which occupied a very similar frequency band around 120 Hz.


The large spike between 1.0k and 2.0k all comes from the system drive.

Cooling was fine. The temperature of our 125W Phenom II — the only major source of heat in the system — was well within safe limits. This confirms that there was enough air going through the system to exhaust the heat being thrown out by the CPU cooler. Above a certain minimum case airflow, CPU temperature is dictated almost entirely by the choice of CPU cooler.

Test Results - Configuration #2 (HD 4870)

System Measurements (HD 4870)
State
Idle
Full CPU + GPU Load
System Fan Speeds
6V
Power Consumption
142W
357W
Noise Level
21~22 dBA
25~26 dBA
CPU Temp
32°C
54°C
SB Temp
45°C
60°C (!)
HDD Temp
35°C
36°C
GPU Temp
69°C
82°C
Ambient temperature: 24°C
CPU fan set at 70% with Speedfan (approximately 9V).

Adding a power hungry video Radeon HD 4870 into the mix barely affected the baseline noise at all, pushing it up a barely noticeable 1~2 dBA at idle. The additional noise was broadband and blended into the overall noise character quite well. Despite doubling the power consumption at idle the temperatures did not change a lot and were quite safe.

Loading the system pushed the noise up due mostly to the thermally controlled fan on the graphics card. At a peak of roughly 26 dBA, the noise was never quite what we'd call noisy, but it was definitely above the threshold of inaudibility that the system was flirting with before. CPU temperature did not change significantly, and the GPU rose just 13°C over its idle temperature to a relatively cool 82°C.

Comparisons

Fortress FT01 vs. Recently Reviewed ATX Cases: Full Load (IGP)
State
Silverstone FT01
Coolermaster Sileo 500
Antec P183
Fan Speed
6V (all fans)
12V (rear, front)
Low (rear)
Noise Level
20 dBA
20 dBA
19~20 dBA
CPU Temp
56°C
54°C
50°C
SB Temp
45°C
37°C
38°C
HD Temp
34°C
33°C
37°C
Ambient temperature: 22°C; CPU fan at 9V
* The Raven was tested with 2 ATI HD 4870 video cards.

The Coolermaster Sileo 500 and the Antec P183 put the Fortress in a bit of a bad light. CPU and especially motherboard temperatures of the latter are quite a bit higher. It's worth pointing out that the ambient temperature during testing was 2°C higher for the Fortress, but this isn't enough to explain away the differences.

A more likely explanation is that the 20 dBA that we chose as a reference level isn't truly representative of equal noise levels in the case, since we've seen that, in the case of the Fortress, the noise level is dictated by the hard drive (i.e. the system), not the fans in the case. It's quite possible that the fans in the Fortress could be turned up to 7V or more without affecting the measured noise level — but significantly affecting the thermal performance. In any case, the thermals are quite acceptable, and, except for serious overclockers, very few people are likely to have a CPU produces more heat than our 125W block heater Phenom II.

Fortress FT01 vs. Sileo 500 vs. P183: Full Load (HD 4870)
State
Fortress FT01
Sileo 500
Antec P183
Fan Speed
6V
(all fans)
12V (rear)
12V (front)
Low (rear only)
Noise Level
25~26 dBA
25 dBA
27~28 dBA
CPU Temp
54°C
56°C
51°C
SB Temp
60°C
53°C
62°C
GPU Temp
82°C
87°C
89°C
Ambient temperature: 22°C
CPU fan at 9V
*Antec P183 tested with a second HD 4870 idling in a lower slot

Comparing the same three cases with the HD 4870 installed tells quite a different story. The Fortress did a significantly better job cooling the graphics card than the other two cases in our comparison. At roughly the same noise level, cooling was 5°C better than the Sileo 500. Versus the P183, the Fortress was both cooler and quieter, though the comparison with the P183 is a bit stilted since that case was tested with a second HD4870 installed (idling) below it.

A possible explanation is that the positive airflow setup touted by Silverstone is doing its work and preventing any warm air from recirculating around the graphics cards. This could also explain the higher CPU temperature we noticed in the IGP test, since less air would be traveling around the CPU overall.

(Editor's Note: It would have been nice to compare the Silverstone Raven as well, but unfortunately, that case was only tested with an extreme gaming configuration with HD4870s in crossfire. I believe that the overall noise of the Raven could be a touch lower than any of the above cases while still keeping the components cooled at least in the same ballpark. )



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