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Silverstone Fortress FT01: Positive Pressure Case

Silverstone Fortress FT01

June 24, 2009 by Devon
Cooke

Product
Silverstone Fortress FT01

ATX Tower Case
Manufacturer
Market Price

Silverstone has been making cases for a while, and it shows. At time of
writing, it has no less than 56
different case models on its web site
. The cases are divided roughly into
ten different series, one of which is called the Fortress. The FT01 is, so far,
the sole model in this series, which sets itself apart by featuring what Silverstone
calls "uni-body" construction. Aside from the obvious marketing advantage
of using a slick automotive word like "uni-body", the design makes
for a more rigid body, with fewer separate parts that can warp or rattle. This
is not Silverstone's first unibody case — the
Temjin TJ07
has been around for three years — but the adoption of a
new name for the series suggests Silverstone may produce more of these
cases in the future.

Superficially, the FT01 resembles the TJ07 in its clean rounded
corners, which comes from the one piece aluminum extrusion that forums the top, front and bottom. It's considerably smaller, however, and the interior bears little resemblance to the earlier
case. This is a good thing — by and large the TJ07 disappointed us with
its noisy fans and tendency to vibrate. While the basic
construction material is still aluminum, Silverstone addressed
earlier shortcomings with touches such as foam-dampened
panels, and plastics and rubber to keep things tight, damped yet rigid.



The usual oversized box keeps things safe during shipping.

The other highly touted feature of the FT01 is that it is designed
for positive pressure cooling, with more and larger fans blowing into the case
than out of it. The positive vs. negative pressure debate has been simmering
along for years, and we have no desire to stoke the flames. While both
approaches have their advantages and disadvantages, what matters is the amount
of airflow, not how it is produced, and either approach can be effective.
Silverstone has an
informative page that lists some of the benefits of positive pressure
.

Silverstone Fortress FT01: Key Features
(from the product
web page
)
Feature & Brief
Our Comment
Positive air pressure design optimizes
cooling performance
Positive air pressure isn't really desirable
in and of itself, but it does have benefits, such as the potential to reduce
dust build-up.
Uni-body frame construction from the flagship
Temjin TJ07
Uni-body in the case means the top, front,
and bottom panels are formed from a single piece of aluminum. Rivets and
screws are still used to attach the remaining panels and the interior.
Artful, understated design with excellent
ergonomics
Now that's right up our alley!
Dual 180mm silent fans included for outstanding
cooling and quietness
We're always skeptical of "silent"
fans, but the trend towards larger fans has been good for making things
quiet.
Minimal use of rivets for maximum serviceability
That means screws, which means the potential
for loosening over time. On the other hand, some people consider a removable
motherboard tray an advantage.
Highly flexible drive storage options with
hot-swappable SATA adapter
A little inconvenient given the side
panel has to be removed to get at the drive, but a welcome option. If nothing
else, it eases drive installation.


Silverstone FT01: Specifications
(from the product
web page
)
Model No. SST-FT01B (black)

SST-FT01S (silver)

SST-FT01B-W (black + window)

SST-FT01S-W (silver + window)
Material 3.0mm ~ 6.0mm uni-body aluminum outer frame
and aluminum body
Motherboard ATX, Micro ATX
Multimedia –
Drive Bay External: 5.25" x 5

Internal: 3.5" x 7
Cooling System Front: 1 x 180mm intake fan, 700rpm,
18dBA

Rear: 1 x 120mm exhaust fan, 900rpm, 18dBA

Top: 1 x 180mm intake fan, 700rpm, 18dBA
Expansion Slot 7
Front I/O Port USB2.0 x 2

IEEE1394 x 1

Audio x 1

MIC x 1
Power Supply 1 x Optional standard PS2 (ATX)
Expansion Card Compatible with expansion card
up to 12”
Net Weight 8.66kg
Dimension 211 mm (W) x 486 mm (H) x 494.5
mm (D)
Extra One CP05 included for single
hot-swappable SATA hard drive, additional CP05 can be purchased separately

It's instructive to consider the volume of the FT01 in comparison to some other cases. Note that the volume is based on maximum external dimensions, which can sometimes be signficantly higher than the internal dimensions.

Volume Comparison of Various Cases

(based on external dimensions)
Case
Dimensions (W x H x D)
Volume (liters)
Silverstone Raven
28 x 61 x 66 cm
115
Silverstone TJ07
22 x 56 x 56.5 cm
70
Antec P183
20.5 x 51.4 x 51 cm
53
Silverstone FT01
21 x 48.6 x 49.5 cm
51
Antec Solo / P150
20.6 x 43 x 47 cm
42
Coolermaster Sileo 500
20 x 43 x 48 cm
41
Antec Fusion Remote Max
44.5 x 19 x 45 cm
38
Antec NSK-3480
20 x 35 x 35.5 cm
25
Shuttle SD11G5*
21 x 18.5 x 20 cm
11.5
Lenovo M58p Eco USFF†
27.5 x 24 x 8 cm
5.3
mCubed HFX Micro
23 x 24 x 7.5 cm
4
* A barebones system, but a typical breadbox style SFF case.

† Typical corporate SFF PC.

It's noteworthy that the FT01 is about the same size as the Antec P183, about 25% bigger than the classic mid-tower Solo or Sileo. It's substantially smaller than the previous unibody TJ07 and less than half the size of the recently reviewed Raven. So as enthusiast ATX cases go, it's not really that big.

THE EXTERIOR

The FT01 is available in four different body variants: Black, aluminum, and with
or without a window. The appearance is clean and understated — a mature
look that doesn't grab attention. It's Silverstone's traditional look, in contrast to the unusually sculpted over-the-top Raven. The body is 100%
aluminum and is quite thick.



The acrylic window seems showy compared to the rest of the case.

There is a large intake at the bottom of the front panel, with a relatively
unobstructed stamped fan grill.





The expansion slot area is well vented, but the only other exhaust vent
is the rear 120mm fan.

Much of the case's appearance seems to have been dictated by utilitarian concerns.
Fan vents are clearly visible on the front and the top, with no attempt made
to conceal what they are. This is good news for airflow, but it also means there
is little to block noise between the fans and your ears. The standard selection
of USB, Firewire, and Audio ports are easily accessible in an inset on the top
of the case.

As mentioned, the case is designed for a positive pressure cooling system.
Most of the airflow is produced by a pair of large 180mm fans, both of which
blow into the case. The most important of these is mounted directly over top
of the CPU socket blowing down. The second intake is mounted at the front of
the case, in front of the internal drive bays. A single 120mm fan mounted in
the convention place on the rear panel helps keep the primary exhaust path (and
thus the fastest moving air) behind the CPU cooler. However, this single fan
is unlikely to keep up with the amount of air forced in by the intake fans,
so it is expected that a significant amount of air will be forced out of the
case through the remaining exhaust vents, namely those in and beside the PCI
slot covers.

This use of the remaining vents as exhausts rather than intakes is what characterizes
the case as a positive pressure case. Under the circumstances, this has two
main advantages:

  1. It prevents "feedback loops" where hot air exhausted from the
    case is re-circulated by a nearby vent that is sucking air into the case.
  2. It prevents dust from being sucked in through unfiltered intakes. Both of
    the intake fans feature plastic air filters that should help catch dust before
    it gets into the case.

The intake fans are both impeded on the intake
side, where they are more susceptible to losing airflow; it is easier for a
fan to push air through a grill than to suck it through. However, the fans
are large enough that they will still produce a significant amount of airflow
even when impeded.



Most of the top panel is eaten up by the top intake and the accessory sockets.

Don't plan on leaving anything on top of the case!

Airflow for the power supply is completely separate from the rest of the case
assuming a conventional unit with a bottom-mounted fan is used. The power supply
is mounted on the floor of the case, drawing air though the bottom of the case
and exhausting it immediately out the back. The bottom is raised on plastic
feet by about 1.5cm. The intake is filtered, but dust buildup in the PSU could
be a problem given its position.



PSU intake on the bottom.



Power button and power LED are simple and centrally located.



USB, Firewire, and audio ports inset on the top panel.

The case features the usual front ports: Two USB, a Firewire, mic-in and headphone
out. eSATA has not yet made an appearance, but this should just be matter of
time now that the standard is being adopted. The ports are located in an inset
on the top panel, where it would be most conveniently accessible in the usual
tower-on-the-floor setup.

One oddity is the position of the reset button just to the front of the ports
(see photo below). Presumably, it is positioned this way for convenience, but
it also seems a little exposed. It is inset below the surface of the case,
but it still wouldn't be hard to push accidentally while
fumbling with the USB ports.



The reset button is conveniently located on the top panel in front of the
USB ports.

THE INTERIOR

Cracking open the side panel reveals a smooth black interior with
some ergonomic touches, but nothing too unusual. The main distinguishing
feature is the bottom-mounted PSU — an increasingly common setup these
days, but still a departure from the standard ATX layout. Aside from providing
thermal isolation for the PSU, the bottom mounted position also provides a bit
more room for the beefy extended-length power supplies that are becoming so
common.

One thing that stands out is the amount of plastic that is visible.
As in the recently reviewed Silverstone Raven, the internal drive sleds are made of plastic, as are the quick-mount
"buttons" that secure the optical bays. Both intake fans are mounted
in plastic harnesses that include space for filters. There is another filter
mounted on the floor of the case for the PSU fan. This isn't necessarily a bad
thing; plastic parts are flexible, and therefore less prone to vibration resonance.
However, it is also somewhat fragile, and the fit of the plastic parts with
the metal frame did not seem good overall. This was particularly noticeable
in the drive sleds, which seemed to fit inconsistently depending on which bay
was used (the top was tightest), and the fan harnesses, which did not seem to
be securely fastened, and could be rattled in position.



Door open. Note the acoustic foam on the side panel.

One major anti-noise feature is acoustic foam on both side panels. Both panels
fit quite tightly despite a quick release latch. This is a welcome improvement
over the TJ07, where much of our criticism focused on the large, poor-fitting,
resonant panels. Acoustically, the non-windowed version is probably the safer
choice since the foam would cover the full panel, but we had no problems in
practice with our windowed sample.



Intake fans at the front and top; single exhaust at the rear.



Access to the back is necessary for installing drives and routing cables.

Note the hot-swap harness installed in the top drive bay.

There is a little space behind the motherboard tray to route cables and appropriately
placed holes at the top and bottom to allow cable access.



Plastic drive trays for up to seven internal drives.



Hot-swap SATA is possible in the top bay with an included bracket.

Storage space is plentiful, with seven internal drive bays available. The bays
are split into two sections (four on top, three below), both of which are removable
to make space for long expansion cards — or a drive suspension of some
kind. Silverstone reports that cards up to 10.5 inches long can be accommodated
without removing any bays, while 12 inch workstation cards fit easily once the
bay is removed.



A full drive rack would almost completely block airflow from the front.

The fan is mounted on a quickly-removable bracket with a filter mounted in front.

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.

 

TESTING

System Configuration:

Measurement and Analysis Tools

  • CPUBurn
    K7

    processor stress software.
  • FurMark
    stability test to stress the integrated GPU.
  • GPU-Z to
    monitor GPU temperatures and fan speed.
  • SpeedFan
    to monitor system temperatures and fan speeds.
  • Seasonic
    Power Angel
    AC power meter, used to measure the power consumption
    of the system.

Stock Fan Measurements

Stock Fan Noise Level (Individual)
Fan Voltage
Rear Fan (Exhaust)
Top Fan (Intake)
Front Fan (Intake)
Speed
SPL @1m
Speed
SPL @1m
Speed
SPL @1m
12V
1040 RPM
20 dBA
700 RPM
24 dBA
720 RPM
26 dBA†
9V
840 RPM
17 dBA
570 RPM
19 dBA
600 RPM
22 dBA
7V
690 RPM
12 dBA
470 RPM
14 dBA
500 RPM
17 dBA
6V
not tested
not tested
420 RPM
13 dBA
440 RPM
15 dBA
5V
510 RPM
11 dBA
n/a*
n/a*
n/a*
n/a*
† Noise level from the front fan rose
by 2 dBA and became noticeably rougher when the front filter was removed.

* Fan did not spin at this voltage.

The stock fans are pleasantly slow and quiet. The fastest is the smaller exhaust fan, which tops out
at a leisurely 1,040 RPM (it's rated at 900 RPM). It's not the smoothest fan, but it quickly disappears when undervolted because of its low speed. At full speed it added a touch of buzz to the noise character
of the case, but it wouldn't take much undervolting for even that to disappear
under the noise floor of a real-world environment.

The larger intakes are even slower — about 700 RPM at full speed. But,
with more than double the surface area of a convention 120mm fan, they can afford
to be undervolted even from this low speed. Although their measured SPL was
higher than the exhaust fan, their tonal balance was more toward the lower end
of the spectrum, allowing them to blend more easily into the background. Like
the exhaust fan, the motors had a tough of buzz, except their deeper voice made
the sound more of a growl than a buzz.

One word of caution: Because the intake fans are already so slow, they did
not start at 5V, although they could reliably be turned down this low once started.
They did start — barely — at 6V, and this level was used as a minimum
voltage instead of our usual 5V. At this level, the fans turned at just over
400 RPM and produced a rumble that was just barely audible in our anechoic chamber.
They would not be heard in the real world.

Perhaps because of its location and impeded surroundings, the front fan was
noticeably louder than the top fan at the same rotation speed. The difference
was measurable — generally it was 2~3 dBA above the top fan. On a whim,
we pulled out the front filter to see if its impedance. was causing the problem,
but this did nothing but bump up the SPL by 2 dBA and introduce an annoying
warbling into the noise character. We quickly put it back.

Stock Fan Noise Level (Combined)
Fan Voltage
All Fans
Front Fan Off
SPL @1m
SPL @1m
12V
28 dBA
25 dBA
9V
24 dBA
21 dBA
7V
18 dBA
15 dBA
6V
16 dBA
13 dBA

Turning on all the fans together didn't produce any new surprise. Noise character
didn't change appreciably; if anything, it became more broadband as the multiple
noise sources blended together. It did get noticeably louder, however, as is
bourne out by the SPL measurements.

One thing we did find a little annoying was the interaction between the various
fans at full speed. With the two 180mm fans spinning at almost but not quite
the same speed, the effect was a distinct "train whistle" effect as
the two resonant frequencies blended dissonantly. This effect was not noticeable
once the fans were dialed down below 12V.

Disabling the front fan confirmed our subjective opinion that this was the
dominant source of noise. The measured SPL dropped by 3 dBA across all speed
levels without the front fan. While it is probably not a good idea to abandon
the fan entirely, it might be wise to run this fan slower than the others —
the hard drives that it cools need only a minimum of airflow to stay cool.

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. )

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 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

How much Silverstone's touted uni-body construction and
positive pressure cooling affected the case's performance is difficult to assess. Regardless, the Fortress is substantially better than their
last uni-body effort
. Dampened panels, soft(er) mounted drives, and bigger,
quieter fans all helped make this a worthy flagship for Silverstone.

Thermally and acoustically — our two biggest criteria — the Fortress
gave us little to complain about and lots to like. We were able to build a cool,
near-silent system in the case doing little more than undervolting the fans.
As in the recently reviewed Raven, the large intake fans are quite good, and undervolt well enough that we don't
need to recommend replacing them in most cases.

One of the biggest strengths of the case is the excellent cooling for the
graphics card. This is arguably the hardest part of a system to cool. Most cases
are designed for excellent CPU cooling, but many have trouble keeping the
graphics card as well cooled. It seems likely that Silverstone's positive
pressure system has helped in this regard.

This strength is offset by slightly poorer CPU and southbridge cooling, but
the cooling was good enough — even with our hot 125W processor — and
it is easier to find a good aftermarket CPU cooler than a good GPU cooler. At
$230~$260,
it's pricey, but not out of line for the features and performance offered. All
in all, the Fortress has much to recommend it.

Silverstone Fortress FT01
PROS



* Good airflow design

* Excellent HDD mounting system

* Smooth, quiet 180mm fans

* Roomy

* Low baseline noise


* Elegantly understated aesthetics

* Very sturdy construction/design
CONS



* Large

* Only one SATA backplane provided

* Top fan filter not accessible

Our thanks to Silverstone
for the Fortress FT01 sample.





The Silverstone Fortress FT01 is Recommended by SPCR

* * *

Articles of Related Interest

Cases: Basics & Recommendations


Coolermaster Sileo 500: Quiet
ATX Midtower Case


Antec P183: The P182 Gets More Air

Silverstone Raven EATX Tower Case

Computex 2008: Antec's Skeleton,
P183 & Sonata Elite cases


Antec Mini P180: A micro-ATX
P182


* * *

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