Introducing the SilverStone Fortress FT02

Ever since we reviewed the SilverStone Raven RV03, a lot of you have chimed in about their Fortress FT02 enclosure, with more than one even proclaiming it the best air-cooling enclosure ever; high praise to be sure. To be fair, we were impressed with the FT02 when we reviewed the DigitalStorm BlackOps, a monster of a boutique build that nonetheless ran remarkably quiet and cool given the massive overclock on its Core i7-950 and the pair of GeForce GTX 580s sandwiched together in precisely the way NVIDIA tells you to avoid. It didn't matter: the system was cool and quiet despite pulling nearly 700 watts under our testing load and undoubtedly capable of pulling more. The FT02 has been around for a couple of years now and SilverStone warns that it doesn't enjoy some of the conveniences modern enclosures do, but can it hold up?

Spoiler alert: it absolutely can. Those of you who found the exterior of SilverStone's Raven RV03 ostentatious, or just find many gamer-oriented enclosures ostentatious in general, it doesn't get much simpler than the Fortress FT02. But this is a luxury enclosure with a pricetag that has it competing squarely against the recently reviewed Thermaltake Level 10 GT, and like the Thermaltake case, SilverStone has made some unusual choices in the design of the FT02.

SilverStone Fortress FT02 Specifications
Motherboard Form Factor SSI CEB, ATX, Micro-ATX, Mini-ITX
Drive Bays External 5x 5.25"
Internal 5x 3.5"/2.5", 1x 2.5"
Cooling Front -
Rear -
Top 1x 120mm exhaust fan
Side -
Bottom 3x 180mm intake fan
Expansion Slots 7
Front I/O Port -
Top I/O Port 2x USB 2.0 (user-replaceable with separately sold USB 3.0 bracket), mic and headphone jacks
Power Supply Size ATX
Clearance 12" (Expansion Cards), 165mm (CPU HSF), 330mm (PSU)
Weight 33.1 lbs.
Dimensions 24.25" x 8.35" x 19.57"
Price $249

Just looking at the specs a few things should jump out at you: it's big, it's heavy, it's expensive, and it...has three massive intake fans on the bottom? As you'll see it's another unusual design from the mad scientists at SilverStone, and while it's definitely a major step up from the newer RV03, like every other SilverStone enclosure I've played's a little bit special needs.

In and Around the SilverStone Fortress FT02
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  • veselinbg - Monday, August 15, 2011 - link

    Hi everyone! This is my first post and would like to say that I really like, guys you're great!

    So right on the subject - I think that there is some general issue with testing methodology or accuracy of temperature measurements.

    OK, let see what are the temperatures reported by the SSD:

    Stock speed/ IDLE
    FT02 33 C (low fan)
    RV03 29 C

    Stock speed/Load
    FT02 35 C (low fan)
    RV03 31 C
  • veselinbg - Monday, August 15, 2011 - link

    Difference 4 C, both Idle and Load.
    How is this even possible?! It's a HUGE difference for the same piece of hardware and same conditions (same ambient temperature, same mount method)?!

    Again, the SSD was mounted in a way, that airflow inside the case doesn't affect it's temperature. This statement is more true for RV03 then FT02, because RV03 doesn't have a 180 mm fan under hard drive bay. So for FT02 still there is a little chance to "catch" some of the airflow from third fan. But in thermal diagrams we can see that the SSD in RV03 is cooler then in FT02

    So I have to conclude that the ambient temperature was NOT the same when both cases are reviewed. Which means that all other thermal results (CPU, GPU, chipset etc.) are not relevant.

    Please, let me know what do you think.
  • Uritziel - Monday, August 15, 2011 - link

    I'm not sure if I'm understanding you correctly; however, I think the answer you're looking for is that the SSD in the RV03 is mounted behind the mobo, where it receives a fair amount of air flow due to one of the fans being offset.
  • veselinbg - Monday, August 15, 2011 - link

    No, I want to say that in both cases Raven03 and Fortress02, the SSD was mounted under the motherboard tray and the airflow created by the fans affects it's temperature very little, if any.
    In FT02 a little amount of air is possible to reach the SSD, hence the SSD should be more cooler in FT02, then in RV03. But the thermal readings shows exactly the opposite results, which means that something is wrong.

    I intentionally choose to compare the thermal results of two Silversone's cases, because they are using same mounting method for SSD's.
  • Uritziel - Monday, August 15, 2011 - link

    While both cases can mount the SSD behind the mobo, it seems to me the similarity stops there. The RV03 has an air channel back there. The fans actually extend behind the mobo, and the air can continue past the SSD to exit via venting holes in the top.
    I'm not as familiar with the FT02, but looking at the top-down view in the gallery here, there seems to be no air channel behind the mobo. The fans don't appear to actually extend behind the mobo, and I see no venting at the top either. Also, does the FT02 also use the newer "air penetrator" fans (or whatever they're called) that the RV03 uses?
    I just recently put my RV03 build together, so I'm trying to help you make sense of the thermal discrepancy since Dustin hasn't responded to you yet.
  • veselinbg - Monday, August 15, 2011 - link

    I make my conclusions only by using images from the gallery.

    Please take a look here:

    Please show me where is that air channel?
    As I can see there is a metal folded plate which "hide" the SSD from airflow.
  • banthracis - Monday, August 15, 2011 - link

    It's stated that ambient varies from 71F to 74F so it's not a constant. If fact, unless the room is temperature controlled, I'd also assume the variance is greater as as these systems increase ambient over time.

    It would be much better IMO to measure delta's like bit-tech or normalize the data like HardOCP does, rather than simply give the temperature.
  • veselinbg - Monday, August 15, 2011 - link

    Yes, I agree with you that thermal results as delta is more accurate.
    And I suspect that that big difference in SSD's temperature comes from different ambient temperature.
  • don_k - Monday, August 15, 2011 - link

    Just to point out that a 4C difference on an SSD is simply down to ambient temperature or positioning of the SSD and even then, it does not matter.

    It's an SSD. It uses just a few W of power, it's not going to get hot in the first place.

    Worry about gpu/cpu deltas, not SSD temps.
  • banthracis - Monday, August 15, 2011 - link

    The point he's trying to make, is that if the SSD's should have been the same temp, yet are 4C off, then does this mean there was a 4C ambient temp difference?

    If so, that makes all the thermal tests results invalid for comparison, not just the SSD ones.

    So basically, vs the RV02 for ex, the FT02 could temps should be 4c lower than what's on those graphs, a significant difference considering how close temps are.

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