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

    Thank you!
  • banthracis - Monday, August 15, 2011 - link

    I did find the FT02 vs RV03 temps odd since bit tech has the FT02 on low beating the RV03 on high.

    Also, over on HardOCPs FT0 thread, Tony Ou, Silverstone's sales rep mentioned that in their internal testing that the RV03 should get very close to the FT02, but implies it shouldn't be better.
    somewhere in this thread
  • veselinbg - Monday, August 15, 2011 - link

    I'm sorry this is my short post version, because Anand didn't allow me to post all the text at once
  • Devoted - Monday, August 15, 2011 - link

    Hi Dustin, and congrats on another great review.

    I'd like to know if you'd be able to test the FT02 with a graphics card with a non-reference cooler, like a Twin Frozr from MSI or a WindForce from Gigabyte... Since these coolers don't push air outside the case, I'm curious if the vertical aiflow orientation will be detrimental to their performance.

    I've been reading conflicting results allover the 'net, both from people who have consistently good results and from other who claim the GPU's temp steadily climb until it's over the card's threshold...

    Anyone has any opinion/data on this? I'm considering moving from an Antec P182 to a FT02, but I'll also be getting a new graphics card, so I'm cautious about this...

  • runavaio - Tuesday, August 16, 2011 - link

    I've used for a year and a half a FT02 housing a very hot GTX295, without problems, despite it being the dual pcb earlier design.

    A few months ago I switched to a GTX570 and so far, so good, despite this one is a zotac non-reference design with a central fan. Probably not the best choice for this case, but for me, it is a lot cooler than my old gtx295.

    With neither of them I have had cooling trouble, nor feared for the temps, always cool and as quiet as those cards can be.

    Just this week I have also updated from a Q9450@3,55ghz with noctua C14 to a 2600K@4,6ghz with noctua d14, awesome difference!

    I always wanted to set up a water-cooled rig, but I have settled for a very good air cooling solution.
  • Devoted - Tuesday, August 16, 2011 - link

    Thanks, just the kind of I needed...

    I'm considering going from a Q6600 to a 2500K and from a 8800GTS to a GTX570 SOC, and maybe change the case later on... we'll see..

    I've been entertaining the notion of watercooling for quite some time but I always end up going for aircooling, too.
  • danjw - Monday, August 15, 2011 - link

    I would really like a review of the P193 v3. I haven't found any English language reviews of it.
  • sakanade - Monday, August 15, 2011 - link

    Nice review.

    Could you elaborate more on swapping the usb2.0 panel for a 3.0?

    Where did you get one that fits the FT02?
  • sakanade - Monday, August 15, 2011 - link

    I mean the cables...

  • burningrave101 - Wednesday, August 24, 2011 - link

    You can contact Silverstone RMA here in the USA to order the USB 3.0 upgrade kit and last I called about it it was $12 shipped.

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