|SilverStone Fortress FT01 Case SST-FT01B-W|
|Reviews - Featured Reviews: Cases|
|Written by Bruce Normann - Editied by Olin Coles|
|Monday, 24 November 2008|
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Detailed Exterior Features
The side panels on the FT01 series are basically flat aluminum sheets, 1mm thick, with a grained finish. Like the rest of the case, the finish is high quality and extremely consistent. In contrast to the earlier products, both side panels are lined with sound dampening foam. This type of material is better at absorbing high frequency noise than it is at damping panel flexure, but it does a little bit of both, which might be the right choice. I've yet to see any manufacturer go full bore on acoustic treatments, which is strange, since it is relatively mature technology and is readily available in what I would call a companion marketplace, car audio. So far, only the case modder crowd is using the combination of constrained layer damping, and isolation, barrier, and absorbing layers. The reason you probably don't need to go to these lengths is that most cases have lots of open areas, large and small, for sound to leak through.
The side panels are held on by a series of tabs and slots on the upper edge. There are two flip levers on the back of the case that control the locking slides on each side. These slides are one of the reasons the top filter is not easily removed for cleaning, like the front one is.
The external ports; USB, Firewire, and Audio, are located in a fixed inset panel on the top of the FT01. The jacketed cables leading from this panel are quite long and will have no problem reaching any corner of an ATX style motherboard. The markings on the ports are pretty much too small to be useful, but if you don't know what a USB port looks like, you probably aren't reading this. The audio ports are color coded to the standard scheme, so at least they are readily identifiable. I expected to see an eSATA port on a product this new, however.
The bottom of the chassis has fairly rigid feet located at the four corners. They are part of a sturdy hard plastic assembly that bolts into the thickest part of the unibody frame extrusion. There is no question of the durability of these feet; they were made to take a beating, if necessary. This image also shows a good view of the lower PSU intake filter and its location directly below the PSU.
The rear of the chassis has all the usual features, including the obligatory water cooling grommets, and is extremely well ventilated, as you can see.
The rear of the case has a dedicated mounting spot for one of SilverStone's handy CMOS reset button assemblies. As you can see, there are two mounting options. The one on the chassis looks a little neater, but it is nice to have the card slot cover option available.
The front of the case sports a centrally located power switch and an LED that lights up blue when the system is powered up. It's a normal strength LED, no blinding blue lights burning a hole in your retina late at night. This image shows one of the few visual miscues that the case makes.
The covers for the empty 5.25" drive bays are brushed finish aluminum, while the main (unibody) part of the chassis is a matte finish. The colors are slightly different, as well and I think it looks a bit amateurish. Each of the two finishes is executed in a high quality fashion; they just don't match up very well, visually. The rest of the metal finishing is impeccable, this is the only area I think could be improved. The side panels have a finish that is more pure black, and it matches better with the main unibody. The drive covers have a purplish cast to them. Aluminum anodizing is one of the least repeatable processes in terms of appearance, so this is a common problem for consumer products. It is also one that has been mastered by the top metal finishers, so this is an easy fix.