|SilverStone Fortress FT01 Case SST-FT01B-W|
|Reviews - Featured Reviews: Cases|
|Written by Bruce Normann - Editied by Olin Coles|
|Monday, 24 November 2008|
Page 4 of 9
Closer Look: Interior
The interior always makes or breaks a computer case for me, because it's where I do all my work. I'm not a case modder that unleashes my own brand of artistry on the original canvas, so the only real pride I can take from the physical product of my efforts is how well the system build is put together. Let's see how I got on with the SilverStone FT01BW.
The first thing you notice about the FT01BW is the full-on black interior, it's only offered on the black model with the side window. The matte finish powder coat is as carefully applied as it is on the outside. Everything else inside the chassis just jumps out at you, sort of like a painting on black velvet. Well, maybe better than that.....yeah, quite a bit better than that. Lets look at the major sections first.
There is a small lip at the bottom of the motherboard tray that defines the upper limit of the power supply area. There is a small rubber pad on the back end that presses tight against the power supply, to reduce vibration. It does make the installation of the PSU a little fiddly, but once installed, everything fit nice and snug.
The chassis allows the PSU to be installed "right side up" or upside down. This is only an issue if the PSU has a bottom (or top) mounted fan. In the "right side up" configuration shown above, the fan pulls air into the PSU from the filtered bottom intake and exhausts it out the back, into the room. This is a nice short, independent path to get cool air into the PSU and hot air out of the case. In the upside down configuration, the PSU fan would pull hot air away from the video card area and exhaust it out the back. I like the idea of cool, fresh air passing thru the PSU, so I chose the "right side up" orientation.
While we're on the subject of the PSU, I had a hard time finding a good place to store all of the unused cables. A modular power supply would obviate this issue, but not everyone has or wants a modular PSU. I ended up with all the cables lying on the bottom, admittedly out of the way, but not very attractive. Unfortunately, the side window extends quite low on the panel and the snake pit of cables is easily visible to the casual observer. Please do forgive the block of acoustic foam mounted on the PSU, it's a leftover from another build, and I really should have removed it before I took the photos. My bad....OTOH those snakes need something to chew on .
The upper bank of drive bays will accommodate five 5.25" drives, each of them sliding in from the front and latching in place with the tool-less locking levers. The fit and finish of the metalwork in these bays is first class, not a sharp edge anywhere.
The tool free locking assemblies operate very easily and are pretty foolproof. The locking pins on the inside engage the mounting holes on the side of the drive, securing it in place. I tried several drives in different bays and they all fit the same, very snug. I see no reason to add the optional mounting screw on the back side, unless I was going to subject the case to severe vibration.
There is one area where I really felt let down by this case, and maybe wrongly so, but I really struggled with cable management. Take a look at the back side of the motherboard tray on the completed systems and I think you'll see why.
There's a distinct lack of any accommodation on the MB tray for cable routing. No intermediate pass-thrus, no tie-down points, and the clearance between the back of the tray and the rear side panel is too slim to allow passage of the main ATX power cable. There are several pass-thrus between the PSU and the HDD area, but the middle two SATA power connectors wouldn't fit through without removing the rubber grommets. I know, I should have made the effort, but it was thin enough to snake around the back, so I took the easy route, literally.
Maybe I lost my hair shirt somewhere along the way, and now I'm just spoiled and lazy, but there have been several cases reviewed here lately that make it so much easier to create a neat presentation. The fact that this case had a big, clear window on the side, showing all of my cable management transgressions didn't make me feel any better. I can blame some of it on the "medium length" cables supplied with the Corsair PSU, but I've used the same PSU on other builds and got the routing a little cleaner.
In the "olden" days, it was up to the system builder to make the cables look good; the more challenging, the better. There was a real sense of achievement and pride, because it was all up to the builder and their own creativity and hard work. Nothing was easy back then, and we can thank those early pioneers for the improvements that case makers have incorporated into their newer designs. There is still a contingent of old school folks who scoff at how easy it is today, but I just don't want to work that hard anymore. So there lies the truth: I am actually just spoiled and lazy, and it showed on this occasion.