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Written by David Ramsey   
Thursday, 05 August 2010
Table of Contents: Page Index
SilverStone Fortress FT02 Computer Case
Closer Look: Exterior
Detailed Exterior Features
Closer Look: Interior
Detailed Interior Features
Building a System
Cooling Performance Tests
Final Thoughts and Conclusion

Building a System

Building a system in the SilverStone Fortress FT02 case is like walking through a carnival house of mirrors: everything's twisted around from what you'd normally expect. If you slow down and take your time, though, it shouldn't be hard. I used an ASUS P6T V2 Deluxe motherboard with an Intel 980x processor and two NVIDIA GTX480 video cards. A Cooler Master V6GT CPU coolerdoes its best to keep the overclocked and overvolted CPU at a reasonable temperature; a Corsair HX850 modular power supply and 12G of Corsair Dominator memory round things out. Notice in this shot how close the back of the optical drive is to the second NVIDIA GTX480 card. More on this later...

silverstone_sst_ft02s_w_installed.jpg

Given that the whole purpose of this case is airflow, you'll want to avoid blocking the path of air from the bottom cooling fans with tangles of cables. Fortunately, there's enough clearance at the front of the fans for the power cables for the video cards, but the rest of your cables should run behind the motherboard. Unfortunately, the design of the case makes this a bit tricky.

silverstone_sst_ft02s_w_rear_installed.jpg

The first problem is that there's very little clearance between the back of the motherboard and the inside of the right case panel. The lower part of the internal chassis, which bulges outward to accomodate the fans, is a mere 1/4" from the panel, while the slightly-stepped in upper section has about 5/8" of clearance. See the thick ATX main power cable at the lower left of this image? The case panel will not fit on with it in this position; I had to nudge it up over the "ledge" just above it. Since the panels are secured at the top and bottom of the case, but not the front and rear edges, any internal pressure from squeezed cables will cause the front and rear edges to bulge noticeably.

silverstone_sst_ft02s_w_ssd_mounting.jpg

The second problem is that you're going to need really long power supply cables. For example, the SSD mounting seems a clever use of normally wasted space, but its position means that it can't share a SATA power cable with the drives directly below it. While a 2.5" mounting system for the standard drive bays would have been nice, my build has 3 hard drives in addition to the SSD; and I still would have had to run 2 SATA cables to cover everything since the drive bays are so far from the power supply that the 4th SATA connector on the cable won't reach. The same problem occurs with any 5.25" devices: it looks from the photo as though there would be enough slack in the power cable running to the SSD to slip one into the case to connect to the optical drive, but trust me, there's not. I wound up have to use a separate 4-connector SATA power cable for the SSD and the optical drive. Still, if you have an SSD, it might be better to use a 3.5" mounting adapter and put it with the other hard drives, depending on your system layout. If you plan on getting one of these cases, I'd strongly recommend spending a few dollars for some SATA power cable extensions.

silverstone_sst_ft02s_w_optical_drive_clearance.jpg

The third problem is that there's very little clearance between the 5.25" device bays and the last slot in the motherboard. My Plextor Blu-Ray reader is 7.25" long (a common size for optical drives); while it physically fits, there's not enough clearance between the second video card and the drive for a SATA power connector to fit, so I can't use it. This will be the case if you have a card in the last slot of your motherboard, or (as in this case) a double-wide card in the 6th slot. Smaller drives will fit, tightly. This also explains why SilverStone blocked off the 8th slot in the backplane: using anything in that slot would have occluded some or all of the 5.25" bays. SilverStone's 8-slot Raven RV02 case is 643mm long, while the FT02 is only 616mm long, and judging from SilverStone's photos of the RV02, all 27mm of extra space went just after the 5.25" bays. Note that even in this case, using the 8th slot would have the same problems as using the 7th slot here...so plan carefully if you're setting up a CrossFireX or SLI multi-card system in this case.

silverstone_sst_ft02s_w_video_cable.jpg

The fourth problem is external cable management. The fact that everything plugs into the top of the case means that your video, USB, Ethernet, and other cables will need to stretch 18" to 24" further than they would to the back of a "normal" computer case. Be especially careful of the video cable: the hanging weight of the thick, heavy cables used for DVI video will tend to put sideways stress on your video card's connector unless you make sure the weight of the cable isn't pulling on it.



 

Comments 

 
# Feet...??BruceBruce 2010-08-05 13:15
Any feet included on this case, or does it sit directly on the flat bottom surface?
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# RE: Feet...??David Ramsey 2010-08-05 14:19
There are no feet as such; just a couple of very thin horizontal rubber strips at the front and back.
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# That's good....BruceBruce 2010-08-05 18:59
...just need something to keep it from sliding around and getting scratched up if it's on a hard floor surface.
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# RE: SilverStone Fortress FT02 Computer CaseSteven Iglesias-Hearst 2010-08-05 13:30
That symbol by the fan controls means that the case is recyclable (do not throw in the bin) :D
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# Yeah, but.....BruceBruce 2010-08-05 13:34
My Recycling Bin looks just like that!
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# RE: RE: SilverStone Fortress FT02 Computer CaseDavid Ramsey 2010-08-05 14:23
So everyone is telling me! What happened to the good 'ol triple arrows? The whole point behind an icon is to be simple and, well, iconic: you know, like the old Mac trash can icon which was INSTANTLY RECOGNIZABLE as a trash can everywhere in the world...a wheeled trash can with a lid is needlessly complex and fools old people like me.
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# RE: SilverStone Fortress FT02 Computer CaseRobert17 2010-08-06 15:25
Although from your review this appears to be a respectably nice case, aluminum with foam noise dampeners and all, comparing it to the review of the upcoming Phantom case, then comparing MSRPs, it would seem to have limited draw. I'd like to get these two case designers in a room and not let them out till they agree on one really neat clone.
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# RE: RE: SilverStone Fortress FT02 Computer CaseSteven Iglesias-Hearst 2010-08-07 00:01
Yeah that phantom is super sexy inside and has a nice design on the outside too. Anyone seen the red one yet? You should go have a look.
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# RE: RE: SilverStone Fortress FT02 Computer CaseDavid Ramsey 2010-08-07 07:10
The Phantom does appear to be a really nice case at a great price point. However, I doubt it will be able to match the cooling/noise of the FT02. Wait until you see what I did with the case with SilverStone's optional fans!
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# RE: SilverStone Fortress FT02 Computer CaseVito Cassisi 2010-08-06 22:00
I have the Silverstone Raven RV01 and RV02, which I really like. This looks like another good case. Too bad it's a tad pricey.
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# Nice Reviewm3kw 2011-08-16 18:42
I've read many reviews of this case, this one is the most detailed on the case design, very good review!!!
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# RE: SilverStone Fortress FT02 Computer Casem3kw 2011-08-16 18:53
You did nikpick quite a bit.
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# RE: RE: SilverStone Fortress FT02 Computer CaseDavid Ramsey 2011-08-16 19:01
You know, Silverstone griped about that, too. Sorry, but if I can't fit my optical drive in your $250 case, you're gonna get dinged for it.

Still, it's a spectacular case overall, so keep that in mind.
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# Thanks!G 2011-08-25 14:29
Very detailed review, well written and clearly not biased.

Thank you for adressing the flaws, as it seems like most reviewers are afraid of stepping on toes.

I agree on the optical drive issue, but the performance and and graceful design on this case leaves me with little choice.

Would perhaps mounting the optical drive in the fifth drive bay slot give more space? I guess it depends on the card...

Thanks again Mr. Ramsey, keep up the great work!
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# RE: SilverStone Fortress FT02 Computer CaseEric Monteiro 2014-01-27 00:24
I have been custom assembling my own desktops for quite a few years. Obviously, that included going through various leading brand cases. I am now running the Silverstone SST-FT02S-W, along side two other top brand models. The Silverstone is undisputedly, so far, the quietest and most cooling efficient mid-tower I have ever come across (period).
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