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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

Cooling Performance Tests

This case is all about cooling, so let's test it. The system I built in this case in the previous section was taken from an existing build in a Thermaltake Level 10 case. This 50 pound all aluminum monster takes the "separate cooling zones" design to its logical conclusion, with completely enclosed areas for the motherboard, power supply, optical drives, and hard drives. It's the most expensive production computer case I know of, but now that the initial frenzy has died down, you can get one at Newegg for only $799.00.

silverstone_sst_ft02s_w_size2.jpg f

Surprisingly, the two cases are virtually the same length, front-to-back, although the Level 10 is much taller. Thermaltake brags about the Level 10's cooling ability, but the enclosed motherboard area depends on a single 140mm intake fan and 120mm exhaust fan for ventilation. Subtle extra air intakes are sculpted into the case over the CPU and video card areas. The stock FN181fans in the SilverStone Fortress FT02 case are rated at 100CFM at the low 700RPM speed, and 130CFM at the higher 1000RPM speed.

I used Everest Ultimate 5.5 to load the processor with the "Stress CPU" and "Stress FPU" tests. The results are presented as "thermal difference" (the difference, in degrees Celcius, between the processor temperature and the ambient temperatures). I overclocked the Intel 980x processor to4.16gHz with a 160mHz BCLK and 1.35 volts.

silverstone_sst_ft02s_w_cpuid.jpg

With the SilverStone case, I ran the tests twice: once with the fans set to "Low" and once with the fans set to "High". And the results are...

CPU Load Thermal Difference
Case

Thermal Difference
(degrees Celcius)

Difference from
Level 10
Level 10 58.4 0
FT02 fans low 54.4 -4.0
FT02 fans high 53.0 -5.4

Thisis a decisive win for the FT02. It's to be expected, really:as you can see in the build photo, the CPU cooler sits right above the two rearmost fans, each blowing cool outside airstraight up. The airflow over the memory in the FT02 is excellent, too

Next it was time to test the temperatures of the GTX480 graphics cards. Two of these beasts running stress tests in SLI mode will strain the cooling capabilities of any system. For this test I left the video card's fan controls on "auto" and used Furmark to stress both cards; and as before, I ran the tests in the Fortress FT02 with the case fans on both "Low" and "High" settings, and I also noted the idle temperatures of the cards before starting the tests.

silverstone_sst_ft02s_w_480_temps_auto.jpg

The temperature differences here aren't quite as dramatic, but are still noticeable, with the idle and load temperatures of the cards running three to five degrees cooler in the FT02 case. SilverStone lists the 180mm fan noise as 18dBa at low speed and 27dBa at high speed; I found the audible difference barely noticeable, and you might wish to simply leave the stock fans on "High" all the time. One thing I did notice during this test was the amazing amount of hot air boiling out of the top of the case, probably enough to deform plastic items you might place there. Of course this same heat comes out the back of a normal case design, but it's a lot more noticeable here.

Next, I ran the same tests with the GTX480 fans manually set to 100%, as might be the case in an overclocking or benchmarking scenario. Here, the differences were much more pronounced, with the FT02 posting temperatures that were 9.3 and 4.3 degrees better with low case fan speed and a stunning 12.3 and 5.3 degrees better with the case fans on high.

silverstone_sst_ft02s_w_480_temps_high.jpg

So the SilverStone Fortress FT02 really does provide significantly better cooling, at least as compared to the Thermaltake Level 10. But then there are the downsides to consider...



 

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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