High End Case Roundup: In Win, Lian-Li, & SilverStone

Article Index

SilverStone Fortress FT02 (continued)

The result of the rotated motherboard design is that clean look we mentioned before, because with the top panel snapped into place, you can’t see any of those ports or cables. One knock against this design, however, is that you have to remove that whole panel to do anything with the I/O ports or fan controls. Further, you have to thread all your cables--power, USB, Internet, display, everything--through the handle opening at the top, which can be a bit of a pain as certain cables won’t be able to reach that far.

One potential cooling concern to note with this design is that because the bracket ports are all set down deep, there may be a sort of trap for hot air around the expansion slots; it doesn’t appear to be much of an issue, but with two or three GPUs humming at once, you can imagine that it could.  Then again, with three fans on the bottom of the case driving airflow up through the top, sufficient airflow shouldn't be an issue.

With the top and side panels removed, you can see SilverStone’s incredibly sturdy 4.5mm aluminum unibody frame underpinning the whole structure. The frame includes a large cutout for CPU coolers and plenty of openings for cable routing, and it extends to the 5.25-inch drive cage. The cage itself has five drive slots, which should be more than enough for any build, and there are five 3.5-inch drive trays beneath that, set vertically and with the port side pointing out toward the rear side panel. One of those 3.5-inch drive trays is equipped with a CP05 mount for easy hot-swapping. There’s also a sort of hidden mount on the rear side of the 5.25-inch drive cage where you can mount an SSD.

The SilverStone Fortress FT02 comes with a bag of screws (none of them labelled), a manual, several zip ties, an internal USB port adapter, long Velcro strap, PSU holder bracket, SSD mount, and radiator mount brackets.

Even with all the fans on high, the system is astonishingly quiet; the lights buzzing in the office made more noise than this case's fans (although with the dual CPU fans running, the whole setup was a little noisier). Under a heavy load of Prime95, the noise increases significantly, but it’s still relatively quiet compared to what you’d expect from any mid-range case running at idle. The sound-dampening material on the side panels appears to work very well.

Related content