The SilverStone Fortress FT05 Case Reviewby E. Fylladitakis on June 5, 2015 8:00 AM EST
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SilverStone is a well-known manufacturer, distinguished for their atypical, strange case designs. The company offers numerous enclosures that partially or completely neglect the ATX design guide. The ML04 and ML05 that we reviewed several months ago are but a pair of examples of their HTPC solutions, while the Raven RV05 with its rotated motherboard tray was a prominent specimen of their unique tower designs. Today we are having a look at the Fortress FT05, a case very similar to the Raven RV05, although not quite the same.
The latest Fortress series case also has a rotated motherboard tray, a design that is inherited from the Raven RV01, but retains the compact dimensions of the Raven RV05. SilverStone boasts that the compact Fortress FT05 offers exceptional thermal performance and easy maintenance despite its compact proportions. However, that was the case with the Raven RV05 as well and our review revealed that this design is far from perfect. The Fortress FT05 retails at double the price tag of the Raven RV05 as well, making it a rather expensive small tower case, and a bit of an uphill battle for SilverStone.
|SilverStone Fortress FT05 Specifications|
|Motherboard Form Factor||ATX, Micro-ATX, Mini-ITX|
|Drive Bays||External||1 x Slim Slot Loading|
|Internal||2 x 3.5" (rear drive cage) 2 x 2.5" (rear of motherboard tray)|
|Top||1 x 120 mm (optional)|
|Bottom||2 x 180 mm (included) 3 x 120 mm or 2 x 140 mm fans can replace the stock fans|
|Bottom||240 mm / 280 mm|
|I/O Port||2x USB 3.0, 1x Headphone, 1x Mic|
|Power Supply Size||ATX|
|Dimensions||483 mm × 221 mm × 427 mm (H×W×D) 19 in × 8.7 in × 16.8 in (H×W×D)|
|Prominent Features||Aluminum wrap-around exterior with classic SilverStone Fortress styling
Revolutionary 90 degree motherboard mounting from RAVEN RV01
Breakthrough 5.25 inch bay-free design for unprecedented power to size ratio
Two Air Penetrator fans included for great performance and quietness
Positive air pressure design for excellent cooling/quietness and dust-prevention
Foam padded interior for advanced noise absorption
Quick-release latch for fast side panel removal
Exterior access to main filter for easy maintenance
Support for various liquid cooling radiator sizes
|Price||$180 Including Shipping (No Window)
$206.6 Including Shipping (With Window)
Packaging & Bundle
SilverStone supplies the Fortress FT05 in a large, dark cardboard box. There is little artwork to talk about, as the company limited it to a dark picture of the case itself. Thick Styrofoam slabs and a black nylon bag protect the case during shipping.
SilverStone supplies virtually only the hardware essential for the installation of the components, a few simple cable ties and a 120mm fan filter. There also is a very well written manual, but no extras such as cable straps or decorative stickers.
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E.Fyll - Friday, June 5, 2015 - linkI will try to be as succinct as possible.
Taking a lot of time to make a case look tidy is, simply put, not good.
As pictured, the cables of the AX760i are hard pressed against the HDD cage. You cannot insert or remove any cables. Having to take out the entire HDD cage to insert a cable is, simply put, not good.
It is not my job to spend a lot of time to try and hide the cables. Given enough time and resources, I can hide every single cable inside the smallest ITX case. If I need a lot of time to route and hide cables, that is -1 for any design. If you cannot hide the cables altogether with a design forcing you to run them across the motherboard, like this one, that's -3. Or -50. Depends on how biased towards tidiness you are.
My opinion could be "skewed" but pictures tell no lies. Judge for yourselves.
Isn't it rather ironic that whenever I say something positive about a product I am "on the take" and whenever I say something negative my opinion is "skewed"? :P
wurizen - Friday, June 5, 2015 - linkHi,
First of all, thanks for replying. I assume you are the reviewer of this case. Any one can make things look tidy given enough time. But, it also doesn't take up that much time after some thought have been made to where to route the cables for this case. The fact that you went about your cabling in the same way as you would go about routing cables for a case that is much bigger is... as you put it... NOT GOOD. Just because there aren't any grommet holes or dedicated spots for cables doesn't mean that there isn't a way for those cables to be placed there. For example, the 8-pin CPU cable needs to be tucked in under the mobo first, so it runs across the back of the case. This is one example of no grommets, but, yet, the 8-pin CPU cable can be placed on this case in the same manner as any case with special grommet or holes for them. This is because there is space on the right side of the case for the 8-pinCPU cable to snake through as well as all the system wires.
"My opinion could be "skewed" but pictures tell no lies. Judge for yourselves." If you look at that picture, I can see clearance and space for the cables to be taken out even without removing the HDD cage. I also know this because I have the AX760 and I've swapped cables without having to remove the cage. Is it tight? Yes. Is it impossible or that hard? No!
I am not biased about tidiness. But, you're a reviewer. People will look at this review and see how you run the cables and it's not how it's done. It's not just for aesthetics or some OCD for tidiness, either. But, if you leave the cables as pictured on your review, then you have all those system cables in front of the bottom fan impeding or blocking airflow. Thus, it is not just a tidy thing but also an ethical thing. You've "skewed" the thermal performance of the case by not routing the cables the correct way.
I use to place this site as one of the better tech sites. But, no more!!!
Ryan Smith - Saturday, June 6, 2015 - linkwurizen, while I regret that we can't meet all of your standards, I do stand by my editor in the case of this case (er, no pun intended). Given the small space available in the FT05, E. did a reasonable job on cable routing. Especially since this is just for evaluating the build-friendliness of the case and taking pictures of what an assembled system will look like. There are tradeoffs to be had in terms of time, and even experienced builders are going to have trouble getting the "perfect" build on this case. E's build, I believe, is likely better than what the majority of users will accomplish with this case.
"Thus, it is not just a tidy thing but also an ethical thing. You've "skewed" the thermal performance of the case by not routing the cables the correct way."
I would also quickly note that we don't test this case with standard components (as installed), but rather with a dummy load. More details can be found on page 4. This admittedly creates a setup that's a bit idealized, but it also means that the results aren't being impacted by the build itself, since it's not present for testing. So I can assure you that the results are not negatively skewed.
vivi2000 - Friday, June 5, 2015 - linkThe article states that the fan speed switches are only 2 way(low/high) but they are actually 3 way but only labeled as 2 way.
romrunning - Friday, June 5, 2015 - linkE.Fyll - thanks for posting both metric & non-metric measurements for the case dimensions (H×W×D)!
Impulses - Friday, June 5, 2015 - linkI think making it wider would've solved a lot of issues, they could've had more cable management room, space for a vertically mounted 5.25" bay, etc... I'll stick with my Corsair Air 540, of which I have the opposite complaint.
I don't mind that the 540 is SO wide but it wastes a lot of space on the right compartment, should've had one more drive cage there or been narrower, at least it was cheap tho and the unobstructed airflow thru the left compartment probably works as well as Silverstone's bottom/top design.
I feel like there's plenty of room to innovate with designs like that tho, which don't force the typical and awkward S shaped airflow path and/or don't waste a ton of space up front on 5.25" bays.
deadlockedworld - Friday, June 5, 2015 - linkWhen I bought my FT02, it was because my wife insisted that I get something that wasn't too ugly and I needed it to run with very little front ventilation. Had this existed at that time I would have paid basically any amount of money for it. Value isn't even part of the equation!
Few other manufacturers can make a case this classy looking, yet with good thermal performance. They are targeting a niche user, who cares about looks as much as performance and doesn't have financial constraints.
tim851 - Saturday, June 6, 2015 - link>>> True enough, convective heat transfer suggests that higher temperature air will naturally flow
>>> upwards, so the design does make sense. The case does act as a convective heater
I wish reviewers weren't parroting marketing speak all the time.
It's been shown time and again that convection plays no role in a case once forced air movement (aka: fans) come into play. The FT05 (or FT02 or any other of these) isn't such a great performer because "hot air rises", but because it employs two huge 180mm intake fans.
If you want to test this, just turn it on it's face, so that the airflow becomes horizontal, and marvel at how the temps don't change.
Valantar - Saturday, June 6, 2015 - linkKind of a shame that this could have been a truly excellent case if only they had added 1-2 cm to its width and length for cable management. With space for cables along the "top" (i.e. right side) of the motherboard, they could have stuck a hdd/ssd mount or two along the side there too. Suddenly, the case would be both roomy and have plenty of expandability.
MCX - Saturday, June 6, 2015 - linkHaving had my fill of custom watercooling, I went back to Silverstone's Fortress series with the FT05, which seemed like a good successor to the FT02, making a reasonable compromise between size and flexibility. Like the FT02 the backside is unnecessarily cramped and not very useful for cable management, but also like the FT02, the thermal performance and noiseless operation is impressive.
Besides the lack of neat cable management, a bit too much is made of how hard it is to build in the case. Sure, it's not for beginners, and if I were someone who changed components weekly or if I had to build hundreds of these, I'd acquiesce to a larger case, but for relatively experienced builders who isn't changing motherboards or cpus every other week, it's not a big deal.
Currently, I'm using it with a Noctua DH15 for my cpu and a semi-passive psu and a gpu (an AX860 and a Strix 970). Case fans are controlled by the motherboard. It allows for whisper-quiet computing that hardly gets louder while gaming, even with a reasonable overclock.