Silverstone is known to many as being one of the top chassis manufactures. They strive to produce the most innovative and functional chassis. One such example of their dedication to perfection is the Silverstone Temjin TJ07 chassis. The TJ07 brought us a uniquely styled chassis, that had clean smooth lines and offered exceptional performance. The TJ07 allowed consumers to configure just about any setup in the chassis with ease. Due to its success, Silverstone decide to expand on the uni-body design that is used in the TJ07. They have created a new line called the Fortress Series. The first chassis in that line is the Fortress FT01, which is what we are going to be taking a look at today.
The Silverstone FT01 comes packed in a dual layer box that showcases the main features of the chassis. Granted, most of us purchase our chassis via the net and have little use for the information that's printed on the box. It's still good to see that the non e-tail consumer can still have a plethora of information on the box should they choose to purchase it at a local retail store. The FT01 is sandwiched between two large styrofoam end caps to keep the chassis centered in the box. This leaves plenty of space between the chassis and the sides of the box to prevent the possibility of it receiving any damage during shipping.
Positive air pressure design optimizes cooling performance
Uni-body frame construction from the flagship Temjin TJ07
Artful, understated design with excellent ergonomics
Dual 180mm silent fans included for outstanding cooling and quietness
Minimal use of rivets for maximum serviceability
Highly flexible drive storage options with hot-swappable SATA adapter
The Silverstone FT01 is available in four different flavors, Silver, Silver w/window, Black, and Black w/window. As we can see by the picture on the left, I selected the Black w/window, which also comes with the internals all painted black. The sides of the chassis and the drive bay covers are anodized, while the top, front, and bottom are a matte metallic finish. Normally, when you mix finishes like this, it will give you two different colors. Although in the right lighting, you can easily see the difference, the overall look of the Silverstone FT01 is right on.
The styling of the FT01 is very similar to that of the TJ07 but on a slightly smaller scale. The raised edges that run up the front and along the top are more pronounced on the FT01. With the FT01 being a smaller chassis, the fan positions are slightly different. The TJ07 utilized lower side fans, two rear fans, and two top fans. The FT01 utilizes a 180mm intake fan at the lower front, a 180mm intake fan in the top rear section, and a 120mm exhaust fan in the rear. The 180mm fans are rated at 700RPM / 18 dBA, while the 120mm fan is rated at 900RPM / 18 dBA, which should give you an acceptable noise level.
SST-FT01B-W (black + window)
SST-FT01S-W (silver + window)
3.0mm ~ 6.0mm uni-body aluminum outer frame and aluminum body
ATX, Micro ATX
5.25" x 5
3.5" x 7
1 x 180mm intake fan, 700rpm, 18dBA
1 x 120mm exhaust fan, 900rpm, 18dBA
1 x 180mm intake fan, 700rpm, 18dBA
Front I/O Port
USB2.0 x 2
IEEE1394 x 1
Audio x 1
MIC x 1
1 x Optional standard PS2 (ATX)
Compatible with expansion card up to 12”
211 mm (W) x 486 mm (H) x 494.5 mm (D)
One CP05 included for single hot-swappable SATA hard drive, additional CP05 can be purchased separately
Looking at the rear angled view, we can see that the right side of the chassis is
unaltered anodized aluminum. On the rear where we normally see plain aluminum/steel, we are greeted with an all black finish that blends in with the rest of the chassis.
The FT01 utilizes a lower mounted PSU design, which is becoming more common in chassis. Unfortunately, not all of the power supply manufactures have figured this out. When it comes time to do the cable routing, you might find yourself wanting a few of the cables to be longer (4-pin / 8-pin ATX power connector). The PSU mount is also setup to allow you to mount your PSU to your liking. For instance, if you plan to have your chassis sitting on a carpeted floor and do not want to have your fan facing the bottom of the chassis, you can easily turn it over and let it draw its air from the inside of the chassis like a normal ATX setup.
Another feature that is pretty common on Silverstone chassis, is the vented PCI slot covers. With the positive air pressure design, this will help allow some of the heated air to escape from the chassis.
Every chassis has either positive air pressure or negative air pressure inside the chassis while it's running. If the combined air flow of your intake fans is greater than the combined air flow of your exhaust fans, you will have positive pressure inside the chassis. If your combined exhaust is greater than your intake, then you will have negative pressure. As we stated, the FT01 is designed to have positive pressure.
The positive pressure design is going to allow the air to try and flow out of the chassis via any cracks or opening it can. This will help in controlling the amount of dust that can enter your chassis.
For users that are using a dual slot card with built in exhaust vents at the rear and top of the card, the positive pressure will also help in moving that heated air out of the chassis.
We will be testing the positive vs. negative later on in the review. The first temperature tests will be done with the top 180mm in its default orientation (exhaust). We will then remove the fan and flip it over to make it an Intake. We will retest the system to see how it affects our temperatures at various sensors. For now though, lets get back to checking out this beast.
The intake fans use a medium sized perforated metal mesh that is in a diamond pattern, which fits in nicely with the chassis styling. Although I would have liked to seen the top conform to the same dimensions as the front intake to give it a cleaner look. Looking at the above photos, you can see a bit of plastic framing behind the mesh, this is an additional mounting option that will allow you to install 120mm fans. The option to run the smaller fan is surely going to please a few users, but would be one of the first things that I would remove to increase air flow.
Located in the top front of the chassis is the front I/O Panel. This gives you access to 2 x USB 2.0, 1 x IEEE1394, 1 x Audio, and 1 x MIC ports, while also housing the Reset button in the front corner. I was a bit surprised to not see a e-SATA connector here as well.
Now I will be the first to say, that I am very picky about the chassis I use, and I tend to frown on certain things in a design. The first potential problem I see with the FT01 is the front panel I/O (well top panel if you will) area. The tray is recessed and could offer a viable option as a "catch all" for consumers, but I just have a feeling that something is going to get placed in this tray that could potentially get lodged into one of the ports causing a short in the system. I would have really liked to have seen something similar to whats used on the TJ10. Keeping the ports out of the way until they are needed.
Looking at the upper rear section, we will find that the FT01 does support water cooling designs with the included grommets. Unfortunately though, you're going to more than likely have to mount your radiator(s) externally. In the upper corners of the rear you will find a unique design used on the FT01. Silverstone has included a small flip up latches that is used to release the side panels. The latches are connected to long rods that have three tabs on them to lock into the side panel when installed. As you lift the latch, the rod is then pulled toward the rear of the chassis releasing the three tabs from the side panel. Then the panel, then can be tiled out at the top and lifted off the lower lip that it rests on. Once installed, the side panel is secured with two large thumb screws, and the latch can be secured with either a thumb screw, or it has a small eyelet that a lock can be placed through making the chassis tamper proof.
Flipping the chassis on its side so we can get a glimpse at the feet, which is where we spot one of the few plastic parts used on the FT01. The plastic foot is the full width of the chassis and mounts via two screws. There is a thin rubber pad located at each side of the foot to give it the cushion and grip needed to keep the chassis in place without marring your desk's surface.
Although the photo on the left is not quite ideal, it does show something that we were talking about a little earlier. The difference between the anodized side panel and the front, top, bottom section. It's obviously two different processes, but they do look good when next to each other.
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