SilverStone Fortress FT03
Written by Michael Larabel in Enclosures on 8 April 2011. Page 2 of 4. 13 Comments


The Fortress FT03 just measures in at 235 x 487 x 284mm, making it a unique columnar design. The motherboard mounting tray is rotated 90 degrees to provide a stacked cooling effect similar to the other Fortress enclosures, but also to minimize the depth of the chassis while still allowing extended-length graphics cards and other large components to fit within this mini-tower.

The exterior of the chassis is very simple and sleek with a sand-blasted, anodized aluminum surface and the only areas standing out being the SilverStone logo on the front of the enclosure, the opening for the slim optical drive bay, and the air vents around the chassis.

On the top of the enclosure are the power and reset switches, LED indicators, audio jacks, and two USB 3.0 ports that are backwards compatible with USB 2.0. The motherboard I/O connectors are also exposed from the top of the enclosure but are underneath a pop-up plastic grated cover. There is also a 120mm exhaust fan next to the motherboard I/O panel area. What is also convenient about this top-access design is the 3.5-inch Serial ATA hard drive hot-swappable bay that can be easily accessed.

The power supply connector for the FT03 is located on the bottom of the chassis along with an air intake area that aligns with the power supply, which is covered by a magnetic fan filter to reduce the amount of dust entering the system. The fan filter is nice, but there were a few problems with the magnetic fan filter mistakenly coming off when gripping the enclosure from the bottom of the chassis. The bottom power connector is fine if you're not routinely moving around the computer, but in cases like the Phoronix test labs it can be a bit of a nuisance having to constantly pick up the chassis to be able to plug into an AC power cable.

The side panels on the FT03 can be easily removed and from there, the unique internal layout is visible. It was with the Raven RV01 where SilverStone began with the rotated motherboard design and in the case of FT03 it worked out very well for maintaining a compact tower design while still allowing room for large graphics cards and other components to be installed.

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