The SilverStone Fortress FT05 Case Reviewby E. Fylladitakis on June 5, 2015 8:00 AM EST
- Posted in
The Exterior of the SilverStone Fortress FT05
In terms of design, one could describe the Fortress FT05 as the exact opposite of the Raven RV05. Where the Raven RV05 sported a complex, extravagant external design, the Fortress FT05 is minimalistic, elegant and very serious. The Raven RV05 was also mostly made of plastic, with the metal parts reduced to just the core of the chassis. On the other hand, the Fortress FT05 lives up to its name, being almost entirely made out of metal. All of the external panels of the case are made of solid 3-5mm thick aluminum, which explains both the rigidity and the hefty price tag as well.
With a volume of just 0.0456 cubic meters, the Fortress FT05 takes significantly less space than the Raven RV05 (0.0638m3, 33% greater volume). It is almost the same size as Corsair's Obsidian 350D (0.0416m3, 9.2% less volume), a case that is limited up to micro ATX motherboards. However, the metallic body makes the Fortress FT05 a very heavy case in relation to its proportions. Aluminum is a lightweight material but not at this volume and thickness. The sample tipped our scale at 9.65kg while completely empty. This may not be excessively heavy for a PC case but, comparatively speaking, the Fortress FT05 is outweighing the majority of similarly sized products.
Decorative mirror stripes can be seen across the lower side and front panels of the case. These obviously are acrylic, not real glass. The only issue is that they will require at least occasional cleaning in order to look as intended.
There are no external 5.25" bays on the Fortress FT05. As a solution for those who need an optical drive, SilverStone added an opening for a slot-loading optical drive (not included with the case). These drives are relatively expensive and can greatly diminish the overall value of the FT05 if an optical drive is a requirement. The opening is covered with a silicon strip and there is no eject button either, forcing the user to eject the disc via software commands if an optical drive is installed.
The front I/O ports and standard buttons are all at the top side of the case, near its front. A door hides the I/O ports: two USB 3.0 ports and two 3.5" audio jacks (headphones, microphone). There are also two simple switches acting as fan controllers. They offer only two settings (High/Low) but they can be rather effective at controlling the stock fans or the fans of the liquid cooler, if one is installed. The rectangular power and reset buttons can be seen at either side of the door. Both buttons are of identical size and shape, so we imagine that the occasional mistake of pressing the reset button instead of the power button and vice versa is bound to happen.
Although the Fortress FT05 has virtually no feet at all, with its solid bottom flat on the surface of the desk/floor, all of the air intake process takes place from the bottom of the case. The air enters from the sides of the case, from beneath the mirror stripes. A large dust filter rests in the opening, magnetically attaching at the top. It comes out by simply pulling it from either side of the case but grasping it can be a little tricky at first.
There is only a large mesh opening at the rear of the case, for the intake fan of the PSU. The rectangular opening at the top is for the cables that need to reach the back of the motherboard and the PSU, which are located to the top of the case due to the rotated tray design.
The top cover of the Fortress FT05 is the only cover of the case that is made out of plastic. It can be removed by simply pushing it towards the rear of the case and then lifting it upwards. The removal of the cover reveals the black steel chassis of the FT05 under a spacious area for routing cables. Device cables (USB, monitor, LAN, etc.) and the power cable enter this area from the opening at the rear side of the case. There is also a 120mm fan opening. There is no fan installed there but SilverStone does provide an extra filter with the case.
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tulx - Friday, June 5, 2015 - linkI use the Raven 2 and Fortress 2 cases for mine and my wife's PCs and have never considered "conventional" designs since. The Fortress 5 looks like an interesting solution, even though it seems they've really made the cable management more tedious. I actually like the vertical design. Gives more room for longer graphics cards. My 290x has barely any room left at the bottom.
dragonsqrrl - Friday, June 5, 2015 - linkAlso an FT02 owner, by far the best case I've ever owned. I prefer large mid towers, so in terms of size it's perfect. Fantastic air flow, at launch it consistently topped the charts for component air cooling (GPU in particular).
I like the clean minimalist design of most Silverstone cases, and I really appreciate their commitment to filtered positive air pressure. Really, I have know idea why this is so difficult for some other case makers, it simply offers superior air cooling and dust management. Why negative air pressure cases are still brought to market is beyond me.
Sadly I think the FT02 was their last great mid tower, and they really haven't addressed this market since. The FT03 was small form factor and in my opinion impractical from a usability standpoint, although it did have an interesting and innovative design. The FT04 was larger but had these really bizarre design oversights, like that awkward drive cage, and that awkward door. But again, interesting innovative design. The FT05 is the closest to an FT02 successor that I've seen, but I still think it misses the mark. I love the aesthetics, but I really feel like Silverstone has neglected the larger mid tower crowd the past few years in favor of these smaller form factor designs, none of which have really worked out from a functionality/usability perspective (although this is the best I've seen so far). I guess for some reason they just don't think larger cases are relevant anymore. I think if they could just bring this same sort of creativity and design philosophy back to mid/full towers they could have a real winner on their hands. Heck, all they would really have to do is update/modernize the FT02, instant success.
bunnyfubbles - Friday, June 5, 2015 - linkhave to completely agree with this sentiment, FT05 feels like an FT02 Jr., not a true successor.
Really, the FT02 is already close to perfect, it only needs to be modernized and tweaked slightly.
For instance, more hidden SSD install points, an expanded area for cable management (the backside was a little too small for some cables being hidden behind the motherboard)...
...and of course better support for water cooling. Even though it was designed to be a sort of ultimate air cooling tower, with a little modding it makes a wicked water cooling set up as well, the problem being that it does require a fair bit of modding to really do it justice, for instance a removable HDD cage and install points or adapters for attaching smaller radiators to the 180mm fans would be amazing.
bunnyfubbles - Friday, June 5, 2015 - linkoh and I forgot, more space for the 180mm fans and fan filters to install a radiator, right now the fan filters have to be removed to install one of those ginormous 1x/2x/3x180mm rads.
Samus - Friday, June 5, 2015 - linkThe FT02 is by far the perfect tower case. I do however love the FT03 and FT03-mini. I actually prefer the FT03 over the mini because it is more flexible/expandable and easier to work on, but there is no denying the mini's ability to pack an amazing amount of power into something the size of a bread loaf.
The FT03-mini is undoubtedly the most challenging case to work in. I remember upgrading my videocard from a 660Ti to a 970 and literally taking out everything but the motherboard to get it wedged in there. The FT03-mini also required liquid cooling (and is designed with a 120x120x25mm closed-loop cooler in mind.)
I don't mind the requirement of slot-loading drives in these cases. Unless you are going the route of a Bluray burner, a SFF slot-load DVD burner can be had for $30 + $7 for the required SATA adapter. It's the same drive Macbooks use.
dragonsqrrl - Friday, June 5, 2015 - link"For instance, more hidden SSD install points, an expanded area for cable management (the backside was a little too small for some cables being hidden behind the motherboard)..."
Those are definitely two of the things I was thinking of, and they both have to do with the cable management space behind the motherboard tray. It's just too narrow compared to other modern cases, and it was definitely a tight fit in my system. Widening the case by half an inch could solve this problem.
Some of the other things I was thinking of include enlarging the CPU access hole in the motherboard tray, making the drive cage modular, and reducing the number of 5.25" bays. 5 really isn't necessary anymore, arguably wasn't necessary when the FT02 launched. 2 would be sufficient (I only need one), and use the available space for something else, like modular drive cages. But I think that's just about it as far as functionality goes. It really is a fantastic case that could be made that much better with a few teaks.
R3MF - Friday, June 5, 2015 - linki have the fto02, and happily replaced it with the 05.
love the case, as much as the 02.
Laststop311 - Friday, June 5, 2015 - linkAgree I use a ft02 and it is still the undisputed champ.Use one and you will never want another case.
7tron - Saturday, June 6, 2015 - linkI replaced my FT02 four months ago with the FT05. The FT02 was an excellent case but as I since got a decent NAS I did not require 5 HDD cases. The FT05 is ideal for me, functions exactly like the 2 except without the drive bays and the 3rd air penetrator fan. Tricky enough to build in as space is tight, but I fitted a H80i and two reference GTX 780's in no hassle. The build quality is generally excellent-one thing I don't like is the finish of back the mirrored strip with the lit up Silverstone logo.
One thing I love about the rotated motherboard design and very few mention is the fact that your PCI cards are hanging from the back plate; it's brilliant for two plus GPU's in SLI/Xfire-no sagging cards.
ES_Revenge - Sunday, June 7, 2015 - linkI dunno how people came to the conclusion the FT05 is supposed to be a replacement or successor to the FT02. They're nothing alike.
FT02 may have been great functionally but it's ugly as sin compared to the FT05. What does it have like *five* external 5.25 bays? Looks terrible, esp. in this day and age where those bays would be populated by nothing and just have the outlines of the bay covers showing. I'm sure it's a great case (and by all accounts here it is) but the FT05 was made to be something unique and elegant and not necessarily (or actually at all) attain the same kind of functionality the FT02 had. Going from 5x 5.25 bays to NONE says this isn't supposed to have anything to do with the FT02.
If anything I liken the FT05 more to my SG03 (the first gen of which is all alum construction, including the frame). Sure the SG03 is a Sugo and mATX, but it's designed to be a compact and elegant little tower, much like the FT05, albeit a Fortress and full ATX. OTOH I don't see any design similarities with the FT05 and the FT02, other than the form-factor.
Seems senseless to compare the two given the clearly must have totally different design and market goals. I agree that anyone looking for a modernised FT02 would have to look elsewhere, as I don't think Silverstone ever intended the FT05 to fill that spot.