Page 2 - Physical Look - Outside
What SilverStone has done here is they have kept a very simplistic look on the Fortress FT04. In fact, it is even more simplistic compared to the SiverStone Raven RV04 I have reviewed last month. Measuring 219mm in width, 546mm in height, and 482mm in depth, this case is pretty large, but at 25 lbs, it is surprisingly lightweight. For those that prefer an even more plain appearance, the Fortress FT04 comes with a non-windowed version. Furthermore, if you don't like black colored cases, you can buy one in silver as well. What I like here is SilverStone has created a very large opening on the windowed version. Compared to most cases, the window on the Fortress FT04 is on the right side, rather than the left. The reason is because the motherboard is to be installed a full one hundred and eighty degree from normal, which you will see later in this review. The FT04 also has two USB 3.0 port and standard 3.5mm audio jacks on the windowed side, while the power and reset button are featured on the non-windowed side. The front door is very similar in design compared to the Raven RV04. On each side of the door is approximately two to three inches of vents from top to bottom. They are used to provide maximum airflow through the front via the two SilverStone's very own Air Penetrator AP182 180mm fans located behind the door, while keeping a clean design. You will also find two 5.25" bays behind the door, each with a plastic cover. If needed, you could always pinch-and-pull before installing your external 5.25" devices.
Upon opening the door, you will notice that it will only swing in one direction, just like the Raven RV04, which I find slightly inconvenient if you must place your chassis against a certain wall. With that said, it is not likely I would use my optical drive that often; after all, it is 2013 -- but it would still be nice if SilverStone could implement some mechanism to allow the door opening configuration changed. While it boils down to personal design preference, some say they like the design on the Fortress FT04 more than on the Raven RV04. Fundamentally, design and looks is a very subjective topic, so I simply cannot force any one person to agree with my liking (Full disclosure: I am a fan of the FT04's design, haha). Objectively, what it really comes down to is its airflow and performance. Whether you like its design or not, keep in mind that both the SilverStone Fortress FT04 and Raven RV04 are chassis mainly designed for such maximum air cooling efficiency; hence the rotation of the motherboard. On top of that, some air cooling and closed loop CPU coolers will further enhance the airflow within the case by directing airflow to the back of the chassis. For those enthusiasts out there, you can even mount additional fans from your favorite manufacturer for an increase in air ventilation without compromising too much in noise. On the topic of fans, there are two controller knobs just behind the door under the 5.25" drive bays, which you can easily adjust the fan speed to your liking.
For comparison, the SilverStone Raven RV04 implements a very similar design. The only main difference is the RV04 utilizes plastic for the front and top panels, and empty space on both sides of the door for aesthetic reasons. Generally speaking, I like the Fortress FT04 better myself, but if you don't like the way the Fortress looks, feel free to play with the Raven RV04 instead, as their functionality is fundamentally the same.
From the top down, you will find the standard PSU opening, eight expansion slots next to a strip of ventilation, optional 120mm fan slot, motherboard backplate opening, and thumbscrews on both sides of the case for the side panels. Compared to the Raven RV04, the dust filter is not removable from the edge. Rather, it is removable from the top, which you will see more clearly in the next photo. Both side panels -- besides the window itself -- are made out of steel, while the rest of the outside of the case is made out of aluminum. These two sides are pretty standard; so let's move onto more interesting parts.
This top panel is removable in order to install the power supply, plus any 5.25" devices you may have. You will see a better example of this in the following pages to come. In order to remove this panel, the side panels must first be removed, then unscrew another few screws for the top panel to slide back and come loose. When it comes down to cleaning settling dust on the top of your SilverStone Fortress FT04, it is quite easy to clean compared to the Raven RV04, simply because of its design. The dust filters can easily be removed from the top, and cleaned by running them under some good ol' tap water.
Because your motherboard is installed upside down as mentioned earlier, there is not anything to special at the bottom of the SilverStone Fortress FT04. You will see four plastic feet to support the FT04 itself, with additional padding to ensure it does not create marks on surfaces that can easily be scratched. Like the Raven RV04, there are no fans at the bottom of the case, so there is no need for any type of dust filter here. In its place, you will notice some small bumps, which are used for the hard drive bays found inside, and for mounting 2.5" drives. You will also notice that there will be enough space for up to four 2.5" drives. One of the bays is held down by a screw located in this area, so if you would like to remove it, here is where you will do it.
Generally speaking, the SilverStone Fortress FT04 is a solidly built case. There were no sharp edges or corners as far as I could see. Additionally, the interior matte black paint job makes the whole case unified. Both side panels fit perfectly well without the need to resort to additional force. The aluminium panels are also well built for durability. The hinges for the door do not seem flimsy at all. In fact, they are quite durable, yet flexible at the same time. Overall, I am quite pleased with the built quality of the Fortress FT04, as what we would expect from SilverStone.
1. Introduction, Packaging, Specifications
2. Physical Look - Outside
3. Physical Look - Inside
4. Installation and Conclusion