SilverStone Fortress FT05 Review
Published: 5th November 2014 | Source: SilverStone | Price: 124.99 |
It's common for the Fortress series of a Silverstone case to be slightly better thought of than the similarly chassis'd Raven case. We think the reason for this is that despite essentially identical interiors, the Ravens have usually sported more aggressive and it has to be said, often more plasticy styling, leaving the Fortress cases to hold the aesthetic Aluminium high ground. This of course is just an observation, there are many out there who swear by the Raven styling, are content that they're getting the same functionality, and are quite happy to save themselves what amounts to quit a few quid by buying the usually much cheaper Raven.
So what do we make of the FT05? Well as you've probably already gathered it is based on what is essentially the same chassis as the RV05. It features a rotated Motherboard layout, being able to accept not only M-ATX and ATX but the slightly larger SSI-CEB. There's room inside for tower CPU coolers up to 162mm in height which although not fantastic for a case this size shouldn't limit your choice too much. It's also able to accept GPUs up to 12.3" in length provided they are not over 6.57" wide, which again leaves the door of choice pretty much wide open. We say "case this size" because measuring as it does 221x483x427mm WxHxD, it is a hefty bit of kit. In all matte Black with a chrome trim around the base and standing on the desk beside you it does look rather like somebody has trimmed up the monolith from 2001. Those exterior dimensions though don't really translate into masses of room on the inside. In part this is due to the raised platform at the base allowing air to be pulled in under the base via the two large 180mm fans down there, however the main culprit is the large extended roof area which is necessary in order to provide room for all the power and rear I/O cables to run backwards and out of the rear aperture. We're not saying it's cramped in there, just not as big as you'd think it would be. Thankfully Silverstone have limited the number of 3.5" bays to two, with them being easily removed should you so desire. With the 3.5" bays removed there's still room behind the Motherboard for a pair of 2.5" drives. Silverstone have also not totally ignored 5.25" storage. You have to look carefully for it mind but there's a thin little slot on the outside of the case which permits the use of slim slot loading drives to be used via a mounting bracket on the inside. The external slit doesn't detract much from the aesthetic but we'd rather not have it at all. It does though go without saying that the build quality of the FT05 is second to none. It is quite simply immaculate, and with it weighing 9.5Kg it's a good job Silverstone have used plenty of Aluminium panels to supplement the Steel Chassis.
One of the main reasons the RV05 scored so well was that not only was it priced at just over £80 but that it was also able to take a whole variety of radiators in the base right up to thick 360s. Although in principal the FT05 can to the same we found that due to slight modifications to the interior, and the presence of sound absorbing material we were unable to fit any of our radiators other than a 240mm AIO with the end tanks towards the front of the case. Silverstone quote the amount of clearance available anterior to the fans as being 31.8mm. However, they appear to have taken this measurement, not from the quoted edge of the fan, but from the centre of the fan mounting hole, so it's slightly misleading. If we work with this figure however and ignore the "edge of fan" point, instead using the centre of fan mounting screw as our reference point it means that if the end tank on your chosen radiator extends more than 31.8mm beyond the centre of the screw mounting hole it won't fit in. It's a similar story at the rear of the case, with the measurement being given as 19.8mm. This isn't a problem for 240s and 280s as they can simply be rotated or positioned with their end tanks inner most. It is however a bit of a bugger if you want to mount a 360 as most have end tanks that prohibit them fitting. For example, the RS series of radiators from XSPC have a measurement of 33mm and the RX 360 a whopping 45mm, part of which is made up of the end tank plugs. So these few slight modifications made to the inside of the FT05 mean that it has severe and limiting restrictions on the size of radiators it can accept, and for which its much cheaper stable mate is famed, leaving it as a very expensive case with less capabilities.
Thankfully for Silverstone, if you're looking for something huge with lashings of Aluminium this area of the case market isn't exactly awash with competition, and for the money, especially when you look at the likes of the CoolerMaster Stacker and the Antec 1900 it represents a pretty good deal. Problem is though, just £15 more nets you the 760T or even the 780T, and then of course there's the sub £100 White gold award winning H440. Ok so none of these are bedecked with Aluminium, but they are very good quality cases with a great aesthetic. We do however think that the biggest problem the FT05 has is its cheaper brother as for once, the RV05 isn't quite as in your face and aggressively styled as its predecessors.
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