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Best Of The Best, Part 1: Who Makes The Most Elite PC Case?

SilverStone Fortress FT04

Available without or with a side window (models ending in –W) and in either black (B) or silver (S), we received the $230 SST-FT04S-W only to find that certain sellers are drastically discounting SilverStone’s latest Fortress-series case to a mere $200.

Over-the-top claims of technical innovation aside, the Fortress FT04 delivers a very traditional upside-down mid-tower design complete with the power supply and two 5.25” bays up top. Back when companies first tried this, super-hot chipsets and gravity-fed heat pipes could lead to the destruction of your motherboard. But today's cool-running core logic and hot voltage regulators make it an idea worth revisiting. It also gives us two USB 3.0 ports and headset jacks on the right-top edge of the front panel, which is nice for users who place their PCs to the left of their monitor.

The opposite corner features power and reset buttons.

Around back, we find an eighth expansion slot, perfect for use with double-slot graphics coolers when the card is mounted in an ATX motherboard’s bottom slot (or top slot, if you will, since the motherboard is upside-down).

What we don’t find around back is an exhaust fan, since the FT04 is designed with positive pressure cooling in mind. Still, if you're using a closed-loop liquid cooler, you might want to add a radiator to the vacant rear fan mount. To that end, it has two front-mounted 180 mm fans and a bunch of vent holes in the back.

Both intake fans have snap-away filters, both feature fan speed control, and both are hidden behind a wrap-around aluminum door with noise-dampening foam to reduce sound reflection out the side vents.

Thomas Soderstrom
Thomas Soderstrom is a Senior Staff Editor at Tom's Hardware US. He tests and reviews cases, cooling, memory and motherboards.