Tom's Hardware's 2010 Gift Guide: Part 1, For System Builders

Chassis: SilverStone Fortress FT02B-W
By: Devin Connors

When we think of attractive, functional, and highly-regarded desktop enclosures, SilverStone is one of the first brands to pop into our minds. After all, we know companies like Falcon Northwest and Maingear work with the chassis vendor to design the cases that house their own boutique builds. Though SilverStone's offerings tend to be on the pricey side, the company delivers quality, innovation, and style. Those are the qualities that impressed us last year when we picked its Raven RV02-BW, and it's why we went with SilverStone again this year, selecting its Fortress FT02B-W.

If the FT02 has a familiar look to it, that’s because it’s a close relative of the ever-popular Temjin series that dates back to 2005. And like the Temjin series, the Fortress employs a unibody aluminum construction as its foundation. This build type allows for great structural integrity, while also leaving a gap at the bottom of the case. This gap acts as the primary air intake. Three 180 mm fans line the bottom of the enclosure, each with its own screwless removable air filter for easy cleaning. Exhaust is handled by a single 120 mm fan at the top of the case, meaning airflow goes from bottom-to-top, not front-to-back. Kudos to SilverStone for paying attention during thermodynamics class.

The Fortress also borrows from another famous SilverStone case, the Raven RV01. If you know anything about the Raven, you know that it introduced a particular innovation in 90 degree motherboard mounting, a design feature that rotates the traditional back of the motherboard (where the I/O ports are located) to the top of the case. This allows the back-end of your video card to sit right on top of the bottom-mounted fans, and right below the exhaust fan, which SilverStone calls a great leap forward in case thermal management. An additional case door on top of the Fortress discreetly routes all of the outgoing cables to the back of the case, so even with the top-exit design, you won’t have HDMI and input device cables going every which way.

The Fortress comes with five vertically-mounted hard drive cages in the front of the case, all of which sit right on top of one of the 180 mm fans. Above those are five 5.25-inch bays and one 2.5-inch bay, perfect for an SSD. If you plan on using an aftermarket cooler that requires a backplate, SilverStone leaves a segment below the motherboard mount open for easy access and quick cooler installation.

Chock full of other great features, the Fortress FT02 also includes acoustic foam padding to dampen noise for the GPU and hard drives, radiator mounting (for liquid cooling), seven expansion slots, and two USB and 3.5 mm audio jacks on the top of the case. While our version of the FT02 is windowless, there is another SKU available with a window and the same price tag.

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    Top Comments
  • alexttlyrocks
    I'm only reading this article to look at the chicks
  • LuckyDucky7
    Alternative title:
    Gift Guide Part 1, for Deep Pockets :)
  • Other Comments
  • alexttlyrocks
    I'm only reading this article to look at the chicks
  • rohitbaran
    ^ Keep reading!
  • dogman_1234
    Wait until SB and BD.
  • Anonymous
    Radeon 6870 girl ... someone forgot to photoshop her ^^
  • LuckyDucky7
    Alternative title:
    Gift Guide Part 1, for Deep Pockets :)
  • squanto
  • cangelini
    LuckyDucky7Alternative title:Gift Guide Part 1, for Deep Pockets

    Phenom II for under $100? You must have those pockets that are sewn shut at the top, for decoration! =)
  • Bluescreendeath
    girls > computer parts that we already know about
  • Silmarunya
    Nice review, but I'd have liked to see advice for different budgets. For example, you could recommend a budget, mid range and high end product. For example, I'm currently in the market for a discrete sound card, but don't such an expensive one. On the other hand, I wouldn't be satisfied with a Phenom II X2. It's still a great article, mind you, but it'd have been nice to see some love for every end of the market.
  • Onus
    ntrRadeon 6870 girl ... someone forgot to photoshop her ^^

    No, it's the taint that a Diamond product radiates. They're #2 on my personal "Do not buy" list, right after Belkin.
  • garyshome
    The ps costs as much as the cpu and mb? So much for the budget.
  • sandmanwn
    Ed: You'll have to pardon this little gem missing out on the gift guide photo shoot.

    Off with his head!!!
  • nevertell
    The phenom II x2 555 is some of the BEST bang for the buck. I dropped it in my build, got a quad core running at 3,6 ghz for about 25 $ per core, and I didn't even have to disable any of the powersaving features or anything actually to get it working like this.
  • mi1ez
    Why the hell does the US site work fine and the UK site have it'ss CSS in a twist?
  • tony singh
    Some one gift me please....:)
  • cknobman
    I have no clue what products Toms is actually recommending here, too busy looking and the beautiful product modelers and not the actual products!!!
  • fausto
    Toms needs to spend more money on the holiday Models department. seen much better chicks at Quakecon 2008. No offense to the ladies but some of you are not booth babe material
  • ta152h
    Bluescreendeathgirls > computer parts that we already know about

    If you're that desperate to see pictures of girls, you're probably right; you must know computer parts better than girls.

    It's pretty sad when pictures of girls gets so much of a reaction. I swear if you get out of the house, you'll actually see them in real life. I'm not lying. You can even say "Hi" to them, and they'll probably even give you a response. I know it sounds far fetched, but I'm really confident about this, so just trust me.
  • ta152h
    faustoToms needs to spend more money on the holiday Models department. seen much better chicks at Quakecon 2008. No offense to the ladies but some of you are not booth babe material

    The pathetic part is, how it's still getting these desperate guys worked up.

    Some of the pictures are just bad too, like the one with the Radeon.
  • accolite
    TA152H, I'm not desperate... I'm married, but I enjoy a good looking woman more than looking at some hardware components after all we are guys! If you don't your probably a woman yourself or a homo!