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SilverStone Fortress FT03-Mini review

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guvnar 28th September 2012, 09:54 Quote
That last picture looks like a small can of spaghetti!!!
Lance 28th September 2012, 10:00 Quote
Cheers Anthony. Could you do me a favor and take a photo of it plugged in on your desk. I want to see how it looks once the wires are plugged in. I can't seem to find anyone with that pic.

Also would you say that in a LAN this would cook with the high external temperatures?

Cheers.
Ivoryspike 28th September 2012, 10:27 Quote
Thanks for the review, I'm looking at mini-itx for my next build so this and the other reviews you have had on here are great. Don't think this one is for me, the BitFenix Prodigy is a favourite of mine so far but this may be good for HTPC builds for friends & family.

Poss a typo..

"SilverStone is an ardent supported of the mini-ITX form factor..."
Combatus 28th September 2012, 10:33 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lance
Cheers Anthony. Could you do me a favor and take a photo of it plugged in on your desk. I want to see how it looks once the wires are plugged in. I can't seem to find anyone with that pic.

Also would you say that in a LAN this would cook with the high external temperatures?

Cheers.

Hi Lance. I'll see what I can do - it's dismantled now but I'll try to get that pic for you - might be worth googling for a similar pic of the larger FT03 - it's pretty much identical in terms of layout, just larger.

As far as a LAN goes, with the hardware we used it should be okay. The GPU is the main concern but we locked ours at 70 per cent speed for testing reasons. If I get time, and if SilverStone don't want the case back, I may cut a vent next to the GPU fan in the side panel and see what difference it makes!
Spreadie 28th September 2012, 11:02 Quote
I'm enjoying these ITX chassis reviews, but I've yet to see one that beats the Prodigy.

This one does look lovely externally, but the snakes nest interior puts me off; not to mention the price. The FT03 was a revelation, but I think they've hamstrung themselves a little with the mini.
[PUNK] crompers 28th September 2012, 11:10 Quote
Lian Li Q02 next please?
Spreadie 28th September 2012, 11:26 Quote
Most ITX boxes are flawed in some way. The Q02 doesn't have a PCI slot for a discreet graphics card, and the Q03 has a single slot - ruling out pretty much every mainstream card on the market.
Ljs 28th September 2012, 13:10 Quote
If I had the dollar, I'd buy one of these in a heartbeat.
[PUNK] crompers 28th September 2012, 13:15 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Spreadie
Most ITX boxes are flawed in some way. The Q02 doesn't have a PCI slot for a discreet graphics card, and the Q03 has a single slot - ruling out pretty much every mainstream card on the market.

perfect for trinity though!
Spreadie 28th September 2012, 13:29 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by [PUNK] crompers
perfect for trinity though!
Fair point - I keep forgetting about AMD's APUs.
gokieks 28th September 2012, 14:02 Quote
Full disclosure: I used to be a huge fan of the CoolerMaster ATCS cases, and as a bunch of their ex-employees went on to form SilverStone, I'm a huge fan of theirs too. So I definitely have a bit of a bias towards them.

With that out of the way, I absolutely love the FT-03 line. Yes, they are definitely products with compromises, and in this case (pun intended), form is put ahead of function. But that form is so attractive that I just don't care - visually the FT-03 Mini is, I think, the best looking case I've seen since the Mac G4 Cube (which is still my favorite case ever).

It's also interesting that you wish for vents on the side panels for better GPU cooling - those vents on the mATX FT-03 is the only thing I dislike about it, and the reason why I think the Mini is a better looking case. I understand the desire for better cooling, but I don't really care about using a discrete GPU in a mini-ITX case, so I'm very happy that SilverStone went this route.

I'm actually planning on replacing my current desktop (housed in a SilverStone FT-01, which I love but is unfortunately quite outdated in terms of I/O options and missing modern features like cable management and CPU cut-out hole) with an mATX system in a FT-03, and then building a FT-03 mini-ITX Hackintosh as soon as I can find a good option for the motherboard. I just love the look of these cases that much.
wafflesomd 28th September 2012, 14:03 Quote
That psu/cpu fan issue is the reason why I can't have my components inside of my Silverstone SG02. I don't understand why they couldn't just make the panel next to the PSU perforated so you could just flip it.

At least I had a spare fusion board to put in it so it wasn't a total waste.
Jehla 28th September 2012, 14:36 Quote
Love the mini-ITX coverage. Coupon of questions, if I may.

1) The GPU gets fairly toasty, are it's fans muffled at all by those thick aluminum side panels?

2) Did you get a feeling for what all in ones would fit, and how they would fit?
Combatus 28th September 2012, 15:08 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jehla
Love the mini-ITX coverage. Coupon of questions, if I may.

1) The GPU gets fairly toasty, are it's fans muffled at all by those thick aluminum side panels?

2) Did you get a feeling for what all in ones would fit, and how they would fit?

Unfortunately not - the side panels are fairly porous at the edges as they're only clipped in place. They probably have no more of a sound-deadening affect than any other case.

I know that Scan has fitted a Corsair H60 with not too much trouble - I believe the H80's rad is too thick. I've updated the review to be more specific. :D
Lance 28th September 2012, 15:18 Quote
Would putting a radiator over the fan not block its air flow? Also would you not struggle to clean it?
Combatus 28th September 2012, 15:25 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lance
Would putting a radiator over the fan not block its air flow? Also would you not struggle to clean it?

It's going to reduce it yes, but not by much as the radiator on an H60 is fairly small. When I reviewed their FT03-Mini system last month for Custom PC it certainly didn't seem to impact on temps too much.

If you check out the image of the fan on the second page at the top, cleaning it shouldn't be an issue as you have direct access to the fan and filter from the bottom. ;)
Jehla 28th September 2012, 15:31 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Combatus
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jehla
Love the mini-ITX coverage. Coupon of questions, if I may.

1) The GPU gets fairly toasty, are it's fans muffled at all by those thick aluminum side panels?

2) Did you get a feeling for what all in ones would fit, and how they would fit?

Unfortunately not - the side panels are fairly porous at the edges as they're only clipped in place. They probably have no more of a sound-deadening affect than any other case.

I know that Scan has fitted a Corsair H60 with not too much trouble - I believe the H80's rad is too thick. I've updated the review to be more specific. :D

Cheers, that's a real shame. I liked this case, but I much prefer a quite system.
Fingers66 28th September 2012, 15:37 Quote
The price is what I struggle with here.

If you were to build a gaming rig, the Prodigy is cheaper at £65 and has better cooling than the FT03 Mini.

If you were to build a non-gaming rig, the Lian Li PC-Q07B is smaller and costs only £45 new.

Both take standard ATX PSU's which provides more choice and potentially saves money. Whilst the FT03 Mini is flexible enough to fulfill both functions, the price goes against it in my mind.
[PUNK] crompers 28th September 2012, 15:56 Quote
true, silverstone do tend to price themselves out of the market sometimes. If they included an SFX PSU for that price I’d be much more inclined but it does seem like a lot of money for a power-itx case that doesn’t even cool that well
Spreadie 28th September 2012, 16:02 Quote
It's listed on Scan for under £90, but it's still too expensive IMO.

http://www.scan.co.uk/products/silverstone-ft03b-mini-usb-30-fortress-tower-mini-itx-black-w-o-psu
fluxtatic 29th September 2012, 07:50 Quote
Not bad, although it looks a bit like a shredder. A teeny, tiny shredder. But for that price? Hell, no.
Rustynutts 29th September 2012, 15:08 Quote
I thought it looked like a bin, coulple of bananna skinns hanging over the side and you set......:)
ec928 30th September 2012, 20:29 Quote
"Perhaps the main issue with the SilverStone FT03-Mini is its price. At over £100..."

Don't understand this obsession about price by PC tech magazines and tech geeks. This is a fraction of the price of a high end graphics card (or high end CPU, M/B etc.) and a good quality case will likely outlast them all. I want innovative high quality case and it's negative, short sighted attitudes like this that prevent manufacturers from developing high end cases made of newer materials. After all these years tech geeks still look at aluminium for their exotic high end cases; almost no real innovation has occured because techies are known to be so cheap in this area.

Anyway, I prefer the Prodigy design. To bad they're aiming, like everyone else, at the low end of the market. Understandable since magazines like this seem to ignore everything except for the low end <£100 market.
[USRF]Obiwan 4th October 2012, 08:45 Quote
So basicaly you pay more if you have a vertical mini-itx case. If I mod four 3cm high feets on the back of a regular (horizontal) mini-itx case and flip it over I have the same.
duc 4th October 2012, 15:57 Quote
Reminds me of Phinix's Nano Tower.
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