SilverStone Fortress FTZ01 Review

Manufacturer: SilverStone
UK price (as reviewed): £110.28 (inc VAT)
US price (as reviewed): $129.99 (ex Tax)

We're pretty big fans of SilverStone here at bit-tech and this is for several reasons. It offers consistently good cases when it comes to cooling performance, particularly at the high end with cases such as the FT04 and FT05 topping our graphs. Another reason it the reason it that it relentlessly pushed the envelope with regard to small form factor cases.

It offers the biggest selection of SFX PSUs and even created its own SFX-based form factor - SFX-L, which offers a 120mm fan-cooled unit that's much smaller than traditional ATX PSUs. The case we're looking at today also supports that PSU, as well as SFX PSUs and the Fortress FTZ01 brings the formidable Raven RVZ01's innovative layout to the more refined Fortress series.

SilverStone Fortress FTZ01 Review SilverStone Fortress FTZ01 Review
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The FTZ01 is a predominantly metal case, being made up of part steel while incorporating SilverStone's familiar aluminium unibody design that's been used on a number of it's cases such as the TJ07 and TJ11. This explains the price hike over the FTZ01's sibling, the RVZ01, which retails for less than £70 and sports a mainly plastic construction but an otherwise very similar layout and set of features.

SilverStone Fortress FTZ01 Review SilverStone Fortress FTZ01 Review
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The premium price tag is manifested in other ways aside from an aluminium unibody too. As with the RVZ01, the FTZ01 can be placed upright, and includes a pair of support stands for the purpose, or laying flat in traditional desktop/HTPC mode, with four rubber adhesive feet included here too. These are important as the case has cooling on both the top and bottom panels, so we'd recommend using it up right where possible.

SilverStone Fortress FTZ01 Review SilverStone Fortress FTZ01 Review
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There's also a slimline slot-loading optical bay, so if you're desperate for some disk-based movie action you have the ability to add an optical drive. However, Blu-ray slot-loading slimline drives are quite pricey at around £50 or so. The front panel is fairly basic with power and reset buttons, along with the usual audio minijacks and very stealthy power and reset buttons. the logo on our sample was very understated too - there's nothing worse than a big glossy silver logo sitting on the front of an HTPC distracting you when watching movies.

SilverStone Fortress FTZ01 Review
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It's a fairly compact case too, with similar dimensions to the likes of Phantek's EVOLV ITX, except the FTZ01 is practically half the width so appears to be considerably smaller in the flesh. This does lead to a few limitations though. As we mentioned earlier, you'll need to use an SFX PSU - thankfully SilvertStone has this covered all the way up to 600W - more than enough for anything you could install into the case.

SilverStone Fortress FTZ01 Review
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The COU cooler limitation of a height of 83mm is more tricky, though, and if you're gunning for a substantially overclocked CPU, then you'll likely want to opt for an all-in-one liquid cooler, which, amazingly, do actually fit. However, you'll need to combine this with a short-PCB graphics card as long graphics cards will intrude on the space for liquid coolers, which sit in the same bay in the front of the two side 120mm fan mounts. Likewise, there's a GPU length restriction of 13 inches (33cm) and a width restriction of 5.88inches (14.9cm) and you're limited to dual-slot cards too. The case itself is available in black (reviewed) or silver, with the latter costing a little less in some US shops too.

Specifications

  • Dimensions (mm) 376 x 351 x 107 (W x D x H)
  • Material Steel, plastic, aluminium
  • Available colours Black, silver
  • Weight 4.6kg
  • Front panel Power, reset, USB 3, stereo, microphone
  • Drive bays 1 x external slimline slot load optical, 1 x 3.5, 3 x 2.5in
  • Form factor(s) Mini-ITX (SFX or SFX-L PSU only, not supplied)
  • Cooling 3 x 120mm side fan mounts (two slimline fans included),
  • CPU cooler clearance 83mm
  • Maximum graphics card length 300mm (149mm width)
  • Extras Removable dust filters, upright and horizontal case feet, PCI-E riser,

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