As SilverStone engineers started working on the third model for the Fortress series, they had contemplated on the future of computer chassis and ways to improve it for home/office integration. So the Fortress FT03’s design goal was to simply give back as much user space as possible by reducing chassis depth to unprecedented level. The engineers also wanted to accomplish the change in design without compromises to the chassis’s ability in accommodating upper mainstream components. Traditional computer chassis designs take up desktop room by not only their physical footprint, but they also require additional space for cable connections. With the FT03, there are no such restrictions because its beautiful, 2.5mm thick, sand-blasted and anodized aluminum outer shells have no cable connectors to be found on all four sides, which frees up tremendous amount of desktop real estate for its users.
The interior of the chassis utilizes SilverStone’s unique stack effect cooling layout so a Micro-ATX motherboard is mounted in 90 degree rotation to take advantage of hot air’s natural tendency to rise. This design also enables the FT03 to support graphics cards that are as long as 13.7 inches without the chassis taking up similar room depth-wise. In addition, the chassis also supports three 3.5” hard drives with one capable of hot-swapping function and one 2.5” drive bay for excellent storage flexibility.
For a chassis that may redefine a new design direction for the desktop computer with its revolutionary new proportion and usage model, the Fortress FT03 is simply perfect for anyone looking to build a striking yet fully functional and discreet system.
Super small footprint design with no cables on four sides
Stack effect layout with 90 degree motherboard mounting
Support graphics cards of any length
Support full tower CPU coolers
Mandatory cable routing design
Includes hot-swap bay for quick data storage needs
Backside hard drive mounting with passive cooling for silence
Q. Can I use a tower-style heatsink without a fan?
A: According to tests we’ve done internally, a CPU with TDP rating of 130W (such as Intel Core i7), can
run with a fanless tower-style heatsink inside the FT03. However, this does not account for overclocking
and performance will vary depending on the efficiency of the heatsink used. We suggest that you try at
your own risk.
Q. How do the hard drives get cooled behind the motherboard tray?
A: When the hard drives are installed, they are so close to the aluminum side panel that passive heat conduction does occur to help
reduce drive temperature. For the hard drive installed in the hot-swappable bay, an aluminum block pre-attached to the side panel will
also help to provide heat conduction for cooling duty.
Q. Why is the case designed to only support slim optical drive?
A: The FT03 was designed to have the smallest footprint possible and to be aesthetically pleasing so a slim optical drive with slot loading
is the best choice to achieve this objective.
Q. Does the power supply exhaust affect the case’s cooling performance?
A: Yes, the exhaust from the power supply will have a small effect on overall case temperature. This is unavoidable due to FT03’s small
footprint design. However, our internal testing has shown that if a high efficiency power supply is used (such as SilverStone’s 80 PLUS
Silver certified Strider Plus series), the exhaust temperature will likely stay below 35 degrees Celsius and have minimum effect on overall
case cooling performance.
Q. Why is the power cord connector located on the bottom of the case?
A: One of FT03’s design parameters was to eliminate all cable connections on all four sides of the case. As most power cords are
connected closer to the floor and usually below case height, we moved the power cord connector to the bottom of the case for more
Q. Since FT03 intake most of the air from the bottom, should I prop it up higher off the ground? And would I need to worry about
excessive dust intake?
A: Extensive testing was conducted during FT03’s development to determine the optimal height of the case stand for air intake so there
is no benefit to increase the height any further. The bottom of FT03 has an integrated fan filter that can effectively cut down dust intake
into the case so as long as the filter is cleaned on a regular basis, there is no need to worry about dust or cooling performance.
Q. I have limited space, can I safely place the FT03 in a corner during operation?
A: Yes you can, FT03’s rear and right panel have no ventilation holes or other uses so we actually recommend users to place their FT03
into a corner to further take advantage of its incredibly short footprint.
Q. I have a custom cooler, how do I know which way the heat pipes should be situated to obtain the best performance in the FT03?
A: There are two main types of heat pipes used in popular aftermarket coolers, they are groove and powder. Groove heat pipes are very susceptible to gravity while powder heat pipes are less so. To achieve best performance in either heat pipe technology, they need to be placed horizontally or have the heat source side located below the other end of the heat pipe. We recommend choosing and installing components with heat pipes carefully by taking into consideration of the following examples:
The orientation of an enthusiast motherboard in a normal ATX case
The orientation of an enthusiast motherboard in the FT03
As the illustrations above show, most enthusiast motherboards with heat pipes will work fine in the FT03, the heat source is located below other parts of the heat pipe.
Horizontal style cooler
Good orientationGood orientationBad orientation
Many CPU coolers can be rotated when installing on motherboards, the illustration here shows a SilverStone NT06-E
The illustration here shows a VGA cooler that will not work well in the FT03 because the heat source side (touching the GPU) ends up being located higher than the other end.
Q. If I want to use a simple, closed loop water cooler, where should I install the radiator?
A: Most users can install it in the 120mm fan slot above the CPU area.