Introduction and First Impressions
The 5th generation Fortress is a Raven in disguise
The Fortress FT05 is the fifth iteration of SilverStone's Fortress series of enclosures, and, like the latest Raven case, this leverages the complete removal of 5.25" bays to reduce its overall size. We've seen this before as the FT03 completely removed optical support, but this enclosure is related far more closely to the current Raven enclosure than any of its predecessors.
Introduction: The Heart of a Raven
If you're familiar with SilverStone's product lineup you'll know about the Fortress and Raven enclosures which both currently feature an unusual 90° motherboard orientation. This layout places I/O on the top of the case, and helps expel warm air straight up. The Fortress was originally a more conventional design with a standard motherboard layout, but SilverStone switched this to mirror the Raven series with the second version, the FT02. However, just as the Raven series diverged from the original design language and layout of the RV01 with later versions, the Fortress series has undergone some radical changes since its introduction. With this fifth version of the Fortress SilverStone has converged the two enclosure lines, and the FT05 is essentially a more businesslike version of the Raven RV05 – though the design's more conventional exterior also contains noise-dampening material which helps to further differentiate the two enclosures.
Much as the current Raven owes much of its design to an earlier version, in that case the RV01, this new Fortress is a return to the design of the FT02. That earlier Fortress was a large (and quite expensive) case that combined great expandability with excellent cooling, taking the RV01's 90° layout and opening up the interior for an expansive, easy-to-manage interior. A considerable amount of the second gen's interior was devoted to storage, and the front of the case was dominated by 5.25" drive bays.
The second-generation Fortress FT02 interior
The second-gen FT02 design also included no less than three of the large 180mm "Air Penetrator" fans at the bottom of the case, which created significant cooling power in conjunction with the 90° component orientation. The new fifth-gen FT05 follows the same general design but loses about a third of the depth by removing the 5.25" optical drive bays and relocating HDD storage. The interior layout of this new version is more than just similar to the current Raven enclosure, it's actually identical. However the two cases are distinct beyond the external appearance given the differences in the construction of the Fortress FT05. In this review we'll look at what makes this new product stand out, and explore whether it's worth the $185 price tag.
Before taking out of the box, we'll take a look at the features and specs from SilverStone:
- Aluminum wrap-around exterior with classic SilverStone Fortress styling
- Revolutionary 90 degree motherboard mounting from RAVEN RV01
- Breakthrough 5.25 inch bay-free design for unprecedented power to size ratio
- Two Air Penetrator fans included for great performance and quietness
- Positive air pressure design for excellent cooling/quietness and dust-prevention
- Foam padded interior for advanced noise absorption
- Quick-release latch for fast side panel removal
- Exterior access to main filter for easy maintenance
- Support for various liquid cooling radiator sizes
- Material: Aluminum front, bottom, and rear panels, steel body
- Motherboard: SSI-CEB, ATX, Micro-ATX
- Drive Bays: 3.5" x2, 2.5” x2, Slim slot-loading optical x1,
- Cooling System: Top 120mm fan slot x1, Bottom 180mm AP fan x2 (600/900/1200rpm)
- Downward compatible with 120mm fan x3, or 140mm fan x2
- Expansion Slots: 7
- Front I/O Ports: USB 3.0 x2, Audio x1, Mic x1
- Power Supply Support: ATX
- Expansion Card Support: Compatible with 12.3” long, width restriction 6.57”
- Limitation of CPU cooler: 162mm
- Net Weight: 9.5kg (21 Lbs)
- Dimensions: (WxHxD): 221mm x 483mm x 427mm (8.7” x 19” x 16.8”)
Our thanks to SilverStone for providing the Fortress FT05 for this review!
Packaging and First Impressions
The Fortress arrives in a sturdy box with colorful graphics, and inside we see the same generous padding and protective cloth bag as the Raven RV05.
The included accessories also mirror the RV05, with the usual hardware and instructions accompanied by a magnetic screen filter for the PSU fan vent.
Out of the box we see a very different look compared to the Raven, as the Fortress is all silver with mirrored accents around the front and sides. The overall look is understated and quite boxy, with straight lines and square corners. The enclosure is mostly metal and has a very solid feel and a significant heft.
The side panel of this unit has a window, but it is available without
Next we'll look at the interior and a quick build with the Fortress FT05, and then see how it performed!