Interior and System Build
The FT05 has a plastic cover for the top of the case which slides out to provide access to the motherboard I/O.
This is the big departure to the exterior of a case with this 90º motherboard mount, as of course this would normally be the back of a standard computer enclosure.
The doors lift off easily with a spring-loaded latch that is released when you grasp the center of the panel. The location of this makes using it intuitive, as unlocking the door happens as you pull up from the center. As this sample has a side window there will be less padding on that side, so those concerned with noise output might want to opt for the model without a window.
The layout of the case is very open, as only the dual-drive 3.5" bracket on the bottom left could be an obstacle – and then only for a longer PSU installation.
The rear door is lined with noise-reducing foam
At the rear of the case we see a slim optical drive mount (slot-load notebook drives only) on the left side, and this can be removed easily. There is a sufficiently large cutout behind the CPU for simple cooler mounting, and adequate openings for cable routing.
More insulation is found behind the solid front panel
At the bottom of the case we have the stars of the show: dual 180mm “Air Penetrator” fans. These can move a lot of air, and are controlled via 3-way switches (one for each fan) located next to the top I/O.
USB 3.0, audio, and fan speed control are located on top of the case
An important addition here to help keep the system clean, SilverStone has cleverly implemented a large magnetically attached screen filter just below those 180mm fans in the cavity under the case. And to further reduce noise, the metal area below this filter is lined with the same foam as the side panels which should help reduce reflected sound from the bottom fans.
Building the System
The FT05 build process is literally identical to the Raven RV05 (which you can see here), but I will quickly cover the basics here. The process is very easy with the open interior layout, and there is nothing impeding component installation or cable routing without traditional drive bays. With components in place the nature of this layout is obvious from the vertical GPU orientation, which looks pretty cool through the side window.
As you can see the Fortress FT05 does support long graphics cards with this layout, as this massive MSI Radeon R9 290X Lightning has about a half inch to spare above the lower fans.
As to storage, this enclosure shares the limitation of just two 3.5" and two 2.5" drives we saw with the Raven, though the severity of this limition is completely user-dependent. I generally rely on external storage and use one or two SSDs in my builds so this isn't an issue at all, but I'm not the typical user. Given the removable nature of the 3.5" drive caddy mounting hard drives is easy with the FT05 (again, identical to the RV05). For this quick build I simply used one of the two 2.5” mounts behind the motherboard tray, which are easy to use as long as you haven't routed cables over this area behind the motherboard tray yet. I imagine that swapping drives behind the motherboard tray might require a bit of maneuvering with cables in the way, but there's enough depth for the drives to share cable space behind the rear panel.
Finally, CPU cooling presents another departure from most ATX cases on the market today. Out of the box (and this is an important distinction) the Fortress FT05 only supports one 120mm fan which is located on top (where a typical enclosure's rear fan is on this 90º layout). While I don't see as much of a need for an exhaust fan with such significant positive pressure from the lower fans, this single 120mm mount does initially limit the size of a liquid CPU cooler. For the popular double-width AIO liquid coolers to be supported the lower 180mm fans will have to be removed, and this allows installation of 240/280/360mm radiators. With my 120mm Corsair H75 I didn't feel cheated here and there are plenty of other great 120mm cooling options, but this might be an issue for some. Certainly the removal of the 180mm lower fans defeats the purpose of the stacked cooling design, so I would personally limit AIO cooler use to 120mm as I've done here.
Next we'll take a look at the finished build and see how the Fortress FT05 performed!