Silverstone Fortress ReviewRHKCommander959 - January 28, 2009
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The large fans and drive bays are the main visual pieces when the sides are off. The 5.25” drive bays feature tool-free mechanisms for installing drives, and are only located on the main side so that it is easier to install and remove drives. Users do however, have to remove the covers with a Phillips screwdriver, from both sides. A long screwdriver must also be used to remove and install devices in the expansion slots.
To open the Fortress, a latching mechanism is in place on each side that has a loop to allow the system to be locked. Three thumbscrews also hold each of the side panels in place.
Each panel is lined with noise-reduction foam to help silence the system even further. The windowed panel is held together with nine screws.
The rear of the case is all about exhaust. The expansion slots double as vent grills, also adjacent is a mesh grill that runs their length. The 120mm fan pulls air out, while the positive pressure caused by the two 180mm intake fans force air out the grills. The power supply can be configured in two ways: the regular way is to have the power supply suck in air from the case, helping ventilate the system. But causing the supply to take in warmed air, the other setup is to have it pump fresh air in from the bottom, which keeps it running cooler and thus possibly more efficient and healthy.
The hard drive bays are located near the front intake fan, and are perforated to allow air to enter and cool off any hard drives installed. The removable housing units for the drives are equipped with rubber grommets to absorb vibration, and are tight enough that screws are not likely needed. The unit itself is tool free and simply latches into the case.
Included with all FT01’s are a single add-on unit called the CP05, which is designed for the hard drive bay and allows easy installation and hot-swappable capabilities. More can be purchased and installed if desired.
The hard drive bay is removable, and allows for full-sized 12” workstation video cards to be installed. It may also improve system temperature. This case is easily modified thanks to the screws that were used in place of rivets. There are also holes behind the hard drive bay, and a large hole near the power supply for cable management.
Each 180mm fan has a removable filter to prevent dust from entering the system. The front panel filter is easily accessible and removed, while the top filter cannot be removed without first removing the entire fan, which also requires removal of the latching mechanism for the side panels. Perhaps a bendable filter would have been a more viable solution? The front panel module is located near the top 180mm fan, and has a tie wrap to hold the wires in place to prevent tugging, which can cause damage to the module.
Both the rear and top fans have grills to keep fingers and cables out of the fan blades. All fans operate at a stealthy 18db and use very little power to operate.
Continue on to see how the Fortress fares against the competition!