We've had our hands on various Silverstone cases in recent times, with the Raven RV03 being one of our favorites. As the latest member of the elite Raven family, the RV03 continued the tradition of using the "stack effect" which mounts the internal components at a 90 degree angle, pointing the "rear" I/O panel upward.
Although much of the enthusiast community's attention has been focused on the Raven cases, Silverstone offers a vast array of enclosures that rank favorably among system builders. The company's Fortress series is one such example, comprised of a very diverse range of mid-sized high-end cases that are constructed from a thick aluminum body to create a light yet durable chassis.
Silverstone launched its first Fortress series case in late 2008 as the FT01. This mid-tower ATX case was meant to be a gaming solution that primarily focused on efficient cooling. Silverstone achieved great performance by using positive air pressure, i.e. forcing copious volumes of air into the case with dual 180mm fans while having minimal exhaust.
Roughly one year later, Silverstone followed up with the FT02 using an entirely new design. The reworked mid-tower integrated some of what helped to make the Raven RV02 so successful -- namely the stack effect design.
The new Fortress FT03 that we're reviewing today is unlike anything we've seen from the series before. Unlike its predecessors, this latest iteration is not a mid-tower ATX case, but rather utilizes its own unique design to take the form of a compact microATX case.
Considering the FT03 stands 19.17" (487mm) tall (a tad shorter than the RV03), we were not expecting motherboard support to be limited to the mATX form factor. Despite being fairly tall, the FT03 has a pint-sized 9.25" (235mm) by 11.18" (284mm) footprint, significantly less than the Lian Li Mini Q PC-V354, one of our favorite microATX computer cases.
At $170, this latest-generation Fortress series chassis is also much pricier than the Mini Q PC-V354 and is the most expensive microATX case Silverstone has ever produced. So what makes the FT03 so special? Let's find out...