Bottom LineSilverstone's Fortress FT03 is a solid microATX case that successfully differentiates itself in a heavily crowed market. Its tiny footprint coupled with support for extreme graphics cards such as the GeForce GTX 590 or Radeon HD 6990 make it rather unique. What truly sets the FT03 apart from the competition is its ability to accommodate full-size tower CPU heatsinks. With headroom for coolers as tall as 6.57" (167mm) there are very few coolers that won't fit inside this mini chassis.
The Fortress FT03's impeccable thermal dissipation is also a rarity among microATX cases. Its cooling capacity far exceeds that of our much-loved Lian-Li Mini Q PC-V354. In terms of acoustics, the FT03 is not completely silent but it’s very quiet, similar to the Lian-Li case which we find more than adequate.
Besides having a leg up in terms of sheer functionality and performance, the FT03's aesthetics have a mass appeal. Silverstone hasn't done anything obscure with the design, offering two standard colors and maintaining an orderly appearance. We believe the FT03 is among the finest looking cases around.
Although the FT03 doesn't offer the most conventional installation experience, compared to other upper class microATX cases, it's actually more practical. For example, it's easier to access your hard drives, memory and graphics card, though we found the door design a little annoying as you have to remove the lid and we believe the 90-degree stack design makes the FT03 undesirable for LAN-goers as reconnecting cables is a hassle compared to rival units.
Its limited storage support will also be a potential drawback for some, but as we said earlier, we don't think it'll be much of an issue for someone who's eyeing a microATX case. We'd say the FT03's greatest weakness is its price. At $170, it's not exactly affordable and it's ~$20 more expensive than Lian-Li's Mini Q PC-V354 and $50 pricier than Thermaltake's Armor A30. The FT03's price will undoubtedly deter some shoppers, but we truly believe it's worth the premium.
Outstanding product: Silverstone Fortress FT03 microATX Case
The Silverstone's Fortress FT03 is an awesome desktop or HTPC case that supports the kind of high-end hardware you would expect to find in a full-tower case. Furthermore, it accomplishes that feat without sacrificing thermal performance, which is the icing on the case for us.