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Silverstone Tek Aluminum Tower Computer Case FT03B-MINI - Black
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- Super mini footprint design with no cables and vents on four sides
- Ample space for CPU cooling (78mm in height)
- Elevated standoff for motherboard back side components
- Includes 140mm Air Penetrator fan and support entry level liquid cooling
- Support for two 2.5-Inch SSD/hard drives and one 3.5-Inch hard drive
- Mini-DTX / Mini-ITX motherboard & SFX PSU compatible
- Standard-length expansion cards support (10 inches)
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This item Silverstone Tek Aluminum Tower Computer Case FT03B-MINI - Black
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|Item Dimensions||11 x 13 x 19 in||14.8 x 13.82 x 4.21 in||11.6 x 17.8 x 13.6 in||11.22 x 7.13 x 8.74 in|
|Item Weight||12.8 lbs||13 lbs||10.8 lbs||5.4 lbs|
After releasing the ground breaking Fortress FT03 chassis in 2011, SilverStone engineers took on the challenge of making a smaller version to further increase the appeal of this unique computer form factor. Through intelligent planning and reengineering, the engineers were able to create the FT03-MINI, which improves on the simplistic design of the FT03 while reducing the size by 50%. Using 2.5mm thick, sand-blasted and anodized aluminum outer shells with no cable connectors and vents on all four sides to complement an efficient, organized layout, this chassis helps SilverStone to again set new standards in small form factor computers. The interior of the FT03-MINI utilizes SilverStone's unique stack effect cooling layout so a Mini-ITX motherboard is mounted in 90 degree rotation to take advantage of hot air's natural tendency to rise. The FT03-MINI can accommodate graphic cards up to 10-Inch, support one 3.5-Inch and two 2.5-Inch drives, and even entry-level liquid cooling can be installed to satisfy needs of enthusiasts. As the new small form factor chassis addition to the Fortress series, the FT03-MINI is truly a paradigm.
Top Customer Reviews
I have easily managed to place a full ATX power supply inside this case, allowing me to forego the restrictions of an SFX supply; e.g., limited selection, relatively noisey 80mm fan in sfx PSUs, etc. I placed a Seasonic X560 in this case without drilling or cutting anything (see user photos). SilverStone should have made some incredibly simple design decisions (removing a flange/adding screw holes) that would allow for ATX PSUs right out of the box. It's a simple user mod, however. My PSU measures W150 x L160 x H86 mm and does not impede on the video card.
Absolute max video card measurements:
Length: 257.12 mm, or, if you remove the fan filter clip at the bottom of the case, 263.5 mm
Height: 133.35 mm, or 152.4 mm if you remove the DVD bracket.
Length: 10 1/8", or 10 3/8" by removing fan filter clip
Height: 5 1/4", or 6" w/o DVD bracket
The panels are thick metal, and the steel frame is sturdy, no flexion under the weight of my ATX power supply.
The SilverStone Air Penetrator fans are not a quiet line of fans, especially true as they slightly increase RPM. If you're in pursuit of silence, I recommend replacing the stock 140mm AP fan.
It's a great case, fun to toy with, and will make you scratch your head as you figure a way to route wires and hoses without restricting airflow.
Again, locate my user pics on the Amazon product page, 8 in total with lots of notes. I'd buy the case again in a heartbeat, but I'm deducting 1 measly star for trying to persuade the use of an SFX power supply (their own), a simple oversight when it comes to cable length, and a stock 140mm fan that is noticeably audible if this case will be on your desk. Otherwise, this rests comfortably among the great ITX cases.
*UPDATE w/GPU Notes (11/5/2012)*
This case begs for a blower-style graphics card. I tried one of the coolest running GTX 660 Ti cards with dual open fans, Galaxy GeForce GTX 660 Ti GC. This design, combined with the non-ventilated side panel of the FT03-mini lead the card to reach 94C under gaming load. But that's not all. The fans are forced to run faster to maintain more normal temperatures, even at idle; this means the benefit of having large, quiet fans on your GFX card is moot, as they always run harder in this case. Under gaming load, the fans are maxed out and the case design amplifies the sound to highly annoying levels.
I switched this design out for a blower-style GTX 670 (EVGA GTX 670 FTW b/c it uses the 680 blower and PCB). Sound and Load temps were dramatically reduced. The entire pursuit of silence will be hamstrung by blower card, though some cards (my example) do have larger turbines and boards for better/quieter cooling.
*PICS of the two GFX cards installed are linked in the comments
-Extremely sturdy chassis construction
-Very nice aluminum body with nearly all exposed surfaces made of aluminum or steel (very little plastic)
-For air cooling, there are less than a handful of cases that can beat this case in terms of component temperatures
-Very quiet, but NOT silent (a lot of people have unrealistic expectations)
-The easily removable dust filters on all intakes make this case extremely easy to maintain
-This is the USB 3.0 Updated version: includes some things that weren't in the first FT-02 cases - standard AP181 fans (no removable fan grill now, so fits a 12in HD5970 graphics card), black sleeving on the fan cables (except for top exhaust fan), HDD drive trays all have 2.5 in mounting holes for ssd's
-Everything else not mentioned here or in the cons section
-Very Heavy, difficult to transport when fully loaded without bear-hugging it (no handles - the price to pay for good looks)
-GPU cooler specific - this case works best with a blower type heatsink, the twin fan designs will fight against the natural airflow of the case (still viable, but not ideal). Heatsinks that with fins that aren't parallel to the case's natural airflow will render the heatsink solution near useless! (excess heat will build up) AKA ASUS direct CU II (gtx 680 version) will not work, but MSI Twin Frozr will be fine.
-Not enough space for 7th expansion slot gpu - most of you won't run into a problem here unless you decide to put a card here; it will run into the hard drive bays.
-Along the same lines, long optical drives will not fit in the top 5.25 bay and the other bays will run into the 7th expansion slot.
-You may need to buy PSU cable extensions as some components like HDD's or graphics cards may be very far away (I had no trouble installing an HDD in the furthest slot and two graphics cards, but it came really close to not reaching).
-Quality control is lacking! - see below
-Top panel is composed of too much plastic, although the exposed parts are steel. The underlying frame is plastic, which makes you feel like you might snap off pins when trying to remove it.
-Metal parts of top panel shields significant amounts of wireless signal from pcie slots or motherboard i/o area ~ 1 bar;DON'T USE SHORT ANTENNAS;ethernet or extended antennas are OK.
-Power/HDD LED is obnoxiously bright. Seriously, the blue light can light up an entire room at night, and can be very annoying when flashing in sleep/hibernate.
-Only one hot swap HDD bay is included - at this price, it should be on all of them.
Quality Control - mine came with a misplaced padding strip on the side panel that was halfway melted off, which also had the consequence of having some of the paint chipped - VERY UNHAPPY ABOUT THIS, although I don't know if it's enough of a justification for RMA or request for another side panel. Honestly, I would have given the case five stars if it weren't for this defect. The front panel i/o audio port was defective with my unit and after contacting Silverstone, they promptly shipped me a replacement panel.
I know it seems like I listed a lot of negatives, but you must remember that many of these are nit-picky so that you can understand all the major/minor flaws. All other aspects of this case are near perfection. If you value a high performance case that has subdued beauty, there really is very little you can chose from.
PSU is hung from four screws and nudged by a small bracket beneath it. It looks more dangerous than it is. Although it is a mid-tower, the case is very deep; make sure this case fits where you intend to put it. Also, this is an air cooling case; water cooling this case present lots of issues with radiator mounting configurations (bottom of the case only). You will sacrifice one or more of the following:
-Securely fastening the radiator and fans to the case
-Fitting a x*180 radiator without running into the motherboard tray
-Getting rid of the dust filters and/or hard drive bays to fit a radiator
Please just stick to air cooling here.
Dust filtering of this system is utterly flawless. Extremely easy to clean. It's easy to accidentally chip a tiny bit of paint when removing the side panels and/or installing new pcie cards.