Silverstone FT02 RAGE!!!! Review | Technical | Discussions
May 20, 2009
As mentioned in the previous Hackintosh thread, I’m building (actually completed) my next mac expo with a higher end video editing machine.
Though this thread isn’t about the actual machine but some of the equipment, in particular the case, that I wish to focus on.
Just for reference, the Hackintosh was built of…
Intel i7 3770, GA-Z77X-UD5H, 16GB Gskill Ripjaws X F3-12800 etc etc.
I also acquired a Silverstone 5.25″ to 3.5″ bay Converter to support further hard drives and a Silverstone Powersupply. I wanted to ensure complete compatibility with the case to avoid any unnecessary duress.
Being a mac build, being a video editor, and being the fact more money was being thrown at this, I hunted for a suitable case.
The choice was obvious. Having recently build a Hackintosh in a Silverstone FT03, I chose the Silverstone Fortress FT02. The big daddy of Silverstone. Considered to be the number one choice for cases at the moment. This is the $260 behemoth that gets dropped on witches in oz.
First impression — this case is much longer than expected. It hangs off the edge of my comp desk, and my desk isn’t short. Looking at pictures online won’t prepare you for this titanic. Nor the trojan iceberg inside.
I was interested in having lots of room, having lots of cooling (machine will be located in Wagga which is hot hot hot), having the sound proofing provided (video editor remember) and having a look similar to a mac.
So began one of the longest builds in my life (pun not intended but now intended).
Motherboard went in fine. Then I put in the powersupply. As Silverstone has been experimenting with their cases, this time they chose to put the power-supply vertically (motherboard is also vertical so all the cables come out the top). It (PSU) hangs from the top down. They provide a little catch to add support as well as a velcro grip to go around it. THE PAIN HAD BEGUN.
The filtered intake for the PSU is located at the back of the case. However, the square intake did not much up with the PSU! Which meant a good third of the intake fan was covered by the case. Remember, this is a Silverstone PSU in a Silverstone Case. I thought, heck, I bought a relatively cheap 500W PSU, maybe that’s the problem. I had a Silverstone 650W Fully Modular PSU lying around and found this didn’t line up either. To make matters worse, the velcro grip when placed around the PSU covered more of the fan, leaving about 50% room for the fan to breath. By this time I was slowly shifting my eyes left and right, patronizing the case gods.
Sighing, I began to install the HDDs and the Bluray Burner. The clouds of despair returned. As the PSU is located vertically, the cables come out heading down, meaning they must be turned back towards the cable management holes and then shift behind the motherboard tray to reach their destinations. By the time they get there, only one or two of the sata power connections will reach. You can gain a few mm by crossing in front of the motherboard and making it look like Shelob from LOTR has built a nest in your case. More than just ugly, it’s entirely impractical if you plan on using more than inbuilt graphics.
The case provides 5 bays for HDDs (they provide trays – but oddly, they’re not tool-less). We needed more space being why I bought the bay converter. If you plan on using one hdd and maybe one optical drive, this issue may not arise, but start looking at multiple drives, and this issue becomes apparent.
Fortunately, I had a dozen molex to sata splitters stored away, and could extend some power (almost) everywhere.
Unfortunately, due to the case design, the PCI ports for the motherboard come too close to the top bay, meaning when I put the extremely small bluray burner in, there was no room for the data or power cable. This isn’t a huge issue if you have a right angled data cable, and if the PSUs power cable can reach (as they are also smaller), but only the splitters could reach. The bluray had to be dropped to the bottom. Want more? One of the hdd bays came with a hot swap-able connector (why only one? You can buy more separately… ) which had one of it’s molex power cables dangling, damaged. After repairing it (rewired), I plugged a drive into it. Then tried to remove it. It require all my strength and after a loud crash, I got the drive back out. Easy to get in, have to use both hands to remove.
Next. I needed to get the converter in. It takes up three bays of the case, adding space for another 4 3.5″ drives. Wouldn’t go in. Again, please note this is a Silverstone converter going into a Silverstone case. Turns out the metal guides for the optical bays were jamming it. Using a clamp and a hammer, I bent them back. Slid the converter back in, went further, but stopped before going all the way in. There’s a welded screw on the top of the case, coming in at the top bay, and it completed stopped the converter going all the way in. Turns out the motherboard is so close to the bays, that even if the welded screw wasn’t there, it couldn’t go all the way in anyway. I left it as it is. The fourth horse of the apocalypse was being ridden by the Silverstone CEO.
Checking sound levels, and the silverstone fan in the converter was like a vacuum cleaner, and it glowed ultra bright. Most people who purchase HDD bay converters are not gamers. Usually it’ll be bought by people building a server, maybe a nas? Perhaps, crazily, a video editor system. How many of those people are looking for a bright blue light pouring out the front of the case? A video editor needs an enclosed system, dark and quite. A nas needs similar. Same with server.
Fortunately, I had a spare Antec fan which removed the fan noise and the lights.
I could go into far more detail on other issues with the case but I’ll sum them up instead.
1. There are so many gaps and the build being rather cheap, the sound proofing offered very little protection from sound. Who’d have thunk it.
2. Three rather large fans on the bottom to provide cooling. One smaller fan at the top to expel the air… see where this is going? Even more, as there’s not enough fan power ports on the mobo, Silverstone wisely provided a molex to three fan connector. Unwisely, the power connector only provides 5 volts (unlike the motherboard which can give 12 volts). Meaning they run VERY slowly. There are three switches for the three fans to change speeds… on 5 volts the fasted speed equals the slowest on 12 volts. And if you plug them into the motherboard, they become bloody loud even on medium (the sound proofing… they do nothing!!).
3. The case is too long, but not long enough. Optical bays, mobo and PSU are line up together making it way too long, but not giving enough room for the optical bay cables.
4. By default, support for graphics card length is equal only to the width of the mobo. You can remove a bottom fan to add more inches, but in a case this large, everything feels kinda tight.
5. Again, the position of the PSU and the far of location of the HDDs and optical bays is just crazy. It’s like they planned the most impractical case possible.
6. There’s a slot cover for the front USB and sound ports. It jams with ease. Also, the sound ports have a tendency of popping the jack back out.
7. The hdd bays provide trays, but you need screws! And not just any ol’ screw, but a special type (so if you run out… tough luck). The trays are also 90 degrees to the case extending the distance needed for the power cables even further. What the hell were they thinking?
Conclusion? This case gets rave reviews. Mostly from gamers but also alot of hardware sites. I think with basic gamers who aren’t really using all the features this case is intended to supply, the issues won’t be so apparent. For others, i think it’s a matter that they spent so much money, and being like a lot of gamers with more money than sense, they refuse to recognize any possible mistakes that they made and defend all their purchases as if they can’t make mistakes. This case IS a mistake.
With review sites, clearly money has exchanged hands. Or as Silverstone has gained a strong name, they can’t face challenging the status quo. OR… all reviews just follow the first few reviews. Again, status quo. Any user who intends to use this case for its features (why buy a huge thing to hold one drive?) will see its massive shortfalls.
The only use I can see for this case is to drown kittens with. You can fit a few in, power cables won’t matter, and it’ll sink pretty fast. But with inadequate sound proofing, you’ll hear those kittens drowning. So it’s not even good for that.
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