Most of the cases that I have seen and reviewed this year have usually been what I personally refer to as cookie cutter cases. Meaning that most are generally all alike in build placement and engineering except for one or two exceptions that make that particular case unique, but the Silverstone FT04 is a case that defies this rule of case making. The Silverstone FT04 still has to follow the usual JEDEC Rules for conformity to the E-ATX form factor but past that is where it all changes to pure uniqueness. This Silverstone case defies most of the usual configuration standards and sets itself apart as being a “Case all its own”.
I can remember a time before “All in One” liquid CPU coolers were all the rage that the majority of the system builders never risked the use of water cooling loops for the obvious reason. Mostly because of the fact that water and electricity doesn’t mix very well in the same environment. It was only the most ambitious and brightest of the modding community that used custom water loops in their beautifully artist builds and they dared to beat the odds and use a custom loop / water cooling solution. Now that water cooling is “King”, many of us forget that air cooling was a very real and preferable way of cooling a CPU before Corsair’s All in One system was introduced and tested, but the ever growing power hot video cards that seemed to kill the Air Cooling industry by increasing ambient temperatures inside and the All in One kits that were available and dependable prevailed, but before that time dangers of a leaking water hose or fitting was a very real threat to very expensive computer parts. This case is a tribute to all those air-cooling junkies that love to follow an “Old School” air cooling solution.
But that is not to say that the Silverstone Fortress FT04 is not seaworthy, because it is. The Silverstone Fortress FT04 has the ability to accept a huge 360mm x 120mm triple radiator in the front by using the black thick plastic 120mm downsizing brackets that come in the accessories package. These brackets change the 180 fan mounts to 120 x 3. The Silverstone Fortress FT-04 has all you need for both air and water solutions and is a joy to be reviewing but I must confess this has been one case that I have had to do a lot research on. It has not received the respect or the praise that this case truly deserves and by the time you are reading this you will find this is a very rare case to find, but if you have the money to shell out and you are lucky enough to find one of the last ones available, I would personally suggest you consider buying one. It truly is, in every way an authentic enthusiast case that can handle about any application that you can decide to use and especially if you plan on using an extremely large motherboard with dual CPU’s and a few graphics cards.
As I mentioned above, the FT04 has been replaced by the Silverstone Fortress FT05 and I like it as well, but I like this one better because of its elegant stature. It just seems to have that grace and style of a classic automobile of yesteryear that was built strong as an Abrams tank with lots of room and smartly engineered amenities. That however has been its Achilles heel. The very looks of the Silverstone Fortress FT04 may appear simple at first glance, but it takes some real understanding to know where and how things fit since this is not by any means a typical computer case design and maybe that has been its ultimate downfall. The Silverstone Fortress FT04 has definitely not lost its footing when it comes to engineering or durability; it has merely been very misunderstood and yes, maybe slightly over engineered.