Monday, July 4, 2016

Silverstone Fortress FTZ01 

A compact mITX case of aluminium-SECC build for true PC gaming enthusiasts, standing at just 14 litres yet is still capable of holding long double slotted gaming cards up to 13".

"SilverStone created another new line called the Fortress Z* to cater to enthusiasts with affinity for all metal design in slim form factor cases, thus the FTZ01 was born. Similar to RVZ01, the FTZ01 utilizes a PCI-E riser and custom designed fans to accommodate the biggest consumer graphics card on the market with superb air cooling performance and the ability to support liquid cooling.**"

* FT = ForTress, RV = RaVen and so forth...
** Silverstone TD03-SLIM 

The case can be either used horizontally or vertically with the bundled case stands.

 What Silverstone says... (click!)

■ Classic exterior built from aluminum unibody frame
■ Supports graphics card up to 13 inches
■ Mini-ITX motherboard & SFX/SFX-L PSU compatible
■ Maximum performance in slim form factor with support for liquid cooling
■ Positive air pressure design for excellent cooling/quietness and dust-prevention
■ Fits in nearly any environment with horizontal or vertical orientation


As the FTZ01 is meant to be a very compact yet gaming capable system, this case is meant for the more experienced system builders and less so for first timers.


Recommended tools - being so compact, this is  not a tool-free case and a bright torchlight is highly recommended for full dis-assembly

Bundled Accessories

includes 3 x magnetic dust meshes, case stands etc...

Top Panel

showing bundled manual and 1 x 120mm fan over the CPU zone

Bottom Panel

showing 2 x fan cut-outs with 1 x bundled fan over the video card zone, 1 x fan cut-out for the PSU

Back Panel

showing the i/o panel zone and the 90° flipped video card double slotted i/o plates

Side panel

showing the solidly built U shaped aluminium unibody which loops from the side to the front and onto the other side

Front Panel

showing the subdued Silverstone branding, optical disc slot, power/reset buttons/LEDs, audio and USB3 ports


Showing the bundled 15mm thick, 120mm 0.15A fan on the top panel


Showing storage/video card bays on the left and mobo/PSU bays on the right

Note the 2 different types of Philips screws (flush and rounded) are used for securing the bays

Storage/GPU bay unscrewed and flipped up to reveal the bottom intake fan

Storage/GPU bay totally removed

Close up of the internal cables - not all are sleeved black

Close up of  panel riveting and honey comb meshes

Showing location of the slot in slim optical drive

PSU cage removed - the last anchoring screw definitely needs a bright torch for access in the all black interior. Note this fits SFX and SFX-L PSU models too.

Finally, full interior access showing the internal PSU extension cable

The Rig

Trying to fit up a small compact yet cost effective HTPC, casual gaming PC to last a few years... trying a full Silverstone theme rig to go with this FTZ01 case.

The Motherboard 
Asus B150i Pro Gaming WiFi Aura
Reason for choice - full featured, no need to pay more for overclocking premium, the great Asus UEFI

Intel i3-6100
Reason for choice - dual fast cores with high stock clock speed of 3.7GHz, above average cost performance

Crucial Ballistix Sport DDR4 RAM
Great budget RAM, sold in kits or separate sticks. For more info, click!
Reason for choice - low profile, nice aesthetics in neutral silver gray, good performers, highly compatible

Silverstone AR06
Reason for choice - low profile 58mm only, 4 x direct contact heatpipe thermal transfer. Effective in keeping the CPU cool in a compact rig. Supports both AMD and Intel socket designs.

The fan colour combination is quirky enough but you can see later on that for our purposes here, it works to the advantage of clearing showing off where the case fresh air intake for the CPU lies. The bundled fan is a slim 0.15A model with 4 wires ie. PWM speed control.

SilverStone ST45SF-G Power Supply (80+ Gold)
Sleek looking in black, fully modular mITX 80+ Gold PSU from the market leader in SFX and SFX-L format power units.

The full modularity makes a big difference when assembling a compact case like this where room for manoeuvring is a luxury. The trick is to attach the cables to the mobo 1st before attaching them to the PSU proper, allowing you to snake and hide away the cables.

It also sports short cables tailored for a small casing so there are no unnecessarily long cables runs with nowhere to hide in such tight spaces.

Bundled accessories include a mounting plate for full sized ATX case installation as can be seen on the right.


Start with getting the CPU/HSF/mobo/RAM ready... do remember the back i/o plate too.


Prep and mount the PSU onto the bracket but for more finger room, do not anchor to the case till the mobo is secured.

You can now attach the main ATX and 12V cables along with the case front panel wires, before anchoring down the PSU to the case. Last fix up the ATX cables to the PSU proper.

Decidedly for demo-ing the video card handling and cooling capability of this case presently, handpicked the longest video card I have, the 30cm long Sapphire R9 270X epeen Toxic Edition. In the longer run, the rig will probably just make do with the iGPU or another card for HTPC usage...

And yes, it just takes the whole card straight in without complaint...gosh, nice! Last in is the SSD.

Now we can play a little peekaboo with the case air intakes, to see how each hot component is exposed to fresh ventilation which turns out to be outstanding. Note that the bundled dust meshes were not installed to preserve good visibility.

This is also where the contrasting colours of the different components come in very useful. Wow, the intake grilles are evidently very well thought out and positioned by the Silverstone designers.

Video card - all 3 video card fans visible, good exposure!

PSU - nearly the full fan is visible, good exposure!

CPU - full diameter of the blue fan is visible, good exposure!

Benches & Temps

The rig is very quiet during test runs, practically inaudible amidst the ambient noise of an average urban home.

always nice to see the idle vcore at 0 volts, thanks to Intel power states and a proper PSU

Cinebench R15

AIDA64 Stability Test

just a short run for some idea of CPU load temps, plateauing out with max at 66C in this test

Kombustor Stress Test
just a short run for some idea of video card load temps, plateauing out with max at 70C in this test

Daily Usage

surfing, downloading, unzipping, internet radio, UEFA Euro 2016 etc... the CPU idles in the low 30s and maxes in the mid 50s while max fan speed is just below 1700rpm.

Initial Impressions

For avid PC gamers who love a small rig, yet desire being unconstrained by a compact case in wanting a fast gaming tualengkong video card, this is definitely a good choice.
  • elegant sleek stealthy looks, beautiful full aluminium facade
  • solid construction which aids in silent running
  • compact yet well laid out design
  • great ventilation for both CPU and GPU
  • caters for the longest gaming video cards

May be improved
  • not tool free
  • 1-2 screws with access difficulty
  • PSU exhaust path