Group Test: Which Are The Best Cases On The Market? (Part 3) - Silverstone Fortress FT03 Elysium

11/29/2012 11:06:21 AM


Price: $187.19

Manufacturer: Silverstone


Description: Silverstone Fortress FT03 Elysium Windowed Case

Silverstone's Fortress range already comprises of two currently available cases. The FT01 is a beautiful all-aluminium midi tower chassis, while the FT02 is arguably the finest air cooling case on the market, but both look positively orthodox when placed next to the latest model in this innovative manufacturer's line-up. The FT03 has a bizarre form factor for a PC case. Firstly it' has a positively tiny foot print of just 235 x 284 mm, yet is as tall as a normal midi tower, at nearly 500 mm high. It has no visible I/O plate area at the back and there's no space for a conventional optical drive. Despite this, there's no debating the design, because the FT03 is undeniably beautiful. This particular example is decked out in titanium grey, but the chassis also comes in black or silver.

Remove the side panels and the FT03 starts to make sense. Firstly, the entire layout is a flip design with space for a micro-ATX motherboard rotated 90°. The I/O ports sit under a hatch on the roof of the case and there's a large cubby hole for the PSU (180 mm deep maximum) at the bottom. This is connected to the external power plug via an internal extension cable. Only a single slot-loading optical drive is supported, but the system supports two 3.5" hard drives (one via a hot-swap caddy) as well as a 2.5" SSD. Air is channelled through the case by two internal 120mm angled fans before being exhausted out from the top, and there's enough space in the chassis for two gigantic video cards in SLI or CrossFire - even the 12" 6990 fits in with an inch and a half to spare.

Even the most experienced of system builders will need to refer to the FT03's instruction manual during construction. The various mounts work well when you know how, but the chassis has as much in common with a conventional ATX case as a laptop chassis does. Despite this, the build quality is excellent. There are only tiny gaps between the various panels and everything clips in perfectly.

In terms of connectivity, the FT03 is quite minimalistic. There are just two USB 3.0 ports plus audio jacks, with no space for eSATA or dedicated USB 2.0 ports, and there's no fan controller. We'd recommend users invest in a PCI slot-sized rheostat if they have enough spare space, because the standard fans, although far from deafening, are noticeable when ramping up to full speed.

Despite its odd form factor, the FT03 provides super temperatures. GPUs exhausting heat vertically rather than horizontally clearly works well, as the GPU temperatures of this case are joint best on test. The CPU temperature was also extremely impressive, just going to show that you don't need a case the size of a bus to house a heavily overclocked i7 chip.

Given that the FT03 requires PSUs of up to a certain size, micro-ATX form factor motherboards and a slot loading optical drive, it may not be suitable for those wanting to simply transplant their existing PC into a new case, but for those wanting to build something unique and beautiful from scratch the case is definitely worth the investment.

Test setup

Description: Asus Rampage Gene Z77 motherboard

Asus Rampage Gene Z77 motherboard

For this group test we tested using an Asus Rampage Gene Z77 motherboard and an overclocked core \1 3770K running at 4.6GHz. We used the Akasa Venom Voodoo Cooler and a GTX 670 EVGA OC edition video card. To maintain a fair testing environment, the GPU fan was locked at 40% for the duration of each test. For fans with a built-in fan controller, a medium fan speed was employed to provide, where possible, an equivalent setting where we feel users would set their own fan speed for a given specification.






Fractal Design*














Temperaure (GPU)

72 °C











44° C

Noise level




Very quiet



507 mm

618 mm

704 mm

464 mm

487 mm


265 mm

230 mm

344 mm

232 mm

235 mm


592 mm

663 mm

664 mm

523 mm

284 mm

*tested at medium fan speed

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