SilverStone Fortress FTZ01 Overview
The FTZ01 isn’t technically the first mini-ITX Fortress – that honor belongs to the FT03 Mini, the only Fortress without a Raven counterpart (well, other than the mATX FT03). SilverStone went in a different direction with this chassis though, leaving the stack cooling behind and utilizing a PCI-E riser card to free up a little more room for long graphics cards. Let’s start with a look around the outside of this Fortress; we’ll see some of the differences as we go.
The front panel is comprised entirely of aluminum. In fact, this aluminum panel wraps around in a single piece to the “sides” (top/bottom in a vertical orientation). Not surprising, considering the luxurious touch often given to the Fortress series; impressive to see nonetheless. A cutout allows for an optical drive (albeit of the very rare slim slot-load variety). USB 3.0 / headphone / mic jacks sit on one side of the panel, and the power/reset switches (as well as power/HDD activity LEDs) adorn the other.
While the Fortress FTZ01 can be used in either vertical or horizontal orientations, I suspect most users would opt to use this chassis vertically – if only to keep the fan mounts and intake vents on these panels clear (rubber feet are included in the accessory package so the chassis would still have a little airflow if used horizontally). Looking at the panel above, the vaguely octagonal-shaped mesh up top is for the PSU while the two 120mm fan mounts underneath feed fresh air to the GPU area. A single 120mm slim fan is mounted here (two are included with the FTZ01).
The other 120mm slim fan is mounted above the CPU compartment. This panel is otherwise featureless, although take note of the mesh strips on top and bottom…
Those mesh strips are the main “exhausts” for the chassis. The Raven version makes this a little more obvious, but the Fortress’ solution is much more elegant in my opinion. Underneath the aluminum, the FTZ01’s steel frame is almost completely permeated by a series of circular holes.
The opposite side of the Fortress FTZ01 appears exactly the same. It even has the same series of circular holes underneath, to allow the heated air from a graphics card to escape.
The back of the FTZ01 shows the same layout as the Raven, with the double-width GPU area turned on its side and facing “down.” No thumbscrews here – the top access panel is fastened with two regular cross-tip screws. A Kensington lock slot keeps everything secure as an option (something SilverStone is pretty good at including by default on their cases).