In and Around the SilverStone FT03 Mini

As I mentioned before, the FT03 Mini looks just like the FT03 except smaller. SilverStone uses thick aluminum panels on all four sides of the enclosure, sturdy plastic for accents like the I/O and buttons on the top of the enclosure and the bottom fan intake, and then steel for the structure of the enclosure itself. The result is that externally, there isn't a whole lot to remark on. It has four flat aluminum sides, and then the motherboard's I/O cluster and power supply are both mounted to the top of the case and accessible by removing the plastic top cover.

SilverStone has largely pioneered using a rotated motherboard mounting system in their enclosures, but it really makes sense with the FT03 Mini. The base of the enclosure is basically square, and right in the bottom center is a 140mm intake fan. The case also sits off of the floor high enough that only the shaggiest of rugs should prevent fresh air from coming in through the bottom of the FT03 Mini. Fresh air blows through the single chamber and out of the top of the case. It's a sound engineering design and you'll see it pays off in spades.

I've often compared SilverStone's cases to puzzle boxes due to the very specific way they come apart and back together, but nowhere has that comparison been more appropriate than with the FT03 Mini. End users ignore the instruction manual at their own peril; we're at the point where you'll need it just to figure out how to get the case open in the first place. I'm not inclined to mark SilverStone down for this, though, because the instructions are clear enough and because there's a definite logic to how the case tears down.

In order, you pop the top off of the case, then the two side panels snap off instead of sliding upwards (a welcome improvement on the FT03, which was easy to accidentally pop the side panels off of when you were moving it), then the back panel snaps off, then the optical drive cage comes out, and attached to that are cages for a 3.5" drive and a 2.5" drive. We have the disassembly sequence in our gallery if you're inclined to check it out.

The interior of the FT03 Mini is built out of black-painted steel, and the whole enclosure is really very sturdy. You're not liable to spend much time looking at the inside of the case, but I can't stress enough how important the logic of the case's assembly is. It comes apart and back together in a very specific order, which is vital for a design this unique. Once you understand SilverStone's logic, you'll find the case is remarkably well thought out.

Introducing the SilverStone FT03 Mini Assembling the SilverStone FT03 Mini
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  • Flunk - Tuesday, May 22, 2012 - link

    Ridiculously hot and noisy. I have an SG03 and while it's a great case and good fun the thermals are annoying. Reply
  • Synomenon - Tuesday, May 22, 2012 - link

    Did you guys get to test it with a liquid cooling kit such as the Antec Kuhler 620 or Corsair H60? It would be great if you could update this review later on with a build utilizing one of these liquid cooling kits AND a GTX 670 / 680. Reply
  • jigglywiggly - Tuesday, May 22, 2012 - link

    why are you guys reviewing a fridge Reply
  • gonks - Tuesday, May 22, 2012 - link

    I thought it was a trash can Reply
  • nikotttin - Tuesday, May 22, 2012 - link

    Hi there,

    How is the cabling going with this case? I see that the electric plug is facing upward. Same goes for the GPU ports.

    Does this mean that the plug and HDMI cables are going out through the top of the case? If so, this is not very elegant in a living room.

    Thanks for the clarification.
    Reply
  • piroroadkill - Tuesday, May 22, 2012 - link

    It has a cover, and a slot at the top rear of the case, so they'll come out the back, but at the top. Well, they actually come out of the top, but the cover.. covers them up. Reply
  • marvdmartian - Tuesday, May 22, 2012 - link

    The biggest problem I saw, is that the PSU is on one side of the top divider (which contains the power & reset buttons, and the USB ports), and the slot for all the cords is on the other side of it. Which means you're going to lose 6-8 inches of power cord, just routing it around that obstruction.

    IMHO, it would have been a better idea to either shorten that divider (so the power cord could be routed in a shorter direction), or a second slot provided. The second choice would be a fairly easy modification, though, if one were so inclined to do so.
    Reply
  • Bobsy - Tuesday, May 22, 2012 - link

    I have the same concern. Are there any pictures of this case with cables plugged in, so that we can see what it looks like for real? Cables coming out the top seem to be a show-stopper for me - I say "seems" because Dustin does not mind, so surely he found a way to set it up properly. I would like to know how this can be done.

    Thank you.
    Reply
  • nikotttin - Wednesday, May 23, 2012 - link

    see:

    http://hardforum.com/showthread.php?t=1642182&...
    http://hardforum.com/showthread.php?t=1642182
    Reply
  • jabber - Tuesday, May 22, 2012 - link

    ...I have no idea of the orientation or what way goes where etc. Reply

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