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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  • dalenchm0b - Saturday, May 26, 2012 - link

    Newegg has it.

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N8...
    Reply
  • terragb - Tuesday, May 29, 2012 - link

    I got mine from Performance-PCs.com

    They are in Florida but mine was drop shipped directly from Silverstone in California.
    Reply
  • mcbowler - Friday, May 25, 2012 - link

    I always wanted someone to build a case around the graphics card... check out the perfect fit on silverstone web site... http://www.silverstonetek.com/product.php?pid=333

    I wish more companies did things like this. 1 HD and 2 SSD is all I need. A 450w power supply should be good enough for an Nvidia 680 and a stock voltage 3770. If not, I will be melting something.
    Reply
  • terragb - Tuesday, May 29, 2012 - link

    Yup. Mine runs fine on the SilverStone 450w PSU. Reference GTX 680 and stock voltage 3770. Reply
  • Death666Angel - Thursday, May 31, 2012 - link

    Hey!
    You write:
    "There are five points to screw in the PSU, but there were only enough screws available to do the four corners."
    All PSU I have laying around and the few I looked at online only have 4 screw holes, however, most cases I owned had 5 holes. In those cases this was so that the PSUs could be installed with either the fan up or down. Not sure if this is the case here, but it might be. :-)
    Interesting case, for sure. :D
    Reply
  • caycep - Saturday, June 09, 2012 - link


    1) How have the FT03-mini's been in terms of rattling? SilentPCReview didn't like the full size FT03 at all, but the mini seems to be substantially revamped. Is the build quality better?

    2) How does this compare w/ the lian li PC-Q11A?

    3) will a 350 or 450W sfx psu be enough to run a nvidia gtx 670 class gnu?
    Reply
  • s7r83dg3 - Sunday, October 28, 2012 - link

    1) Please move the buttons 180° so all the cables can be shorter and in the right position just
    above those pins !

    2) Make all cables sleeved & short & soft !!!

    3) Make the legs 2 cm shorter and the case 2 cm taller so my gfx card will fit.

    4) Use a standard FOUR PIN fan so it can be replaced, which is currently not possible.

    5) Change your company logo =)

    6) Make silent sfx PSU with good modular cables (like superflower psu)
    Reply

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