Date: July 13th, 2010
Article by: Joe Anderson (Hardware Reviewer)
Edited By: Nathan Glentworth (Owner / Head Editor)
Product was submitted by: Silverstone
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PRODUCT PICTORIAL AND WALKTHROUGH (cont'd)
Power and reset buttons are located on the top surface of the case and flank the two activity lights. The surprisingly sparse I/O ports live behind a sliding door and consist of two well-spaced USB 2.0 ports and the customary audio ports. While FireWire seems to have gone the way of the dodo, I'm a bit surprised that SilverStone doesn't include more USBs and eSATA ports on this clearly upscale chassis.
Here's where things start to get really interesting. Pulling up sharply on the top cover will reveal the “backplane” and the four thumbscrews securing the side panels. With the panels off (they both feature sound dampening material,) we can see that the interior of the Fortress is quite spacious and has cutouts in the mobo tray to facilitate CPU cooler swaps and cable management. The recessed top of the chassis serves as the “backplane” with a relatively conventional arrangement of seven expansion bays and I/O shield and PSU placements. The three slide switches just to the right of the 120mm exhaust fan provide fan speed control for…
…the three bottom-mounted 180mm intake fans that feature easily serviceable dust filters. Using the HI/LO switches, the fan speeds can be toggled between 700 and 1000 RPM. The forward most of these intake fans serves to cool the five-bay hard drive cage while the others wash air over the entire motherboard area. This positive pressure airflow scheme should do wonders to keep dust bunnies at bay, but we'll have to see what kind of cooling performance it demonstrates.
Screws secure the big bay covers to the chassis, but the drives themselves are held in place by the four black plastic tool-free toggling clips. A fifth device can be installed in the top bay with screws, in the conventional manner. The five-bay hard drive cage uses sliding drive caddies and lock in place when the hinged “doors” are closed. We'll go over these features in more detail during installation, but a surprise awaits us when we remove the caddies and peek into the cage.