Specifications, Availability and Pricing
To easily visualize the design idea of the FT03, you need to just think of the usual mid tower chassis, turn it sideways so you are looking at the door panel, and then run a saw down the middle of both sides. You now have an idea of the dimensions and footprint the FT03 utilizes. The exterior of this almost square tower is all aluminum, consisting of four main panels, one of which is not removable. The main body and support structure is made from steel. The FT03 carries a Micro ATX chassis sizing, but will also accommodate smaller m-DTX and m-ITX boards as well. The one major thing to think about with the exterior of this chassis prior to purchasing one is the fact that this chassis will only allow for a slim, slot loading optical drive, so plan ahead to buy one.
On the inside you of course have the one optical drive slot, but hidden behind the motherboard tray there is room for three 3.5" hard drives, and with an included adapter you can install a 2.5" drive as well. Wire management is in limited supply for options, but the layout is perfect and calculated to run where they need to go and stay hidden most of the way there. Since we are on the subject of wiring, I should cover the fact that this small chassis still delivers two USB 3.0 connections; nothing is overlooked. Three "limits" to the chassis, if you can even call them that, is the GPU maximum length of 13.77", the maximum height of the CPU cooler at 167mm, and a maximum PSU length of 180mm deep.
If anything, the cooling is the most thought out and ingenious layout of fans I have seen yet in a chassis with this limited of spacing. Of course, at the top you have the 120mm fan that draws all the heat out of the top of the chassis. To get a good flow of air to the rest of the components, there are some angled platforms and options utilized to do the best to keep temperatures managed in the FT03. At the floor of the chassis you have the option for two 80mm fans to be installed. From the factory, there is a 120mm just above the 80mm holes that does a fine job acting as the intake. The angle is directed toward the CPU and the fan that sits above the PSU and blows air directly at the CPU cooler for much needed air inside of a small chassis. If you plan to run SLi or Crossfire in this chassis, you also have the option to add another 80mm or 92mm next to the "bridge" end of the VGA's. Every angle is covered and all the fans offer the same specs of up to 1200 RPM and only give off 22 dBA of sound. What I expect is a quiet case, but I will have to power it up to gauge the actual airflow.
When talk of this chassis first came about, I was having trouble obtaining one due to such a limited supply in the US. Since our discussions began, this chassis has made its presence known in many US shops. As I look at Google shopping I am seeing the pricing starts at around $160, plus $28 to ship it, and topping out at $190 shipped. Our old friend is priced right in the middle. The SST-FT03 is currently selling at Newegg.com for $169.99, and they are asking $19.99 for shipping on top. No matter where you locate this chassis, the pricing in total is just under $200 US dollars. So let's get down to it and see if this is the best chassis money can buy, considering its limited space it's working with.