SilverStone Raven RV02 Case Review
By Gabriel Torres on August 20, 2009
With Raven RV01 SilverStone introduced a new concept on the market: it was the first case where the motherboard is rotated 90°, making the rear connectors to be available on the top part of the case. Now SilverStone releases another case based on the same concept, Raven RV02, which costs far less than the original Raven. Let’s compare the two and see if it is worthwhile buying this case.
The motherboard rotation was done to improve thermal dissipation, especially from the video card, as hot air tends to go up and high-end video cards usually blow hot air from the inside to the outside of the case – usually to the rear of the case, but with Raven hot air is blown to the top.
On Figures 1 and 2 you have an overall look at Raven RV02. The case is made of steel with all parts painted black. The top V-shaped transparent acrylic part glows blue when the PC is turned on.
Here you can already see one of the main differences between RV01 and RV02. On RV01 the acrylic window is placed on the left panel, while on RV02 this part is placed on the right panel. This means that on RV01 the motherboard tray is placed on the same side as practically all cases, i.e., on the right side of the case. On RV02, however, the motherboard tray is located on the left side of the case.
Another main difference between RV01 and the new RV02 is on the front panel. RV01 features a robotic cover for the disk drive bays, which was removed on RV02. Both RV01 and RV02 have five 5.25” bays, but on RV02 you can get three extra 5.25” bays if you remove the internal hard disk drive cage.
Since the motherboard is installed 90° rotated compared to traditional cases, there are no connectors on the rear side of the case. The only thing available on the rear panel is a removable washable dust filter, which is placed in front of the power supply fan.
The top panel is where both RV01 and RV02 are different from all other cases available on the market, as here is where the motherboard connectors are located. RV02 comes with two USB ports (which are far away from each other, which is nice) and the traditional audio jacks. For a case from this class we expected it to come with at least one eSATA port.
There are several differences between RV01 and RV02 here. RV02 gained one extra expansion slot, having a total of eight against seven on RV01. On RV01 the power supply is installed on the bottom part of the case, while on RV02 it is installed on the top part. We liked this move, as now all cables from the case come out from the same spot, while on RV01 we had all cables attached to the motherboard coming from the top of the case and the power cord coming from the bottom of the case.
Both RV01 and RV02 have a 120 mm fan on the top panel (950 rpm, 18 dBA), but RV02 gained three fan controllers for the three internal 180 mm fans, each one with two steps (low and high). All fans use a three-pin connector, allowing you to install them on your motherboard to monitor their speed, and the case comes with an adapter that converts one standard peripheral power plug from the power supply into three three-pin power connectors.
Like RV01, RV02 has a place for installing SilverStone’s SST-CLEARCMOS product and the slot covers are meshed, which is great to improve the PC internal airflow. We think, however, that a high-end case like this should have come with black slot covers instead of silver. There is also a mesh above the place where the daughterboards are installed, which is also great to improve the airflow.
The side panels are screwed to the chassis using silver thumbscrews. SilverStone could have added a better system here or at least shipped this case with black thumbscrews. All internal parts are painted black, giving a really good looks to the case.
What immediately caught our attention were the three enormous 180 mm fans (speed varying between 700 rpm and 1,000 rpm, noise level varying between 18 dBA and 27 dBA, depending on how you set the switch available on the top panel) located at the bottom of the case, each one featuring individual and easy to remove dust filters. Each fan is connected to an individual speed controller (see Figure 9) and they all blow air from the bottom part of the case to the top. Since there is more air being pushed inside the motherboard compartment than being pulled out of it, this case is said to be based on a positive air pressure design.
Raven RV02 has two holes for you to pass hoses from water cooling systems located on the bottom part of the case, between the rear panel and the fan, as you can see in Figure 13.
In Figure 14 you have an overall view from the motherboard tray. On this picture you can also notice how daughterboards are fastened to the case using regular screws. We think a case with this quality deserved at least black thumbscrews there.
The motherboard tray has some windows and holes, allowing you to replace the plate that goes behind the CPU for holding CPU coolers without the need of removing the motherboard from the case and also route cables from behind the motherboard tray, keeping the cables inside the case more organized.
In Figure 16, you can see how a PC built inside RV02 looks like.
Officially this case has five external 5.25” bays, but if you remove the hard disk drive cage (which is fastened to the chassis using eight thumbscrews) you gain three more 5.25” bays for a total of eight. One of the 5.25” bays can be converted into a 3.5” bay using the included adapters, which support both external (floppy disk drives, memory card readers, etc) and internal (i.e., hard disk drives) devices. This way if you remove the hard disk drive cage you can still install one hard drive in one of the 5.25” bays. Or you can install one 2.5” hard disk drive or SSD, as this case features an adapter for installing 2.5” devices on the left side of the 5.25” disk drive bays.
This case has screwless mechanisms for holding only four 5.25” devices: the top 5.25” bay doesn’t come with this system installed, so you will have to use regular screws if you install an optical drive on the top bay.
The hard disk drive cage only holds three 3.5” hard disk drives, being the number one drawback from this case. You need to install screws to hold the hard disk drives, but the advantage here is that the bays use rubber shock absorbers to reduce the noise produced by the hard disk drives. Differently from Raven RV01, RV02 does not come with hot-swap connectors for hard disk drives.
SilverStone Raven RV02 case main specs include:
SilverStone Raven RV02 is a full-tower case targeted to the enthusiast that wants a high-quality high-end full-tower case and liked the concept of the motherboard being 90° rotated but doesn’t want to pay more than USD 200 on a high-end case. Here is a summary of what we found about this product.
In summary, we think SilverStone hit bull’s eye with Raven RV02. It brings the innovative design introduced with Raven RV01 but at a more affordable price. At USD 180 it is still an expensive case, but in our opinion it is worth every penny of it (compare to the outrageous USD 250 price tag RV01 had when it was first introduced – being, by the way, the reason we didn’t recommend RV01 at the time). The only real problem with this case is its reduced number of hard disk drive bays (three or four, if you use the adapter that comes with it).