Introducing the SilverStone Raven RV03

At this point, SilverStone's signature in the enclosure world is the 90-degree rotation of the motherboard. This unique engineering decision makes cases like the FT03 possible, but for a long time enclosures with this design have been extremely pricey and outside the reach of most users. While the new Raven RV03 is still fairly expensive compared to the enclosures we've tested thus far, at $159 it's at least closer to the realm of reasonable though it still must contend with offering at least as much value as the cases at $100 or below we've reviewed so far. Is it worth spending up?

Since restarting our case reviews with the new testing methodology, we haven't had in an enthusiast-class (and enthusiast-priced) enclosure like the RV03 in house yet, so our comparisons may seem a little bit unfair. This can't really be helped, but we have a Thermaltake Level 10 GT in for review soon and that should balance things out a bit. In the meantime, the RV03 is certainly bigger than the other units we've tested, and I'm anxious to see how it turns out.

The last generation Raven, the RV02, was expensive but proved popular nonetheless. The trio of fans, fairly clean internal design, and SilverStone's signature rotated motherboard helped keep that enclosure running cool and quiet, and the styling was a little bit more subdued. To reduce the Raven's price tag (and its footprint) for the RV03, some changes needed to be made. SilverStone has reduced the number of internal 180mm fans from three to two, but increased their efficiency. Mounting space for drives has been dramatically increased, and as a whole the RV03 is a far more modular design than its predecessor. At least on paper, this Raven is an impressive specimen.

SilverStone Raven RV03 Specifications
Motherboard Form Factor SSI EEB, SSI CEB, Extended ATX, ATX, Micro ATX, Mini ITX
Drive Bays External 7x 5.25" (six occupied by 2x5.25"-to-3x3.5" adapters)
Internal 10x 3.5" (see above), 2x 2.5"
Cooling Front 4x 120mm fan mount (attached to bay adapters)
Rear 1x 120mm fan mount
Top 1x 120mm
Side 1x 120mm fan mount (back)
Bottom 2x 180mm (compatible with three 120mm fans)
Expansion Slots 8 (one blocked off if rear fan mount used)
Front I/O Port -
Top I/O Port 2x USB 3.0, headphone and mic jacks, fan controller
Power Supply Size ATX
Clearance 13.58" (Expansion Cards), 163mm (CPU HSF), 180mm (PSU)
Weight 25.1 lbs.
Dimensions 20.55" x 9.25" x 22.44"
Price $159

The enclosure is essentially designed to employ bottom-to-top convection style cooling, but SilverStone includes the means to turn it into a more typical front-to-back design using the bay adapters. Admittedly, one of my biggest concerns with the rotated motherboard design is the noise being moved out of the top of the enclosure instead of the rear since so many users keep their towers on the floor (myself included.) With cases as big as this one, that's really the only place for it.

In and Around the SilverStone Raven RV03
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  • Dustin Sklavos - Wednesday, July 20, 2011 - link

    In terms of physical space, we do at least tell you how much stuff you can theoretically cram into the enclosure. Beyond that I think you're being unreasonable.

    Getting the hardware to do the kind of testing you're asking for isn't impossible, but it's not really practical either. Having done enough of these tests at this point, I already feel like our overclocked rig is pushing it in terms of just noise.

    Also, understand that while multi-GPU subsystems aren't as uncommon as they used to be, they're still far from being the norm, and a good single GPU system is often still going to be preferable to a dual or multi-GPU configuration. The soundcard and PCIe SSD you're suggesting aren't actually going to really change test results either, they may increase the case's ambient temperature by a degree or two at most.

    And then, let's say we move over to a dual-GPU configuration. Which cards? Do we use a board with ample spacing between the two PCIe x16 slots or sandwich the cards together to see if the case can handle that kind of load? Do we use cards with blower-style coolers or coolers that exhaust heat back into the case?

    Honestly I think you're selling the testing short. Off the top of my head, just from looking at documentation, I'd've thought the Raven would've murdered the competition, but instead its lead is nowhere near as comfortable as I expected and hoped.
  • Ananke - Wednesday, July 20, 2011 - link

    This is one ugly piece of cheap looking plastic. $19 including all fans shall be the maximum paid, before discounts.
  • Totally - Friday, July 22, 2011 - link

    Isn't the Raven a scavenger and not a bird of prey?
  • The0ne - Monday, July 25, 2011 - link

    They are both. I hate them so much.
  • AEternal1 - Tuesday, July 26, 2011 - link

    I've always made my own case contraptions for my computers, because i run insane configurations, and ive yet to find a case that can keep up to my expectations. this is the first case ive bought that i still use.

    I run my I5 2500K @ 4.8 and my gtx 560 TI @ 1ghz. needless to say, heat is always very hard for me to dissipate in a case, especially since I prefer big air over big water.

    I've got nearly every fan option running in this case, I spent about 120$ for extra fans to fit, since most of my extra fans were smaller.

    I mounted all 4 of my mechanical hard drives in the back tray, and with this case's thermal design, they all run cooler than they ever did in my open air cases that ive built.

    my cpu runs at 40* to 55* with a noctua nh d-14. with the thermal layout i was able to implement with all the fan layouts i had available to me, i can actually put my hands in the case, and one hand will feel cool air, and the other will feel the warm air. thats pretty awesome. i have my cpu air being pushed onto the backs of my graphics card to help cool the backside of them, as opposed to venting the cpu straight up and out. with this cases bottom fans, and then the added fans, it takes all the heat from this area and diverts it perfectly. my graphics cards finally run cooler than in an open air solution, and my cpu stays just as cool as always.

    the end result is that this is the first case to actually out perform an open air solution.

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