Moving from the Silverstone Raven to RV02 (semi-review w/ lots of pics)

yenniedn

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Hello Fellow [H]'ers!

If you've seen some of my F/S/T threads here, you'll know that I have been going through a lot of different cases in search of that perfect case that'll hold me over for at least the next year. I'd used the Silverstone TJ09-BW for the last 1 1/2 years and, while that was/is a great case, it's hard for me to use anything for over a year without getting bored with it. The search for the TJ09's replacement brought almost a dozen very nice cases through my hands including the following:

* Zalman GT-1000 Black (great, well made case but way too cramped.)
* Antec P180 Mini White (brief mATX experiment; ended up as the case for the kids' computer. Awesome little case with excellent cooling!)
* Lian Li PC-X500 (good case but somewhat impractical design w/ limited storage options.)
* Lian Li PC-A17 (never even installed in it - boring design w/ blah aesthetics.)
* Lian PC-A10 (great looking case w/ poor air cooling. Being used as an HTPC in master bedroom.)
* Lian Li PC-V1010 (surprisingly good case w/ good cooling; just never liked the rounded front panel.)
* Lian Li PC-7 Plus II (small, outdated case. Gave it to my cousin.)
* Lian Li PC-B70 (got this case twice - one stock and one custom powdercoated. Great case but it is just GINORMOUS; not practical for use on top of a desk where I keep my case.)
* Lian Li PC-B10 (never installed into it though it looks like a really cool case; traded to Aztlan before I could build in it)

About three months ago, I went with the original Silverstone Raven. I was drawn to this case by the innovative design w/ the 90* rotated motherboard design. I was unsure about this case initially because it didn't look that great in the various review photos and A LOT of members here commented about how atrocious it looked. Some complained about the potential weight of a case of this size being made of steel. Still others voice concerns over the case's use of plastic. The good news is that the case is a lot better in real life than it appears in photos online!

The Raven turned out to be a very good case with some great features along with a number of quirks. Those put off by the plastic parts shouldn't be because the quality of the construction is typical Silverstone quality and is very nice. It is not at all cheap in either look or feel. Looks-wise, the Raven is actually a pretty good looking case that isn't anywhere near as gaudy as it might initially appear to be. The case actually grows on you and, while I realize that some will never like it, you should really check it out at a local store before dismissing it solely on its looks. As for the weight issue, it is on the heavier side but it's not so much to be a deal killer either.

On the down side, there were a few things that Silverstone could've improved upon on this case. First and foremost, for a case this large, the actual space for the components is fairly small and the installation in pretty cramped. Also, cable management is good in some areas and pretty bad in others. The rotated design made it just about impossible to hide some of the cables (like the PCIe power cables) and required extra long cables in other places (like the SATA cables). Most importantly, cooling wasn't as good as it should be given the advertised "stack effect" design. The problem here, I think, is due to location of the two 180mm fans on the bottom. There is one directly below the GPU's and the other under the HDD's and optical drives. The glaring omission is a direct source of fresh, cool air directly underneath the CPU/RAM area. Also, the placement of these 180mm fans combined with the relatively small/restictive filtered intakes isn't really conducive to good cooling. The PSU blocks the GPU fan and the HDD/optical fan's airflow is inefficient at best. Going from the PC-B70 to the Raven, I GAINED(!!!) about 7 to 10* Celcius on my CPU temps using the same TRUE 120 + 2x Noctua push/pull setup. Perhaps most annoying was that the temps rose about 4-5*C with the side panel on - so I had to remove the plexi-glass window to help alleviate this problem.

So in summary, here are the good and bad of the original Raven:

Pros:
* Quality Silverstone construction, fit and finish.
* Looks much better in real life than you think.
* Innovative (though not perfected) 90* rotated motherboard design.
* Tool-less optical drive retention clips worked well.
* Well designed HDD cage w/ anti-vibration inserts (and one (1) hot-swappable slot).

Cons:
* Cramped installation for a large full tower case.
* A little on the heavy side - which is to be expected.
* A little too big overall for my taste.
* Cable management could be improved in some areas.
* Retractable front drive door is clunky and very noisy in operation.
* LONG SATA cables are required (should be included with the case)
* Poor placement of the bottom 180mm fans hinders cooling.
* Lack of a fresh air source immediately below the CPU/RAM area.
* Overall cooling not as good as it should/could be.
* Temps noticeably increase with the side panel on.

raven2.jpg


raven1.jpg


raven3.jpg


raven4.jpg


raven5.jpg
 
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yenniedn

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So while I really liked the Raven, I was very happy to find out that Silverstone would be releasing an update with the RV02 (and FT02). From the initial photos and previews, I really liked and wanted the FT02. But the RV02 was released first (the FT02 isn't expected to be shipping for another month or two from now) and I'm not the most patient person in the world. That led me to taking delivery on an RV02-BW last week. Here are the photos or the two cases next to each other:

ravens1.jpg


ravens2.jpg


ravens3.jpg


ravens4.jpg


ravens5.jpg
 
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yenniedn

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Below are photos of my components quickly thrown into the RV02. (There is a lot of glare from the outside window at this time of day so I'll re-take the photos and replace them later this week after I clean up the wiring.)

My thoughts on the RV02 are as follows:

AESTHETICS:

The RV02 looks a lot cleaner and more in line with what many have come expect from a Silverstone case. Yes, the front and top are a little busy and not typical of a Silverstone design - but they're both greatly toned down compared to the original Raven's design. Thank goodness they did away with the sliding door from the Raven. That door was fairly useless and was so LOUD in operation that it was annoying to use. The RV02's top panel also allows for better heat dissipation since it is vented throughout almost the entire length of the top panel (whereas the Raven's top vents only ventilated the back half of the case). The big, bright blue power LED on the front is carried over from the Raven, still stands out and still takes some getting used to. There is less plastic used on the RV02, which is good. However, the quality and finish on the plastic parts is very good. They did a very good job mating the finish of the plastic with that of the matte black metal panels. In fact, I'd guess that most people who didn't already know the front and top were plastic would think that all of the panels were steel. You really have to touch and feel the plastic parts to know that they're plastic.

The side panel window is very nice - but is probably two inches too long at the rear. The odd placement and mounting of the PSU in the rear of the case is not something that really needs to be shown off through the window so they could've shortened the window by about 2" at the rear end and I think it would've looked better. They got it right on the front side allowing you to see all of your GPU's without having to see the ugly opticals, HDD's and their cables.

Best of all, the matching matte black finish inside and out looks AWESOME. Not only does this save a lot of us from having to paint or powder-coat the interior of the case ourselves, but it is also done A LOT better than most of us could do on our own. While it seems more resistant to smudges and dust compared to the Lian Li's I've use - it still does show some oily smudges here and there. And thanks to my wife, it does scratch. Thanks, honey - nothing like getting your new case scratched up on the very first day!!!

OVERALL DESIGN:

I have to give Silverstone high praise for first having the balls for going unconventional with the first Raven and then really doing a great job fine tuning the design with the RV02. The Raven was a great concept but probably not executed as well as it could have been. But it was the first attempt after all and they did a pretty good job with it. With the RV02, they worked out most of the kinks of the first design and greatly improved the case!

One of the first things you'll notice is that the RV02 is noticeably shorter in height than the Raven but is considerably longer from front to rear. I like this a lot better because the Raven (listed as a full tower) is simply too tall for use on top of a desk where I like to keep my computer. RV02 is actually pretty short top to bottom but takes up the entire length of my desk from front to rear. One way to think about it is that with the Raven, they just took a full tower sized case and just rotated the motherboard tray area 90* while leaving the exterior alone. With the RV02, it's like they basically rotated the entire case 90* giving you a case that is longer than it is tall (which is unusual in my experience). At this height it definitely looks better sitting on my desk (although having the side window on the right side of the case forced me to rearrange my whole desk).

Although the issue does not affect me, those who use VGA-to-DVI adapters will be happy to know that they've noticeably increase the room between the bottom of the top panel cover and the expansion ports on your motherboard. The design of the Raven's top panel cover would not allow for the use of VGA-to-DVI adapters (or even DVI cables with larger plugs). So even though they've shortened the overall height of the case, they've increased the space under the top panel (which also puts the GPU's, CPU and RAM closer to the incoming cool air from the bottom fans. The top cover itself is also greatly improved. It is no longer gawdy and angular like the Raven's - instead it's relatively flat and looks more like just a "normal" top from my view sitting at my desk. They've done away with the rotating lock/unlock knobs and the panel now just snaps securely into place. Most importantly, the new cover and top panel provides ventilation to about 80% of the top surface of the RV02 whereas the vents on the Raven only covered the rear half of that case. It would seem like more hot air could escape out of the RV02's top versus the Raven's. Really nice job by Silverstone here.

The front panel is one of the few things on the RV02 I'm not crazy about. I never liked the look of having the entire front of a case full of removeable drive bays; I highly prefer the look of the FT02's front where you only have the top four or five drive bays exposed. I've had a couple of Lian Li's with all exposed drive bay and it always bothered me but at least on a case like the PC-A17 the ventilated covers helped with the air intake & cooling of the case. The good news is that once you start filling in some of the bays with your opticals, card readers and etc. the front starts to look a lot better than just having plain black dummy covers making up the entire front of your case. Once you install your motherboard and GPU's into the case, you quickly realize why all of the drives had to have access from the front: with your system installed, the internal3.5" drive HAS to come out through the front of the case! The problem with this is that the front covers aren't that easy to take off. You can't just take them off with your fingers like most other cases - instead, you have to insert a skinny screwdriver into a little hole and blindly feel around for the tab to release each cover. It's kind of a P.I.T.A. but tolerable.

Going inside the case, you have the same tool-less 5.25" retention clips from the Raven and FT01 designs. They're only on one side of the case and work well enough but you'll most likely end up securing your drives with a screw or two on the other side - which will defeat the purpose of the tool-less clips. Only four of the five bays have the retention clips . . . I'm not sure why the top-most one does not since many/most of us like to use that slot for our optical drive. Below the opticals, you have the aforementioned 3.5" drive cage - which, of course, only has room for 3x 3.5" drives. I'm sure this can be a turn-off for many people who are contemplating buying this case. This is a higher-end case and most gamers/enthusiasts either have more than three drives or at least want the capability to run more than three drives as needed. I'd imagine those with RAID arrays are going to have issues with this case and are going to look elsewhere (the upcoming FT02 will have more 3.5" drive bays). You do, however, get a 2.5" SSD mount which is screwed on to the back side of the case - so it works out perfectly for me. I just need the one SSD drive for my OS and my two 1TB storage drives (I can still add one more drive as needed). There's always the option of mounting your 2.5" or 3.5" drives in the 5.25" bays but that'll require additional adapters not provided with the case. They could've also made more HDD bays by mounting them horizontally instead of vertically but that would ruin the cooling of that entire area since the bottom HDD would block almost all of the air from the first 180mm fan. On the positive side, the smaller/simpler HDD drive cage takes up less room and allows for an 8th expansion slot - making the RV02 one of the very few cases currently available that has 8 expansion slots. This 8th slot is of no particular use to me now but my EVGA Classified X58 board does have it if I do want to fill up all the slots in the future.

[Speaking of the expansion slots, just a quick note on installation: I had a REALLY hard time installing my expansion cards the first time through because I could not get the brackets to line up with the screw holes on the case. I tried push up on the cards with one hand while using my knee to push down the bracket on the case so that the holes would like up - but they simply would not! I got a little frustrated after awhile and even started to wonder if I had an early defective unit!!! I then had the unscrew the motherboard and literally pushed the board up towards the back of the case as far as it would go while still being able to line the motherboard screws up with the studs. After doing this, I still had to push the back side (which really is the top panel) of the case down fairly hard to screw in the cards. Luckily, once this was done - I no had this alignment problem even after several reinstalls of the expansion cards.]

The last part of the design to be discussed is the mounting of the power supply, which is mounted vertically at the back of the case. This is the only case I can think of that has a PSU mounted in this orientation and it's awkward at best. You screw the PSU to the case using the standard four screws on top and also have an adjustable plastic support bracket that you secure to the motherboard tray. It would seem like these two areas would be enough to support most PSU's but they've also added a long velcro strap that wraps around the middle portion of the PSU. This strap may or may not be needed but one thing is for sure: it's ugly. When I saw the preview pics, I thought the velcro was just a pre-production thing they were still working on - but sadly it's here to stay.

COOLING:

[to be continued]

NOISE:

[to be continued]

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rv02n.jpg


rv02o.jpg


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yenniedn

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My thoughts/review of RV02 will come later tonight . . .

Hint: I finally found my new case; the RV02 will be sticking around for awhile!!!
 

craigbru

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Wow, I didn't realize the RV02 was that much smaller. I definitely like the styling better than the first.
 

ekierce

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The main thing that drove me away from this case was that it only had space for 3 hard drives.

I would have had one in my hands by now if not for that.
 

gigasmack

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Looks nice, I'm really on the fence on getting one.

How are the temps compared to the original Raven?
 

yenniedn

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Wow, I didn't realize the RV02 was that much smaller. I definitely like the styling better than the first.

The RV02 isn't necessarily smaller than the Raven - it's just shorter in height. However, it is considerably longer depth-wise. With the Raven, Silverstone took a full tower case and just rotated only the motherboard tray area 90*. With the RV02, they kind of turned the entire case 90*. Most cases are taller than they are deep but the RV02 is much deeper than it is tall.

The main thing that drove me away from this case was that it only had space for 3 hard drives.

I would have had one in my hands by now if not for that.

True that is only has space for three hard drives out of the box . . . BUT there is the space for the SSD and you can also get adapters to install additional drives in the 5.25" optical bays. This is not at all a problem for me because the 1x SSD + 2x 1TB drives is all I need. I still have space for one more data drive if I want to add one later.

If I'd kept my 2x 300GB VelociRaptor RAID + 2x 1TB setup, it would've caused some rearranging of the drives. But as is, I'm good to go.

Looks nice, I'm really on the fence on getting one.

How are the temps compared to the original Raven?

The RV02 is awesome and a great improvement over the Raven in many areas - one of which is the overall cooling performance. Having that third 180mm fan directly below the CPU area helps greatly. My CPU temps in the RV02 are on par with the LL PC-B70, which to date has been the best air-cooling case I've used. My 920 D0 at 4.2GHz and 1.25v idles in the mid 40's *C (haven't tested it under load yet).

Best of all, the temps don't spike up with the side panel on so I can FINALLY run my case with the windowed panel on - like it's supposed to be! And with the 3x 180mm fans on low, this is the quietest case I've used yet.

I'll edit a more complete review into the 4th post above.
 

dctokyo

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Jul 27, 2009
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Hi yenniedn,

Great pictures, thanks for posting them.

I wish to hold out for the FT02 but the RV02 look great.

How is the noise level? I have the FT01 now and that is one quiet case.
The only thing I can hear is my video card when it kicks into high gear.
 

Fafeifa

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This would be a great WC case if it was 10" Taller for a triple rad in the bottom.
 

yenniedn

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Hi yenniedn,

Great pictures, thanks for posting them.

I wish to hold out for the FT02 but the RV02 look great.

How is the noise level? I have the FT01 now and that is one quiet case.
The only thing I can hear is my video card when it kicks into high gear.

I was in your same situation. My initial thought was to get the FT02 over the RV02. I actually didn't have much interest in the RV02 at all when I saw the two side by side. The only reason I have a RV02 now is because I'm just too impatient to wait for the FT02. I figured I'd get the RV02, try it out and then write it off once the FT02 was available. But as it stands, I think I've found my case and I don't think I'll be buying the FT02 after all (yeah, right - I'll believe that when I see it)! It seems like it'll be tough to resist the FT02 once it's readily available but there's nothing really stopping me from keeping the RV02 as my main case for the next year or so. Having seen and used the RV02 now, I am starting to think that the FT02 is actually a little too clean, a little too minimalistic . . . and dare I say, a little too boring???

Also keep in mind that if you need 8 expansion slots (I don't currently but may in the forseeable future), the RV02 has 8 while the FT02 only has the standard 7 due to its larger HDD cage.

Noise wise, the RV02 is without a doubt the quietest case I've ever owned. I air-cool exclusively and have always had to live with the annoyance of fan noise. I've spent the last year hording Noctua P12 120mm fans b/c I think those are the best compromise between cooling and noise. Even with a case full of P12's I definitely still here the fans. I often used a Zalman fan controller with them but I could still here them even at the lowest settings.

The 180mm fans on the RV02 are (for a lack of better word) THE BOMB! I run them on the low setting because it only raises the CPU temps by about 1 to 2*C from the high setting - but on low, you can barely hear them. If I had to guess, it's the fans on my GTX 295's and the Noctuas on my TRUE 120's that that I'm hearing. The 180mm fans are almost inaudible.

This would be a great WC case if it was 10" Taller for a triple rad in the bottom.

I don't watercool but the instructions that came with the case do show the capability of mounting a radiator on the bottom of the case in place of the three fans there.
 
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Fafeifa

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I don't watercool but the instructions that came with the case do show the capability of mounting a radiator on the bottom of the fan in place of the three fans there.

Yes i thought about that too, but a rad which is about 35mm for the thin and 50mm for the thick ones plus the fans would be really close like almost touching the GTX285s. I like the case ;)
 

TotalLamer

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The thing that annoys me about the Raven2 is the way the first 180mm fan is almost completely blocked by the bottom of the hard-drive cage.
 

yenniedn

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The thing that annoys me about the Raven2 is the way the first 180mm fan is almost completely blocked by the bottom of the hard-drive cage.

Actually, the HDD cage is greatly improved on the RV02 compared to the original Raven. If you don't like this cage, you'll hate the one on the Raven.

While the HDD cage itself is relatively solid, enough of the hard drive extends out past the cage to get in the way of the cool air being pushed up by that first 180mm fan. What better about this new design is that this air actually has a (somewhat) clear path up to the top mesh/vents and escape. On the Raven, the whole front half of the top panel is enclosed so the hot air being pushed up from the HDD's and opticals don't have a direct path to escape out the top.

All three of the 180mm fans on the RV02 are much better positioned than on the Raven.
 

luddha

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How did you mount that SSD? Does it come with the case or where do you buy it?
 

E.T

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The RV02 is awesome and a great improvement over the Raven in many areas - one of which is the overall cooling performance. Having that third 180mm fan directly below the CPU area helps greatly.
Probably it's at most half about that fan and as much about lack of cramped and complex compartments. I considered cooling design of original Raven as too complex and cramped to work as well as advertised from the start.
Now instead of complex chamber divides, obstacles and corners to get past airflow has straight and simple path through case.


I've spent the last year hording Noctua P12 120mm fans b/c I think those are the best compromise between cooling and noise.
Noctuas are acoustically entirely overhyped.
P12's sound is far from smooth with all sound effects of those notches and jerky bearing/motor as extra. (push blades forward with finger and you'll notice very hard steps instead of smooth rotation)
 
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is it possible to use a bay fan controller with these stock fans? and/or can/should these fans be replaced?
 

yenniedn

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is it possible to use a bay fan controller with these stock fans? and/or can/should these fans be replaced?

Each of the three 180mm fans come with a pre-wired switch for a "High" and "Low" setting so you'd likely use those instead of a separate fan controller. But to answer your question, I guess you can still technically use a fan controller if you want to. The top 120mm fan doesn't have any sort of speed control on it.

As for replacing the fans, it was covered in another thread. Silverstone is releasing three separate 180mm fans for purchase separately. I'll edit in a link when I have time to track it down.
 

dctokyo

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is it possible to use a bay fan controller with these stock fans? and/or can/should these fans be replaced?

I met Tony today at the Silverstone show here in Tokyo and he mention that you can use a fan controller or even let your motherboard control the fan speed, and the fans can be replaced :D
 
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lkiller1231

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How can you run Watercooling in this case? Is it possible to mount Rads on the bottom of the case?
 

Fafeifa

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judging from the pics you can mount a rad at the bottom of the case, take out 2x 180mm fan which gives you room for a 360mm fan although the problem comes with the clearance...
 

lkiller1231

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Alright, thanks. The main thing about the radiator problem is whether it will be able to fit 120mm fans on the bottom.
 

Tony Ou

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I think I have posted this in another thread, but here it is again: ;)

RV02_blackice_GT_Stealth360.jpg
 

Kenjiwing

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Got everythiing setup in mine over the weekend and im kind of upset over the temps.. case ambient is 50c atm..
 

Tony Ou

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well, i want to run 2 2x120mm rads on the bottom. i wonder if its possible

I don't think that will work unless you mod the drive cage out of the way. :(

Got everythiing setup in mine over the weekend and im kind of upset over the temps.. case ambient is 50c atm..

What is your setup like? Maybe you can show us a picture of your rig? 50C does sounds very high for RV02's case ambient.
 

Kenjiwing

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What is your setup like? Maybe you can show us a picture of your rig? 50C does sounds very high for RV02's case ambient.


It runs between 45 and 50c based on load and room temp.. setup is only 1 4870x2 and all stock fans on high.
 

WorldExclusive

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Hey Tony,

Is the FT02 still coming with fixed speed fans or not? Will the fans come with the same low, medium, high settings like the RV02?
 

Tony Ou

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It runs between 45 and 50c based on load and room temp.. setup is only 1 4870x2 and all stock fans on high.

Also, whwere are you getting your case amibent temp reading from? It's possible that the MOSFET area can get up to 50C when a tower heatsink is used instead of top-down style cooler in the case.

Hey Tony,

Is the FT02 still coming with fixed speed fans or not? Will the fans come with the same low, medium, high settings like the RV02?

The FT02 will have the same fans as RV02 with low and high settings (There was never a medium setting for RV02 either).
 

Kenjiwing

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Also, whwere are you getting your case amibent temp reading from? It's possible that the MOSFET area can get up to 50C when a tower heatsink is used instead of top-down style cooler in the case.



The FT02 will have the same fans as RV02 with low and high settings (There was never a medium setting for RV02 either).

Temps are from speedfan. Ive checked this case 3 times.. all fans are on high setting but the bottom fans blow so little air I can see why the cooling is so bad on this case.. either way I shipped it back and put my cosmos in and my ambient went down 10c.
 
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