Introducing the SilverStone Raven RV04

The SilverStone Raven RV04 is, to put it mildly, long overdue. While announcements about its existence date back to just over a year, I can tell you this case has been in development since not long after SilverStone released their remarkably strong Temjin TJ08-E. That case's stellar performance surprised even SilverStone; I'm reasonably certain they thought the Fortress FT03 was going to be their strongest Micro-ATX enclosure for some time to come, but the TJ08-E changed the game. After I reviewed it, I asked them directly for an ATX version and received the kind of cagey answer I ultimately wanted to hear.

Unfortunately, the journey of the full-sized TJ08-E descendant has been more than a little fraught. It's my understanding that tooling problems, among other things, have led to lengthy delays. In fact even the Raven RV04 will be showing up late on American shores; we'll likely actually get the high end version of this chassis, the Fortress FT04, first.

The design has a lot to live up to. SilverStone's Fortress FT02 has practically been the gold standard for air cooling for some time now, and they posit that the FT04 is actually capable of producing even better performance. Part of the reason they have this confidence is because they seem to understand a vital truth about cases and cooling that many of their contemporaries still grapple with: nothing cools better than a direct line of airflow through the CPU cooler. The rotated motherboard and convection cooling was never the magic that made the FT02 and previous Ravens work; it was good marketing and seemed sound, but the reason those cases were so good at their jobs was the fact that they had giant fans blowing directly through the CPU tower coolers. Air wasn't moving at an angle like it does in traditional ATX cases.

SilverStone Raven RV04 Specifications
Motherboard Form Factor Mini-ITX, Micro-ATX, ATX, E-ATX, SSI-EEB, SSI-CEB
Drive Bays External 2x 5.25"
Internal 7x 3.5", 4x 2.5"
Cooling Front 2x 180mm intake fan
Rear 1x 120mm fan mount
Top -
Side -
Bottom -
Expansion Slots 8
I/O Port 2x USB 3.0, 1x Headphone, 1x Mic
Power Supply Size ATX
Clearances HSF 165mm
PSU ~200mm with optical drive
GPU 338mm
Dimensions 8.62" x 22.87" x 19.57"
219mm x 581mm x 497mm
Special Features USB 3.0 via internal header
Removable drive cages
Three-speed intake fans
Support struts for CPU fan and graphics cards
Window or windowless models
Price $159

The Raven RV04 is, in true SilverStone fashion, kind of an oddball. But it's an oddball even by SilverStone standards. What should strike you immediately is the fact that they don't include a 120mm exhaust fan by default, flying in the face of conventional wisdom. This is something actually covered in their press material; by not including the 120mm exhaust fan, they're able to let the extant front intake fans to channel air directly from front to back. The flow of air inside the RV04 winds up being defined almost entirely by the coolers used on the processor and graphics card(s). Ordinarily I pay even less attention to PR than you do, but SilverStone's is usually pretty on the money, and without spoiling too much I can tell you that I definitely didn't miss the exhaust fan.

In and Around the SilverStone Raven RV04
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  • Chaitanya - Thursday, June 20, 2013 - link

    This case is a disappointment as water cooling support is missing from case of its price range. Reply
  • iceveiled - Thursday, June 20, 2013 - link

    The case is designed solely for air cooling. As for my take on the case.the cooling is impressive for just having two fans, but man that front door.... Reply
  • JDG1980 - Thursday, June 20, 2013 - link

    It has just two fans, but remember, these are giant 180mm fans with high static pressure. Reply
  • cjs150 - Thursday, June 20, 2013 - link

    ditch the hard drive cage and it looks as though it could accomodate a 2x180 radiator at the front (that is the equivalent of 4.5x120 radiator so enough for most rigs!!) although you might lose a 5.25 bay as well.

    But with that front, why bother, the thing will break quickly
    Reply
  • JDG1980 - Thursday, June 20, 2013 - link

    The FT04 doesn't look quite as nice in photos as the FT02, but that's forgivable if it has good fit and finish and performs well. It looks like the performance is definitely there (the RV04 has basically the same case body and same ventilation), but I hope that SilverStone hasn't let their fit and finish slip too much on the premium Fortress line.

    I'm not sure I would put as much emphasis on ease of assembly as you generally do in your reviews. Remember that even though you as a reviewer have to assemble these things every week, most users (even enthusiasts) will often be leaving the case closed for months on end. You probably won't spend even 1 hour of assembly time for every 100 hours of actual use. I'd prefer a case with excellent thermals, acoustics, and fit+finish, even if it was a nightmare to put together. Of course, all else being equal, easier assembly is preferable. I just wouldn't sacrifice too much to get it.

    SilverStone's literature mentions support brackets for the CPU and video card on the RV04. Did you get a chance to test these? I know I often feel nervous about giant-size CPU heatsinks, so some mechanical support would be much appreciated. Same for the extra-long video cards which tend to sag in their normal tower orientation.

    I think the reason you saw less-than-optimal temperatures with your ASUS GeForce GTX 560 Ti DCII TOP video card wasn't because it is an open-air design, but because of the heatsink's fin orientation. The fins closest to the front on that card are perpendicular to the slot, so they block the path of the airflow. Many newer DirectCU cards and most MSI Twin Frozr cards have fins parallel to the slot. I suspect these would work far better since the air from the front fans could flow through. This would probably also be a great case for using the Powercolor HD7850 SCS3 with the fanless heatsink, since the fins are in the right orientation on that as well.
    Reply
  • zaccun - Thursday, June 20, 2013 - link

    I think the FT02 is going to remain a staple for a long while for me. It's got superlative looks, and still performs like a champ. Reply
  • Subyman - Thursday, June 20, 2013 - link

    I really liked the previous Raven cases, but this one a disappointment for me. The front door is enough to entirely kill it for me. I steer clear of flimsy front doors. I find it hard to spend $150+ for something that has that poor of build quality, even if the design is great. Reply
  • maximumGPU - Thursday, June 20, 2013 - link

    interesting results, but as pointed out in the article this looks like the appetizer before the real dish.
    looking forward to a review of the FT04, but also a comparison to the recently released Corsair Air.
    The Air employs a similar philosophy of unobstructed airflow, and corsair are even claiming it to be the best air cooled case you can buy. So don't make us wait too long:)
    Reply
  • Bojamijams - Thursday, June 20, 2013 - link

    I don't see why this is praised as the best air cooling. The RV03 had the same two 180mm, but at the bottom and a 120mm at the top. And the orientation was such that the 180 was below the CPU cooler and the 120mm was above it. Perfect thermodynamic flow. Math wise, that is a much better setup then a 180mm a long way away, possible going through a HDDs shooting towards a CPU without anything on the other end.

    RV03 >>>>>> RV04
    Reply
  • lever_age - Thursday, June 20, 2013 - link

    Well, I'd rather have specialization than every single case out there trying to hit every bullet point possible and cover all the bases, if it means better performance or lower price. Nothing wrong with a good air cooling case without water cooling aspirations and vice versa.

    Though, I'm kind of wondering if Corsair's approach with the upcoming Carbide Air 540 (which was done in the past with boutiques, smaller vendors, arguably in some rotated sense with say BitFenix Prodigy and Cooler Master HAF XB and so on) will become more popular. Do people really like having that drive cage like that and also on the TJ08-E / PS07? Direct airflow to components is great, and with the move to solid-state primary storage (so less heavy access on mechanical disks) and cooler mechanical drives, it makes sense to chuck drives and other secondary components in a different section where they're not blocking airflow.
    Reply

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