Silverstone are pioneers when it comes to high performance chassis products, and their legendary Raven series is right at the front of the pack. This isn’t the first Raven product we’ve reviewed and if it’s anything near as good as the (now a few years old) Raven RV01 that I reviewed last year, then we’re in for a real treat today. Of course we’ve also reviewed an even newer Raven series product more recently; the Mini-ITX compatible RVz01, which you can read here.
As with most high-end enthusiast grade products, you can expect a wave of premium features, sublime engineering and class leading design. Of course these kind of features don’t come cheap and the Raven RV04 will set you back around $159.99/£120, putting it online with many other premium products from the likes of Cooler Master, Fractal Design, NZXT, Corsair and more. At this price range I’ll be looking for nothing short of exceptional quality, but given that previous models blew us away, there is little doubt that this will be anything but great.
Full tower chassis are becoming more and more popular as PC users demand more and more powerful components, including multiple graphics cards, larger cooling components, RAID storage and the like. The Raven RV04 looks set to tick all of the boxes and as you can see from the specifications below, it’s very well equipped, so let’s get right to it and take a closer look at what Silverstone’s latest chassis has to offer.
The box comes with a nice photo of the front side of the chassis as well as a cool Raven graphic and run down of all the major features such as the removable motherboard tray, cable routing and included cooling fans.
Around the back you’ll find a clear list of all the major features, as well as an internal image of the chassis.
In the box you’ll find a bunch of fitting components such as motherboard tray extenders, GPU support bar, some cable ties, all the screws you’ll need and an easy to follow user guide.
Since this chassis features an inverted motherboard layout, the left side is actually the back panel; it consists of a heavy-duty black panel held in place with a pair of quick release thumb screws. As you can see, the front panel features a single piece and somewhat aggressive front cover with a large gap behind it, this allows airflow to the chassis front fans, but still leaves an otherwise clean look from the front of the chassis.
The top continues the aggressive lines of the front panel with a plastic cover; this is ventilated towards the back to allow airflow to the top mounted PSU section.
The right side panel features a huge crystal clear window section, perfect for showing off your rigs interior.
In the top left you’ll find a pair of USB 3.0 ports and HD audio connection ports.
The front panel design is very unique; full of strong lines and deep curves that really make it stand out.
The Raven logo is at the top of the front panel cover, with the wings of a raven forming the “V”.
On the top part of the front cover you’ll find the master power and reset switches.
Behind the cover are two 5.25″ drive bays, and a huge ventilation cover.
There are also two toggle switches that allow you to switch each of the pre-installed front fans between low or high-speed mode.
The front cover easily clips off, making it very easy to wash and maintain the dust filter, but more importantly it lets me show you these two spectacular 180mm air penetrator fans. This is going to generate some incredible airflow even at low RPM.
The back really shows you how inverted the internal design really is, with the PSU at the top, and motherboard IO at the bottom. There is plenty of ventilation on the expansion slot covers as well as to the side of the expansion slots, then a further 120mm fan/radiator mount below that for even more airflow and cooling.
At the top is a slide out dust filter; this is for the PSU airflow as the PSU will be mounted to draw air in from above the chassis.
The PSU filter is washable for easy maintenance.
On the underside you’ll see plenty of screws and screw holes. The holes are for mounting drives to the base of the chassis interior while the screws that are currently in place can be removed to uninstall the internal hard drive bays completely, which is great for those who love to mod their products, but it can also make maintenance a little easier.
The interior of the Raven RV04 is pretty huge, although a large portion is reserved at the top for the PSU, 5.25″ drive bays and some extra cable routing space. There is room in here for anything from Micro-ATX to E-ATX motherboards and you’ll notice a wide array of cut-outs on the motherboard tray to allow for optimum cable routing for various motherboard sizes and configurations, as well as a large rear cut-out to ease CPU cooler installation.
An extendable arm in the base can act as a CPU cooler support should you need it.
Eight expansion slots provide you with more than enough space for multiple graphics cards or similar devices. Since the screws would be hard to reach, Silverstone have cut eight circle cut-outs that allow you to pass a screw driver through, making installation a lot easier.
In the front you’ll find a removable hard drive bay that can hold 5 x 3.5″ drives.
Drives screw directly to the frame of the bay, but there is also a thick padding on each side which provides a snug fit and will also help reduce any vibration from your storage drives.
Below that you’ll find another storage bay and, this can be used for a single 3.5″ drive and 2 x 2.5″ drives simultaneously, or as I said before you could unscrew it completely and remove it from the chassis interior. There are various cut-outs and cable routing options here for the different storage mounting options, but Silverstone also sell a hot-swap compatible mounting kit that you can install here. The other bottom bay to the right of this one is the same design.
While the top section is separate, it features an open bottom design to allow for easy cable routing.
Around the back you can better see the cable routing options, of which there are many. There are no rubber grommets, but all cut-outs features smooth round edges with no square corners, so cable snagging shouldn’t be an issue at all.
With the top panel removed via two thumbscrews at the back of the chassis, you can see there really is a lot of space up here; even the longest PSU’s on the market will fit with ease, something that will no doubt please extreme performance enthusiasts. There’s loads of room up front for 5.25″ devices, and still plenty of extra room for excess cables.
The chassis gets even more diverse, as you can undo three small screws and unclip the entire motherboard backplate.
You can then install your motherboard or perform any maintenance before reinstalling it in your system.
Total build time for the Raven RV04 was 1 hour, which is more than twice as long as builds normally take me. This is really not a user-friendly case to work with, although I must admit that Silverstone have made every effort to make it as friendly as possible. It’s not bad to work with, but it’s certainly more suitable for those who know what their doing, as its design is very unique compared to most chassis on the market.
That being said, the end result does look fantastic. It’s a little strange with it being upside down on the interior, but it’s a nice twist and airflow is certainly going to be fantastic thanks to those incredibly powerful fans on the front panel.
Despite the large size of the chassis, there is only room for a 120mm radiator as the case is more focused on air cooling. The inverted design and rear fan mount location means the fans on the top (erm, bottom) of the GPU and the fans on the 120mm radiator aren’t fighting for airflow from the same space and should both benefit from the two 180mm front fans.
Storage was easy enough to install; the 3.5″ drives slide in easy enough, although it did prove a little tricky to remove it due to the water cooler being installed as the pipes got in the way. The 2.5″ drive had to be screwed into place from the underside of the chassis, so you do need a little extra workspace and patience, especially if the bulk of your other components are installed, making the chassis very heavy and difficult to move.
Here you can see just how much space is left in the top section. An ATX PSU and a 5.25″ drive barely fill the space and when working with a modular PSU the extra room is more than welcome for hooking up cables.
All panels back in place and the Raven RV04 looks nothing short of breathtaking. Sure it may look a little extreme for some settings, but I wouldn’t mind having one of these monsters sat next to my desk and the side panel window gives a great view of the inverted interior design.
While it is far from cheap, the Raven RV04 is certainly competitive when compared to other chassis products in this price range. It’s crammed full of features that more than justify the $159.99/£120 price tag. You can pick it up from Scan.co.uk here in the UK for £109.25 + £10.98 shipping, while US customers can easily find it on Amazon.com for $159.99 (free shipping). US customers are getting a great deal here, given that £120 currently converts to just over $199!
Silverstone have done it again, just when I think they’ve pushed their chassis ranges to one extreme, they go that little bit further. The Raven RV04-B is easily one of the highest quality designs I’ve ever seen from a chassis. There are so many little touches that show a lot of thought has gone into the product, such as little cut-aways to allow easy access for your screw driver, high quality mounting brackets allow for easy installation, rolled edges so cables don’t snag, there is even a ruler engraved onto the motherboard mounting plate to help you work out motherboard sizes and installation methods. Attention to detail really makes the Raven RV04 stand out from the crowd and while I wasn’t expecting anything less than brilliant from this product today, I’m happy to see I wasn’t disappointed.
The front panel design is a stand out feature and it has a rather huge and funky look, but still leaves a massive amount of clearance for the front fans. You often find that front panel doors limit you to smaller side vents so having a big front panel door that is both cool and practical is no bad thing.
Air cooling isn’t dead yet and those two 180mm front fans prove it. There are a lot of benefits to large fans as you can shift a lot of air even at low RPM’s, helping you keep noise to a minimum. Of course if you really want to kick up a storm and put the fans on full, then even the hottest summer day wont stop you from maxing your system. Having two large high performance fans certainly adds to the overall value for money. I’m sure there are a few system builders out there who would have loved more room for water cooling, but having 120mm mount in the back for an AIO water cooler is more than enough for most high-end gaming systems, while the focus on air intake should certainly aid any GPU setup in staying cool.
- Excellent build quality
- Unique design
- Two high performance 180mm fans included (with speed control switch)
- Modular, and very versatile storage bays
- Removable dust filters
- Removable motherboard tray
- Huge top section is ideal for large PSU’s and extra cable management space
- Maybe a little complicated for non experienced system builders
- More room for water cooling would have been welcome
“This isn’t the easiest system to work with, which could put off beginners, but if you put in the effort to the build and do this chassis justice then it’ll pay off in a big way. The overall design is truly unique and the build quality is as premium as it can get. I really like this chassis; it’s not suitable for the kind of rig I like to build personally, but it certainly has an “X” factor among a crowd of often very similar chassis products we see in this price range.”
Thank you Silverstone for providing us with this sample.