SilverStone Raven RV04 Case Review
Raven RV04 Overview
The Raven series has garnered a reputation for thinking a little differently, and the RV04 is no exception. Just when you were getting used to the “revolutionary” 90-degree motherboard orientation, SilverStone revolves it another 90 degrees – and then swaps it to the other side. Obviously there’s going to be a few things that are different in such an enclosure, so let’s take a look.
The long-awaited RV04 has been on the market for a little while now, and it seems some reviews take issue with the primarily-plastic front and top. I wasn’t a fan initially just looking at the pictures, but realizing the goal was to make the front and top “one piece” explains the design and helps the rest of the chassis make a little more sense. I don’t really feel that there’s more plastic than any of the other Ravens, as they all used some form of molded plastic. I think the main discrepancy for most is the feel of the plastic used on the front door, it’s a little softer than most are used to with a noticeable amount of flex. This is actually by design; the door used in some prototypes was far too brittle to survive shipping, so SilverStone went with a more flexible material to prevent damage. While plastic this soft and flexible doesn’t normally appear on computer cases most consumers are accustomed to, that’s exactly what makes the Raven series of cases different (and why they are utilized to try new materials and configurations). When you consider that the front door consists of one continuous piece of plastic, it’s even more impressive and really drives home the intent to unify the panels. Is it different? Sure. I’m not convinced that’s a bad thing – and again, different is what the Raven series is all about.
I’ll probably talk more about the front door later, as it is one of the more polarizing traits of the RV04. The front is pretty streamlined otherwise, with just the Raven logo and a stylized LED that contains the power and HDD activity lights for the chassis.
The back of the chassis helps clue you in to what lies beneath those wavy lines and strange contours. The right side of the picture above isn’t flipped or mirrored, that’s what the back of the Raven RV04 looks like. The inverted ATX orientation places the motherboard on the left side on the chassis, with the CPU placed beneath any graphics cards or other PCI-E devices. The PSU shares a compartment with the optical drives (or any other 5.25″ devices) up top, and you can just see the removable dust filter that is accessible without removing the top cover.
The one-piece plastic front door conceals twin 180mm SilverStone Air Penetrator fans, both with speed control switches (located just above the fans themselves). An easily removable high-flow air filter prevents dust from accumulating unnecessarily throughout the rest of the case, and the open sides mean there isn’t any lack of cool air accessible to these fans.
Opening the door itself is a little unnerving at first primarily due to the flex in the material, but that’s definitely one solid piece of plastic attached securely by a thick, sturdy hinge. SilverStone managed to make the plastic door feel “premium,” as crazy as that sounds – it doesn’t feel like a normal piece of plastic anyway. Any flex is in the door itself, the actual opening and closing motions of the hinge and latch are very smooth. After getting used to the way the door feels, I still found myself thinking of ways I could stiffen the bottom edge of the door – the choice of material actually makes a lot of sense, but if they could have found a way to dial up the stiffness in the corners of the door I think less people would find fault with it.
The right side of the case shows a glimpse of the internals through the clear window. I like the way this window is mounted internally, rather than the exposed method of the earlier Raven chassis as it gives a more streamlined appearance overall. Both hinged panels are secured by two thumbscrews and appear to be interchangeable giving you an easy option for a windowless case (well, as long as you don’t mind showing off your cable management skills).
The left side of the RV04 is much less interesting, as is the “backside” of most cases, but it gives you a better view of the hinge (which is an impressive feat of engineering in its own right – the action is smooth and solid, surprisingly so for a plastic hinge).
The bottom continues the “one-piece” theme, as the front door wraps underneath the chassis in the front. Those are mounting holes for 2.5″ drives in the impressions spanning across the bottom, and the screws are there to secure the bottom-mounted 3.5″ drive hot-swap bays.
Flipping the case over (to the top) completes the “one-piece” design, showcasing those flowing lines that continue on to the PSU intake filter. I can see why they chose to continue those lines to the rear of the case, but the whole design seems a bit superflous. I would have preferred to see more of the angular chevrons used on the front of the case with less of the PSU mesh “interrupted” by the pinstripe-type design, but that’s entirely my own preferences speaking (I’ve always preferred angles and geometric shapes to more organic forms). From a design standpoint, those lines do a pretty good job of tying all the panels together, I just think it looks a bit busy and extraneous.
I think if I mention “that’s what the Raven series is for” again though, you’ll probably stop reading the rest of the review (I’m not promising the topic won’t come up again…). The power and reset buttons up top are “pass through” buttons that press the actual ones located on the chassis itself, allowing that door to swing open without any obstructions. The rest of the I/O (two USB 3.0 ports and the headphone/mic jacks) are on the right edge of the case.