This is actually the second time we've looked at the Raven RV02. The first, with our previous test kit, had some components that didn't suit the internal layout of the Raven RV02. We've since updated our test kit to be more representative of a modern high-end PC, and it now includes an actively cooled graphics card. We were interested to see whether the rotated design of the Raven would suit this new kit better.
Despite its radical design, the original SilverStone Raven RV01 didn't rock our world for several reasons, most notably poor cooling and questionable design. SilverStone then refined the design, producing the far superior RV02 seven months later.
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Priced at just over £100, the Raven RV02 is now £20 cheaper than when it first launched, so you get a lot for your money. There's a total of eight expansion slots, providing enough space for the most feature-packed motherboards, or additional expansion cards.
However, despite SilverStone claiming on its website that the Raven RV02 supports E-ATX motherboards, we found that it actually only has room for 12in-deep motherboards - in other words, you won't be able to fit a 13in E-ATX motherboard inside. There's a mount for a 2.5in SSD (which is hidden next to the side panel), and eight 5.25in bays, four of which are tool-free, while the other three are occupied by 3.5in drive modules. There's space for up to three hard disks, which are mounted in thick rubber grommets, so vibration shouldn't be an issue.
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The most striking aspect of both the Raven RV02 and the similarly laid out SilverStone FT02R-W, is that the motherboard has been rotated 90 degrees clockwise. In other words, the I/O panel faces the top rather than the rear of the case. This means that cables are routed under the removable top panel and out the rear of the case. To access the interior of the case, you have to remove the top section (requiring a bit of a yank to get it off) revealing the side panels, one of which has a large side window. This presents some interesting obstacles in the cooling department - to cool the CPU and graphics card effectively, SilverStone has had to find a way to make air flow into the case from the bottom and out of the top.
With just one 180mm intake fan to do the job in the original Raven, it wasn't very good at cooling. However, the Raven RV02 includes three 180mm intake fans that stretch nearly the entire length of the case and draw in air through a large vented base that's raised off the ground to allow air to enter the case.
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There's also a 120mm exhaust fan in the roof to further aid airflow. Each of the 180mm fans in the floor has a dust filter that slides out of the side for easy access and can be speed-adjusted via a 3-channel fan controller located next to the 120mm fan in the roof. Installing hardware in the Raven RV02 seems odd at first, given the orientation of the case, but its size and ample cable-routeing holes make it relatively easy to build a tidy system.
There's plenty of room for a water-cooling loop too, as you can easily install a triple 120mm-fan radiator in the floor. However, using a 10.5in-long graphics card will mean that you're limited to radiators with a depth of 30mm, such as the Black Ice GT Stealth 360. A shorter 9in graphics card raises the restriction to 60mm, which is enough for most full-sized radiators such as the XSPC RX 360 and ThermoChill PA120.3. However, you will be dumping the heat of the water-cooled components straight back into the case which isn't ideal.
Dimensions (mm) 212 x 643 x 503mm (W x D x H)
Front Panel Power and reset switches, 2 x USB 3, Stereo, Mic
Drive Bays 5 x external 5.25in drive bays, 3 x internal 3.5in drive bays, 1 x 2.5in drive mount (side panel).
Form factor(s) ATX, micro-ATX, SSI CEB
Cooling 3 x 180mm base fan mounts (fans included), 1 x roof 120mm fan mount (fan included)
CPU cooler clearance 169mm
Graphics card dimensions supported 304mm long, dual slot, full height