In and Around the SilverStone Raven RV04

What I'm about to say is likely going to surprise readers familiar with SilverStone products: the Raven RV04 is actually a little flimsy. Build quality is usually top shelf from SilverStone, and the chassis proper is mostly okay, but the outer shell is entirely "reinforced plastic." This is a company that does aluminum better than Lian Li, so to see chintzy plastic used for the fascia and top of the case is almost mirror-universe-level bizarre.

75% of my disappointment with the RV04's shell comes from the front door design, and this photo doesn't even tell the whole story:

The hinges for the door are cheap plastic, and not just that, but the door doesn't close securely at all. Even a whiff of carpeting makes the door unusually difficult to shut correctly, and there isn't so much as a magnet to hold the door in place. There's just no way around it: the design is terrible, and I sincerely hope the higher end Fortress FT04 version of this chassis fixes it. I'm actually mystified as to why SilverStone included a door on the Raven RV04 at all; a flat front fascia with venting on the sides for the intake fans would've gotten the job done just as well.

There's also a removable plastic shroud on the top of the RV04, but since it doesn't have to move like the door does, there's less of an issue with the design. This plastic feels at least a hair sturdier than the door, but the lined gamer-styling feels out of place for a SilverStone product. The Raven cases have always looked at least a little daring compared to the rest of SilverStone's lineup, but I'm skeptical as to how much of that was responsible for the success of the line. Aesthetics are not a universal science, though, and your mileage may vary.

What should really clue you in to the RV04's unconventional design is the fact that the windowed side panel is on the right side instead of the left; SilverStone flipped the motherboard layout just like they did with the TJ08-E. It makes a lot of sense once you take the side panel off and see just how they've arranged the interior, too.

SilverStone is using just two 180mm intake fans to cool your entire system in the RV04, and the fans are evenly split into zones. The top fan blows directly on the expansion slots, while the bottom fan blows through the hard drive cage and the CPU cooler. Spacing of hard drive mounts allows a decent amount of air from SilverStone's bottom Air Penetrator fan to go through and cool the processor, and the top fan's airflow is almost totally unobstructed. The specificity of this airflow design is key to understanding the RV04.

That top cage is where the two 5.25" drive bays live along with the power supply. The RV04 is designed to have the power supply installed flipped, with the bottom intake facing the top of the enclosure. Meanwhile, the center hard drive cage along with the two drive cages on the bottom of the RV04 are removable, but here we run into another issue.

2.5" drives screw directly into the bottom of the RV04, but that's not the problem. The problem is that you have to somehow guide the screws into the recesses in that front plastic piece to use two of the four 2.5" drive mounts, and that's incredibly difficult.

The TJ08-E's internal design wasn't especially clean, but it was functional and delivered results given the relatively small stature of the enclosure. With the RV04, SilverStone has more space to get the design right, yet the interior still feels curiously slapdash. There's a place for everything and everything in its place, but I can't help but feel like this could've been a much cleaner design. The two bottom cages are just silly; do we really need seven 3.5" bays? Why not simplify the bottom cages into at least a single one that supports easier mounting of 2.5" drives? There's a lot of refinement that could've been done with the RV04, and I'm still shocked the door design shipped in this state.

Introducing the SilverStone Raven RV04 Assembling the SilverStone Raven RV04
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  • maximumGPU - Friday, June 21, 2013 - link

    to be honest the AP's have killer airflow, but i think they tend towards the "loud" side of the equation a bit too much for my taste. If there was a 180mm fan out there with similar airflow but quieter i'd change my AP's in a heartbeat. Reply
  • JDG1980 - Saturday, June 22, 2013 - link

    Did you try the AP182? It has an analog controller built in so that it can be adjusted to exactly the speed/noise level you want. And its controller has the same screw spacing as the switch on the AP181, so you can integrate it into a TJ08-E or FT02 and mount the potentiometer in the same place the speed switch on the old fan was. Reply
  • Impulses - Thursday, June 27, 2013 - link

    I think you and the industry in general are over thinking this... Straight airflow was prefectly achievable with some of the oldest ATX cases out there, most of them just had oddly placed fan mounts... Straight airflow with a standard ATX case only became harder to work out when they started putting the PSU at the bottom which then brought the drive bays in line with the CPU/RAM (and with this case we've now come full circle, it'd work equally well if you flipped it all around and would probably leave more bay room on the bottom).

    I have an old/cheap Thermaltake case I've clung to because the front fan mount (s) were tied to the hard drive bay, which could be placed at any point in the 5.25" stack... Thus, I've got am optical driveand card reader in line with the PSU at the top, a fan mount just below that in line with the CPU fan, and some freedom to configure either front or side intake for the GPUs depending on whether I'm running blower style coolers or open ones...

    The only thing wrong with the original ATX spec was the position of the fan mounts and the industry's obsession with having a smorgasbord of 5.25" bays on nine out of ten cases. Even having the PSU near the CPU isn't a big deal anymore with current CPU/PSU designs, certainly no worse than having it next to several GPUs that can get 10-20 degrees hotter than any CPU (each!). It baffles me that everyone keeps flirting with so many oddball designs and ignoring the plainly obvious, the more you mangle a case's flow of air the worse it'll do.
    Reply
  • genghisquan - Friday, June 21, 2013 - link

    While he did praise the cases's airflow/cooling abilities, the author points out several flaws in this case's design. I didn't get the "on and on" vibe that you were talkin' about. However, I still have to agree with you that the earlier Raven designs were way better than this. Reply
  • 7amood - Friday, June 21, 2013 - link

    I love the case internal design but I hate all the plastic. I'll wait for the TJ04 maybe they will use an easily removable front door rather than using this stupid hinge door. Reply
  • Shiitaki - Friday, June 21, 2013 - link

    I currently have the Raven RV03 case and love the original design of rotating the motherboard. The included fans on the bottom should be 200mm, and quieter ones would be an improvement. The big reason for me was the ease of connecting things, not having to crawl under the desk, and reach behind the case. I keep it on the floor, as most people with large cases do. The RV04 is just a case, like any other. There's nothing novel or original about it. Antec used a similar cooling design of blowing air from front to back 15 years ago. Considering how much work it is to assemble a Silverstone case, without a justification, it's just going to be an annoyance to build for no reason. Reply

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