Assembling the SilverStone Raven RV04

As I said, there's a place for everything and everything is in its place in the SilverStone Raven RV04, and there's also a clear way the case comes apart and then back together again. As is typical of SilverStone cases, the RV04 is not an entry level design. Virtually nothing about it is toolless and assembling a system inside it requires at least a little doing. It mostly makes sense, but you'll definitely want to read the instruction manual.

For starters, the motherboard tray is removable, but not in the traditional sense. Traditional removable trays actually slide out of the back of the case and take the expansion slots with them, but this tray is for just the motherboard. It's held into place by notches, and three screws secure it. Remove the screws and you're left with a tray that has six standoffs preinstalled and markings that helpfully measure the size of your motherboard but also tell you which standoff holes to populate depending on your board's spec. The nice thing about this design is that it allows you to pop the I/O backplane in and then use the tray itself for leverage if you're dealing with a particularly thick or finicky backplane.

Before you do that, though, you'll want to remove the primary drive cage (the one that holds the five 3.5" drives) and the top panel of the case. That drive cage is going to obscure the primary ATX line on the motherboard, so you'll also want to wire up power to the motherboard before anything else. In times like these, a modular power supply can be a huge help.

3.5" drives securely mount to the inside of the cage, but you'll have to screw them in manually. The same is true for the 5.25" drives; the shields are easy enough to remove from the bays, but you'll have to use special thumbscrews included with the RV04 to mount the drives themselves. Installing 2.5" drives in the Raven RV04 is the stuff of nightmares, though. The manual recommends you remove the cages above the 2.5" drives when you do the installation, but that's not actually the issue.

The placement of the screws for mounting the drives is the issue. The rear cage is probably easy enough to use, but the front one is obstructed by the plastic shroud around the front feet of the case. It's just a poor design.

Thankfully, there's much better clearance for the power supply in the RV04 than there was in the TJ08-E, and allowances were made to make installing expansion cards at least a little easier. There are holes in the chassis to allow a screwdriver to pass through and tighten or loosen the screws used to secure expansion cards.

Wiring the RV04 proves to be a bit of a mess, though. While the TJ08-E was an even more difficult case to wire, the RV04 is no slouch either. Part of the issue stems from the orientation of all the individual components. SSDs are oriented with their connectors towards the center of the case and designed to be cabled through holes in the tray below the motherboard itself. 3.5" hard drives are oriented parallel to the case itself, so their connectors face the CPU's heatsink. This is by necessity; drive cages can substantially obstruct front intakes, so orienting them in this fashion complicates cabling a little but also tremendously improves flow-through to the CPU.

Case headers and SATA lines prove to be all over the map, though. There are ways many of these cables are supposed to be routed, but there are also loose cable loops from the way the front fans are wired together (and from there to their speed switches on the front). The RV04 is also remarkably shallow for an ATX case; this is undoubtedly by design and not necessarily a bad thing.

I found assembly of the Raven RV04 to be mostly sensible, but also in many ways needlessly complicated. The science behind the design is sound, but this is clearly engineered for efficient cooling first, with usability being a distant second. I feel like SilverStone could've done a better job simplifying and streamlining the design of the RV04. All through assembly, the same thought kept going through my head: "this thing had better be worth the hassle."

In and Around the SilverStone Raven RV04 Testing Methodology
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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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