Silverstone Raven Case Review
I know there's already an 'official' HWC review, but I thought I'd throw in my own thoughts on the Raven, since it never hurts to have a few views on the subject. I should preface that this was my first build, so some stuff that impressed/irked me might have had different results with people with more experience. I've done many part swaps and repairs on store bought PCs for friends, but this was my first build from scratch planned and assembled by yours truly.
When building my system I wanted a quiet Full ATX case that had ample room and good cooling potential and under $300. After a lot of research I had thought the Cooler Master COSMOS S was my best bet, but then ran across the Raven and the idea of having your expansion slots aligned vertically to aid cooling. After a trip to memory express, I came home with a Silverstone Raven and built my new i7 system.
- Appearance -
This is, naturally, highly objective. The Raven seems to fall into a 'love it or hate it' groove, and I have to say I lean more towards the 'love it' group. What especially appealed to me was the door to hide the 5.25" bays and the flip lid to cover the front I/O panel. It's nice to be able to make your Tower look as seamless as possible, and to me, comes across like a goo car, no protruding headlights, knobs, etc.
There is a lot of plastic on this case, and while that might turn off some people, none of it feels flimsy or 'tacked on' so you shouldn't have to worry about it cracking like a Pontiac bumper in winter at the slightest bump. My has been through 4 trips between Edmonton and Hardisty in the back seat of a Honda Prelude with no scratches or damage.
The top rear cover which hides your I/O interface, expansion slots, etc also has a nice look to it and the locking switches on the back seem to fit well with the overall 'feel' of the case. However this cover allows minimal clearance, so you might run into problems if you have DVI-HDMI dongles, or other adapters that fit directly onto your I/O interface, but we'll get into that later.
There is also a plastic side window that lets you look into the case. If you're a window person you'll love it, if not (like me), well you knew going into things that it has a window. Overall however, I've been pleased with the look of the case, especially with everything closed and streamlined :thumb:
- Ease of Assembly -
The Case does have a fixed motherboard tray, nothing unusual there, and has a slew of holes to mount your MB no matter what type of board it is. There are also a number of 'cable holes' lined with rubber that you can feed cables behind and around the tray. While this is a nice feature, the board sits pretty tight to those slots and their placement isn't that great. I ended up using the holes from the cable holders as much as the official 'cable' holes. More than anything, this is a case where you need to plan where your cables are going before you put it all together. With a bit of planning (and LONG cables, this is a huge case) you cand definitely make a clean and cooling friendly cable environment
- 5.25 and 3.5 Drives -
The 5.25" Drives on the front of the case are easy to install. Simply pop the front shield off, and put in the drive. The drives mount on one-side in a 'tooless' snap lever, and probably are fine just fastned on the one side, but if your case is going to move around a lot, you should probably use the old fashioned screws on the other side to be safe. Tooless on both sides would be nice, but it's a minor gripe.
The 3.5' drive bays use a neat 100% tooless caddy to hold them in place (once you've screwd the drive into the caddy that is..). They're easy to put in or take out and feel pretty sturdy. There's even optional hot-swap caddies you can get, though I haven't used them yet.
One slight issue with the caddies is if you are using 2.5 SSDs in them. MAKE SURE YOU GET THE SILVERSTONE ADAPTER, because silverstone uses a weird rubber plug for a screw hole in the caddies, a lot of generic 3.5-2.5" adapters don't fit or fit poorly with the silverstone caddies. Thankfully the silverstone adapter is reasonably priced and feels a lot sturdier than the generics, so it's no big deal (plus you can mount 2 SSDs with one adapter). It would be nice if Silverstone had that in the manual though.....
Screws in, sits at the bottom, not much else to say.
-Expansion slots, Video cards and Adapters -
One odd little apparatus in the case is a steel reinforcement with plastic tabs that you can use to reinforce Video cards and other expansion slot items. To me, it seems pretty unneccessary, and while it looks fine, does block part of the window for those of you who like to stare lovingly at the innards of your system. Otherwise expansion slots are pretty much standard. As mentioned above you can run into a real problem if you have dongles that mount directly to your Video card outputs, since they won't clear the cases' cover with the cable attached. Plan out what kind of video card and monitor your using in advance. While you can have the rear cover off without any problems, it ruins the look of the case.
-Cooling and Acoustics-
I haven't run extended tests yet, but cooling seems really good in the case. When running under load I defitely notic that a lot of hot air is blowing out of the top of the case, and the insides stay reasonably cool (especially for an i7). The case is very quiet overall, and running with the PSU fans, the Mugen II fan, the Sapphire Vapor-X fan all at once (thank you Crisis on max settings) I haven't noticed any major noise, in fact my PC as quiet as a mouse 90% of the time.
- Other thoughts -
-Excellent cooling and noise reduction
-Good mounting systems for 5.25 and 3.5" bays
-Big and Heavy
-Cable management will be tricky if you don't plan it out in advance
-Only two, very close together USB ports on the front, my MB has plenty so it's a non-issue for me, but others might want to consider this.
-Rear cover has clearance issues with dongles and such
Overall, I found this to be a good case, we'll say 8.5/10. I'm happy with it as a purchase, and haven't had any major issues. Feel free to add your two cents below however.
no pictures :(
Lol, soon I swear. Photobucket uploader is having some serious issues.
I agree with that assessment as well as the pros and cons. I also wish Silverstone provided a few more eSATA harnesses for the HDD bays. I ended up adding 3 more in for a sweet and easy HDD swap if ever needed. Also, they provide abit more cable length which makes management with standard 18" SATA cables easier.
All in all tho' I love this case and I give it a hug every day. :)
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