Introducing the SilverStone Raven RV04

The SilverStone Raven RV04 is, to put it mildly, long overdue. While announcements about its existence date back to just over a year, I can tell you this case has been in development since not long after SilverStone released their remarkably strong Temjin TJ08-E. That case's stellar performance surprised even SilverStone; I'm reasonably certain they thought the Fortress FT03 was going to be their strongest Micro-ATX enclosure for some time to come, but the TJ08-E changed the game. After I reviewed it, I asked them directly for an ATX version and received the kind of cagey answer I ultimately wanted to hear.

Unfortunately, the journey of the full-sized TJ08-E descendant has been more than a little fraught. It's my understanding that tooling problems, among other things, have led to lengthy delays. In fact even the Raven RV04 will be showing up late on American shores; we'll likely actually get the high end version of this chassis, the Fortress FT04, first.

The design has a lot to live up to. SilverStone's Fortress FT02 has practically been the gold standard for air cooling for some time now, and they posit that the FT04 is actually capable of producing even better performance. Part of the reason they have this confidence is because they seem to understand a vital truth about cases and cooling that many of their contemporaries still grapple with: nothing cools better than a direct line of airflow through the CPU cooler. The rotated motherboard and convection cooling was never the magic that made the FT02 and previous Ravens work; it was good marketing and seemed sound, but the reason those cases were so good at their jobs was the fact that they had giant fans blowing directly through the CPU tower coolers. Air wasn't moving at an angle like it does in traditional ATX cases.

SilverStone Raven RV04 Specifications
Motherboard Form Factor Mini-ITX, Micro-ATX, ATX, E-ATX, SSI-EEB, SSI-CEB
Drive Bays External 2x 5.25"
Internal 7x 3.5", 4x 2.5"
Cooling Front 2x 180mm intake fan
Rear 1x 120mm fan mount
Top -
Side -
Bottom -
Expansion Slots 8
I/O Port 2x USB 3.0, 1x Headphone, 1x Mic
Power Supply Size ATX
Clearances HSF 165mm
PSU ~200mm with optical drive
GPU 338mm
Dimensions 8.62" x 22.87" x 19.57"
219mm x 581mm x 497mm
Special Features USB 3.0 via internal header
Removable drive cages
Three-speed intake fans
Support struts for CPU fan and graphics cards
Window or windowless models
Price $159

The Raven RV04 is, in true SilverStone fashion, kind of an oddball. But it's an oddball even by SilverStone standards. What should strike you immediately is the fact that they don't include a 120mm exhaust fan by default, flying in the face of conventional wisdom. This is something actually covered in their press material; by not including the 120mm exhaust fan, they're able to let the extant front intake fans to channel air directly from front to back. The flow of air inside the RV04 winds up being defined almost entirely by the coolers used on the processor and graphics card(s). Ordinarily I pay even less attention to PR than you do, but SilverStone's is usually pretty on the money, and without spoiling too much I can tell you that I definitely didn't miss the exhaust fan.

In and Around 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.

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