In my short time with PC's I have always looked to see what other people were using to house their hardware in. Some of the cleanest and sexiest PC builds were done in a couple of cases that caught my eye. These are the FT01 and the TJ09 cases from SilverStone. The only issue was that I always tended to opt to buy a cheaper case and spread my dollars elsewhere in the build. Nothing against SilverStone, I just couldn't afford that kind of luxury at the time.
SilverStone has now released a new revolution to the ATX community by designing a chassis that allows the heat to naturally rise through the case by orienting the motherboard tray 90 to the right. This essentially lays the board on its side and then has the CPU fan and video cards exhausting out the top of the case. This concept seems so obvious now, but it took SilverStone to throw all their eggs in a new basket and run with it to actually bring this to the market. And still, this isn't all of it! - SilverStone took another step outside the box of the "average" case and created stealth inspired panels and covers to make the RAVEN RV01 shaped like no other.
Looking at the outside of the box and reading over the features and what is inside, I have to say it looks like SilverStone has thought of everything. Matte black Exterior and odd angled trimmings makes this case a "love it or hate it" type of design. Myself, I'm still not sure on the outside looks, but just from looking at the box, I am impressed with what is done inside. I think it is about time we open the SST-RV01B-W and see if SilverStone has thought of all the angles, not just the ones on the outside of the case.
Specifications, Availability and Pricing
The RAVEN SST-RV01B-W (black with a window), that SilverStone has let us take a look at, comes with an all SECC, 0.8mm, steel construction. The case then takes on new lines and shapes with the addition of various pieces of the reinforced plastic shell. The RV01 will accept a total of five form factors for motherboard choices and has a total of eleven bays for all your additional drives. The RAVEN is cooled with three supplied fans, two of which are 180mm at the bottom and run at a minimal 18dBS. The top fan is the same noise level, but in a 120mm version. This chassis with no equipment weighs in at 15 Kg, or roughly 33 lbs and is large in size overall.
With the release of the RAVEN SST-RV01B-W being not too awful long ago, I am surprised to see they have started to populate the more major e-tailers. Even though my Google shopping trip came up with only seven places carrying this chassis, I found that a little more looking turns up the RAVEN RV01 in a few more places. Availability is good now and can only get better at this point. I'm sure a few more e-tailers are getting their ads ready as I type this.
SilverStone cases have always, in my opinion, demanded a slightly higher asking price than the average case, but that is due to the time and effort it takes to do things right the first time. The RAVEN SST-RV01B-W lists currently at Newegg for the asking price of $249.99 U.S. Dollars, plus shipping. For that price range at Newegg there is nothing as unique in looks and as revolutionary in design as what SilverStone offers its customers who choose to purchase the RV01. This case is a bit steep for some buyers, but to be honest, even SilverStone labels this as an enthusiast piece of hardware; not exactly for the budget minded buyers out there. It's that time again, where we finally get to open it up and see firsthand what the RAVEN SST-RV01B-W is all about.
SilverStone chose a mysterious and spooky background setting to display the RAVEN over. You can clearly see their intentions of "stirring up the next ATX revolution".
Spinning the RAVEN around to the right, you can see the background continues around as well. SilverStone used this for an introduction to the case and its features, also backed up in nine other languages.
On the back, SilverStone takes the side off the RAVEN RV01 and proudly displays eleven features that set the RAVEN apart from the rest of the competition.
If UPS had been a bit more careful with their sticker placement, you would have been able to read the specifications SilverStone listed on this side.
When the box is first opened you are greeted with a box of "goodies" and a product catalog set into the foam top.
Removing the RAVEN RV01 from the box entirely shows that SilverStone really takes great measures to keep the product safe during delivery to your house. As you can see from the box images, UPS was not too gentle on their handling of this case, yet it arrived completely unscathed and safe inside.
The SilverStone SST-RV01B-W Extreme Enthusiast Chassis
Here we have the stealth inspired RAVEN RV01 and as you can see SilverStone has done a good job of reducing its radar signature by the angular design concept. This being the RV01B-W, we have a window in this RAVEN and it comes very well protected inside and out.
Viewing the RAVEN RV01's profile, you get a better feeling for the overall angular "stealth" concept. Love it or hate it, I personally appreciate the uniqueness of the concept and the non-standard feel of this case.
The RAVEN RV01 continues its angles and matte black finish to the front, leaving the front with a sleek and clean look.
The right side of the RV01 is a mirror copy of the windowed side, with of course, no window. Both sides are vented at the bottom behind the doors bottoms.
SilverStone has left no space untouched with this design; as you can see, they have even designed a rear cover to keep the theme going all the way around the RV01. This is a bottom mounting PSU type of design. If you look closely they have added a filter to aide in keeping the dust out; more on this later.
Looking down at the top of the rear of the RV01, you can see there is a vented top that is added to the RAVEN. This panel is unlockable and removable to expose the rear I/O and expansion slots.
The "nose" of this stealth chassis is very angular and sleek. SilverStone even uses an odd shape for the power and reset buttons. An embossed RAVEN logo is also found here and looks right at home.
As I alluded to before, with the RAVEN RV01, SilverStone has taken angles everywhere. The legs are uniquely shaped and even the rubber feet continue the theme.
Inside the SilverStone SST-RV01B-W Extreme Enthusiast Chassis
Since the RV01 was already on its back, I figured I might as well start there. This is the removable and washable filter that slides under the PSU to keep dust at bay and out of your power supply.
Back up to the top front, we see that gently pressing on the rear of this panel, it opens to reveal the front I/O panel. This consists of two USB 2.0 ports, an IEEE1394 port and two audio 3.5mm jacks.
As I stated earlier, the rear top piece is removable. Just unlock both screws following the arrows, gently slide it to the rear of the case a bit and then lift it straight off.
After removing the top rear cover you can tell something isn't quite right here. The RAVEN rear I/O and expansion slots are in fact in the top of the case.
The front door of the RV01 that covers the optical drive bays slides down behind the lower half of the cover and clicks and locks into place. The door will stay open until you press down on it to release the lock.
I realize it's hard to get an "action" shot of the door, but after you release the lock the door automatically rises into place, as it was doing when I took this image.
Removing the door reveals the real "twist" to this concept and design. SilverStone has taken the usual ATX form factor and laid it on its side. This 90 "twist" is not only very appealing to look at as you will soon see, but it also is backed by the simplest law of heat, convection. With the rear I/O and expansion slots at the top, in this instance it allows heat to naturally travel up and out through all of your components.
Blocking the main board area is a bar that SilverStone designed to aid in keeping the bigger graphics cards from wanting to pull away from the motherboard. The back of this bar has "fingers" backed with a rubber tip that ratchet and lock into position once pressed against the card.
Inside the SilverStone SST-RV01B-W - Continued
After removing that support bar, you can get a better look at the motherboard tray. SilverStone has added four wire management holes and also added some unique clamps that are made to hold the wires behind the tray in place as well.
On this side of the optical drives, with the RAVEN RV01, this can be screw-less if you choose. Just tip the lock up, slide in a drive and press the lock down until it clicks into place. The opposite side has screw holes if you feel you need more secure mounting.
Under the optical drives are the side mounted, six hard drive racks. Unlock by pulling the tab down and outward, then slide out the tray.
Getting a bit closer inside the hard drive bay area reveals that the RAVEN has a backplane for the drive in the first slot. The SATA connector and molex 4-pin to run to your motherboard and power supply, are tucked in to the right.
The left side of the floor, positioned a few inches above where the power supply goes, is where the RV01 houses one of the 180mm fans to start the air moving well from the bottom.
To the right of that fan, is a good sized hole to pass the power supply wire through. SilverStone has also made it large enough to accept a couple of " tubes to pass through as well. Hidden to the right of this is the second 180mm fan that cools the hard drives first then continues up past the optical drives and into the case.
It is dark with all the black going on inside the RV01, but here is the dark place to house the power supply to the left. There is also a plastic clip mounted to the top of this area that securely clamps the PSU in a rubber anti-vibration isolated compartment.
These are the case wires that are from the switches, lights and front I/O panel. There is an IEEE1394, USB 2.0 and HD and AC '97 audio connections. From the switches and lights, we have the power switch, reset switch, HDD activity connections and a molex 4-pin for lighting, all of which are on really long wires.
Inside the SilverStone SST-RV01B-W - Continued Again
Just to give you some idea; when I say long, I mean LONG! - SilverStone has made plenty sure that these wires can be routed around the back and still make it to connect to any board layout with relative ease.
A look at the inside of the top of the RV01, shows that SilverStone chose a 120mm, top exhausting fan and also vented expansion slot covers. Every little bit helps when trying to let nature take its course a little more efficiently. I do want to add that even the fan wire is long enough to be routed and still reach the vicinity of the PSU.
As you can see with the rear cover removed, there is room for external water cooling. The RV01 has two, rubber grommet covered holes that will easily accept " tubing. There are also some supplied clips that I will get to in the hardware section, to help in mounting a radiator.
Removing the rear door sheds a clear view of the wiring side of things. The four clips in the motherboard tray help hold the wires into place as you route them to one of the four pre-cut holes. The top left, you can see the holes for securely mounting the optical drives. Just below that is the open side of the hard drives; plenty of room to get all your drives hooked up and the wires tucked in place. Lastly, at the very bottom is the space for mounting even some of the longer power supplies and even still have room to hide extra wires to the left.
Removing the drive covers reveals the RV01's five external drive bays, the bottom three of which need the step plates removed for use. Simply spin them around from top to bottom and they give way fairly easy.
The doors of the RV01 are solid and this side has a window that is held in place with chromed hardware to accent the door. Both doors, as I said, are vented through the bottom. There is an outer mesh that keeps little fingers out of the holes as well.
Since both doors are almost mirror images, I chose to show the inside of the back door. The screws around the edges is to hold the plastic angled pieces into place and you can see the venting has an inside dust screen as well. This screen can be removed and washed as well.
Accessories and Documentation
SilverStone seems to keep things very simple and reflecting that is the limited hardware that is included with the RAVEN RV01. Of course there is a very simple and easy to follow manual that is also multi-lingual. SilverStone takes the time to walk you through step by step with good illustration to back up the text. There was only one thing I didn't see in the manual and that was the typical wiring guide for the front panel wires. This was really not an issue. Going with the thought that most wires of this nature tend to follow a similar pattern, the darker colored wire is positive and the white wires are negative. This holds true in this instance as the wiring went off without a hitch.
The RAVEN also has included brackets for mounting a radiator in the rear of the case, as I was getting to before. These clips are shown to help hold the radiator both from side to side movement as well as top to bottom movement. While the case will allow the use of water, doing so leads me to two things. One, there won't be a bunch of room behind the radiator for fans or airflow, but it is doable. Second, if you do house a radiator out back, the rear cover will no longer be able to be used.
The "goodie" bag has all the screws and risers you will ever need. The book denotes them by type and clearly shows which screws go for each task. There are enough risers for most users to have almost two sets, depending on the form factor of your choosing. Screws include special hard drive mounting screws, motherboard screws, optical drive screws, radiator mounting screws and those to mount the PSU. Last but not least, there are two tie straps to help in wire management. As I say, this kit is small and simple, but honestly, SilverStone designed it to function with very little hardware needed.
Preparing the hard drives for their position in the cage is really the only screws I needed to use other than those used in the PSU and main board mounting. These trays have rubber grommets that accept those "special" screws that keep the drives isolated and vibration free.
Fast forward and everything is in its place. With very little time and effort the case overall is clean and appealing by design. The extra lengths of wire work really well and allowed me to get everything connected with no issues what so ever. Even with a full ATX motherboard and one of the larger coolers on the market, there is a lot of room for additional things such as plumbing or lighting.
Getting a little closer to the motherboard to show just how well all the wiring hides and how much space is left to allow the fans to stir up quite a bit of air to aid in the natural convection of the heat.
You can see I did in fact use the first slot with the backplane and left a couple of slots before installing my backup drive. I found that this is just as simple as slide in and lock, it couldn't be any easier.
For me here is where things got a bit messy. I had routed all the motherboard wires and it was clean, but once I attempted to power things up, it got a bit sloppy. This is my fault, however. The PSU I chose to use is a bit short in the wire length department; this makes getting all the connections clean a bit tougher. Everything does still lay out of the way of easy closure of the rear door.
The bottom of the RV01 has plenty of room for bigger PSU's. I had to flip this one upside down and I still was able to make it work, but the 8-pin CPU plug just reaches this way. Trying to keep the vent in the floor free of impedance from the extra wire wasn't an issue either. There is plenty of excess space to neatly tuck the extra wires on either side of it.
Fit and Finish
Due to my short black IDE cable for my optical drive, I was stuck using a lower bay for my drive. Even in the lowest bay the door gets out of the way to allow obstruction free use.
One last look at the top before the cover goes back on it. With all the big venting holes and vented expansion slot covers, I chose not to use the rear I/O shield to allow another point of exit for the hot air.
When I got all finished and was ready to close the door on the RV01, I ran into a slight issue. The cooler I chose to use, with its dual fan set-up, wouldn't allow me to use the brace for the graphics card. I know this isn't a problem in every instance, but it will not work in my case. Shame, too; I would have liked to see the SilverStone label peeking through my window at me.
Closing the door on the RV01, shows that SilverStone thought out the placement very well in my opinion. They chose to show only the important things and allow a great view at the motherboard, cooler and video card.
Powering up the RAVEN RV01 shows the lighting on the nose. A push of the power button lights up the full width light bar and even has a red LED in the center to show HDD activity.
Stepping back a bit and getting another look to allow you to absorb the RAVEN RV01 in all its powered glory. With all the blue lighting, the matte black and unique line, this case sure is appealing to me.
Premium packaging to surround a premium product is what SilverStone brings to the table with the SST-RV01B-W Extreme Enthusiast Chassis. Now let's break that name down and see if they can stand up to the name. Extreme, the design in and of itself is extreme. The 90 "twist" of the RAVEN RV01's layout is very extreme. Enthusiast? - I have to agree here as well. Only an enthusiast can truly appreciate the potential of this cases design and abundance of features. With all this packaged in a stealth bomber inspired, matte black inside and out, chassis with a window, what more could one ask for?
After I took the initial case images and got a really good look inside of the RAVEN RV01, it didn't take me long to realize this was going to be my next case to sit next to me on my desk top. Realizing this, I used all of my gaming rigs components as they were and got them ready for assembly. This is where I ran into a couple of snags. These aren't problems for every user, but they need to be addressed all the same. With the choice of my components I ran into the fact that my 8-pin power line was just out of reach. This is because of the bottom mounting of the PSU and the fact the wire isn't that long. A simple adapter will solve that issue. The second, the cooler I chose to use is one of the bigger coolers on the market. The overall height is fine, but to use the two fans I have on it, they block the support bar from being put into place at the end of the build. Slightly disappointing, but if I had chosen a different cooler I'm sure the bar could screw back into place. Those are the couple of things to keep in mind if you choose to build your rig inside the RV01.
With an asking price of $249.99, plus shipping at Newegg, this case is right on the money with what it just replaced on my desk, which was the Xclio 1000. That case was large and had some features, but in no way compares to what SilverStone has with the RAVEN SST-RV01B-W. This case is rock solid and super simple to work with. As I said, I actually had to install ten risers and screws, then four more for the PSU and a last set of eight for both HDD's. How hard is that? - Not only do I think the concept of rotating the motherboard tray will catch on with other manufacturers, but I'm sure some will mimic this case. Do you want to wait that long to have the newest concept in case technology?
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