If there is one thing that SilverStone is known for, it has to be the unique way that they design and develop their cases. With 12 various case series', it takes some out of the box thinking to keep the designs separated, and not end up crossing over designs from series to series. To exemplify what I am getting at, think about the cases from the Sugo, Temjin, Fortress, and even the Raven series, they are all very unique cases from SilverStone, and proof that they are yet to be out of new ideas is why we are here today.
One thing that makes the Raven series of cases special for me is that I have, in my time here at TweakTown, had the pleasure of seeing this series of cases grow from the original Raven right on up to its latest incarnation. The original design was the most aggressive and attractive design in the set, but even as the RV-02 made its way out, with a more subdued exterior design, it was vastly different. Then along came the RV-03, where it took on the personal of the RV-01, with similar exterior design to the RV-02. Slight changes were made to the exterior to set it apart in the Raven series of cases.
That brings us to why we are here today, as well look at the newest chassis to hit this series, the Raven 4. Since the RV-01 and RV-03 had the window on the left, and the RV-02 was on the right, sticking with tradition, this newest chassis offers the widow on the right. One huge change to the latest Raven is the much more aggressive exterior styling, getting back to what started the Raven series, but one other major change has been made to the interior as well; the motherboard sits inverted inside of this chassis, rather than the standard method of lying it on its side as all previous Raven cases have offered.
Along with these more obvious changes that you can see at just a glance of the SilverStone Raven 4, there are still plenty of innovations and additions to this design. For those still interested, continue on, as I have quite a bit to show off with this chassis.
Specifications, Availability and Pricing
The SST-RV04 comes in two flavors; one of them is a chassis with a window on the right side of the chassis, while the other comes with a solid steel door. Speaking of steel, the body of the chassis is indeed steel, and SilverStone chose to use reinforced plastic at the front and top of this design. On the inside of this chassis, there is room for motherboards from Micro-ATX on through to SSI-EEB and SSI-CEB motherboards (with slight restrictions on the larger boards), in an inverted position. There are also two 5.25" bays for optical drives or a reservoir, room for up to seven 3.5" drives, and with some reconfiguring of the drive bays, room for four 2.5" drives.
To cool this tower chassis, SilverStone has added a pair of 180mm Air Penetrator fans connected to switches to allow control of them. An added feature is that they also send conversion plates to allow users to put three 120mm fans down the front of the chassis, which then offers the possibility of having a 360mm radiator if you wanted to. There is also room for a 120mm fan in the rear of the chassis, but SilverStone has chosen to leave that spot empty.
Externally, there is a lot going on too. There are a total of eight expansion slots to offer plenty of room for expansion cards. There is also the front I/O consisting of a pair of USB 3.0 ports, along with HD Audio jacks. To find the power and reset buttons, you need to look at the protruding door panel that covers the front of the RV04. At the top, molded into the stylized striped design that is used on the plastic, as it nears the top panel, the power and reset buttons are located there. The top of the chassis offers ventilation as well as a dust filter, but this is not for fans or radiators, it is to allow the top mounted power supply to have a way to draw cooler air from outside the chassis. I don't want to get real deep in the external design so much, as I really think the images are needed to fully grasp what is going on with this design.
Even with this being a freshly released case, I had no issues locating the Raven 4 for sale. My first search was at Newegg, where I found this chassis listed for $159.99 with an additional $14.98 required for shipping at the time of writing. Then as I hopped over to Amazon, they also list this chassis at $159.99, but are offering free two day shipping. I for one think that this price is reasonable.
Considering all the changes to the interior layout and design, along with what this case offers beyond that aspect, you are definitely getting a fully featured chassis when buying the Raven 4, including things you may not even think you need, until you see them.
Things just wouldn't be right without the image of the Raven standing over the image of the RV04 to the right side. The left then offers the chassis and company name, but also offers a list of nine features that should attract you to pick up the box and look at things more closely.
Here SilverStone starts things off with a story of the Raven chassis since its birth in 2008. Along with QR codes to take your mobile device to the product pages, in nine languages, they deliver the features that are also displayed on the front in English.
As we look at the back of the box, you now find an image of the inside of the chassis. In the image is numbers from one to 12, with the descriptions of everything to the left in that red and black striped chart.
The last panel offers a small image of the chassis at the top, and had FedEx not plastered this side with all the shipping information, there would be a view of the specifications chart for both versions of this design.
Sliding the chassis out of the box, we find that SilverStone uses a cloth liner to surround the chassis. While it is a bit gentler to the plastic under it, it looks a bit higher-end than plastic. To support the chassis in transit, SilverStone calls on Styrofoam to center and caress the chassis as it ships to you. Our sample, while the box looked a bit rough, arrived in terrific shape.
SilverStone Raven 4 B-W Full-Tower Chassis
The large plastic door on the Raven 4 has the Raven name designed into it near the top. As for the rest of it, the pinstripes run down the front in a cascading effect that breaks this up into four sections. Between the top two sections, there is a red LED backlit stripe that will illuminate.
Gently tugging the right side of the door allows it to open to the left. Visible now is the pair of 5.25" bay covers, a pair of fan switches, a pair of 180mm AP fans, and the louvered dust filter that covers the fans.
As the top curves back to meet the top section of the Raven 4, to the right and to the left there are the power and reset buttons positioned into the door. You can also see that the pin striping from the front turns wavy and ends up looking like some sort of tribal design at the back.
The front I/O connectivity is done on the right side of the chassis at the top, right where the door meets the side. In this section, there is a pair of USB 3.0 ports with a native connection inside, and no adapter for USB 2.0. There are also the 3.5mm jacks for the HD Audio.
Now, stepping back to get the entire right side of the RV04 in frame, you get a much better sense of how the front door is placed, as well as getting a glance at the windowed version of this design. The view does show a bit of the bay devices, but does also allow a full view of an ATX motherboard.
In the back of the RV04, the PSU is mounted at the top. Then what is delivered is a rear I/O plane that has been inverted. This leaves the eight expansion slots at the top, and the rear I/O and optional 120mm fan location at the bottom of the chassis.
You may have noticed something odd about the top in the last image. That was the tab to grab on the edge of the dust filter that will slide out of the back of the chassis to allow for maintenance cleanings.
The right side of the chassis offers a solid steel panel. There is still the SilverStone name on the top panel, as something to look at, but that bulky hinge on the door seems like an afterthought and not really something that goes with this sleek and more simplistic exterior design.
Under the chassis, large square rubber feet give the RV04 a solid stance. In the middle of the floor, you see a bunch of holes. Some are already populated from drive cages mounted inside, but this is also how you mount 2.5" drives on the floor - you screw them in from here.
Inside the Raven 4 B-W
Usually when removing a door panel, there is a basic layout to discuss, but with the RV04, there is a lot going on. Go ahead and absorb it for a minute, but I will try to cover it all in fine detail.
Behind the front I/O panel there is the pair of 5.25" bays. Since the side of this is closed off, SilverStone made the front covers removable from the outside, but there is room to get in here from the top as well.
Below the optical bays, there is a fan duct system in place to help more efficiently cool the video cards and it also offers wire management trails in it. Then just below that is a rack that will accept five 3.5" drives, and it is removable.
The motherboard tray is also removable, offers plenty of wire managing holes along with a large CPU cooler cutout. There are a few wire tie points, and the tray is marked with a scale across the middle and points to where each motherboard form factor will go to at the bottom.
On the floor is a pair of hot-swappable 3.5" bays. They use a tab to hold the drive in, as it just rests on the slide rails inside of the rack. The right one of these has a CPU cooler rest mounted to it that should be used with heavy CPU air coolers.
Since the frame of the chassis is so deep on the sides, SilverStone has drilled holes in it to allow a screwdriver through to get to the screws holding in the ventilated expansion slot covers. I do like the ventilated area next to the slots for passive cooling, but I do wish a fan had been included here.
Behind the motherboard tray, there is 10mm of room at minimum, but still plenty to get the wiring tended to. Along with the holes in the tray, there is a long slot at the right and at the bottom to also pass wires through giving users a lot of options.
As for the wiring, it may be shorter than what we typically see, but they are long enough for this layout. There is the Native USB 3.0 connection, and HD Audio Connection, then you also have the power, reset, HDD Activity and power LED leads too, and all of them are black or sleeved black.
Accessories and Documentation
The box containing all the hardware and the manual are found in a box that is pressed into one of the Styrofoam caps that the chassis ships in. Inside of it, SilverStone send along four zip ties, eight ODD thumbscrews, four black ones for the VGA support and its claws, and a few extra standoffs and a socket to drive them. At the bottom, you are given a pile of screws to secure the PSU, motherboard and 3.5" drives. The smaller pile to the right is for 2.5" drive mounting in the floor.
Spread out here is some of the adapters and the support system for the expansion cards. In the middle is the support bar that mounts to the top rail of the chassis between the PSU and ODD bays. With the three "claws" seen at the top, you can use this to support the left end of the cards if sagging becomes an issue. As for the other six plates, these are fan adapters. You attach these to 120mm fans, and with the holes provided on the front of the chassis, you can swap out the pair of 180mm AP fans.
Also inside of the hardware box, SilverStone ships a very thorough manual to reference for any and everything there is to know about this chassis. What goes where, what will fit where, even clearance issues that you may have not thought about with larger motherboard installations.
The manual starts off with an exploded diagram at the top showing all of the internal components, except for one. Nowhere in the manual does the venting slash wire managing insert above the hard drives get addressed. It is in a few of the images, but does not get any explanation. The lower section of this same page then gives a part list of what should be in the hardware box.
This will give you a good idea of how the rest of the manual is written. There is an image to go along with every step, and if a rendering won't do, they insert actual images to allow you to see what they are discussing. This has to be the best manual I have ever seen on a chassis, and even if you are a chassis n00b, and this is your first chassis ever, with this manual at your side, there is no reason anyone should get lost.
The Build and Finished Product
Getting started, I removed the top of the chassis to install the PSU. If you have optical drives installed, the room for connectivity between them is somewhat limited, but I was left with roughly three inches of room for wiring and connectivity. Also, note that the fan is up to utilize the venting in the roof of the RV04.
Since it is designed to, I removed the three screws, slid the tray slightly to the front of the chassis, and removed it so I could install the motherboard to it much easier than if it was still inside of the chassis.
After much more assembly and wiring, we are now ready to show off the completed build. The ODD is installed, and it lines up very well with the inner fascia. I also left the dust filter in place for this image, so that you can see what it looks like behind the door.
Inside I did take advantage of the fan duct for its wiring purposes to keep the fan wiring under control. I did not need the VGA support for the card I chose, so I left it and the large HDD rack out for this build. I also added the TD03, and had no issues with it fitting in the optional fan location.
In the back of the RV04, everything goes right into place with ease. The PSU, expansion card, rear I/O cover, even the AIO, it just all went together without any fight and required no flexing to get things lined up.
While the room is a bit limited, I was able to run all of my cabling in behind the tray. There is one thing to point out, if you do plan to attach any wiring to the motherboard tray, it makes removal of said tray impossible at that point. Even though tougher than most to wire, I was able to come up with this and the door fits cleanly over it all.
The Raven 4 is now all buttoned up and awaiting some power to get on with the testing phase of our using this chassis.
Powered up, the Raven 4 comes to life. It is easy to tell in two ways if your RV04 has power. The easiest is to look at the red LED on the front, but if you are anywhere close to it, the sound of this chassis is also something you will notice.
First off, I know that this design will be hit or miss for most potential buyers out there, due to the external design alone. I, for one, don't get the large gap on the sides from the front panel, nor did I like the bulky hinge, but overall, I like the design, and the aesthetics of it all are growing on me the more I look at it. The window is large, and for my setup, offered a great view of my components inside of it, and I loved the inverted ATX configuration - I finally get to see the video card cooler stickers. I'm just kidding about the stickers, but as far as it having its benefits, even considering the use of the AIO in play, the overall thermal results inside of this chassis with the case all back together are some of the best I have seen.
As for the noise that you are dealing with, I unplugged the motherboard and allowed the fans to run from just the chassis. In the low fan position of the switches, you are dealing with 41dB of noise, and once allowed to run full steam, it registers some 53dB. I can't complain much though since things were so cool inside, there is a bit of a trade-off that is dealt with to use the chassis as it is delivered.
Once past the more technical aspects of the chassis, there is the feature set to consider. It is lacking without the option for USB 2.0 connectivity, but that is honestly the only thing I can pick on. With the way the top is designed to allow for the PSU and optical drives, they left plenty of room to make it all happen easily. Under that you have the fully removable fan ducts and HDD racks. This allows for much larger motherboards to fit without memory clearance issues behind the HDD rack, and allowing the ducts to remove too, you have the option to use the fan adapters and run a 360mm radiator down the front of this chassis. On the floor you have the option to use the hot-swappable bays as they call them. In reality, they aren't hot-swappable in the traditional sense, but rather they don't require screws, you still have to manually disconnect the power and SATA cables.
Then there is the removable motherboard tray which definitely helps with the initial installation, but is rendered immobile once the chassis is wired. As much as many of you may dislike this design, I for one do like where SilverStone is going in today's market, and with releases like this, you can't ever say that they are releasing mundane designs. In fact, the Raven RV04 may just be slightly ahead of the curve, and I applaud SilverStone for trying new things and showing users a different perspective.
For those of us who can appreciate the heritage left in the design, along with all of the ingenuity delivered in the Raven 4, to me it only gets better when pondering the price. While it may not be a water cooling monster like the 900D, or even the newer designs from NZXT, it does offer enough room to add that if you would like, and without the need for a monstrously sized chassis to get it done. For those of you in the market for something different both inside and out from the standard offerings, there is no denying that at $159.99, SilverStone is delivering quite a bit of chassis for the dollar. If they hadn't already shown me the TJ-11 my work rig is housed in now, I would be using this chassis, no questions asked; it is just perfect for a build like mine.
Anyone with the desire to be different than everyone else, look no further than the Raven 4, as it will definitely be something I guarantee all of your friends won't have anything like.