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SilverStone RV01 Raven Case Review

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AkG

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Cooling Performance

Cooling Performance


GPU Cooling Performance

For this test we stressed the core of the GPUs with 3dMark06. This was accomplished by re-running it continuously for 30 minutes with resolution of 1600x1200 and 2xAA. For this series of tests an Asus 8800GT Top (which we previously reviewed), an XFX 7300GT, and a eVGA 7900GTX were used. This way would could see how various cards would be effected by the Stack Effect. In the case of the 8800GT this card uses a single bay cooling solution which sucks air in from around the card and then expels it back around its immediate area. The 7900GTX is a dual slot cooling solution which sucks in air and ejects the hot air to the outside. The 7300GT is a passively cooled card and relies heavily on internal air movement to stay cool. Temperature readings were taken from Rivatuner.


In the first round we paired the Raven up against an CM ATCS 840 with its optional GPU cooling box attached. A Noctua NF-P12-1300 was used to suck air from around the GPU card area and expel it away from the ATCS’s back. In this instance the ATCS 840 and the RAVEN were within in 1 degree of each other with both the 7900GTX and 8800GT (thus within in the error of probability) and thus a tie. However, the passively cooled 7300GT was cooler in the CM ATCS than the Raven by a good two degrees.

While on the surface this does not sound very favorable to the Raven the ATCS 840 does cost significantly more than it and both these cases were easily the coolest run cases we have come across. One could also argue the active cooling of the ATCS 840 is not a fair example as it is a external option which not only ruins the looks of the case but also makes a long case even that much longer and unwieldy.

Due to this controversial nature we reran the tests of the ATCS 840 but this time without the optional external GPU cooling attachment in place. All other fans where of course the standard 230mm fans which come with this unit. This time around the difference was significant, with the Raven easily besting the CM. The 7900GTX was 4 degrees cooler under load, the 8800GT was about the same and the real winner was the 7300GT which was a staggering 6 degrees cooler. Passively cooled cards simply love this case.

Cards which suck in “fresh” air and exhaust it out the back will benefit from the RAVEN but we think the real winner would be in SLI, multi card SLI or especially multi-GPU card setups like the 4870x2. These cards not only run hot because the amount of fresh air is extremely limited by their close proximity to each other (and the top card basically sucks in the hot air which has radiated off the top of the bottom card). In these instances he Raven would be in its element. Best of all you would not need to stick anything on the outside of your case to do it.


CPU Cooling Performance

In order to really show how good or bad the Raven's potential is with regards to CPU cooling, and more importantly show how well the Stack Effect works, we overclocked our Q6600 to 3.4GHZ and ran loads on both the 8800GT GPU and CPU for a full 30 minutes. After running these tests on the Raven we then compared the results to our ATCS 840 under the same loads, without its optional GPU cooling box attachment in place.

Recorded temps were as reported via CoreTemp's "Temp Log". Average load temps were taken after 30 minutes of running Prime95 v25.4 “small fft” and are taken directly from CoreTemp’s temperature text file. Excel was used to average the results of all cores.




As you can see, the numbers do speak for themselves and boy do they ever say a mouthful. Once again the Raven's Stack Effect setup has proven to be a very efficient design. Like it or loath it you have to respect any piece of kit which can not only talk the talk but walk the walk. Sure, the Raven may have funky looks but with results like these it may just endear itself to even its biggest detractors.
 
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AkG

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Conclusion

CONCLUSION


in⋅no⋅vate: to introduce something new; make changes in anything established.

We are not going to list our lists of likes or dislike of the Raven as they are mainly judgment calls, which as we warned you in the beginning are calls only you can make. We personally do not like the looks of this case, but we do respect it. Hopefully by this time you should have a very clear idea of whether or not this first generation case is right for you. What we are going to do list is what we consider to be incontestable facts to summarize the good, the bad and yes even the ugly for you.

This case looks, feels and even acts like what it actually is: the first generation of a very innovative idea. There is no arguing the “Stack Effect” setup does indeed work, because numbers do not lie and what they have told us is that this is one remarkable setup. Heck this setup will allow users to achieve an instant lowering of temperatures when switching to the Raven.

While cooling is the upside to Silverstone's innovative idea, the down side is one that has plagued new ideas since the first pre-human discovered fire: no one ever gets everything perfect on the first try. This is one heck of a first try but just as the original Wright brothers' craft was full of quirks and annoyances so too is the RV01 Raven full of these areas in need of refinement. The first and most obvious of these annoyances is the use, or in as some may argue the overuse, of plastic. This case is for all intents and purposes a normal case which has been modified by Silverstone and they slathered in cheap plastic. Let’s not get into a debate on the merits of plastic versus steel versus aluminum. Rather the only issue we are going to point out is this: when you spend as much as you will for the Raven, don’t you think a bit more metal should be used? This is not an inexpensive case yet for many the somewhat gaudy façade of plastic will cheapen it in their eyes. Aesthetics are not the end all and be all of enclosure design but in many instances they will sour the deal long before a person gets to know how capable a product is. Such is the situation which the Raven finds itself in.

By flipping the motherboard on its side, the designers of the Raven have created one major fault with this case: the long distance your your SATA, ATA, and heck any cables need to travel. You can forget about using those nice and short 12inch cables which came with your motherboard. You can even forget about those 18 inch ones you brought in to give you some extra cabling room, and you can certainly forget about most ATA ribbon cables fitting. You will need extra long SATA cables for the Raven, unless you enjoy seeing a mess of cables making beelines through your case. The down side to not being neat with you cabling is all those air blockages do add up and this case is going to be ultra sensitive to this. Without a doubt, this is one product that really needs a clean, obstruction free path from the fans at the bottom to the exhaust ports at the top to function properly.

By this point you have to be wondering who this case IS designed for.. It may not be ready for the masses but then again it was never designed nor intended to be. This is a niche market case, and just like a Hummer gets really crappy gas mileage or a Ferrari has no storage room or even like a Mini-Cooper has no leg room in the back seats, this case has taken any and all niceties and creature comforts and sacrificed them to the gods of Efficiency and Performance.

If you are a hard core gamer, running multiple GPUs, the Raven will be a good fit for you. If you do not want to get into water cooling this is the most efficient case on the market when it comes to air based cooling. If you are a Silent PC aficionado who hates GPU fan noise, yet loathes having to rely on underpowered or aftermarket solutions this may be the case for you. Heck, if you prefer passive GPU cards yet don’t want them to stew in their own juices, this may be the case for you. If you want a case which is different than all the rest, this is the case for you. If you just want a conversation piece or bragging rights this is the perfect case for you. Heck, even if you just want to achieve awe inspiring air based overclocks this case will certainly help you in your pursuit of happiness. If you like living on the bleeding edge of technology and want to be the “Joneses” which everyone else needs to keep up with, this is the case for you. There you have it.

In the end the Silverstone Raven is a product which will not appeal to everyone, however this is not necessarily a bad thing since it certainly is not some bland beige box. At the beginning of this review we mocked SilverStone for having the temerity to call this an “Extreme Enthusiast Chassis” but we were wrong, this really is an extremely good air based cooling case for many an enthusiast; and if a case ever deserved the title Extreme Enthusiast Chassis, this may be it. For this and the fact that its innovative twist on an ordinary case layout actually works, we here at HWC award this case the Dam Innovative award…now if they would only come out with an all aluminum version which has all the bugs worked out of it.


Pros:

- Great cooling potential
- Innovative layout
- Distinctive styling
- Sliding front door with auto close
- Hot Swap Bay included


Cons:

- Only 1 Hot Swap Bay included
- Only 2 USB ports on front, no e-SATA
- Not a tool-less installation process (except for 5.25 bays)
- VGA to DVI adapters can not be used
- Extreme Chassis deserve extreme accessories (Only two cable ties???)
- Looks not for everyone (or even most people)
- Way too much plastic
- Price
- First Generation of a good idea but w/ 1st Gen quirks



 
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