Silverstone Raven RV04 Full Tower Case Review

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For well over a year now, the Silverstone Raven RV04 has been in the works and it’s finally becoming available for purchase. The slogan “Redefine Tradition” has been affixed to the RV04 in an attempt to highlight the thought process behind this uniquely designed full-tower case. From the 90-degree motherboard mounting to the slightly smaller size than the previous Raven cases, Silverstone hopes to impress with this latest addition to the Raven family. Let’s see how they did!

Specifications and Features

First, let’s give Silverstone a chance to throw out their marketing blurb for the RV04.

Since its debut in 2008, the RAVEN series has been synonymous with excellent cooling and unconventional designs. For the RAVEN RV04, the engineers were tasked with the goal of producing a design that utilizes a more traditional layout to match the performance of its 90 degree motherboard mounted predecessors. Inspiration was drawn from the highly successful Temjin TJ08-E, a Micro-ATX case with compact dimensions and best in class cooling performance, so the motherboard and the fans in the RV04 are mounted in similar fashion to obtain equally impressive performance in ATX form factor while allowing for excellent cable management.

Although smaller in volume compared to the benchmark RAVEN RV02 and with one less intake fan, the RV04 can actually accommodate more drives and still achieve the same level of cooling performance. This feat is the result of years of R&D on chassis thermal performance, fan design, and filters which contributed to RV04’s unrestricted airflow design and the development of HiFlow fan filters. Other nifty features such as CPU and graphic card supporter, removable motherboard tray, and externally accessible fan filter assembly are also included to facilitate assembly and maintenance. The exterior of RV04 utilizes the latest SilverStone design language with a one-piece like outer shell that creates a powerful presence on any desktop setting. Small details also adorn the exterior such as feather-like top elements that act as independent airflow channel for the PSU. For a chassis that started out with a front-to-back airflow design, the RAVEN RV04 has truly redefined tradition.

The below specifications are provided by the Silverstone website.

Silverstone Raven RV04 Specifications
Model No. SST-RV04B (black)
SST-RV04B-W (black + window)
Material Reinforced plastic outer shell, steel body
Color black
Motherboard SSI-EEB, SSI-CEB, Extended ATX, ATX, Micro-ATX
Multimedia None
Drive Bay External 5.25″ x 2
Internal 3.5″ x 7 (2 hot-swap) , 2.5” x 4
Cooling System Front 2 x Air Penetrator AP181 180mm intake fan 600/900/1200rpm, 18/25/34dBA
Rear 1 x 120mm fan slot (option)
Side None
Top None
Bottom None
Internal None
Expansion Slot 8
Front I/O Port USB 3.0 x 2
audio x 1
MIC x 1
Power Supply 1 x optional standard PS2(ATX)
Expansion Card Compatible up to 13.3” long, width restriction-6.69″
Limitation of CPU cooler 165mm
Limitation of PSU 180mm
Net Weight 10.9 kg
Dimension 219mm (W) x 581mm (H) x 497mm (D), 63.2 liters
Extra Support two Kensington locks

The high-level features are listed below, but there are many more that we’ll explore as the review progresses. The list below is also provided by the Silverstone website.

  • Beautiful flowing design with one-piece front door
  • Two Air Penetrator AP181 fans included for great performance and quietness
  • Removable motherboard tray and top panel
  • Quick access filters with HiFlow Technology to prevent dust buildup
  • Unrestricted airflow design minimizes noise and maximizes fan performance
  • Convenient routing pathways for excellent cable management
  • Adjustable holder for large CPU coolers and graphic cards
  • Independent airflow channel for power supply with dedicated PSU filter
  • Accommodates up to seven 3.5” hard drives and four 2.5” SSD’s

Looks promising so far, so let’s get the box up on the bench and have a look!

Packaging/Accessories/First Look

The box graphics are well done and give the potential customer a pretty good idea of what the Raven RV04 offers. The box front has a nice picture of the case, the feature list just as we described above, and the omnipresent Raven standing guard. On the back, we have a picture with the side panel off and descriptions of several interior features. The box sides are home to the specifications and the same marketing blurb we presented above. The box top simply has branding applied to one corner.

Box Front

Box Front

Box Side

Box Side

Box Side

Box Side

Box Top

Box Top

Box Back

Box Back

Opening the box top, we find the Raven RV04 well protected with two Styrofoam blocks and a cloth bag. The side window is also protected with plastic film on the outside and inside.

Styrofoam Blocks and Cloth Bag

Styrofoam Blocks and Cloth Bag

Out of Box

Out of Box

Raven RV04 First Look and Window Protection

Raven RV04 First Look and Window Protection

One of the Styrofoam blocks is formed with a pocket to hold the accessory box. Inside the accessory box, you’ll find everything needed to assemble a system. Here is the list of what’s included.

  • User/Installation Manual
  • Bag of Assorted Screws
  • Four Cable Ties
  • Six 120 mm Fan Brackets
  • Three VGA Support Claws
  • VGA Support Bracket

Accessory Box Contents

Accessory Box Contents

Accessories Laid Out

Accessories Laid Out

Exterior Tour

Because the Raven RV04 is an inverted style case, the right side is where the windowed side panel is located. Also on the right side are the I/O connections, which include two USB 3.0 ports and the headphone/mic jacks. The left side panel is just a solid panel with no discernible designs. From the pictures of the two sides, you may notice the large gap between the front door and the front panel. This is to allow airflow to the two front fans, which we’ll talk about later.

Case Right Side

Case Right Side

Right Side I/O Area

Right Side I/O Area

Left Side Panel

Left Side Panel

Front Door Gap - Upper

Front Door Gap – Upper

Front Door Gap - Lower

Front Door Gap – Lower

Moving over to the front door and panel area, we come to perhaps the most troubling area of the Raven RV04. Unfortunately, the front door design doesn’t live up to the quality standards most people associate with a Silverstone product. The door is made of a semi-flimsy plastic that has trouble staying tightly closed when set on anything other than a hard surface. A stronger magnet at the bottom could help this deficiency. If you set the case on anything other than a hard surface (think carpet), there is not enough room under the door for it to close all the way. You’ll physically have to raise the front of the case to shut the door completely. I like the idea and concept Silverstone tried to implement here, but sadly it was poorly executed. However, if you carefully choose placement for the system, the front door is manageable. The key is to keep it clear of obstructions at the bottom.

With the door open, we can see the two 5.25″ drive bay covers and the lower grill area. Just below the 5.25″ covers are a pair of three position fan switches that can toggle the two front fans between 600/900/1200 RPM. The lower grill doubles as a filter for the two front intake fans and can be easily removed for cleaning.

Case Front

Case Front

Front Door Opened

Front Door Opened

5.25" Bay Covers and Fan Switches

5.25″ Bay Covers and Fan Switches

Lower Grill/Filter

Lower Grill/Filter

Moving around to the back of the Raven RV04, we can again see the impact the inverted design has versus a traditionally designed case. The motherboard’s I/O shield and rear exhaust fan opening are at the bottom, while the PCI expansion slots and PSU opening are at the top. There is lots of ventilation at the back of the case via the expansion slot covers and the large vented area next to them.

Case Back

Case Back

Case Back - Lower Area

Case Back – Lower Area

Case Back - Upper Area

Case Back – Upper Area

Case Back - Top PSU Opening

Case Back – Top PSU Opening

The top panel features a slide out filter that covers the PSU’s intake fan. The front door has a section that resides as part of the top panel and has buttons for activating the power and reset switches located below. It’s nice to be able to use the power and reset switches without having to open the door for access. The entire top panel is removable and held in place by two thumbscrews at the back. Unfortunately, the two side panels also have to be removed to allow the top panel to be slid back and off.

Top Panel and Switch Buttons

Top Panel and Switch Buttons

Top Panel Slide Out Filter

Top Panel Slide Out Filter

Top Panel - Front Area and Switches

Top Panel – Front Area and Switches

Top Panel - Rear Area and PSU Ventilation

Top Panel – Rear Area and PSU Ventilation

At the bottom of the Raven RV04, there are four square feet outfitted with rubber pads to provide surface protection and anti-vibration. All the screws you see here are what retain the HDD cages inside the case.

Bottom Area

Bottom Area

Rubberized Feet

Rubberized Feet

Well, now that you’ve seen the exterior of the Raven RV04, what do you think of the looks? Personally, I think it has a pretty attractive look to it; although, I’m not totally sold on the front door idea. Let’s have a look inside and see what Silverstone has in store for us there!

Interior Tour

To begin the interior tour, let’s pop the front and top panels off and have a look. With the front panel off, we can see the two Air Penetrator 180 mm front intake fans. Above the intake fans are the two openings for 5.25″ devices, which use the old school screw method to retain devices. Under the top panel, there isn’t a whole lot to discuss other than the two rails that support the PSU. Each rail is outfitted with a rubber strip for the PSU to sit on.

Inside View of Top and Front Panels

Inside View of Top and Front Panels

Two Air Penetrator 180 mm Fans

Two Air Penetrator 180 mm Fans

5.25" Drive Bay Openings

5.25″ Drive Bay Openings

5.25" Mounting Location

5.25″ Mounting Location

Under Top Panel/PSU Mounting Rails

Under Top Panel/PSU Mounting Rails

Along the bottom are a couple of unique HDD cage assemblies that are held in place by screws accessible from the bottom of the chassis. The rear HDD cage also doubles as the platform for the CPU support scissor. The CPU support is height adjustable, and the pad that actually touches the heatsink swivels. The case supports CPU coolers up to 165 mm in height, so the support could come in handy for those using coolers that push the height limit. The HDD cage itself holds one 3.5″ HDD and incorporates a tool-less design. You just slide the drive in the cage and a single clip locks it in place. There is a strap attached to the cage that’s used to easily release the drive from the cage by simply pulling on it. I’ve never come across this strap design before, but it actually works very well. Once the rear HDD cage is removed, you can see the mounting points for two 2.5″ HDDs or SSDs. For ease of installation and removal of 2.5″ drives, I suggest the HDD cage be removed.

Rear HDD Cage and CPU Support

Rear HDD Cage and CPU Support

Scissor Support Extended

Scissor Support Extended

Rear HD Cage Removed

Rear HD Cage Removed

Two SSD Mount Locations

Two SSD Mount Locations

HDD Installed - Pull Strap Below

HDD Installed – Pull Strap Below

The forward HDD cage is a two piece design, and the lower cage is also removed via screws at the bottom of the case. The bottom cage holds another single 3.5″ HDD and also has the quick release strap feature. The upper cage can be separated from the lower cage by removing two screws and simply sliding it out. The upper cage has an anti-vibration lining and supports up to five additional 3.5″ drives. Once the cages are removed, you’ll find another set of 2.5″ HDD or SSD mounting locations.

Forward HDD Cages

Forward HDD Cages

Upper Cage Removed

Upper Cage Removed

Forward SSD Mounts

Forward SSD Mounts

HDD Installed in Lower Cage

HDD Installed in Lower Cage

Upper HDD Cage Lining

Upper HDD Cage Lining

Along the back side, we find the I/O shield opening and the spot for an optional 120 mm exhaust fan. At first I thought not including the exhaust fan was a gross oversight; but after reading the installation manual’s suggested method of setting things up inside, I don’t think you’ll miss having the exhaust fan. Moving upward, we find the eight ventilated expansion slot covers. The covers are held in place with traditional screws, and while some may prefer thumbscrews here, arguments can be made for either. There are plenty of thumbscrews in the accessory pack if you’d rather use those instead. At the top, we can get an underside view of where the PSU gets mounted.

Lower Rear Area

Lower Rear Area

Expansion Slot Covers and Ventilation

Expansion Slot Covers and Ventilation

Underside View of PSU Mount Area

Underside View of PSU Mount Area

A quick look at the inside top area gives us another look at the PSU support rails. The slotted bracket is where the VGA support bracket gets installed. The Raven RV04 supports long video cards up to 13.3″ long, and because of the inverted motherboard design you have a clear path for multiple video card setups.

Inside Top Area

Inside Top Area

At the inside front location, we can get a good look at the fans Silverstone has used for intake airflow. The fans are Silverstone’s own AP181 and feature their unique air channeling design. The fans can run at a maximum 1200 RPM at a respectable 34 dBA. Additionally, each fan is capable of producing 134 CFM of airflow. With that amount of airflow in combination with the generous amount of ventilation at the back of the case, it makes it easy to do without an exhaust fan. The bottom fan concentrates on air flow to the HDD cages and CPU cooler, while the upper fan is intended to provide airflow through the expansion slots. To help separate the airflow into two zones, a plastic air guide bracket is installed over the upper fan. If you prefer to do without this bracket, it can be removed.

As far as water cooling options go, obviously, the rear exhaust area is a good candidate for an AIO cooler of some sort. The front panel area will support a 360 mm radiator, but both forward HDD cages will have to be removed to accomplish this. In all honesty, this case isn’t really intended to be water cooled, and installing a radiator in the front completely strays from the intended thermal design of the case. So, while water cooling options are available, air cooling is probably the best case scenario for the Raven RV04.

Lower 180 mm Intake Fan

Lower 180 mm Intake Fan

Upper 180 mm Fan With Air Flow Bracket

Upper 180 mm Fan With Air Flow Bracket

The motherboard tray is removable by way of three screws. There are several cable routing holes built into the tray as well as a large CPU cooler access hole. None of the cable routing holes are outfitted with rubber grommets, but the edges are rolled and smooth to the touch. With the motherboard tray removed, I took a couple pictures showing the case stripped down to basically the bare frame.

Motherboard Tray Removed

Motherboard Tray Removed

Bare Case - Right Side

Bare Case – Right Side

Bare Case - Left Side

Bare Case – Left Side

The case wiring is sleeved in most cases and has the typical set found on most chassis today. Each of the two front fans have a split wiring design for connection to a power source and to the fan speed control switches at the front of the case.

Fan Wiring

Fan Wiring

Fan Cables

Fan Cables

HD Audio and USB 3.0 Cables

HD Audio and USB 3.0 Cables

LED and Switch Wiring

LED and Switch Wiring

Now that we have a good feel for the layout of the Raven RV04, let’s go about putting a system together and see what we can come up with!

Putting it all together

We’ll be installing an air cooled system in the Raven RV04 using the following components.

System components

Installation was very easy to accomplish once you wrap your head around the concept of an inverted motherboard design. I followed the installation manual’s suggested assembly procedure, which starts with installing the PSU. It’s recommended that the intake fan be at the topside, which makes sense. Next, I mounted everything I could to the removable motherboard tray, and then re- installed it to the case. As you can see by the last picture below, the CPU cooler access hole is big enough to work with just about any motherboard and cooler combination out there.

PSU Mounted

PSU Mounted

Components Mounted on Motherboard Tray

Components Mounted on Motherboard Tray

Motherboard Tray Reinstalled

Motherboard Tray Reinstalled

CPU Cooler Access Hole

CPU Cooler Access Hole

Next up was installing HDD cages, the CPU scissor support, and the rest of the items listed in the specs above. I had a jungle of wires behind the motherboard tray when I finished up; but with a few well placed wire ties, the side panel went back on with ease. The amount of space between the motherboard tray and side panel rivals cases much higher up the food chain than this one. Good job there!

Rear HDD Cage and CPU Support Installed.

Rear HDD Cage and CPU Support Installed.

Rom Drive Installed

Rom Drive Installed

Man, What a Mess!

Man, What a Mess!

Left Side Panel Re-Installed

Left Side Panel Re-Installed

I was pleased with the end result, it came out looking nice and clean. The cable management holes seemed to be right where I needed them at every turn, and the removable motherboard tray made installation that much easier to accomplish. As you look through the pictures of the completed build below, the bar you see running down the middle is actually the VGA support bracket we talked about earlier.

Build Complete

Build Complete!

Front Lower Area

Front Lower Area

Front Upper Area

Front Upper Area

Upper Rear Area

Upper Rear Area

Lower Rear Area

Lower Rear Area

Angle View

Angle View

Angle View - Windowed Side Panel Installed

Angle View – Windowed Side Panel Installed

Overhead View

Overhead View

Conclusion

The Raven RV04 is an interesting case with its inverted motherboard mounting and right side windowed panel, which is a break from traditional cases for sure. The CPU and VGA support brackets are something you don’t see too often, especially both of them in the same case. The recommended system setup provides excellent front to back airflow through the chassis, due mostly to the quality and size of the Silverstone AP181 fans. If air cooling is your game, this case may well fit your needs. If you’re dead set on water cooling, there are options for that as well. However, there are other cases out there in the same class that might be a better choice for the water cooling crowd. Like I mentioned earlier, where this case shines is when it’s set up for air cooling. I really like the removable motherboard tray in the Raven RV04, it really makes the assembly procedure hassle free and quick. If you have read any of my previous case reviews, you know I’m a stickler for good cable management; and the Raven RV04 didn’t disappoint in this area. There are lots of cable pass through holes and a generous amount of space to hide cables behind the motherboard tray.

About the only real complaint I have about the Raven RV04 is the front door. It’s a bit on the flimsy side and doesn’t quite have enough room under it. As long as you place it on a hard surface, you shouldn’t have a problem with the lack of clearance. While the front door doesn’t quite meet the quality standards we’ve come to expect from a Silverstone product, it’s really not all that bad when used in the appropriate environment.

Currently, the Raven RV04 is selling for $159.99 at Newegg. It’s tough to do a direct price comparison with other cases because there aren’t many full tower cases with strictly an inverted motherboard mounting design. In fact, the only other one at Newegg is another Silverstone case – the Raven RV02. The Raven RV02 sells for $45 more than this case, but does have more high-end features than the Raven RV04. So, with that in mind, I think the asking price is about where it should be. In the end, we have a uniquely designed case that breaks away from tradition and should appeal to those preferring an air cooled system.

Overclockers_clear_approvedClick the stamp for an explanation of what this means.

-Dino DeCesari (Lvcoyote)

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Discussion
  1. Just a heads up.
    The Article is written as if the cases used the 90 degree rotation of the previous raven series cases. The RV04 is just a reverse ATX case. It was in vogue in the early aughts, and cases like the stacker had a reversible motherboard tray so one could run ATX or rATX style.
    In the summary it even compars the RV04 to the RV02 although they are two different beasts.
    The only reason rATX never made it to be the standard was the oh so popular DFI boards had VRM heatpipes and they would not function properly in the inverted position.
    There are half a dozen companies making rATX cases. In fact silverstone makes a few models themself :) FT02 FT04, TJ series etc
    LianLi makes a bunch, caselabs has the old coolermaster optional reversible motherboard tray. Coolermaster makes one or two still i think. There is a nother company that uses it alot too I can't recall at the moment.
    Neuromancer
    Just a heads up.
    The Article is written as if the cases used the 90 degree rotation of the previous raven series cases. The RV04 is just a reverse ATX case. It was in vogue in the early aughts, and cases like the stacker had a reversible motherboard tray so one could run ATX or rATX style.
    In the summary it even compars the RV04 to the RV02 although they are two different beasts.
    The only reason rATX never made it to be the standard was the oh so popular DFI boards had VRM heatpipes and they would not function properly in the inverted position.
    There are half a dozen companies making rATX cases. In fact silverstone makes a few models themself :) FT02 FT04, TJ series etc
    LianLi makes a bunch, caselabs has the old coolermaster optional reversible motherboard tray. Coolermaster makes one or two still i think. There is a nother company that uses it alot too I can't recall at the moment.

    You are mostly right, but the FT02 is an inverted ATX setup meaning its only rotated 90 degrees, not 180 degrees like this RV04 and some others.
    Reverse ATX (RV04)

    Inverted ATX (FT02)
    Yup thanks, I just looked at the images real fast.
    90 degree rotation is freaking awesome. I was looking forward to doing that with my under the desk PC so I could push it all the way back against teh wall.
    But then I went with a horizontal (desktop/HTPC) style layout instead.
    It's too bad they decided to go with a more conventional mounting style for the motherboard with this case. The market is really lacking options when it comes to getting a case that has an inverted layout.