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Chassis: SilverStone Raven RV02-BW

Tom's Hardware's 2009 Gift Guide: Part 1, For System Builders
By: Ed Tittel

SilverStone has been building capable, attractive PC enclosures for some time, with offerings that appeal to a wide range of market niches. The Raven RV02-BW aims squarely at the high-performance PC and gaming crowds, with its sideways design and side-panel window to show off the PC’s innards. The 90-degree rotation means that heat naturally travels upward on its way out the case, where twin overhead vents and a 120mm exhaust fan accelerate it out of the case away from sensitive circuitry and components. The Raven RV02-BW’s solid steel internal construction is quite sturdy, though at 27.5 lbs (12.5 kg) it’s pretty hefty in its own right.

Strong enough for a man, but built for her!Strong enough for a man, but built for her!

The matte-black finish is understated and attractive, with a plastic shell outside the unit’s internal steel cage. The overall design is neither overly flashy nor terribly boring. The case's external connectivity suite is situated at the front edge of the top surface, with two USB ports, plus audio out and microphone jacks for easy access even when stashed under a desk or computer workstation.

Aside from the sideways motherboard layout, the Raven's best features include lots of bays and great ventilation. Up to eight externally-facing 5.25" device bays are available, of which up to three may be repurposed as internal 3.25" hard drive enclosures. In addition to the 120mm exhaust fan at the top-rear of the unit, it also features 3 x 180mm intake fans at the bottom of the case. All fans are desighned to run at low speeds (950 RPM for the top fan, 700-1,000 RPM for the bottom fans) and are rated at either 18 dBA (very quiet) or 18/27 dBA (barely audible, even at the high end).

With room for a full-sized ATX motherboard, gamers and performance enthusiasts can stock this case with a wide range of components and peripherals, with room to maneuver during installation and later tinkering or upgrades. Cable management is at least decent throughout the case, if not better in others (pro tip: extra long, 1m, SATA cables will be helpful in this enclosure). The tool-free drive retention clips also make it easy to add and move hard disks within this enclosure.

If you have a gamer or enthusiast PC builder to buy for this Christmas, the Raven RV02-BW makes a nice gift, and will certainly consume some serious space under the tree (in the box, it’s huge; outside of its cardboard home, the dimensions are 25.31” x 8.35" x 19.80" HWD).

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