Six Low-Noise, Performance-Oriented Cases, Tested

Building With The SilverStone Raven 2 Evolution

Designed to attract gamers, the Raven 2 Evolution (RV02-E) borrows enough features from its "high-end" Fortress 2 sibling that SilverStone decided to present it for our performance-to-noise comparison. Oversized, low-speed, bottom-mounted intake fans are the key design feature that void heat without presenting a front-panel hole by which noise would otherwise be directed at the user.

The RV02-E includes a Velcro power supply support strap, radiator mounting brackets (that reduce supported graphics card length), a combined bag of screws, a 3.5” panel adapter for its 5.25” bays, 3.5” external drive brackets, a fan power splitter, a power supply corner brace, a 2.5” drive mounting plate, and five re-usable cable ties.

Optical drives simply screw into their bays, as outlined in How To Build A PC.

The RV02-E uses slide-out drive rails exclusively for 3.5” devices, but adds a separate 2.5” bay adapter for installation elsewhere. Silicon bushings reduce the transmission of vibration from 3.5” drives to the chassis, while shoulder screws prevent those bushings from being crushed.

The 2.5” drive adapter screws to the side of the 5.25” drive cage, blocking access to the screws of two bays. The tray mount is offset from the drive bay beneath to allow any drive behind it to use standard screws, rather than the longer thumbscrews that SilverStone prefers for convenience.

The RV02-E places the motherboard and power supply in traditional orientation relative to each other, yet flips the entire tray on its face compared to most other systems. With the power supply now hanging from what would have been the back panel, SilverStone adds a removable plastic corner brace and Velcro strap for additional support.

Readers with good spatial reasoning will instantly recognize the similarities and differences between the RV02-E and more conventional builds.

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  • Tamz_msc
    i7 2600K at 34.5 GHz? o.O
  • Anonymous
    the rv03 is out at less $$$ you guys should do a rv02-E vs rv03 round in the cooling side and thats because the rv03 has more fans
  • dragonsqrrl
    Using a SilverStone Fortress Series FT02B-W here. Basically identical interior design, except in my opinion the exterior is more aesthetically pleasing. Glad to confirm the excellent cooling characteristics.

    Another big plus with the Fortress 2 is the inclusion of sound dampening foam on every panel, but to be entirely honest with you, due to the open nature of the case, I'm really not sure how much sound it's actually dampening.
  • henryvalz
    34.5 Ghz...

    Hell, yes! About time, pushing those extreme overclocks!
  • Gamer-girl
    I think there needs to be info on how much space there is for graphics cards.
  • xmaswraith
    34.5 gigahertz? 34.5 gigahertz? Great Scott!

    Marty, I'm sorry. But the only power source capable of generating 34.5 gigahertz of electricity is a bolt of lightning... (begin back to the future theme song!)
    henryvalz34.5 Ghz...Hell, yes! About time, pushing those extreme overclocks!

    I bet they were overclocking from Pluto.
  • killerclick
    JOSHSKORNI bet they were overclocking from Pluto.

    Didn't you watch the news? Astronomers sent a dwarf in a rocket to remove Pluto so it doesn't exist anymore.
  • Luay
    RV-03 pushes more air and cools better than the 02, but it's also louder.
  • madsbs
    Yet, as a gaming case, the Raven 2 Evolution may not fulfill the aesthetic or storage needs of some computing professionals
  • madsbs
    "Yet, as a gaming case, the Raven 2 Evolution may not fulfill the aesthetic or storage needs of some computing professionals"

    This conclusion makes no sense. Why do "computing professional gamers" need storage.
    And further the case holds 5 HDDs. That's 1 SSD + 4x2TB of storage.
  • srgess
    35.4ghz with silent operation ! Wondering if it can play crysis !
  • Anonymous
    Sonata - top mounted PSU = no go, especially for semi passive ones.

    Fractal or Raven? This is harder one.
  • VirtualMirage
    The specs on page one for the Fractal Design Define XL are wrong. The intake fan is 140mm, not 120mm. There is room for 2 140mm intake fans plus a 120mm intake fan. The specs list incorrectly shows it as one 120mm fan with an alternative for three 120mm fans.
  • Petey1013
    madsbs"Yet, as a gaming case, the Raven 2 Evolution may not fulfill the aesthetic or storage needs of some computing professionals"This conclusion makes no sense. Why do "computing professional gamers" need storage. And further the case holds 5 HDDs. That's 1 SSD + 4x2TB of storage.

    You mean 5x2TB. It holds 5 HDDs and a SSD.

    Also, the FT02, although more expensive, should have been used due to the extra sound dampening material.
  • randomstar
    Anyone remember the Silio case? is it still in production? Quiet, insulated, cools well.
  • Anonymous
    This is unusual for Tom' inconclusive review on poorly chosen hardware.
  • verbalizer
    I do not particularly care for ANY of these cases, thanks anyways..
  • chesteracorgi
    I'd rate the Bitfinix, Lian Li and Silverstone for having the best aesthetics. Antec's design placing the PSU at the top is anachronistic: heating the top of the case. Silverstone's idiosyncratic design produces the best cooling at the price of more noise. None of these cases give me a second thought about going with the Corsair 600T.
  • marraco
    I would love an article about how to "make it yourself".

    Do a case with good electromagnetic and noise insulation. With good cooling.

    What materials are better? Is electromagnetic insulation that important? (so, is necessary a conductive -metallic- case?)

    how do you solve the precise location of backward holes (for motherboard, and boards).

    how do you make the holes for different form factors (hint: there are standards)

    etc. there is a lot to talk. You can make a cheap case much better than the trademark garbage sold.