No Poe references – honest!
We loved Silverstone's last Raven case, the RV01, unreservedly. For a case that we actually had some reservations about when we started to look at it, it quickly dawned on us that Silverstone was really pulling out all the stops to create a rather unique, practical and striking design. The RV02 (gallery here) is the 01's slightly littler brother, and it's another win for Silverstone.
The RV02 seems a lot longer than a lot of cases, but that's because it's lost about six inches in height compared to most tower cases - as such, the dimensions do seem a little odd, but it's something that's easy to get used to. The same stealth-inspired lines give the 02 a low and sleek look, and the power and reset buttons are well-made, and highlighted by a nice LED strip that almost makes the case look as though it has some Cylon blood in its heritage.
Internally, pretty much everything looks like it was designed in Bizarro World, but in a good way! The motherboard sits on the left-hand panel of the case, the reverse of pretty every other case design. This is because the mobo orients such that the expansion slots point out the top of the case, just like the 01. A plastic shroud hides unsightly cables from things like video and sound cards, as well as the power cable - the PSU orients upward as well. The cables are channelled to the upper rear of the case by a cable-guide-cum-carry handle - very practical!
The great thing about this design is that since hot air naturally rises, the single exhaust fan is more than adequate to keep the case ventilated - especially when you consider the three 180mm fans pulling in air from the case's underside. This does leave your drives a little un-loved, but the open interior should still provide enough airflow for all but the most intensive of RAID arrays.
Another good side effect of venting hot air upward is the fact that you can place this case hard up against a wall without hindering airflow. If your computing/gaming space is pushed for room, this could be a Godsend.
Build-wise, the Raven's a mix of matte black plastic and steel - it's not the lightest case, but it's well built. The drive bays are secured by a push-button tool-less clasp, and there's even an SSD bay - very forward thinking! Thankfully, Silverstone seems to have been paying attention to our general dislike of tool-less solutions for expansion cards, and has instead stuck with good old reliable screws. Bless. There are two watercooling grommets on the case's underside, and there are filters on the lower fans that can be removed for cleaning.
About the only serious limitation of the RV02 is in terms of the larger graphics cards - the interior space allows for cards of up to 12.2in - that's pushing some of the larger cards we've seen come through the labs recently - with the removal of fan guards at the bottom of the case. If you've got a monster, custom-cooled video card, this case will fit it.
For everyone else, though, this is a great - and well-priced - case, heaped with features and dripping with class. Just make sure you do a good build, so that you can show off with the windowed panel!