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These recordings were made with a high resolution, lab quality, digital recording
system inside SPCR's own 11 dBA ambient anechoic chamber, then converted to
LAME 128kbps encoded MP3s. We've listened long and hard to ensure there is no
audible degradation from the original WAV files to these MP3s. They represent
a quick snapshot of what we heard during the review.
Each recording starts with 7~10 seconds of ambient noise, then 8~10 second
segments of product at various states. For the most
realistic results, set the volume so that the starting ambient level is barely
audible, back the volume control off a touch to make it just inaudible, then
don't change the volume setting again while comparing all the sound files.
Minimalist High Performance System at idle, 17 dBA@1m
Single 4870 High Performance System at idle, 20 dBA@1m
Dual 4870 High Performance System at full load, two 18cm fans on High,
Comparative Case Recordings
Raven with CPU and system fans at 70% idle and on full load, and at 100% on
full load (20, 27 and 29 dBA@1m SPL)
Raven "Baseline": 18cm system fans at 7V, 9V and 12V (13,
17 and 22 dBA@1m SPL)
Twelve Hundred - Test Configuration #1 (HD 4870) at 1m
load, CPU fan @ 100%, top and rear fans @ low (25~26 dBA@1m)
load, CPU fan @ 100%, front fan @ low (26 dBA@1m)
load, CPU fan @ 100%, top, rear, and front fans @ low (27 dBA)
load, CPU fan @ 100%, top, rear, and side fans @ low (28 dBA)
The SilverStone Raven Two continues in the path forged by its predecessor,
with some interesting changes, both positive and not so positive. For cooling
of hot systems with minimal noise, the Raven Two is SPCR's new champ, by a small
but clearly measurable margin. While there are many functional and stylistic
differences, its closest competitor is the Antec Twelve Hundred, which it edges
mostly by virtue of its nicer sounding fans. The advantage might have been a
serendipitous accident, but there it is nonetheless: The Raven Two fans, as
implemented in the case, are clearly smoother sounding than any of the standard
TriCool fans used in the Antec cases.
The Raven Two is generally an improvement over the Raven One. It has three
quiet 18cm fans, intsead of two; those fans have built-in high / low speed settings;
it's not nearly as tall or garish looking as the Raven One; the 12cm fan in
the new case is considerably quieter than the one in the old. Finally, the Raven
Two does a better job of cooling with slightly lower noise. The height of the
case is at more acceptable typical mid-tower levels, and dropping support for
EATX motherboards will hardly lose any potential customer. Almost all the performance-oriented
consumers are staying with single CPU ATX boards these days, and the Raven does
support the very biggest of these boards.
The hard drive mounting system is one of the Raven One's best features, but
it's probably one of the Raven Two's worst, if you value easy access to the
HDDs (specifically removing or adding them). Yes, the HDD cage is accessible
through the front bezel, but the procedure is more tedious than in most cases.
It also does not offer the backplane SATA option of the Raven One.
There are a few other aspects of the case that could use improvement. The fit
of PCI cards and the openings for them on the top panel was not great; hopefully,
this is an isolated sample issue. Perhaps the motherboard tray could use a bit
more rigidity. The power and reset button switches on the top corners are just
a bit too easy to hit accidentally; during testing, it happened several times.
The cables at the top of the case may cause headaches for some. Using a tall
adapter (like for a video card) makes it hard for the top cover to fit.
Back to positives, cable management via the back side of the motherboard tray
is quite good, with many points for wire ties to be used. The overall build
quality is good. The steel side panels are reasonably thick, the plastic is
sturdy, and the manual is surprisingly detailed and useful.
In summary, the Raven Two is a very good case for a high performance system,
and it manages to provide excellent cooling with less noise than any other case
of its class that we've reviewed. It's not without faults, but they can be forgiven
in light of its performance. At the current $165~220 street price, it's certainly
competitive with other high end gaming cases. We're happy to bestow our firm
recommendation for the Raven Two's combination of innovative design, effective
cooling and low noise.
SilverStone Raven Two
* Very good cooling design
* Smooth, quiet fans
* Useful 2-speed switch on 18cm fans
* Very low baseline noise
* Visually more subtle than Raven One
* Very deep
* Poor HDD cage access
* Unusual aesthetics?
* Big, bright power light
Our thanks to SilverStone
Technology for the Raven case sample.
The SilverStone Raven Two is Recommended by SPCR
* * *
Articles of Related Interest
Cases: Basics & Recommendations
Antec Twelve Hundred Gaming Case
SilverStone Fortress FT01:
Positive Pressure Case
SilverStone Raven EATX Tower Case
Antec Nine Hundred Two Gaming Case
Antec P183: The P182 Gets More Air
Antec CP-850: Unique PSU with Top Performance
X-650: Seasonic hits Gold
* * *
this article in the SPCR Forums.
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