SilverStone Raven RV03

Cases|Damping
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AUDIO RECORDINGS

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 ambient noise, then 10 second segments of product at various states. For the most realistic results, set the volume so that the starting ambient level is just barely audible, then don't change the volume setting again while comparing all the sound files.

FINAL THOUGHTS

The SilverStone Raven RV03 endured our torture tests with grace like its predecessors, the RV02 and Fortress FT02, despite shedding a fan in the update. The basic design still works wonders as the rotated motherboard tray design plus the immense fans in the case floor creates effective cooling for the main heat sources while limiting noise. The RV03 is the best tower we've tested in recent memory with a single GPU configuration, and one of the best with two cards in CrossFireX. The only way to beat it in such a power hungry system is to have a massive fan blowing directly over the graphics cards a la the In Win Dragon Rider.

Moving the power supply to the bottom front allowed SilverStone to reduce the case depth considerably, giving it a more conventional shape without sacrificing performance. The fan mount on the right side panel that blows directly behind the CPU socket can also be advantageous; we wish SilverStone had included a fan for it. Perhaps our favorite feature is the ability to mount hard drives behind the motherboard tray where the noise they generate is easily masked if the case is placed on one's right-hand side. SilverStone did this with the Temjin TJ08-E, but the Raven RV03 is more solidly built, and does not suffer vibration issues. The dust filters for the behemoth fans are also more conveniently located than previous Ravens, accessible from the outside without removing the side panel.

A couple of the changes were less positive. The RV02 had a simple hard drive cage that pulled out after releasing a few thumbscrews. In contrast, the RV03 requires drive bay covers and screws on both the left and right sides to be taken off, followed by the dismantling of the drive assembly. Front fans might interfere with the established bottom-to-top airflow dynamic so it might be best to remove the fan cages completely. The side window is also smaller and uglier, fashioned in an odd trapezoid shape. Thankfully they also sell a model without a window.

Overall, the SilverStone Raven RV03 is a substantial improvement over its predecessor and well worth the current street price. US$140~160 is more than reasonable for a spacious, well-designed, high-performing premium tower.

Our thanks to SilverStone for the Raven RV03 case sample.

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