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When we reviewed the SilverStone Fortress FT04, we found it to be an excellent performance case hampered by structural and aesthetic problems. Combined with the high price of US$230, it was a tough sell, especially compared to its predecessor. The FT02 is still on the market, delivering even better performance at a similar price without any of the FT04's nagging issues. The Raven RV04 is flawed as well though not quite to the same extent, and at US$160, is a much easier pill to swallow. That being said, the RV04 isn't simply an FT04 wrapped up in a plastic shell there are some key differences that unfortunately all diminish its appeal.
Using lower quality materials is not the only cost-saving measure evident in the RV04's design. Corners have been cut in areas concerning noise management. Instead of adjustable dials for the fan controllers there are three speed switches, making it more difficult to fine-tune the amount of airflow delivered and noise generated. The FT04's acoustic dampening sheets are completely absent, leaving the case potentially prone to standing waves. Instead of backward facing intake vents along the sides of the bezel, there's a big unimpeded gap which allows noise to escape.
The FT04's most prominent feature, its thick aluminum door, is the root of some of its problems. The RV04 is improvement in this regard, though that's not really saying much. We shouldn't have to compliment SilverStone for producing a door that doesn't touch the ground and can't be blown open by a gust of wind. While the door doesn't cause as many issues, it's not nearly as attractive as the FT04's ambitious curved cover. The empty space just doesn't look right and the new Raven's pattern design is off-putting.
With its significantly lower price-tag, the Raven RV04 represents a better overall value than its aluminum brother, but we'd be more complimentary if it had been a straight-up plastic copy. The RV04 not only lacks aluminum construction, its feature-set is poorer and its appearance is unappealing. Our general opinion of the FT04 applies to the RV04 as well its predecessor is a better option unless the newer model's more traditional physical dimensions are a sticking point.
Our thanks to SilverStone for the Raven RV04 case sample.
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this article in the SPCR Forums.
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