The Raven is an interesting product and throughout testing we have had a number of mixed thoughts about the chassis.
First and foremost, this is a design concept we have never seen from SilverStone before. Gone are the understated, slick looking design cues we’re used to seeing and the Raven has been given a dose of sci-fi inspired structural engineering in the form of plastic panels covering the core chassis. Yes the plastic is high quality and everything is constructed superbly with all the parts fitting tightly and securely but the chassis is just screaming for aluminium. As we know it would have been significantly more difficult and more expensive to make this design out of anything other than plastic, but perhaps they could have used a slightly different design.
As far as the stack effect cooling system is involved, the advantages in such a small area aren’t incredibly noticeable with a fully equipped system with powerful component fans in operation, another SilverStone high end chassis is capable of performing just as well in that situation.
Where the Raven really starts to shine is when you begin to tweak the setup to an almost completely fan-free configuration. Using the TRUE Black for example as a passive cooler, the difference in thermal performance with the intake fans installed and removed was negligible, a testament to the ethos of the stack effect.
One of the difficulties we had with the case was the installation of our test system, however in retrospect much of that is down to the fact that we are just so accustomed to setting up systems in the traditional manner. The other aspect is the fact that motherboards are designed with a regular ATX arrangement in mind.
The SilverStone Raven isn’t simple, or easy. If you’re looking for something proven and traditional you might want to look at some of their other offerings or a high end case from Lian-Li (slightly out of this price range however) or Coolermaster.
The Raven is new, innovative and the idea works. The vertically orientated motherboard is not something we’re accustomed to seeing but I’m sure we will see more of this design ethic in the future. If the SilverStone Raven’s design appeals to you then don’t let the plastic dissuade you from a possible purchase, I can assure you it is extremely solid and build quality is up to SilverStone’s standards. The case is certainly not perfect in all other areas though, certain aspects of the interior could be refined, especially around the motherboard tray where I feel the cable routing system could be made a little more practical to use.
If you like the aesthetics and the new thermal design intrigues you then the case is certainly worth checking out, the numbers in our thermal testing speak for themselves and the case has a lot of flexibility and potential.
A little fine-tuning in some important areas could really make this a class leading chassis.
There was a time a few years ago that Hi-Fi/AMP like HTPC cases were everywhere. That has changed a bit in recent times due to some excellent m-ATX boards allowing builds in compact chassis however there is still something about the home theatre component style of design which can be appealing...