With the major success SilverStone’s Raven series has experienced in the past, the RV03 has a lot to live up to. A full-tower on its side, the Raven 03 orients your motherboard to exhaust heat out the top, and as a result, makes installation an interesting process. Let’s take a look and see if this gold-trimmed $130 offering hits its mark.
I’ll start off with the subjective bit; styling. I love the look of the Raven 3 case. Everything about it appeals to me, but everybody has different tastes. The Raven 3 seems to be a more refined version of the first but a more aggressive version of the second with just enough flash to appeal to my eye. The white light accent at the top was a nice touch too, without being too tacky.
Something that cannot be debated is the quality of the case. It’s built very well, there’s no flex to any of the parts, the paint job is excellent inside and out, and everything with the exception of the 2.5″ drives installed flawlessly.
USB 3.0 front panel connections (if the motherboard supports it), excellent cooling capability, very nice cable management and tons of room for expansion all make for a very well rounded case. Then there are the little things as well such as the ability to stealth an optical drive and mesh drive covers behind the solid plastic covers to ensure maximum cooling.
Since I mentioned the 2.5″ drives, I have to mention those flaws again. It wouldn’t have hurt to include eight standard 2.5″ mounting screws instead of leaving the user to try to secure their drive in vain using screws intended for 5.25″ devices. I’m not sure who missed this on the design team, but it could not have been thought through.
Also, the mounting method is very intricate in that users have to maneuver the screws through the side of the tray, get it lined up with the metal tab and then secure it in place. Maybe I just have terrible hand-eye coordination (that would explain some of my recent dismal gaming performance) but this is far from a user-friendly approach.
Also the fact that so much needs to be done in order to use the 5.25″ bays to mount 3.5″ drives is another strike against this case. This may not be too bad for someone who has a set-it-and-forget-it build where drives will be installed for months or even years at a time without ever having to be moved. It would have been nice to see a tool-less mounting system for the drive cages as well to eliminate the need to remove all of these screws, and in doing so, two of the 3.5″ drive trays from the right side.
One final point to mention is that I had to re-run the power cable from the outlet, around my desk instead of behind it in order to reach the location of the power connection at the front of the case. Having the connection here means users will lose about two feet from the length of the power cable. This configuration allows for a very clean look but it would have been nice to see the internal power cable run along the right side of the case and out the back or out the bottom right.
To some, I may be overly critical of the cases that I review. The Raven RV03 does so much, so right, but it’s the rest that keeps it from being a true winner in my eyes. It weighs in at about $135 so I would expect a little more refinement in the drive mounting system.
If you need a solid case with loads of room to work in as well as for your present and future components, the Raven 3 is a great choice. Just be prepared to put in a little bit of extra work depending on how you lay out the components.
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