Silverstone Raven Two

Table of Contents

Soon after the original model was released, SilverStone went back to the drawing board with the goal of creating a second generation Raven with wider appeal. The Raven Two dispenses with EATX support for less imposing dimensions, yet adds another 18cm fan and is said to be cooler and quieter.

Silverstone Raven Two

Dec 4, 2009 by Mike Chin

SilverStone Raven RV02
ATX Tower Case
Market Price

The original Raven, which we reviewed in the spring earlier this year, was
clearly a success, at least in terms of functionaility. It kept our hot gaming
system well cooled yet very quiet. The only real drawback was the dramatic "Knight
of the Night" styliing, which probably split reaction into opposing camps:
Those who love it and those who hate it. Version Two of the Raven comes sheathed
in a similar but more subtle exterior, without EATX motherboard support this
time, which results in useful reductions in size and perhaps less polarized
responses to the style. SilverStone says it’s been refined in many ways, which
is usually a good thing.

The official story from SilverStone:

After releasing the ground-breaking RAVEN RV01, the first retail chassis
to utilize the 90 degree motherboard mounting layout, SilverStone’s RAVEN
team quickly went back to the drawing board to create another chassis with
even more mass appeal. The resulting RAVEN RV02 is smaller, lighter, and higher
performing. Compatibility with Extended-ATX motherboard and server level storage
capacity were sacrificed in favor of a more compact dimension and consumer
oriented design. Three custom designed 180mm fans and one 120mm fan are included
in the RV02 to provide noise to cooling performance ratio that breaks existing
benchmark for enthusiast chassis. Additional features such as the inclusion
of the 8th expansion slot (for triple or quad graphics cards), all black painted
interior, custom designed hard drive suspension cage, and radiator mounts
completes a package that will not only appeal to hardware enthusiasts but
also to anyone looking to assemble a system that makes a statement with plenty
of cooling and very little noise.

Another huge box.

Again, the case is well packed and protected, in a very large box.

It is cushioned with styrofoam, which breaks more easily than closed
cell foam.

It’s not as tall as the Raven One, but deeper, and with fewer stylistic
features reminiscent of the Batmobile.

The Raven Two is a large case with a big side window on the right side. Normally,
this means access is from the right side, and the motherboard ends up being
installed "upside down". But in the Raven Two, as in the original,
the motherboard is rotated 90 degrees from normal, so that all the "rear"
ports are facing the top. The top exterior panel is dramatically styled, and
mostly perforated; it is the primary exhaust vent for the case. Unlike the Raven
One, whose steel panels were entirely wrapped in plastic, the side and back
panels are one layer of steel.

As with the RV01, the core concept is an attempt to employ the heat rise of
natural convection for more effective cooling. The intake vents and fans are
at the bottom, blowing up, and the exhaust vents are at the top. The concept
worked well in the RV01; perhaps it is even better executed here.

Model No.  
SST-RV02B (black)
SST-RV02B-W (black + window)
Material reinforced plastic outer shell,
0.8mm Steel body.
Color Matte black
Motherboard SSI CEB, ATX (maximum 12” x 11”)
, Micro ATX
Drive Bay External 5.25″ x 5 or 8 (without hard drive)
Internal 3.5″ x 3 (w/ suspension system), 2.5” x 1 for
Cooling System Front
Top 1 x 120mm exhaust fan, 950rpm, 18dBA
Bottom 3 x 180mm intake fan 700/1000rpm, 18/27dBA
Expansion Slot 8
Front I/O Port USB2.0 x 2
audio x 1
MIC x 1
Power Supply 1 x optional standard PS2 (ATX)
Expansion Card Compatible with expansion card up
to 12 inches
Net Weight 12.5kg
Dimension 212mm (W) x 503mm (H) x 643mm (D)

A few of things worthy of note:

  • It is made not of aluminum, as with many SilverStone cases, but of 0.8mm
    thick steel and plastic.
  • The 12.5kg weight is actually modest for such a large steel case.
  • SPL specs are given for the four fans: 18 dBA for the 120mm top fan and
    18/27 dBA for the bottom three fans, which have two selectable speeds. These
    numbers are respectably low.
  • There’s officially room for only four HDDs, three 3.5" and one 2.5".
    However, the remaining five 5.25" bays could easily be used for HDDs
    as well.


Due to the unusual features and design of the RV02, there are many photos.
We begin with the outside.

The front panel appears monolithic, with lines dividing up much of
the facia into eight rectagular sections, suggesting the option to install
that many optical drives.

The "front panel" is up at the front of the top panel, which
is logical as a case this size will be placed on the floor. The power
and reset buttons are near the corners, with USB and audio ports in the
center. The buttons look a bit too easy to hit accidentally, and they
need very little force to trigger. Smaller, recessed button with less
hair-trigger action would have been better.

The view from the top reveals a large area of ventilation mesh.
It’s mostly plastic, like the front facia, but the mesh is metal.

The right side is unadored. Note the integral "feet", which
raise the bottom panel just a bit over one inch up from the floor. This
is to ensure good intake for the three big fans at the bottom.

Here’s the bottom panel, with grills for three large intake fans.

The backpanel has a large square vent, which is removable, as it
is a filter. Another similar
vent lies beneath. This is the
intake for the power supply.

Close-up of dust filter for PSU intake.


The top cover must be removed for access to the thumbscrews that
hold the side panels in place.

The top vent cover comes off with a sharp pull on the front edge.

The top panel looks much like the back panel of the typical tower
case. Two thumbscrews hold each side panel in place.

Interior view, looking up towards the top panel. Note the square opening
in the motherboard tray, which provides access to the underside of the
board even after it’s been installed. This is useful for dealing with
heatsinks that bolt through the board and require access to the underside
with support plates or retaining nuts.

Interior view, looking down towards the fans. Note the large rectangular
opening at the bottom of the motherboard tray which eases cable management
between the back side and the front side of the tray.

The HDDs mount in a "sub-cage" that can be moved up into other
positions. The optical drives are locked in place with a single-action
tool-less mechanism we’ve seen in other SilverStone chassis.

The HDD cage features soft rubber grommets for vibration damping and hold
the drives vertically.

The dust filers for the 180mm intake fans slide out
simply for cleaning once the side cover is removed.

This is a view of the back corner where the PSU is mounted. It’s meant
for PSUs that use 120mm or larger fans mounted on the "bottom"
of the PSU. The large grill on the back panel is the intake for the PSU,
which, as we saw on the outside, is filtered for dust. The surprisingly
detailed manual states that PSUs up to 230mm long can be accommodated.
The 120mm exhaust fan has the same function as the back panel fan on any
tower case; it exhausts the hot air from around the CPU and the VGA.

INTERIOR (continued)

Its under the left side cover that a 2.5" drive can be installed,
on the left side of the optical drive bay. The 2.5" drive is screwed to
an adapter, which is then screwed to the side of the drive bay. It’s intended
for a solid state drive, but a notebook drive could be installed here as well
— albeit with no vibration damping.

Cables run mostly on this side, especially the cables from the fan.
Note that some cables go up toward the top panel, near the 120mm exhaust

This is where the two-position fan speed switches are located. They
are for the three bottom-mounted intake fans, and switch between high
(1000rpm) and low (700rpm) speed. No such switch is provided for the 120mm
fan, which one presumes could be run off a temperature controll motherboard
fan header.

2.5" drive goes onto the adapter first.

The adapter with 2.5" drive can then be mounted on the side of the
optical drive cage. (The masses of black make photography difficult here.)

SilverStone has also made the RV01 easily adaptable for watercooling. A section
of the 38-page multilingual manual is devoted to this topic. The basic procedure
is to mount the appropriate size radiator over the middle and back 18cm fans.
The language almost suggests that SilverStone offers a radiator designed specifically
to fit here, but no such accessory is listed at the company’s web site. From
a cooling functionality point of view, blowing the heat of the radiators up
into the case doesn’t seem like a very smart move; you’d be better off having
it blow out, but this might cause some airflow restruction due to the close
proximity of the floor to the fans. There’s also the question of where exactly
to position the water pump.

Detail of suggested radiator installation from RV02 manual.

There are two ports on the bottom panel, and the very back behind the
back fan, for routing water tubing out of the case.


The same components used in several other recent large case reviews were installed
in the Raven Two, with a powerful graphics card as well as a Crossfire configuration.
Only the Seasonic X650 80 Plus Gold PSU is new in the mix; the new efficiency
champ had to be tried in a real system, 😉

System Components:

Before embarking on system assembly, the HDD drive cage was moved up a step
to help reduce potential turbulence effects with the fron 180mm fan so close
directly below it. It’s hard to imaging anyone needing all eight drive bays,
so this seemed a reasonable move. Most quiet-oriented builders would do the

The HDD cage was moved up for better airflow from the fan below it.

The HDD cage proved to be a bit of nuisance later. It cannot be removed from
inside the case when the motherboard is installed. Once the motherboard is in
place, it blocks the HDD cage so that the only way to remove the cage is via
the front bezel. The front bezel can be removed by undoing six screws from the
inside of the case, with both side panels off, and then the cage can be pulled
out from the front. This is not well thought out, especially considering the
hard core DIY audience for which the Raven Two is intended. They will be wanting
access to HDDs often, and it is a tedious, time consuming task here. It might
be better to do away with the drive cage altogether and just tether up some
elastic cord in the 5.25" bay spaces to get really effective HDD vibration
damping; this is very easy to do with all the symetrically placed holes on the
sides of the 5.25" drive bays.

The HDD cage cannot be pulled out from inside the case once the motherboard
is installed — which was done here before the HDD was installed in
the cage.

Getting access to the HDD cage via the front is a bit of a pain.

Finally got the drive and cage in place. Do this

before you install
the motherboard.

The PSU installation is also a bit unusual, though not troublesome. Four screws
are used as in any case, but there is no vertical rest because the length or
depth of ATX power supplies varies so much, unlike its "height". So
rather than just allowing the PSU to hang off the four screws atop, SilverStone
has provided a velcro strap to go around the middle of the PSU, sort of like
a belt, to help share some of the weight.

Supporting velco strap for the PSU.

PSU screwed and strapped to the chassis.

A thoughtful and helpful touch: Cutouts on the "handle" at the
back of the top panel fit the shaft of a screwdriver, which ease access
to the screws for mounting the power supply.

The initial minimalist build without any PCIe video cards was very neat
and tidy, even on the back side.

Even with two dual-slot PCIe video cards, it was reasonably tidy…

…not not on the back side. Note the CPU backplate fully accessible on
this side through the hole in the motherboard tray. This is very handy
if you need to remove or replace the backpate, .

Aside from the HDD cage annoyance, one other potentially serious problem was
identified during the installation of the video cards. Anyone who has installed
a PCI card or two in more than one case soon learns that there is some variation
in mechanical manufacturing tolerances, so that the card, motherboard, and slot
opening don’t always line up perfectly. Some small degree of adjustment may
be necessary for a good fit, whether a tiny repositioning of the motherboard
that’s sometimes available (depending on how the mounting screws and holes line
up) or minor bending of the metal plate on the card, or even the back panel
of the chassis itself.

In our sample of the RV02, when the case is standing in normal position, the
motherboard and the back panel are not quite perpendicular to each other as
they should be. The deviation from 90-degree alignment is enough that when the
video card is firmly and fully seated in the PCIe slot, the top of the card’s
mounting plate falls short of its correct position by 2-3mm. Getting the mouting
screw in place can be done only by applying some force to the video card, and
it means that the back end pulls slightly out of the slot (while still making
contact). Interestingly, when the case is placed on its side with the motherboard
facing up, the video cards fit and line up nicely. This suggests some flexing
in the motherboard tray which could cause mechanical stresses on the card and
the motherboard. No problems were encountered with either motherboard or video
cards during the testing, so none of the components suffered any damage. Still,
this is slightly worrisome in a case that retails around $200.

Then, there’s the minor annoyance of the big bright blue light that announces
when the PC is turned on. The simple solution for those who find this a problem
is not to connect the 4-pin power connector for this light. Another solution
might be to find a way to dim it.

The power on light is too bright and prominent for some people.


Measurement and Analysis Tools


All of the case fans were removed from the chassis for some basic testing.
The 120mm fan was simple to removed. The 180mm fan removal was slightly more
complex, but also not difficult.

Remove the dust filter, undo two screws and slide the 180mm fan out.
The slide mechanism fits tightly enough that there’s no rattling when
the fan is mounted in place. Shown here without the protective cover.

The big fan has seven blades and its mounted on a tray that’s also a frame
to hold the dust filter show behind. The high-low speed switch also had
to be removed from the chassis for the fan to come out.

The bare fans, side by side: Nine blades on the 120mm fan, whose strut
geometry is not as good as the 180mm fan. The struts on the 120mm fan
are nearly parallel to the blades, which can increase tonality. In contrast,
the blades and struts on the 180mm fan intersect at nearly perpendicular

The big fans were tested only at 12V, with the speed governed by the two switches.
The rationale was simple: It is the way these fans will be used by 95% of all
who use this case. The 120mm fan was tested at 12V, 9V and 7V; the speed fell
too low at 5V for it to have any real use as a case cooling fan.

120mm Fan

Measurements of 120mm fan from RV02
120x25mm, 12VDC, 0.18A
SPL at 1m
18 dBA
13 dBA
11 dBA

The 120mm fan had a touch of tonality but was quite smooth sounding at full
speed. At 9V, the tonality all but disappeared, and the noise dropped to a level
where it would be inaudible in 99% of applications. The noise dropped further
at 7V, but the reduced airflow may not make it worthwhile to run it so slow.
This is much quieter than the 120mm fan in the original Raven.

180mm Fans

All three fans were tested. The results were very close; SPL measurements were
within about 2 dBA. These fans have twice the blade area of a 120mm fan and
push that much more air at the same speed.

Measurements of 180mm fans from RV02
180x25mm, 12VDC, 0.3A
SPL at 1m
19~20 dBA

180mm Fan Mystery

The 180mm fans were surprisingly noisy at full speed, and they exhibited an
annoying and prominent tonal quality. The overall level dropped dramatically
at the Low speed, but some of the tonality still remained. A large component
of the noise was mostly random broadband noise, as it should be with such a
large fan.

The bare 180mm fan test results conflicted strongly with an earlier casual
listen of the fans inside the case; they had seemed smooth and quiet. What made
them sound so different in free air? This called for a closer investigation.

A close listen and measurements of each fan was done…

  • at different distances and angles
  • from intake and exhaust side
  • with the fans blowing up, down or sideways

…all with the same annoyingly noisy results. Admitting defeat, I proceeded
to remount the filter frame and protective grill on each fan to put them all
back into the case.


On a hunch, I tried listening to one of the fans after the honeycomb protective
grill was mounted back in place. Lo and behold! The sound that now emerged was
almost entirely without tonality, and it actually measured 3 dBA lower at one
meter. This was a eureka moment — and it recalled a
comment by Devon Cooke in the SilverStone FT01 case review

"On a whim, we pulled out the front filter to see if its impedance
was causing the problem, but this did nothing but bump up the SPL by 2 dBA
and introduce an annoying warbling into the noise character.

A protective honeycomb grill is screwed to the top of the fan. Along
with the dust filter on the other side, it has a marked damping effect
on the noise.

Extensive listening and SPL measurements were done again, this time with the
honeycomb grill on and off each of the fans, and the dust filter as well. The
end results are summarized for one of the 180mm fans.

Here’s a spectrum analysis of one of the 18cm fans. The blue line represents
the bare fan at full speed, with total SPL of 34.5 dBA. The pink line
shows the same fan With the filter and grill on, the SPL dropped over
4 dBA. Note the dramatic reduction of highly audible midband peaks (400~2,000
Hz), many of them over 10 dBA, and the overall level reduction above ~800
SPL @1m, 180mm fan from RV02
w/ and w/o honeycomb grill, dust filer
Honeycomb grill
Dust filter
Air Velocity

The dust filter and the honeycomb grill had similar effects on the fan noise.
Both dramatically reduced the amount of tonaility, and actually effected a SPL
drop of ~3 dBA@1m. The dust filer may have had a slightly greater effect, but
this subjective impression could not be consistently confirmed by audio measurements.
The dust filter and the honeycomb cover together effected an overall SPL drop
of about 4 dBA@1m.

The reduction in noise comes at the price of reduced airflow. The air velocity
was measured and it is shown in the table above, in Feet per Minute. (This is
not the same as Cubic Feet Per Minute, which is the widely used fan airflow
parameter; the relative air velocity is what’s important here.) Both the grill
and the dust filer reduce air velocity, by 37~38% when both are on. The RPM
of the fan was unaffected. Whether this airflow reduction causes any cooling
issues will be covered in the thermal system testing later in this review.

Here’s a recording of the effect, at 1m distance. It’s an MP3 sound file that
begins with 7~8 seconds of the ambient in the anechoic chamber, then 8 seconds
of the bare 180mm fan running at full speed, followed by 8 seconds each of the
same fan with the grill on, with the filter, and finally, with both filter and
grill on.

Sound File of Dust Filter and Honeycomb Grill effects on 180mm SilverStone

(right click and download)
For best results, set your sound level so that the starting ambient sound
is just audible, then turn it down to make it just inaudble, and don’t
touch the volume control again while you listen to the recording.

The second sound file below is of a 18cm fan set on Low speed, first bare,
then with the honeycomb grill. The measured SPLs on this one were 17 and 20

of Honeycomb Grill effect on 180mm SilverStone Fan

on Low

(right click and download)
For best results, set your sound level so that the starting ambient sound
is just audible, then turn it down to make it just inaudble, and don’t
touch the volume control again while you listen to the recording.

When informed and queried about these effects, Tony from SilverStone admitted
that all this was news to them. Their prototype did not even employ the honeycomb
grills, just ordinary wire frame grills. We’ll call it serendipitous.


Noise measurements were made of the case with the stock fans mounted normally
and spinning inside at various speeds. The air cavity resonances inside a case
amplify fan noise, as do any vibrations transferred from the fans into the case,
so these measurements can be regarded as the baseline SPL levels for the case.
Adding components can only increase the noise.

SilverStone Raven Two Baseline Noise
Measuring mic positioned 1m at diagonal angle left/front of case
12cm fan
18cm fan front
18cm fan mid
18cm fan back
full speed
any speed
any speed
any speed
any speed
any speed
any speed
any speed

The perceived noise was moderate even with all the fans at full speed. There
was some low frequency emphasis due mostly to cavity resonance, but the overall
effect was smooth and benign. This was a marked contrast to the sound of the
main 180mm fans when they were tested and listened to on their own outside the

Aside from the damping effect of the dust filters and honeycomb grills, there
is one other important factor in the overall noise performance of the Raven
Two: The simple fact that the main fans are buried inside the case, rather than
exposed more openly on the back or front panel. Especially on a carpeted floor
— like in our anechoic chamber — the 180mm fans must benefit from
their position, the direct sound paths to users’ ears being always blocked.
A quick test was done to see if placing the Raven Two on a reflective surface
would effect any change in noise. A 3′ x 2′ x 1" thick piece of particle
board was placed beneath the case and SPL measurements were performed. There
were no clear differences with or without the board, measured or heard. However,
in a generally more reflective (read: ordinary rather than anechoic) room, placement
on a hard tile or wood floor could mean higher noise levels than we found with
the Raven Two.

It is worth repeating some details provided by SilverStone about the 180mm fans:

We spent quite a lot of time solving the problem of keeping the 180mm
fans quiet in the "blowing up" position. Sleeve bearing fans are
generally quieter than ball-bearing fans but when they are positioned to blow
air up, they vibrate a lot. A custom spacer developed to fit between the C
ring and the bearing cover was the solution for us.


Here’s a recap of the system used for thermal / noise analysis. (It was already
cited, but many pages ago.)

System Components:

Measurement and Analysis Tools

For testing, the CPU heatsink fan and top 120mm case fan voltages were controlled
with an external variable DC power supply. The 180mm fans were controlled with
their own high-low switches, and the fans on the video cards were left to be
automatically controlled by their internal thermal fan controllers.

A. Minimalist High Performance System

This consisted of all the components listed above with the exception of the
PCIe graphics cards. The onboard video was used instead. It was a piece of cake
for the Raven Two to cool quietly. The overall noise was very smooth and quiet.
The fan on the Seasonic X650 never came on.

Raven Two: Minimalist High Performance System
Full CPU + GPU Load
18cm fans
CPU + Top Fans
SPL @1m
18 dBA
18 dBA
CPU Temp
SB Temp
HD Temp
AC Power
Ambient temperature: 22°C

B. With One ATI HD4870

This system was also cooled effectively enough with the same fan speed settings
as the minimal system above. The overall noise was very smooth and quiet at
idle, a little louder than the above. At full load the fan on the video card
clearly became the dominant noise source. Its speed was still modest enough
not to be terribly loud. The fan on the Seasonic X650 came on at some point
during the load testing but it was so quiet as to be completely inaudible.

Raven Two: Single HD8470 System Test
Full CPU + GPU Load
18cm fans
CPU + Top Fans
SPL @1m
20 dBA
23 dBA
CPU Temp
SB Temp
HD Temp
GPU Temp
1030 RPM
1170 RPM
AC Power
Ambient temperature: 22°C

C. Crossfire Dual-HD4870 System

This system is pretty close to the about as hot as you can go using single
GPU video cards. Admittedly, if you’re a real gaming fool, two dual-GPU cards
could bump the total power draw another 200W at the AC plug. was also cooled
effectively enough with the same fan speed settings as the minimal system above.
The fan on the Seasonic X650 was spinning at load but its noise was not really
audible over the graphics card fan and the case fans.

Both of the 120mm fans (on the CPU heatsink and the top panel) were run at
9V in anticipation of the increased heat. We started the test with all the 18cm
fans on low. The load test was rerun first with one of the 12cm on high, then

Raven Two: Crossfire Dual-HD4870 System Test
Full CPU + GPU Load
18cm fans
front+back: low
mid: high
front+mid: high
back: low
CPU + Top Fans
SPL @1m
21 dBA
26~27 dBA
28 dBA
29~30 dBA
CPU Temp
SB Temp
HD Temp
GPU1 Temp
GPU1 Fan
1030 RPM
1930 RPM
1810 RPM
GPU2 Temp
GPU2 Fan
940 RPM
1670 RPM
1600 RPM
1550 RPM
AC Power
Ambient temperature: 22°C

The noise at idle remained quite smooth and benign, as neither of the two video
card fans spun quickly enough to be noisy. Under load with all the 18cm fans
on low, the CPU temperature remained surprisingly low, as did the GPU temperatures.
The southbridge temperature climbed to a fairly toasty 65°C, and the HDD
stayed very cool. The noise was dominated by the sound of the video cards, which
raised overall noise to 26~27 dBA@1m, but the overall character of the sound
was smooth, mostly broadband turbulance.

Without the noise of the video cards at load, the starting configuration system
would remain at 21 dBA@1m. This is audible but very quiet. There is no reason
to replace the stock fans, which are very smooth and quiet as implemented in
the case.

To see how much cooling would be improved, the middle 18cm fan
was switched up to high. Our earlier baseline tests showe that this configuration
raises the SPL to 23 dBA@1m. The video card fans at idle did not move it much
higher. Under load, the overall SPL was about a decible higher than with all
the 18cm fans on low, the increase in 18cm fan noise being counterbalnced by
a sligh decrease in the noise of both GPU fans. All temperatures dropped a bit,
the SB temperature dropped a healthy 8°C.

With the front and mid 18cm on high, there were even greater drops
in temperature, for the price of a 3 dBA increase at idle over the previous
configuration. While overall noise was increased by 2 dBA at load, the subjective
result was a touch less tonal due to the slower speed of both GPU fans.


The Raven Two’s performance is compared with several other cases
tested with the same components (except for the power supply) in the table below.
The SilverStone Fortress FT01 was omitted because it was only tested with one
4870 graphics card. Only the Raven Two data with one of the 18cm fans on high
is cited in the comparison (to keep the table from getting any more cumbersome
to read). It edges or matches the closest competitor, the Antec Twelve Hundred,
in every parameter. (With two 18cm fans on high, the Raven Two is still
about a decibel quieter, while just about every component runs several degrees
cooler.) It should also be noted that the sound of the fans in the Raven Two
is very smooth, better than the Antec fans, and need no replacement. The Raven
Two is the clear winner here.

CrossFireX Configuration Comparison (Load)
SilverStone Raven Two
SilverStone Raven
Antec P183
Antec Nine Hundred Two
Antec Twelve Hundred
Noise Level
28 dBA
29 dBA
35 dBA
38 dBA
31~32 dBA
CPU Temp
SB Temp
HD Temp
GPU #1
GPU #1 Fan
2060 RPM
3030 RPM
2910 RPM
2110 RPM
GPU #2
GPU #2 Fan
1600 RPM
920 RPM†
2400 RPM
2440 RPM
1910 RPM
Ambient temperature: 22°C (results compensated
in necessary).
*P183 & Twelve Hundred tested with Antec CP-850; Nine Hundred Two
and Raven with Cooler Master Silent Pro M700W; Rven Two with Seasonic
†This video card was not at 100% load in the Raven test.

Keep in mind that this comparison is valid specifically for the
components tested. Cooler systems probably favor cases that have fewer fans
and vents, and more effective noise insulation (ie, the P183, with stock fans
replaced), which allows lower baseline noise levels to be achieved.


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.

  • SilverStone
    Raven Two

    — 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,
    29 dBA@1m

Comparative Case Recordings


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
for the Raven case sample.

The SilverStone Raven Two is Recommended by SPCR

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this article in the SPCR Forums.

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