I have had my eye on the original Silverstone Raven RV01 for quite some time. Released in late 2008, the case quickly caught my attention because of its strange orientation that pointed the motherboard upward at a 90-degree angle, so the "rear" I/O panel was placed on top of the enclosure instead of behind. Silverstone dubbed this layout style the "stack effect".

The stack effect relies on the natural occurrence of air movement driven by the difference in air density between the exterior and interior of a chassis. While most full tower cases have front intake fans to draw in cool air, the Raven didn't. In fact, the front of the case was completely blocked, preventing air from passing in or out, and instead packed intake fans mounted in the bottom of the case.

Likewise, the Raven's exhaust fans were located on top instead of in the back. The idea seemed simple: when the internal components such as the CPU and GPU start to heat up, that heat rises creating the stack effect. Rather than fight this natural phenomenon, Silverstone decided to work with it.

The original RV01 didn't execute this design as well as it could have. The power supply was mounted in the bottom making it difficult to filter large volumes of air up through the case. This also meant that only two 180mm fans could be fitted into the bottom.

The main problem originated in with the RV01's massive dimensions, even for a full tower case, measuring 280mm (W) x 616mm (H) x 660mm (D). By comparison, the recently reviewed Cooler Master HAF X -- which we consider to be a very large full tower -- measures 230mm (W) x 599mm (H) x 550mm (D), making it considerably smaller.

Silverstone didn't necessarily want to make the Raven that large, but ATX motherboards are longer than they are wide 305 x 244 mm (12 9.6"). That shape suits standard cases fine, but since the Raven's design mounted the motherboard sideways, it struggled to accommodate everything, making the RV01 about 20% longer than the Cooler Master HAF X.

Silverstone was thus forced to be more creative with their next-generation Raven. The RV02 has a more efficient design, measuring 212mm (W) x 503mm (H) x 643mm (D), it is 24% skinner and 18% shorter than the RV01. The smaller dimensions have also allowed Silverstone to shed 17% of the overall weight. The new changes make for a very interesting computer case, so let's dive in for a closer look...