If you were struck by a mild case of déjà vu after seeing the title of this article, it's probably because you read about the Raven 2 Evolution (RV02-E) only a few months back. The RV02 featured Silverstone's second-generation layout and was a significant improvement on the original RV01, released in late 2008.
The Raven series employs an unconventional design that rotates the motherboard and power supply so they are mounted vertically with the I/O panel facing the top of the chassis. Among other benefits, this design makes it much easier to access the system's power, display, USB, Ethernet and other connectors.
The other main advantage is improved cooling courtesy of the "stack effect," because top and bottom-mounted fans guide rising heat out of the case. The RV02 executed this unique layout very well directing airflow over the entire motherboard servicing high-end graphics cards with a constant flow of cool air.
Between its creative design, high-quality construction and very reasonable price, the Raven 2 Evolution was, and still is one of the best gaming-orientated computer cases available. Although the RV02 is still very relevant, Silverstone recently introduced an even more refined chassis to its Raven product line.
The Raven 3 (RV03) looks to improve on some of the RV02's weaknesses in addition to delivering a smaller footprint at a slightly lower price. While the latest iteration occupies 11% less desk space, it actually offers more internal volume thanks to slightly taller (0.7") and wider (0.91") dimensions.
In addition to being the best-equipped Raven to date, the RV03 is also the cheapest. The Raven 3 is said to have an MSRP of only $160, which is hard to believe considering the competition's pricing. When we reviewed the RV02, its $180 MSRP surprised us as similar products were selling for over $200.
At just $160, we believe the Raven 3 could quite easily stand in a league of its own despite having some serious competition such as the Cooler Master HAF 932 Advanced, Thermaltake Element V Black Edition, Antec DF-85 Black and Antec Twelve Hundred. Let's press on to find out how the RV03 "stacks up."