Wrap up: Great Cooling Performance, With Some Trade-Offs
If you read the entire review, you'll already know the Raven RV05 hasn't offered the smoothest of rides, leaving us with mixed feelings. On the positive side of things, the case looks great and it gave the best thermal results we've seen while generating little noise. There isn't an issue with cost either. At $115 for the windowed version, the RV05 is cheaper than previous models, which were already priced in must-buy territory.
Granted, $115 isn't cheap for a mid-tower, particularly when products such as the Corsair Carbide Series SPEC-01 and Silverstone's own budget Precision Series PS10B can be had for $50. However, neither of those are as big as the Raven RV05. The Carbide Series SPEC-01 is a tiny 41L enclosure while the Precision Series PS10B is 55L. The 64L RV05 is in a different class with superior cooling and features such as fan controllers.
Folks shopping for a decent mid-tower will also find the the Thermaltake V4 Black Edition, but we'd pass on that. The Corsair Obsidian 450D, while not a bad case, is incredibly light on features and makes less sense than the Raven when you get inside. There's the BitFenix Comrade, though it ships with just a single 120mm fan. The Antec Three Hundred, an ugly little box with no substance or features, is also worth skipping our opinion.
In fact, it isn't until around $130 that the Raven RV05 starts to face real competition with the Corsair Carbide Series 500R. Therefore, in terms of value and performance the Raven RV05 can't be matched. However, it's far from perfect in our eyes. Like the Corsair Obsidian 450D, it offers almost no room for 3.5" devices, just two slots, and if you want to use them your power supply needs to be shorter than 160mm.
That limitation means you can forget about Radeon R9 290X cards in Crossfire as they draw too much power for an 850w power supply to handle reliably. Installing a more powerful 1000w unit means you are limited to just two 2.5" bays on the back of the motherboard. Forcing you to decide between having enough power for your dream machine and equipping it with hard drives isn't ideal for a $100+ gaming case.
The 90-degree stacked design might offer unbeatable cooling performance but it also means working inside the RV05 is extremely cramped, not least because of all the space wasted in the top of the case. In the past we have really admired the unique layout of Silverstone's Raven series but for the first time we are seeing a real flaw in the design -- namely that the Raven RV05 isn't as accessible as you'd expect for its overall size.
The restrictive and tedious installation had me dropping more F-bombs than I care to admit, though it was arguably worthwhile considering the Raven RV05's pricing, performance and looks. While it won't be the right enclosure for everyone, if you know what you're getting into and don't mind the hard drive/power supply limitations, the RV05 deserves some consideration if you want a unique high-end mid-tower.
Pros: The Raven RV05's stack layout offers effective cooling performance and convenient I/O placement at a competitive price ($115).
Cons: For an upper-end case aimed at enthusiasts/gamers, it has some unfortunate limitations when it comes to storage and power.