You may have a monster graphics card, a sweet water-cooling setup, and multi-colored braided cables, but your rig's potential is wasted if they're crammed into a case that doesn’t complement the hardware. What you need is a shiny new chassis, and we've gathered the best you can buy today.
Silverstone first caught our attention with beautiful HTPC cases such as the LC13B-E, but it really landed on our radar with the $180, 90-degree stacked design Raven 2 Evolution (RV02-E). Delivering a new iteration, the Raven X RVX01 is only $80 but the company promises it will offer flagship level cooling performance, ample drive space and full size component compatibility.
There was a time when computer cases were seen as nothing more than the housing for your PC. Then things started to get interesting; cases got better, flashier and more functional. Here are the highest regarded cases in every category: best overall, Mini-ITX, micro ATX, HTPC, budget and top concept case.
With some 16 months having passed since our first look at the RVZ01, Silverstone has returned with another compact gaming chassis. The Raven RVZ02 is 15% smaller than the original while promising to support graphics cards up to 13" long. Silverstone believes that the RVZ02 is one of the easiest compact Mini-ITX cases to build a gaming system in and we'll be putting together multiple hardware configurations to test this claim.
The Silverstone "Mammoth" MM01 is built for folks who want a robust case that can protect systems or servers in harsh conditions. It's completely dust and spill-proof with a HEPA air filter, front and back panels designed to deflect liquid and a sealed top panel, all while boasting the capacity of a bar fridge at an impressive 87.7L.
Mid-towers are by far the most popular case form factor, supporting most full-sized hardware including the ever abundant ATX motherboards and power supplies, while typically costing only $50 to $75. In most situations, anything in that range will be adequate for a standard build, but Silverstone, Corsair and In Win have launched new contenders that are said to deliver the build quality, design, features and performance of pricier models without breaking the bank.
Just when we were starting to think that the Sugo series lost its Mini-ITX mojo, after the last couple of models moved to MicroATX, Silverstone has stepped forward with the itty bitty 11.5L SG13. The thirteenth Sugo isn't quite the smallest to date, but it may be the most capable. Its 11.5L body is said to be capable of housing a standard ATX power supply up to 150mm long, a 120/140mm radiator and a 10.5" dual-slot graphics card.
Silverstone's "stacked" design might offer unbeatable cooling performance, but as we found out in our review of the Raven RV05, it also resulted in a lot of wasted space and a cramped area to work with. The company knows this and has come up with a calmer, classier version of its extreme gaming case with the new Fortress FT05.
Silverstone's Raven RV01 caught our attention back in 2008 with a unique chassis layout that turned the motherboard upward so its I/O panel was on top of the enclosure instead of behind. Called the "stack effect," the design was highly original and more importantly, extremely effective for cooling. 2014's RV05 sticks to this layout but Silverstone claims to have eliminated much of the wasted space in previous models while bringing one of its better looking designs so far.
Synology and QNAP have become recognized brands in the world of network-attached storage, with products ranging from $150 to $3,000. While that cash buys a purpose-built box which installs fast, runs quiet, and sips power, the inner DIYer in us is itching to build a NAS. Silverstone's latest chassis allows just that. The DS380 is designed for more flexible, DIY NAS servers that can house up to eight hot-swappable drives and either a DTX or Mini-ITX board.
Unveiled at CES this year, the latest member to Silverstone's Raven family quickly gained recognition for being the ultimate Steam Machine enclosure. Called the Raven Z RVZ01, this gaming chassis is among the best compact designs we've seen for cramming a fully-fledged enthusiast PC into an impressively small space.
Recently we compared 10 of the best CPU air coolers and while we didn't think twice about stamping the NH-U14S with our Outstanding Award, we've since wondered how it would fare against a basic water cooling setup. On paper, closed loop systems simplify the process of diving into water cooling, being about as safe and easy to work with as air cooling while delivering much of the performance you'd expect from an elaborate custom loop at a fraction of the cost.
Silverstone cases are often praised by enthusiasts and HTPC builders alike, and with good reason. We last checked the Fortress FT03 which deserved TechSpot's Outstanding award and now two years later, the much anticipated Fortress FT04 has made it to market.
Upon first glance this latest version looks a lot like the FT01 that was released back in 2008. The FT04 shares similar dimensions to the FT01, with a slight increase in size that we assume simply means it can fit drives and longer graphics cards more comfortably.
An often overlooked but always important side of PC building, we must admit our knowledge on the latest aftermarket CPU cooler offerings was a little dated, so it felt like the perfect time for a roundup.
We test 10 of the best CPU coolers in the market including top units from Noctua, Thermalright, Xigmatek, Silverstone and Thermaltake.
For years now we've had the ability to take a compact Micro ATX motherboard along with a high-end GPU and squeeze them into a custom case not much bigger than a shoe box.
We are putting today's top small form factor hardware together in hopes of building an enthusiast-worthy gaming system that you can easily transport, use as a a small workstation or fit comfortably along your living room equipment for HTPC purposes.
As a follow-up to last week's CES special feature and coverage, here are more of the products we observed and played with, along with photos taken during our journey to the event. As you've surely noticed, mobile tech consumed the event with seemingly every major company unveiling smartphones, tablets or ultrabooks. Nonetheless, we managed to lay hands on plenty of awesome PC hardware from the likes of Samsung, Silverstone, MSI, Razer, Roccat, Toshiba, Gigabyte and more...
Although much of the enthusiast community's attention has been focused on the Raven cases, Silverstone offers a vast array of enclosures that rank favorably among system builders.
The new Fortress FT03 that we're reviewing today is unlike anything we've seen from the series before. This latest iteration is not a mid-tower ATX case, but rather utilizes its own unique design to take the form of a compact microATX case.
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. The Raven 3 is said to have an MSRP of only $160, which is hard to believe considering the competition's pricing.
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."