In the second quarter of 2014 we happened upon one of the best small form factor gaming cases yet, the Silverstone Raven RVZ01. The RV01 quickly gained recognition for being the ultimate Steam Machine enclosure as it crams a fully-fledged enthusiast PC into an impressively small space.
Despite weighing just 8.17lbs (3.71kg) and having a tiny 14L capacity, the RVZ01 was destined for big things with support for enthusiast gear including a dual-slot GPU that's up to 13" (330mm) long, technically leaving enough room for the GeForce GTX Titan X.
For our build we went with a more wallet-friendly GeForce GTX 760 and the results were still impressive. The RVZ01 wasn't only practical for its hardware support but also because of its rather reasonable price of $100 -- not bad for such a unique computer case.
With some 16 months having passed since our first look at the RVZ01, Silverstone has returned with another compact gaming chassis. Predictably named the RVZ02, this new model is 15% smaller than the original while still promising to support graphics cards up to 13" long.
Although high-end graphics cards will physically fit inside the RVZ02, we suspect this case might be aimed more at mid-range hardware. This is due to the fact that the case doesn't come with any active cooling, though more to the point it doesn't support case fans at all.
Lacking the ability to install a case fan means that the RVZ02 relies entirely on the CPU, GPU and PSU cooling to move air in and out of the case. There are some limitations here also which we'll discuss shortly.
Silverstone believes that the RVZ02 is one of the easiest compact Mini-ITX cases to build a gaming system in and notes that installation is considerably easier than it was with the RVZ01, so this will be interesting to look at in our installation section of the review.
To determine just how easy the RVZ02 is to work with, we'll install multiple hardware configurations ranging from mid-range gear all the way up to the extreme stuff. That being said, let's move on to check out the RVZ02 in greater detail...
The Raven RVZ02 is a sleek looking computer case that features an aggressive yet clean front panel. The power button can be found in the bottom left corner and the triangular shape design looks cool.
The RVZ02 measures 380mm wide, 87mm thick and 370mm deep, giving it an internal capacity of just 12 liters and a weight of 3.2kgs. The case is designed to stand upwards using a pair of supplied brackets which are adjustable, though it is possible to lay flat as well.
In the center of the front panel we find the "Raven" brand name and logo which also doubles as an I/O panel cover. Sliding the small panel down reveals a pair of USB 3.0 ports and two audio jacks which is a nice touch. Also below the Raven logo is a clear v-shaped highlight that acts as the systems power light, glowing orange when the system is in use.
The only other noteworthy feature found on the front of the case is the external slim optical 12.7mm or 9.5mm drive bay. This admittedly spoils the design a bit, which is a shame if you don't plan to install an optical drive, something we wouldn't opt for.
That said, as a system that is meant to br a Steam Machine, we can understand the need to provide this support. Still, it would be great if you could buy a version of the RVZ02 that forgoes the optical drive bay, offering a cleaner looking front panel and support for an additional 2.5" or possible even 3.5" drive.
Moving around to the right side we find a flat case door that features a large clear ventilated panel in the bottom half. This gives curious bystanders an idea of what is inside while providing the internal hardware with a much needed source of external cool air.
The opposite side door is exactly the same, though it features the clear ventilation in the top half which will show off the GPU as well as provide air-flow.
The side panels are quite unique in the way they wrap themselves around the case. The right panel for example not only covers the right side of the case but also the bottom and about an inch of the left side. Meanwhile, the left panel covers the top and about an inch of the right side.
Around the back there isn't much to this tiny computer case, though surprisingly there are two expansion slots which means dual-GPU graphics cards are supported. The power supply must also have a unique internal mounting location as there is a 3-pin female connector found at the rear. As expected, there is also a standard motherboard I/O bracket.