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Performance & Wrap Up
For testing we used the Core i7-6700K which was cooled by the Silverstone Argon Series AR06 low-profile air-cooler. The graphics card of choice was the Gainward GTX 980 Ti which when stressed on an open testbed reaches 74 degrees.
The results were taken with an ambient room temperature of 21 degrees. For the stress test we left 3DMark's 'Sky Diver' test on loop for 20 minutes. We then waited another five minutes and recoreded the lowest temperature as the idle temp.
At idle the system ran cool at a little over 30 degrees for the CPU and GPU. Under load temperatures naturally climbed quite dramatically, though they stayed well within acceptable limits. The Gainward GTX 980 Ti remained quiet under load and only ran a few degrees hotter than the test bed result. The AR06 did an excellent job of keeping the Core i7-6700K cool as it never exceeded 61 degrees.
Beautifully Designed, Easy to Use
Silverstone has without question produced some of the market's best Mini-ITX designs, including last year's RVZ01 which we heralded as the best Mini-ITX case for gaming rigs at the time. The ultra-affordable Sugo SG13 became another favorite of mine when I reviewed it early this year.
As good as those previous examples are, they have been outdone by the new Raven RVZ02, a case that we feel is superior in almost every way.
The SG13 might be half a liter smaller, but it features a completely different profile design, so with such a minor size difference you can't really compare the two in that way. The SG13 can also handle a 120mm radiator and while it does support high-end hardware, getting it all inside is considerably more difficult.
This is what we love most about the RVZ02: how well thought-out it is. Any one hardware component can be quickly removed from the RVZ02 without having to remove another component first, something few Mini-ITX cases can claim.
In fact, the RVZ02 is no more difficult to work with than a standard mid-tower, and this is something that less experienced builders are really going to appreciate.
Performance-wise the RVZ02 is as good as any Mini-ITX case we've tested and eliminating case cooling turned out to be another one of Silverstone's innovative ideas. Not only does this make the case more compact and cheaper to produce, but it came at no real disadvantage. Due to the way the RVZ02 has been designed, the graphics card and CPU are completely separate and can draw in plenty of cool air from what is essentially an open-chassis design.
The only potential issue with Silverstone's execution here, which is bound to upset many of you, is the complete lack of filters. While airflow is important in an open-air chassis, dust build up on core components could become a problem, so that's something to be aware of.
There is a solid black version of the case without the vented windows and we've been told this version has filters. The solid version will also be slightly cheaper at $70, while the windowed version that we tested will cost $80 -- an incredibly good value regardless.
Apart from dust being a potential issue, we couldn't really find anything else to criticize. We're impressed with the RVZ02's ease of installation, hardware support and cooling performance, particularly for a compact slim tower.
The SX500-LG is also a nifty little power supply and perfect for use with the RVZ02, so thanks to Silverstone for providing it. Also a big thanks to Asrock for providing the Fatal1ty Z170 Gaming-ITX/ac motherboard as we really appreciated having that rear M.2 slot handy.
Pros: It's as easy on the eyes as it is to work with. Surprisingly affordable. Smaller than its predecessor but can still handle GPUs up to 13" long. No case cooling? No problem! Smart design that uses component fans for airflow.
Cons: Dust could be a concern on the filterless windowed model (a solid panel version with filters is $10 cheaper). Not really a con, but we wouldn't mind seeing another variant that eliminates the optical drive bay, if only for aesthetics.