Like the Raven 2 Evolution, the Raven 3 houses hardware in a very unique fashion that makes us approach the installation process with caution. Being extremely unorthodox in design makes everything seem quite unfamiliar, even for those that have built countless computers.
As always, we started by picking the hardware: the Intel Core i7 2600K CPU, Prolimatech Genesis cooler, dual AMD Radeon HD 6970 GPUs, 8GB OCZ RAM, Asrock P67 Extreme6 motherboard, two 750GB Samsung HDDs, a single Intel SSD 320 300GB, and an OCZ ZX 1250w PSU.
The Raven 3 supports Extended ATX motherboards up to 13" whereas the Raven 2 Evolution was limited to standard ATX boards. The case comes with standard mounting screws that you must install for your motherboard.
Despite lacking a removable motherboard tray, we had no problem installing the Asrock P67 Extreme6. With rear access to the motherboards CPU socket, it should be possible to install the CPU cooler once the motherboard has been fitted to the case.
Silverstone has made the hole in the motherboard tray larger than they did with the Raven 2 Evolution, which is great news because we found that the MSI 890FXA-GD70 and Cooler Master V6GT were incompatible with the previous design.
Both Radeon HD 6970s (10.6"/27cm) slipped in with room to spare. The Radeon HD 6990 (12"/305mm) is also compatible, albeit a less graceful fit.
Installing the OCZ ZX 1250w PSU was straightforward, though this particular model was a tight fit because the fan grill is slightly offset from the unit. Nonetheless, it popped into place with a little persuasion.
The Raven 3's cable management setup works very well for hiding excess power cables and is a great improvement on the Raven 2 Evolution.
The RV02 forced us to route the 6-pin and 8-pin PCI Express cables along with the 24-pin ATX power cable across the front of the case where they interfered with the 180mm fans, but this is not an issue with the RV03.
Because of the PSU's orientation, cables are first routed through the back of the case behind the motherboard tray making them far less intrusive. This not only looks neat but it maximizes airflow within the case. Speaking of which, we're amazed at how quiet the Raven 3 is given the large volume of air that it moves.
There was nothing unusual about installing the 3.5" and 5.25" storage devices. The removable 3.5" drive adapters are a nice touch, and although they're not hot-swappable, it's forgivable considering the case's affordable price tag.
With all the hardware installed, we connected the power and data cables which, again, was a fairly standard procedure. With the case lid removed, we had access to the motherboard expansion slots, I/O panel and the power supply.
You must run the cables through what looks like a handle before plugging them into their appropriate spots. Once everything is wired up, the case lid can be re-secured and you'll have to tilt the chassis over to access the power connector underneath. Again, we wish Silverstone placed this connector in a more practical position.