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, making the RV01 an ideal gaming case for those packing multiple graphics cards.
A couple years later, Silverstone delivered the updated Raven RV02 and then an enhanced version in 2011 known as the RV02-E or Raven 2 Evolution, which was appealing for a whole list of reasons. It offered loads of airflow with little noise, it held an enormous amount of hardware, it was relatively affordable and on the superficial side of things, it simply looked great.
Later in 2011, the RV02 received a successor, but Silverstone's Raven RV03 didn't arrive to the same acclaim. While performance remained strong, its aesthetics were questionable and many enthusiasts seemed to disagree with Silverstone's styling choices. The internals were also a bit of a letdown compared to the previous model, especially its strange power supply placement.
Skip ahead another two years to 2013 and we got the long overdue Raven 4 -- well, I didn't get it, but the rest of the world did. Getting an RV04 to Australia even months after its release proved impossible due to a manufacturing problem, according to Silverstone. They told me the large plastic front door, which was bigger than any door on previous models, was causing issues.
While the Raven RV04 was a no-show, we got to spend quality time with the company's Fortress FT04, which was the exact same chassis as the RV04 but with an aluminum door. The FT04 had strong cooling performance, was nearly silent and looked great. However, its drive cages were horribly placed and they had a complex installation even though they didn't use the "stack effect" design.
Now a year later, we have the Raven RV05 and this time we didn't miss out on a sample. The RV05 goes back to the 90-degree layout but Silverstone claims to have eliminated much of the wasted space in previous models, leading to a more compact Raven with the same capacity. We also happen to think this is one of the better looking Ravens, but is it as good as the models that we fell in love with?
RV05 External Design
From the front, the Silverstone Raven 5 resembles a mid-tower, measuring just 529mm tall. The RV05 is 7mm taller than the RV03 and 26mm taller than the RV02-E. However, it is also 72mm shorter than the RV03 and 145mm shorter than the RV02-E. In total, the RV05 offers a 63.8L capacity while the RV03 and RV02-E were both bigger at 68.6L.
Although the RV02-E's façade was rather bland, it was tasteful enough and seemed to appeal to most. The RV03's façade on the other hand was seen to be a lot less classy -- the gold strips in particular were tasteless in our opinion. The RV04 wasn't a bad looking case but again it was quite boring and if anything, somewhat awkward looking.
The original Raven RV01 is arguably the best design Silverstone has come up with. All things considered, we feel it's better than any models that have followed.
Strictly from an aesthetic point of view it certainly appears that Silverstone has gone back to its roots with the RV05. This all black case has many of the aggressive lines that made the original so popular among gamers.
Aggressive lines are what the Raven series is all about and despite the chaos, the façade still manages to look quite sleek. That is probably due to the fact that there are no buttons, front panel connectivity or drive bays to speak of. The RV05 does have the Cylon look going on though, as the 'V' shape in the front panel lights up when the system is on, giving a very cool effect.
The I/O panel has been moved to the top of the case and this will provide easier access to users who wish to place the Raven 5 under their desk, for example. Included in the top panel I/O are two USB 3.0 ports, two audio jacks with the power and reset buttons merged into the design at either side of the I/O panel.
The Raven 5 is a whopping 22% shorter (depth-wise) than the Raven 2 Evolution -- the sausage dog of computer cases. By being 145mm shorter the Raven 3 looks more natural, is far more manageable, and at a measly 7.6kg, it sheds roughly 40% of the Raven 2's weight in the process.
With the system's guts rotated by 90-degrees, the motherboard and expansion connectivity protrude from the top of the case and are covered by a well-ventilated lid that is easily removable. The lid itself looks aggressive with sharp, unusual lines.
The rear of the Raven 5, where you would typically find fans and motherboard connections, has nothing but a single 120mm fan grill. It is worth pointing out that the Raven 5 is painted black inside, though this is a feature you would expect to find on any high-end gaming case today.
The left side is covered by a long, free-flowing door with a window to show off your hardware. The method of removing the doors is simply ingenious. After unclipping the top panel (which takes seconds) there is a push button at the top of each door. You simply need to press the button in and pull the door upward in a single movement.
Flipping the Raven 5 upside down reveals a huge grill complete with a dust filter that can be slid out for cleaning purposes. Behind that grill and filter is the really cool stuff: a pair of 180mm Silverstone Air Penetrator fans that force loads of air into the Raven 5.
Additionally, the case has four feet raising it 70mm off the ground at the rear and 50mm at the front. This gives the Raven 5 an aggressive looking stance on the desk and allows enough air to be sucked under the case by the internal 180mm fans.