SilverStone Raven RVZ01 Case Review
The life of a PC hardware reviewer can be a very hard one at times. We get to play around (erm… I mean work with) new and exciting technologies on a very regular basis and then get to tell all you guys about it, but where does it all go? I mean if your working on four or five items at a time where exactly can you do so? A typical desk can fit two monitors, one Gaming rig, a couple of keyboards and mice, then you’ll have headsets perched atop of anything that isn’t in immediate use. You see the problem? That’s right, where do the numerous cups of coffee and snacks go to get me through the day!?! Luckily SilverStone have the perfect answer. Off the desk goes the pcG HAF XB Test Rig, in comes the tiny SilverStone Raven RVZ01 and not only do I have space for a large pizza box, but extra snacks and several empty coffee cups. It’s almost like SilverStone have made the case especially for me! 🙂
Ok, enough natter. What exactly is the Raven RVZ01? A case measuring just 382mm(W) x 105mm(H) x 350mm(D) (which put in perspective is approximately the same size as a box of cereal) and weighing 3.71kg, which allows support for MDTX or MITX motherboards, SFX or SFX-L powers supplies, 3x 2.5″ and 1x 3.5″ storage drives, 3x 120mm fans (2x pre-installed), slimline ODD (Optical Disk Drive), AIO (All In One) and custom water cooling support, it even has enough room for a graphics card measuring 330mm(L) x 73mm(D).
‘Raven RVZ01 Introduction
Since the original RAVEN RV01 debuted in 2008, the RAVEN team at SilverStone has demonstrated many times how it can truly define or defy computer enthusiasts’ expectations of what a performance PC is capable of in both form and function. For 2014, the team had a new target, which is to exceed and reshape the small form factor landscape with another breakthrough case design. The result of this effort is a new line of case products called RAVEN Z. As the first model, RVZ01 is unlike any SilverStone small form factor cases before it. Utilizing a PCI-E riser and custom designed fans, this slim, 14 liter case is capable of housing the biggest consumer graphics card on the market with superb air cooling performance and the ability to support liquid cooling*. Designed for use in either vertical or horizontal orientation, it can be placed comfortably in any space-constrained environment that requires a powerful PC. For those that have been waiting to make the move to small form factor computing with a truly standout case to build with, the RVZ01 is it.’
All sounds a bit crazy eh? I’ll admit a little excitement and apprehension when hearing about the SilverStone Raven RZV01. Is it really possible to squeeze in a decent Gaming rig into something so small? What about thermals? Surely all my components will cook inside such a confined space? How about airflow? With so many questions that need answering, we best take a closer look!
The SilverStone Raven RVZ01 arrived well packaged (and taped!) in a plain predominately glossy black box with fiery orange highlighting and brilliant white lettering. On the left side we have the SilverStone name, support email and web address along with the model number and specifications.
On the front (and back) we have the an image of the case inside, the model name underlined by the slogan ‘REDEFINE EXPECTATIONS’, Raven logo, large orange Z, whilst all surrounded by fiery imagery. At the foot of the box we have the Raven RVZ01 key features:
- Signature RAVEN styling touches
- Support graphics card up to 13 inches
- Mini-ITX motherboard & SFX PSU compatible
- Maximum performance in slim form factor with support for liquid cooling*
- Positive air pressure design for excellent cooling/quietness and dust-prevention
- Fits in nearly any environment with horizontal or vertical orientation
Over on the right we have a brief introduction and history to the Raven brand as well as the same key features from the front in various different languages.
Popping the lid of the box reveals the RVZ01 to be well protected within a black fabric bag and safely wedged between two styrofoam blocks.
- SilverStone Raven RVZ01 Case
- SilverStone Raven RVZ01 Manual
- SilverStone Catalogue
- 3x Magnetic Nylon Dust Filters
- PCIe Riser
- Fan Splitter
- Adjustable Graphic Card Holder
- Anti-Slip Rubber Feet (1x Vertical Set / 1x Horizontal Set)
courtesy of SilverStone
|Model No.||SST-RVZ01B (black)|
|Material||Reinforced plastic outer shell, steel body|
|Drive Bay||External – Slim slot-loading optical x 1
Internal – 3.5” x 1, 2.5” x 3
|Cooling System||Top – 1 x 120mm fan, 1500rpm, 18dBA
Bottom – 1 x 120mm fan, 1500rpm, 18dBA
1 x 120mm fan slot (optional)
|Front I/O Port||USB 3.0 x 2
audio x 1
MIC x 1
|Power Supply||SFX, SFX-L|
|Expansion Card||Support graphics card up to 13”, width restriction – 5.88”|
|Limitation of CPU cooler||83mm|
|Dimension||382mm (W) x 105mm (H) x 350mm (D), 14 liters|
|Extra||Support two Kensington locks|
I’ll admit to be surprised and shocked upon removing the SilverStone Raven RVZ01 from its protective fabric bag. Not only is it incredibly light weighing just 3.71kg, but the case is tiny measuring 382mm(W) x 105mm(H) x 350mm(D). In fact I’m having a hard time imagining a Gaming rig fitting in it at all, let alone a high-end one! The case is a combination of powder coated black steel and a silky black plastic. The styling of which pretty much follows the SilverStone Raven design of the last couple of years. With its bold lines, multiple air vents and Raven badge, the RZV01 is a case that certainly stands out from the crowd.
From the front we can clearly see the bold symmetrical lines which dominate the RVZ01 styling. To the top left we have a narrow slot for a slim loading optical drive, beneath which a large black Raven badge which is removable and interchangeable with another badge (included in package) so that the logo will be level regardless of the case orientation. To the top right lives two USB 3.0 ports, audio out and microphone in. Then in the bottom right a power switch, power and HDD LED indicators followed by a reset button.
Around the back and there isn’t a lot to see. In the lower left is the motherboard I/O port, to the far right an auxiliary power plug and just to the left two oddly placed expansion slots?!? As you can see the expansion slots aren’t situated at a right angle from the motherboard tray. This is because the RVZ01 uses a rather clever PCIe riser extension bridge for your dedicated graphics card, which helps to give its incredibly slim appearance (105mm).
Both the left and right (or top and bottom depending on orientation) the RVZ01 is identical. Both sides have plenty of air vents to help expel any hot air from the components within the case. Given the colour and flowing lines it kind of reminds me of a black feather feather (which I’d guess was SilverStone’s intention).
On the top (or left) panel we have more air vents towards the front at the top and bottom, then in the top left an intake vent for a slim 120mm fan (pre-fitted). According to the RVZ01 specifications the slimline 120mm fan will run at 1500rpm whilst producing just 18dB of noise
Switching to the opposite side and we find two 120mm (1x pre-fitted) fan mounts at the top to help keep your graphics card fed with cool air and to the bottom an intake vent for your chosen PSU.
Whilst the top panel looks nice and clean, unfortunately the bottom is clearly marked from where the internal components are mounted. One other slight issue I have is the chosen paint finish is also a fingerprint magnet (still looks good though).
Once the top panel is removed we get to see the small confines of the RZV01 interior and boy is it compact! In the top right we have the motherboard tray, which as you can see features no CPU cut-out (would look a bit silly from the outside 😉 ), which means we’ll need need to install the CPU and CPU cooler before installing the motherboard. The motherboard tray area itself is tiny and just the right size for either an MDTX or MITX motherboard. To the lower right we have the PSU and 3.5″ storage drive mount, while over on the left we have a large removable black plastic caddy. This will be used to house the slimline optical disk drive (does anyone use these anymore?!?), two 2.5″ storage drives and more importantly your graphics card.
With the caddy removed the RVZ01 interior suddenly looks rather spacious and also shows us what’s hidden beneath it. To the far left we have a PSU extension cable which runs around the outside of the case to the PSU bay and two 120mm fan mounts (1x pre-fitted). The dual 120mm fan mounts could also be potentially used for a slimline 120mm or maybe with a squeeze a 240mm radiator.
In order to get your PSU in place, it’s necessary to remove the PSU cage entirely. Given the compact nature of the case it’ll be important to remember that you will only be able to mount SFX or SFX-L power supplies. The removable PSU cage also doubles up as a 3.5″ storage drive bay, because of space limitations you’ll most likely want to be mounting any drive of this size before replacing the PSU cage.
Part of the mounting system for the GPU caddy, is also a 2.5″ storage drive mount. Just like the PSU cage you’ll be wanting to remove this before mounting your drive because of the space limitations. Another big surprise is this little platform isn’t just an upright support for the GPU caddy or 2.5″ drive bay, but it has also been pre-drilled to mount a Laing DDC pump. Personally I think it’s a fantastic idea, but given the size of the raven RVZ01 I honestly don’t think I’d have the patients or courage to build a custom water loop within it.
Beneath the GPU caddy we get to see the PCIe riser card. This simply plugs straight into the motherboard PCIe slot, a PCIe extension bridge then plugs into the riser and your chosen graphics card slots straight into that, although there is a slight limitation on GPU size (maximum length of 330mm, maximum width 73mm). The caddy is a nice, simple and space saving idea that now I’ve seen it with my own eyes seems so blindingly obvious, that I’m surprised no other case has gone into production with a similar feature.
All in all I have to admit I’m very impressed. The overall design and internal layout of the Raven RZV01 is incredible. Not just for its compact size, but for what SilverStone have done to utilize any available space left. Could you imagine a slimline case measuring 382mm(W) x 105mm(H) x 350mm(D), holding 1x 3.5″ HDD, 2x 2.5″ SSD, 1x slim ODD, 1x full size graphics card (perhaps even an R9 295X2?!? and even a custom water loop? I certainly couldn’t, not before the RVZ01! 😉
|Case||SilverStone Raven RVZ01||Power Supply||SilverStone SFX SX600-G 600W|
|Motherboard||MSI Z97I GAMING AC||CPU||Intel Core i5-4690K|
|CPU Cooler||SilverStone Argon AR06||RAM||HyperX Savage 2400MHz 8GB Kit|
|Graphics Card||XFX AMD Radeon R9 290X DD Black Edition||SSD||HyperX FURY 120GB|
*Clearly being a unique case our regular Test Rig hardware wasn’t going to fit within the SilverStone Raven RVZ01, so for testing purposes we’ve used the MSI Z97I Gaming AC MITX motherboard, SilverStone SFX SX600 600W power supply and SilverStone Argon AR06 CPU cooler.
Having checked over the case and already been through the instructions, it became apparent that despite its tiny size, the Raven RVZ01 build was not only going to take a little longer to install than a more traditional case, but also very different too.
So with the thumb-screw-less side panel removed, I set about removing the graphics card caddy, 2.5″ storage drive mount and PSU cage. With the case being a literal blank canvass and empty, I go about the most obvious course of action and piece together the motherboard assembly (as you’ll have noticed the RVZ01 has no CPU cut-out or removable tray, so you’ll be needing to fit your CPU and CPU cooler before installing your MITX motherboard). The MSI Z97I Gaming AC I/O shield is then slipped into place and the motherboard assembly screwed into place via the pre-fitted stand-offs.
With each of the rig components easily in reach, I then decided to fit the any available storage drives I had to hand, just to show how well SilverStone have utilised all of the available space. Just below the PSU cage is an upright to help support the GPU caddy. This doubles up as a mount for a 2.5″ storage drive and for those of you brave enough, even a mount for a Laing DDC pump for a custom water loop! Because of the RZV01’s compact nature, the easiest approach for installing either of these is to remove the mount before installing the SSD I’ve chosen to use, then the mount is easily replaced. I then installed the main Test Rig SSD in the form of the 120GB HyperX Fury into one of the two available slots within the GPU caddy.
Which then of course needed the XFX R9 290X DD Black Edition installing. The caddy itself is very cleverly designed and for it to run horizontally to the motherboard requires a combination of two PCIe extension cards. The first (the one that slots in the motherboard) is pre-fitted to the caddy and the second simply slots into the riser card. The expansion slot blanking plates are then removed, the GPU slotted into place and fixed via the blanking plate mounts. Despite its size and weight, the GPU is surprisingly secure within the caddy, but for anything heavier SilverStone supply a support bracket which attaches to the caddy and effectively sandwiches the GPU back onto the caddy. I’ll not lie, I did try to fit this purely for photographic purposes, but I couldn’t work out how to attach it to the caddy with the available fittings included in the kit (all of the screws were either too short or too wide to fit through the available mounting holes).
Next up is the fitting of the power supply. In this build I used the SFX SX600-G 600W kindly supplied by SilverStone for this review. This was actually a slightly more fiddly job than I expected. The PSU mounts easily within the cage and the 3.5″ HDD easily fits atop. The PSU extension lead then plugs straight into the PSU, but the cable management seems less obvious (at first). Initially I had the case front panel cables running across the top of the PSU cage, bit in doing so the 3.5″ HDD doesn’t quite fit, so to keep the HDD I placed the cables behind the PSU cage through the available channel used for the PSU extension cable. This looks a hell of a lot tidier, but has the knock on effect of making the PSU cage a little more awkward to fit. Why you ask? Well the cage itself is fixed to the tray area of the RVZ01 chassis by four screws. The two screws on the motherboard side were nice and easy to replace, but the front panel side was not only very confined, but now I’d made myself a spaghetti nest of cables to contend with… However with a little patience it all fits together quite nicely.
The next step is to hook up the 120mm fan used as the GPU air intake to the fan splitter (included in-box), plug in all the relevant PSU cables and nestle them into the necessary areas, plug the power leads into the XFX R9 290X and re-install the GPU Caddy, then wire everything else up…
Or so you’d think. Despite the tight confines of the Raven RVZ01 inner chassis, it is surprisingly easy to plug in all necessary cable to the relevant hardware, but to do a cable management job you’ll be happy with is not such an easy task (I spent a few hours trying different combinations). It requires a fair amount of patients, trial and error, but there is just enough space to do a good job that’ll give you a triumphant look of pride on your face once you’ve done it. Alternatively as the case features no window, you could just cram it all in and fix the panel quick! 😉
At pcGameware we use Prime95 and CoreTemp to evaluate CPU temperatures and we use MSI Afterburner to evaluate the GPU temperatures. Of course Prime95 being a CPU stress test also helps to generate heat for us to check the case thermals. We also use UNiGiNE Heaven 4.0 for GPU temperature testing.
CPU performance testing is carried out using Prime95 to stress the CPU. Each run is timed for 15 mins and the maximum temperature is recorded for all cores and then the average core heat is taken. Testing was carried out at both 3.5GHz (Stock) and 4.0GHz via MSI OC Genie
GPU performance testing is carried out by running UNiGiNE Heaven 4.0 for 15 minutes and then by recording the maximum GPU temperature.
* All case fans (x2 in the case of the SilverStone Raven RVZ01) and the CPU Cooler (SilverStone Argon AR06) are run at 100% throughout testing. To find out the case noise levels, the GPU fans are set to their lowest setting and the CPU Cooler fan is unplugged, whilst the dB is recorded from 1m away.
|Case||Ambient Temperature||Max CPU Temperature (core average)||Delta Temperature|
|Cooler Master HAF XB||23.50||92.50||69.00|
Whilst the CPU cooler offered fairly poor performance with a slightly overclocked Intel i5-4690K (4.0GHz) and tested in out test case the Cooler Master HAF XB, in the Raven RVZ01 the performance was a totally different kettle of fish. Offering a maximum average core temperature of 78.00C (56.00C Delta) vs 95.50C (69.00C Delta). A huge difference of 17.50C (13.00C Delta). My guess is this is down to the more direct airflow from above the CPU cooler by the RZV01 case fan and the fact it is so close to the cooler itself, after all the case is just 105mm deep.
|CPU GHz||Ambient Temperature||Max CPU Temperature (core average)||Delta Temperature|
For those of you not so interested in a free performance boost via a CPU overclock (come on people, it’s free!), I’ve also benchmarked the i5-4690K at its stock speed of 3.5GHz. With a maximum average core temperature of 66.50C (44.50C Delta) using the very same Argon AR06, which had a maximum average core temperature of 79.50C (56.00C Delta) within the HAF XB. It shows the RVZ01 is cooler by 13.00C (11.50C Delta). Even if the airflow is more direct, I’m still pretty astonished that a case this size performs so well. Imagine what it could do if we could squeeze a performance CPU cooler! 😉
|Case||Ambient Temperature||Max GPU Temperature||Delta Temperature|
|Cooler Master HAF XB||24.00||80.00||56.00|
With our new Test Rig graphics card installed, I’ll admit to not having a huge amount of confidence in the GPU cooling ability of the Raven RVZ01. After all, we all know how hot the AMD R9 290X can get, hence we chose the 95.00C throttle limited Hawaii based graphics card for testing purposes (could we get more extreme? 😉 ). The results left me even more shocked than with the CPU temperature tests! With a maximum temperature of 69.00C (46.50C Delta) the new XFX R9 290X DD Black Edition is suddenly in a different league when compared to the maximum temperature recorded within the HAF XB which is 80.00C (56.00C Delta). It may look small on paper, but a difference of 11.00C (9.50C Delta) with any R9 290X is actually huge. It’s also worth bearing in mind that the Raven RZV01 only has a single 120mm fan pre-installed above the GPU feeding it cool air, how much difference would a second actually make?
With both of the RVZ01 fans set at 100%, the combination of the fan grills and close proximity to the installed components cause the total noise to be quite a bit higher than the 18dB the slim 120mm fans are touted at. Instead producing approximately 45dB of sound. Certainly no deal breaker and not something you’d really notice when using a headset, but for me it really is on the cusp of what I’d be happy with during general use. The good news is with the fans reduced to their lowest speed, the case noise drops to 34dB, which I for one would be more than happy to live with.
When the SilverStone Raven RVZ01 first arrived at pcG I really wasn’t too sure what to expect. I mean what kind of Gaming rig can you expect to squeeze into a rig measuring just 382mm(W) x 105mm(H) x 350mm(D)?!?
The Raven RVZ01 arrived at pcG in a rather stylish box that if I hadn’t known any better, could have housed a slimline Bluray player. Despite the excessive amount of clear tape to seal it up, I eventually fought through to gain access to the tiny case that was well protected within a black fabric bag and safely wedged between two polystyrene blocks inside.
Once the RVZ01 was out of the bag I was surprised (VERY!) by its lean 3.71kg weight and the minuscule 382mm(W) x 105mm(H) x 350mm(D) footprint. Yes I understand it is an MITX case, but until you physically have the RVZ01 in your hands, you really don’t realise how small the case is. Then aesthetically the Raven RZV01 offers a unique style that is only shared by its most recent Raven siblings, that being a totally black and striking case, with bold lines running around the majority of its perimeter (even going so far as to looking a little like a Ravens feather in parts). It may sound a little garish and over-the-top, but the black colouring of the case subdues it enough for it to fit in almost anywhere (of course the size helps this too 😉 ).
Building within the Raven RVZ01 proved surprisingly easy. The internal chassis being well laid out, innovative and very cleverly designed. Whilst not offering a tool-free design (not even thumbscrews for the side panel), the case is designed ergonomically so that every components fits naturally into its allocated area and literally every available inch can be used for mounting all your hardware goodies.
It clearly states within the instructions that the maximum measurements of the graphics card you can install within the RVZ01 is 330mm(L) x 73mm(D), but doesn’t tell you the width?!? Our test card, the XFX R9 290X DD Black Edition measures 295mm(L) x 143mm(W) x 42mm(D) which along the length and depth fits perfectly, but the width is very tight. This is due to the PSU extension cable being slightly in the way. When I say it’s tight, what I mean to say is you’ll be more comfortable with a graphics card approximately 10mm narrower so that you don’t cause any unnecessary pressure on the PSU extension cable or graphics card (or yourself!).
So all’s well with the ultra compact Raven RZV-01 so far? Yet how does it perform? Well if it were a baseball pitcher I’d have been struck out! Having tested the SilverStone Argon AR06 within the HAF XB previously and despite its near silence and compact size, I found it be be disappointing when it came down to the all important job of keeping the i5-4690K cool with a minor 4.0GHz overclock (92.50C/69.00C Delta), but slipped inside the RVZ01 and with the same voltage applied to the CPU, we had a maximum average core temperature of 78.00C (56.00C Delta), which astonished me to say the least. Throw in a potentially very hot AMD Hawaii based graphics card in the form of the XFX R9 290X DD Black Edition and my hopes weren’t high (to say the least), yet with a maximum GPU temperature of 69.00C (46.50C Delta) the case beats the card thermals into submission easily! More surprisingly so it does all this with just the two 120mm case fans creating a non too deafening 45dB of noise which can be reduced to 34dB when you don’t need 100% performance.
If you can’t tell already, I absolutely love the SilverStone Raven RZV01. Given its size, looks, interior design and what you can actually squeeze into it (you can even fit in a custom water loop!), I believe it offers tremendous value for money at approximately £65.00. It will not be suitable for everyone though. Given its size you are going to be limited to an MITX/MDTX sized motherboard, which means you’ll be limited to two DIMM slots, SLI and CrossFire in multi-card set-ups are clearly another no go area, then your limited to the tiny SFF or SFF-L power supply sizes. Personally I think these are all certainly worthwhile trade-offs when considering the benefits of using the Raven RVZ01 in not only my next super compact Gaming rig, but yours too!
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Many thanks to SilverStone for providing this sample for review