Introduction

Silverstone has had some interesting innovations for its customers, for example the FT01 designed for optimal cooling using positive air pressure. Today we are looking at another new cooling concept from Silverstone. Just as positive air pressure is nothing revolutionary -- search through any tech forums and you're likely to see some discussions about the topic -- the new concept with this case is that Silverstone change the direction the motherboard faces. Instead of having the I/O ports on the back, they will now be at the top of the case. If that immediately makes you worry about wires cluttering things up, don't: Silverstone has a cover to help keep the look clean.


The case looks like it came directly from the Transformer factory, and that's likely something you will either love or hate. Silverstone told us that the general feedback from customers so far is very good, and since the case is already available they apparently have sales to back up that statement.

As far as changing the direction the motherboard faces, the goal is simple. Silverstone wants to use a chimney stack effect where cool air comes in at the bottom and naturally flows upwards -- hot air rises. By designing a case where all of the air enters at the bottom and flows out the top, cooling should be improved and perhaps noise levels will be reduced at the same time. There are still fans to help out, but the natural airflow will hopefully reduce fan speeds. We can't actually prove that the stack effect is better or worse than other cases, since this case is only designed to work with the effect being active.

Silverstone has invested a great deal of time explaining how different cooling effects work, which you can see on YouTube and their own internal website:

Stack Effect Cooling (YouTube video)
Positive Air Pressure (YouTube 1, YouTube 2)

Silverstone Raven Specifications
Motherboard Formfactor ATX, Micro ATX, Extended ATX
Drive Bays External 5x 5.25"
Internal 6x 3.5"
Cooling Front -
Rear -
Top 1x 120mm exhaust
Side -
Bottom 2x 180mm intake
Expansion Slots 7
Front I/O Port 2x USB, 1x Audio, 1x Micro , 1x IEEE1394
Power Supply Size Standard ATX
Weight 15kg
Dimensions 280 x 616 x 660 (WxHxD in mm)

Now let's see if this case can actually live up to Silverstone's promises and stand out from the crowd.

Appearance
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49 Comments

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  • Zak - Saturday, February 7, 2009 - link

    All other reviews I've read gave it low ratings due to poor (cheap) plastic quality, tight space around video cards, awkward cable management and poor cooling (!). Many people complain the case arrives with broken/jammed doors. I'd stay away from this one. CM Cosmos S or Antec Twelvehundred would be my choice.

    Z.
    Reply
  • 9nails - Saturday, February 7, 2009 - link

    I liked this orientation, which is better for these longer GPU cards that run into the HDD cage. My Antec P180 cannot properly fit hard drives in the same horizontal plane as the GPU. Though it can fit a few drives beneath the MB chamber in the PSU chamber, at the subtraction of the fan which is kept in this area. (My PCP&C PSU is too long hindering the combination.)

    I'm a bit worried about the usefulness of this case and USB Flash drives connected to the back of the motherboard. It seems to me that the case is fairly large and begs for cables with a 90 degree bend.

    What I liked least was the swirling air near the CPU as shown in the YouTube video's. This does appear to be a dead spot.

    My vote on the appearance, is F117 "Nighthawk". It seems they considered this too with the black bird name of "Raven".

    The perfect case still doesn't exist, but I'm happy to see creative thinking!!! Good job on the review.
    Reply
  • andrihb - Friday, February 6, 2009 - link

    I think tsponholz is right, Most of these things have been done before.
    If I had a little more money, I would get the Cosmos series from CM, but the CM 690 is such a bargain. It can do almost everything you need to get good airflow, especially if youre willing to do some slight modifications (cutting out the hex mesh and stuff like that).

    The only thing unique here is the 90° turn that the motherboard has taken, I can see certain benefits from that. I'm imagining all the back panel cables coming out from the top rear in one bunch, bundled together neatly. Feels rather satisfying if you're an obsessive compulsive like me. Still, I'd rather have the ability to mount more fans in the ceiling.

    Having balanced intake and exhaust cfm is the way to go in my opinion. Unless you can somehow seal everything tightly, you're only going to be forcing the air out of every crack it can find and that can lead to problems like areas with very little flow.

    How much positive pressure could you really achieve? Maybe if there were 3 or 4 ultrakaze 3000 fans for intake and 1 exhaust fan at the top-rear, but even then it seems to me that the pressure difference would be absolutely negligable. Just get your air flow balanced and clear up your internal cable clutter, people!
    Reply
  • Christoph Katzer - Saturday, February 7, 2009 - link

    I have the CM690 in the comparison and will have the review up very soon. It provides indeed impressive cooling. Reply
  • RagingDragon - Saturday, February 7, 2009 - link

    I'm using a CM690 for my primary PC, so I took a close look at your CM690 graphs - and I was very pleased to see how well it performs :). It's only weakness seems to be hard drive cooling, but using fewer drives and/or a stronger front fan would probably fix that. The CM690 comes with 3 120mm fans, but if you need/want more cooling it has mounting holes for: 5 * 120/140mm, 2 * 120mm and 1 * 80mm, and if that's still not enough, Thermaltake and others sell cheap 3*5.25" to 4*3.5" converters which mount a 120mm fan. Reply
  • glenster - Friday, February 6, 2009 - link

    The Enermax Revolution PSU takes in air from the top and sends it out the back. Since this case uses positive air pressure, could you install the Enermax upside down? Reply
  • Christoph Katzer - Saturday, February 7, 2009 - link

    Both directions possible. Would suggest (as mentioned in the article) to take the air from the bottom since it's fresh... there is a ~80x160mm wide opening in the bottom. Reply
  • Cardio - Friday, February 6, 2009 - link

    So you can use shorter cables from your PS. Well, do they come with various lengths, no, you will just have more cable to try to stuff somewhere!
    Especially that inflexible 24 pin number that will be much too long. And any number of cables, USB, sound etc will probably be too short. It really didn't cool very well, anyway. Want to take the thing apart just to plug or unplug a cable. Answer to a non existent problem. I have had a number of their cases and none you could love.

    Rather than a Lamborgini, it looks more like a 1950's garbage can.
    Reply
  • strikeback03 - Monday, February 9, 2009 - link

    Well, you can run short cables, Silverstone makes them for their power supplies, and I am sure they would like to sell you both an expensive case and an expensive PSU with optional cables. Reply
  • elfy6x - Friday, February 6, 2009 - link

    I enjoyed the article. The multi-bar graphs are really interesting in showing all the different temps. Could you shade them with slight variances? It would help A LOT in reading the temp data you have. Just a suggestion. Reply

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