While most Silverstone cases tend toward polished metal and (if you’re lucky) a side window, the Raven’s hard plastic exterior takes its stylistic cues from a stealth bomber. Appropriately, everything on this 24.3x26x11-inch beaut is hidden behind panels: the front connectors (two USB, audio, FireWire) behind a flip-up, and the five 5.25-inch drives behind a garage door–like sliding panel.
The most striking thing about the Raven, besides its appearance, is that its motherboard mount is rotated 90 degrees clockwise—the I/O ports and PCI expansion slots, normally situated on the back of a case, are on the top and covered by a shroud that allows cables to be routed neatly to the back. This improves airflow (allowing air drawn in by two 18cm fans to rise from the bottom of the case to the top) and takes the stress of weighty PCI-E cards (like, say, dual-GPU offerings from Nvidia and ATI) off of the motherboard.
Silverstone is normally known for sleek brushed metal enclosures like its flagship TJ10, but today at CES we got a first look at a case that marks a departure from that norm. The Silverstone Raven RV01 looks more like a stealth bomber than anything - it's all black plastic and strange, radar-baffling angles. But fear not, true believers: it's as fully featured as we expect from a high-end Silverstone enclosure.
We often jest that SilverStone makes but one case a year—a slight modification of its most recent TJ series case. The company has since proven us wrong with the release of its Kublai series KL03 chassis. But after testing this midtower case, we find ourselves clamoring to go back to the familiar ground of SilverStone’s TJ cases. Given the TJ line’s high level of excellence, the KL03’s deficiencies stand out even more and make this chassis look like an ill-conceived side project.
Find out why we're not vacationing in Xanadu anymore after the jump!
We have 300 words to tell you about the wonders of SilverStone’s DS351 external hard drive enclosure, but we need just four syllables: me-di-o-cre. It’s not that the enclosure is overwhelmingly slow, broken, or impossible to manage, but the device dips its toe enough into each of each these categories to make for a less than stellar experience.
The ongoing joke at Maximum PC is that SilverStone releases a new TJ series case but once a year. Like the arrival of Punxsutawney Phil, the Video Music Awards, and the Dream Machine, this glorious event is marked with celebrations and drunken revelry—only this time around, instead of booze, we’re tipping back kegs of awesome. SilverStone’s TJ10 case is a welcome addition to the company’s strong dynasty of chassis. Like its father before it, the TJ10 is polished and almost perfect… almost.
When we decided to test external digital-to-analog converters (DACs) for the upgrade story in our June issue (“19 Bright Ideas: Upgrades You Didn’t Know You Needed”), we were surprised to learn that SilverStone offered one with pretty decent specs. We recommended Stereo-Link’s upscale A1300 in that story, but SilverStone’s less-expensive EB01 is a solid value. As we pointed out in the June issue, there’s a widespread misconception that digital audio is an all-or-nothing affair, and so the quality of the equipment you use to extract it doesn’t matter. It’s common knowledge, for instance, that getting audio physically off the electrically noisy motherboard results in cleaner sound, so it’s understandable that keeping audio in the digital domain until it’s entirely out of the PC would also help maintain its sonic integrity.
If Maximum PC’s tests worked like a beauty pageant, SilverStone’s Tundra TD01 might win the swimsuit competition. Talentwise, however, this water-cooling rig would be akin to your average 18-year-old girl trying to belt out “Since You’ve Been Gone.” It isn’t horrific, but it’s no Kelly Clarkson.
Mmm. That's the noise I made upon receiving a huge package from CoolIT and Silverstone this past week. Not just because of the contents -- a sweet, sweet system, featuring CoolIT's new Boreas cooler, packed into a TJ07 case -- but because the damn thing weighted nearly as much as I do, I swear. Getting that thing onto a Labs bench reminded me of Homer and the Stone of Triumph. Not fun.