Quoth the Raven “Nevermore.” --Edgar Allen Poe
My last build was over 10 years ago! AMD X2 5000 Black, 4GB DDR2, 2x500GB drives in RAID 10, & Ati Radeon 3850. A few upgrades over the years have kept her ticking. AMD Phenom II Quad-Core, 8GB DDR2, 2x2TB drives in RAID 10, 120GB SSD Boot drive & Ati Radeon 5870. It was time for the next generation
I had been planning a new build for the last few months, then I won this RVZ02B-W @ IU Gaming's LAN War 32, so I adapted my build to the new case.
UPDATE Added additional pictures and re-ran the power cables. It wasn't night and day better as I hoped, but it's a little cleaner and they don't hide the LEDs as much.
The Raven RVZ02 was both great to work with and a PITA at the same time. There are lots thoughtful features helpful to building in this case, but they aren't always successful. I will probably try to redo some of my cable routing before too long. The cables are hiding much of the motherboard's built-in RGB lighting.
- Cable passthroughs in convenient places
- Generous motherboard cutout for back-side NVMe and cooler backplate access.
- Very secure SSD, PSU, and GPU mounting.
- Looks cool :)
- Flipped SSDs: I don't have a 2.5" SSD in my build (yet), and they aren't visible through the case window, but it drives me crazy they they have to be mounted upside down.
- The "Windows" are nearly opaque without any back-lighting. The cutouts, while necessary for air intake, make it very hard to see through.
- Enormous USB3.0 front panel cable. The cable could reach an I/O header mounted to the rear I/O panel! With a header on the near side of the motherboard, I had a lot of cable to hide.
I had originally planned on using the Asus STRIX Z270 but couldn't fit the $180 price in my build budget. I also wasn't going to be able to fit enough cooling in this case to overclock much, so I went back to the drawing board. I came across the Gigabyte GA-B250N Phoenix which offers lots of premium features without the overclocking or cost.
- Excellent header placement
- USB3.1 10Gig
- WiFi which came in more handy that I thought
- Lots of fan headers (in a case with no fans ;)
- Shiny wraparound RGB lighting + RGB header!
- No overclocking (but I knew that going in)
- Front panel audio header is a weird place (not that I use front panel audio anymore)
- RGB LEDs are on the bottom of the board (better for glow than for show)
Trolls: "Why did you buy a K processor when you didn't buy a Z series motherboard?"
- It was literally $1 more than the non-K processor (at the time of purchase)
- I'm buying a 3rd party cooler anyway so I don't need the craptacuar one it the non-K CPU comes with.
- Slightly higher clock speeds than non-K 7600.
I went back and forth for days on which cooler to use. There are many fans of the Noctua NH-9Li, Cryorg C7, Scythe Big Shuriken, or the Silverstone AR06. Each adamant their choice is the best. I decided to shun them all and went with the Reeven Brontes.
I found the Reeven Brontes in another cooler review and Tom's Hardware pitted it against the AR06 in a MiniITX roundup. Between the AR06 and the Reeven, the Reeben was the cooler and quieter contender. In fact, it basically matched the much larger Noctua NH-L12!
- Installation is super simple and straightforward.
- Orientation: If mounted with the heatpipes vertical, the fins will intrude on your first RAM slot.
- Component interference: My motherboard has a vertically mounted WiFi module and metal support bracket directly behind the rear I/O panel which interfered with the cooler. I initially removed the WiFi module outright as I didn't think I'd be using it anyway. Upon closer inspection, I found if I removed the bracket, I could re-install the module and the cooler would actually provide some support for it.
- Can't go wrong with Corsiar memory, am I right?
- These LED laden modules weren't much more than the Corsair Vengeance LPX I was considering.
- Pleasant white glow isn't too bright (for me)
- Runs as fast as the B250 chipset will let it (DDR4-2400)
- Didn't confirm LED & motherboard compatibility when I switched to the Gigabyte Phoenix. The LEDs work, but aren't configurable at this time. (My bad.)
- LEDs aren't too bright
Blazing fast! The original plan was to use the Samsung 960 EVO but when it came time to place the order, they were nowhere to be found. The Plextor M8Pe is a great second choice and $40-50 cheaper which helped since I was already over budget. (Dang taxes)
Early plans were to use a GTX 1060 6GB. With cost savings from no overclocking or water cooling, I could spring for a GTX 1070.
- Many forum posts have been written regarding blower vs open GPU coolers in this case. Reviewers often mention (but don't test) that a blower style cooler would work better since the only air flow will come from the GPUs own cooler. I finally found one YouTube video: Are Blower Fan Video Cards Actually Better in SFF Cases?
- I've always really like the look of the Founders Edition cards despite their decreased performance compared to the EVGA SC Gaming Black Edition for the same price. But then, there is that juicy factory overclock (ok a whopping 80Mhz, SuperClocked my ***) and white LED on the EVGA SC Gaming Black Edition.
- Before I clicked the "Checkout" button on the EVGA GTX 1070 Founders Edition I took one last look at Craigslist. WOW! A GTX 1080 Founders Edition showed up on Craigslist for only a few bucks more!
The Corsair CS600 is the best alternative to Silverstone's dominance in the SFX space. This unit may only be rated at 80+Gold, but JonnyGuru's tests show it could pass for Platinum :)
All that you need, none that you don't. Yes, it will do the RGB wave but it tastefully defaults to a single static color.
- One touch Gaming Mode button disables the Windows key (and whatever else you want)
- One touch lighting button enables/disables all lighting effects
- Fully customizable per-key RGB backlighting
- Logitech Gaming Software is easy to use and provides Application specific lighting presets
Cons: (Yes, I'm nitpicking. I don't have any actual gripes.)
- Romer-G switches are a little quieter than I like ;)
- Too light, I would like a metal backplate or insert for more stability