Tecnofront "Raven" Benchtable Review
by Dark Mantis
Up for review today is a wonderful looking benchtable from Italian manufacturers Tecnofront. This is their latest product in this line and is quite a stunner. This device has taken over from their previous model benchtable the Hardwaredock which is a much larger item altogether. They have learnt a lot from this previous incarnation and that experience has been put to good use in this their newest model. The company's website can be found here if more information is required: http://www.tecnofront.com/raven_it.htm DIMENSIONS
Height 370 mm
Table height 230 mm
Width 420 mm (excluding trays)
Depth 320 mm
Weight 3.7Kg FEATURES
Made of black acrylic mirror plexiglas
CNC machined so all nice edges
Stainless steel screws supplied in kit
It arrived by courier in a fairly indistinct brown cardboard box but was well packaged against damage during transit all the way from Italy. Inside the main box was two further cardboard boxes. One had "RAVEN" emblazoned in big blue letters on a sticker and according to the sticker on the second box it contained a "Torpedo external tube reservoir". This was a bonus as I was only expecting the main box and so I put this to one side for now. On opening the bigger box again I found it well packed using styrofoam and cardboard layers to protect the different parts of the kit. It was all arranged in layers as the parts are predominently flat. Also included was the large bag of stainless steel pan head pozidrive machine screws and the installation manual.
I started by unpacking all the parts and identifying them. This is not quite as straightforward as you would initially think as being made of black mirror finished plexiglas both sides of each part looked identical and this is where the manual was very useful. There was no list of the different screw sizes or how many of each were there so I divided them into their seperate piles. For others who may find it useful these are how many of each size were included and where they fitted.
M4 x 5 Motherboard screws (9 off)
M4 x 12 Motherboard post screws (9 off)
M4 x 16 General panel fixing screws (14 off)
M4 x 20 PCIE card securing screws (2 off)
M4 x 35 Fan screws (16 off)
M4 x 11 Hexagonal sided motherboard posts (9off)Screws for drive fixing etc are not included.
The overall weight of the whole build including the reservoir is a touch over 8.0 lbs or 3.7 kg. The flat panels came in two thicknesses, 4.5 and 6 mm. To be honest I would have liked to see the 6mm used throughout as it is just that bit more sturdy and inflexible. Once all bolted together though it is surprisingly stiff laterally and movement free. I would advise a drop of threadlock on each screw just to make sure that once tightened they don't come loose. It takes roughly an hour in total to screw together once you have located all the parts in the correct order. There is no parts of the build that are particularly difficult and it is merely a case of starting with the baseplate and adding to it as you go. I have posted photos of the stages but I think they are really superfluous.
This type of chassis is ideal for many different reasons. I like it because I can use it for review items which are easy to fit and also easy to take photos of from any angle even when fitted. I can also take measurements and reading where applicable of anywhere on the component which is ideal. It is also great for overclocking and benching again because of the easy access to all the components and motherboard. The only thing I would warn about is not to try using this case for below zero cooling like LN2 or DICE etc as the very extreme temperatures would probably cause the chassis material to become very brittle and crack or worse! I think it would be safer to stick to air or water with this unit. There is a nice big access hole cut into the motherboard panel to fascilitate changing of a processor heatsink without having to dismount the whole motherboard once fitted. Around the outside of this plate there are seven slots and two 12mm circular holes for wiring or tubing. I think the holes could have been cut larger so tubing would fit through them. As it is they are a little on the small side for that use.
Most of the internals like the drives and other fittings are fitted via free standing brackets made of the same material that just slots into holes cut into the baseplate. This is handy again because of the ease with which components can be installed or removed from the case with no tools and little time. These uprights are made from the 4.5mm black plexiglas. Once the drive or whatever is screwed in place it is all very rigid.Here I would recommend using a backing washer for the drive retaining screws to spread the load more evenly as the mounting holes have been too deeply recessed and the amount of material left is only minimal. Obviously this has an effect on the inherant strength of each mount. I found a few of the screwmounts cracking and even sheering off under very little pressure. If Tecnofront is taking notice you need to leave about half of the thickness of the original plexiglas material to maintain strength.
If watercooling the radiator can be mounted on the rear panel. This is machined to take a triple 120mm (360mm) rad but it should be noted that it can only have a maximum of 15mm fixings. This allows a push/pull setup to be used if wanted. Above the radiatopr holes are three long slots measuring 30mm wide that could be used for pipework or cabling or even just airflow. There are plenty of access holes and slots in all the panels and they can be utilised as the constructor sees fit.
Although the testbench is open in construction even when complete the manufacturer has considered airflow by allowing for the fitting of fans in several key places. There is a mount for a 120mm fan in each side panel at low level to make sure that the drives and PSU don't overheat. The rear panel has mounts for three 120mm fans for the radiator. Up top there is a mount each side for a 90mm fan that can be angled to suit. This will help cover the motherboard area so that just a passive airflow isn't relied upon.
Going back to the beginning you might remember I mentioned that there was another box also included in the main parcel, the Tecnofront Torpedo reservoir. This cylindrical clear plexiglas and black POM device measures 155mm in length not counting the fittings and 55mm in diameter. The two ends are machined out of single blocks, the bottom one having twin 1/4" BSPP threaded ports to take included black POM fittings that are 10mm OD so they will accept 10mm ID tube. It is nice to see these included as this is not the usual practice. On the outside there is a 10mm groove cut all the way around to a depth of 2.5mm. This is to fit the mounts that are supplied, again made from black POM.
The bottom block is sealed to the main cylinder with a screw thread and O-ring. The clear tube is a very solid looking 5mm thickness and is 100mm long. The top block is fairly much a mirror image of the bottom except for the single keyhole machined into it 3.5mm deep. This is a good design to aid filling without spillage. In the large end there is another 1/4" BSPP port with an allen key screw blank to enable filling or air bleeding. Inside this there is a deflector shield so that the port can be opened even when the system is working without the worry of fluid being blown out of the top. On the outside again is machined the 2.5mm deep groove for the mount.Apart from a few minor downsides this is a very useful benchtable rig and looks the business too. If you are looking for this type of case then there is no real reason not to buy this chassis providing you don't intend to cool below zero C. The finish is good and everything fits well and Tecnofront didn't get greedy when it came to the price. I am impressed apart from the depth of counterboring and award it 7/10. I would be quite happy to re-appraise that figure if Tecnofront corrects the machining.Supplier: Tecnofront Website: http://www.tecnofront.com Price: £127 for Raven and £31 for Torpedo From http://www.tecnofront.com/rivenditori_it.htm