Introducing the SilverStone Sugo SG05

We've been looking at a few mini-ITX enclosures as of late, an interest sparked largely by the surprise success of the Bitfenix Prodigy and the general industry tend towards smaller, more powerful systems. As I've mentioned before, the fact is that this is the direction these things are heading in; unless you need something that can handle multiple video cards, you can get a fairly robust system in a smaller form factor. Ivy Bridge knocked power consumption down substantially, and the raw efficiency of NVIDIA's Kepler has allowed for a massive jump in graphics performance (reviews of the GeForce GTX 680M are impending).

Of course, while Bitfenix's Prodigy is a pretty excellent enclosure, it's also remarkably large for a Mini-ITX case. The Cooler Master Elite 120 Advanced we reviewed recently brings things a bit more in line with the form factor, but its cooling performance left a lot to be desired. Meanwhile, in the background, SilverStone has been campaigning for us to take a look at one of its older cases, the Sugo SG05. They're of the opinion that the SG05 is capable of producing stellar performance while being smaller in volume than the competition. This case has been around for a little while, but was it ahead of its time?

As it turns out, SilverStone hasn't been sitting idle with the SG05. Though it was introduced more than three years ago, SilverStone has incrementally introduced updates; the most recent updates upgrade the front USB ports to 3.0 and add a 450-watt 80 Plus Bronze certified SFX form factor power supply. That's not a regular cheap power supply, either, but a quality SilverStone unit. In short, the SG05 provides very nearly everything you need to produce a modern Mini-ITX desktop.

SilverStone Sugo SG05 Advanced Specifications
Motherboard Form Factor Mini-ITX
Drive Bays External 1x Slimline optical
Internal 1x 2.5", 1x 3.5"
Cooling Front 1x 120mm intake fan
Rear -
Top -
Side -
Bottom -
Expansion Slots 2
I/O Port 2x USB 3.0, 1x Headphone, 1x Mic
Power Supply Size SFX (included)
Clearances HSF 82mm
PSU SFX form factor
GPU 10" / 255mm
Dimensions 8.7" x 6.9" x 10.9"
222mm x 176mm x 276mm
Weight 7.8 lbs. / 3.52kg
Special Features USB 3.0 connectivity via internal header
Included 450W 80 Plus Bronze SFX form factor PSU
Price $116

Keep in mind that our review unit is basically the top of the line for the SG05; there are ever so slightly less expensive models that still use USB 2.0 and/or have a lower power PSU included. Really, though, this is the one you want since SilverStone includes a USB 3.0-to-USB 2.0 adaptor for the internal header and you only save about ten bucks going with the lesser 300W power supply.

What's important to remember as well is that it's honestly very difficult to get much smaller than the SG05 while still integrating the PSU in the enclosure and allowing for any kind of optical drive support. I personally feel at this point that the slimline optical drive is barely worth the added expense (I've been using the blu-ray drive in my desktop to watch The Real Ghostbusters DVDs and that's about it), but thankfully it doesn't take a heck of a lot of space and you can always use the space to just install another 2.5" drive instead. The lack of 3.5" bays is probably going to be a bit of a buzzkill to some users, too, but that's part of the price of admission.

In and Around the SilverStone Sugo SG05
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  • Chaitanya - Sunday, August 19, 2012 - link

    Could you do a comparative review of the some of the mini-ITX cases(thermaltake, coolermaster, silverstone, lian-li and bitfenix) available in market? as most of these cases look similar on the outside(except for the bitfenix one) I am interested to know how they stack up against each other in terms of usability and cooling performance. Reply
  • n13L5 - Sunday, August 26, 2012 - link

    yes, would be nice.

    As far as I know, there isn't a better form factor + cooling concept case than the SG05 and its sucessors.

    So, why haven't I bought one?

    Cause Silverstone doesn't give them a nice build quality. Its iron, its got sharp edges inside and the plastic front had a crummy fit.

    By far the greatest annoyance is, that Silverstone forces you into a crappy, non-modular PSU! Why oh why would you ever use a non-modular PSU in a tiny case where you want to avoid extra wires obstructing airflow???

    A few years back, I went so far as posting the measurements and concept to Lian Li's support site, asking them to please make a form factor like that, so that we could finally have a high quality, slightly elongated version of the SG05...
    Reply
  • wahaha686 - Saturday, September 08, 2012 - link

    n13L5,

    I share your frustration towards the build quality of the SG05 and have plans to address the demand for an aluminum alternative to the SG05 (Kickstarter + batch custom order :p).

    I'm interested in knowing 1) what Lian Li told you, 2) how serious you are about getting a new mini-itx case.

    Let me know
    Reply
  • sean.crees - Tuesday, September 18, 2012 - link

    Modular PSU's take up more space because of the connector to the PSU chassis. When space is a premium, an extra inch or so can make a big difference in such a small enclosure. Plus it's easier (cheaper) to get higher effeciency in a PSU that is non modular due to resistive losses from extra inter connects. Not saying it cannot be done (obviously it can), but it would make the PSU more expensive, and the case it comes with more expensive.

    Personally i prefer steel enclosures. The weight difference is negligible once you load it up with electronics, but the steel panels resonate sound less than aluminum panels. Plus steel is cheaper. I know a lot of people in the silent PC field who HATE aluminum enclosures with a passion for this very reason and refuse to buy them. So while making it aluminum might make some buy it, it will make others not buy it, and in the end only result in a more expensive overall product.

    Now i do agree a nicer (aluminum) front panel instead of plastic would be nice. Wouldn't affect sound quality since it would have steel behind it, and should only increase cost slightly, but make it look much more professional.

    You have to remember, nothing is ever going to be perfect for everyone, and so they have to make compromises hoping to appeal to the widest possible group of potential customers. For the last 5 years or so, the SG05 has been the standard all other ITX enclosures are compared to, so i think the compromises Silverstone has made were the right ones.
    Reply
  • wahaha686 - Monday, December 31, 2012 - link

    n13L5,

    If you are still looking for an alternative to the SG05, I started a project with the help of Lian Li and SilverStone to build an alternative to the SG05.

    The information can be found here:
    http://hardforum.com/showthread.php?t=1717132
    Reply
  • gandergray - Friday, February 08, 2013 - link

    wahaha686:

    The NCase M1 is impressive. I hope you are able to achieve a production run. I'll support a funding effort.
    Reply
  • Zhelus - Monday, August 12, 2013 - link

    holy mother of god i just stumbled upon the meeting of the ncase m1 team Reply
  • techexperience - Thursday, September 12, 2013 - link

    and now I, too, bear witness on this union. Can't believe I stumbled upon this after all these years. Reply
  • 457R4LDR34DKN07 - Sunday, August 19, 2012 - link

    I sprung for the sg08 and z77, design is very similar and due to the 130mm fan needed a right angle slimline SATA power adapter. Reply
  • krumme - Sunday, August 19, 2012 - link

    Thank you Dustin for another excellent review.

    I like the appriciative style for the product and the consumer oriented approach instead of a hysterical or hidden angry style.

    Mini itx cases is an interesting product at the moment. Ib and 28nm gpu iis one thing, but performance on many other components is just not interesting anymore. Who gives about 400Mb/s ssd og 550Mb/s or 60 or 90 iops, in an workload only a minority uses very seldom.

    One of the forum members have a powercolor 7550 running inside a sg05, forum is down for maintenance now, so no link.

    I am very interested in this case, but would like to get noise down. Can i just fit silverstones own 12mm low noise fan instead? or what else is needed?

    Any chance silverstone will upgrade to the gold standard ps?

    If this can be a message to silverstone reps, can we have a lower noise, higher efficiency deluxe version ? :) - i mean its pretty cheap as it is, you got all the other parts in house come on !
    Reply

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