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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  • UpSpin - Sunday, August 19, 2012 - link

    If you don't change the PSU fan and use it as it is, it will get audible and noisy if you tax the PC.

    However, I changed the PSU fan to a 120mm one and build a new case for the PSU which guides the air, speed regulated every fan, dampened the noise of the HDDs and bought the EVGA GTX560Ti, which is based on the NVidia reference design, which uses a very quite fan. And unlike more silent looking GTX560Ti cards, the stock NVidia design also cools the VRM, thus the fan speed can get reduced further without issues and doesn't ramp up as fast as the more silent looking designs. I also modded the GPU Bios to run the fan at lower speeds and undervolt the GPU.

    But you're right, I can hear it if I'm working alone, because of the GPU fan and the open design of the Sugo case. Not because of the air flow but because of the GPU fan's bearing, which is still very very quiet. I haven't found the time to replace this fan with a higher quality one. It's not annoying, because it's really silent and at a low frequency, but yeah, still audible if the environment is silent.
    Reply
  • Jackattak - Sunday, August 19, 2012 - link

    I would go with the drawer idea personally. PCs sitting on desks suck. It doesn't matter how quiet you get it, you will notice the noise while sitting at the desk alone in the room. And anyone who is in IT or Development or any other mentally demanding job will tell you, even normally mild or even nearly unnoticeable noises can cause you great frustration.

    I like the idea of putting this in a sliding drawer. That way when you needed to work on the machine's innards you could just slide it out and pop the cover and work right at your desk. And when you're actually using the PC within, you could slide it back to the end of the desk, and if you mounted the drawer underneath the desk, you'd never notice it.

    Great review as always, Dustin. I have built about a dozen PCs (for myself, that is) but I haven't done it since 2003! I've been buying Dell XPS systems since then, as it was worth it to me to purchase fully assembled products with generally nice cases, believe it or not, rather than going through the rigamarole of purchasing all the separate parts and praying to the gods that everything works well with everything else. The manufacturer mashups can be pretty frightening. At any rate, your review here makes me want to buy one of these as I've had increasing interest in mini-ITX systems as of late. Might just have to workout a project plan! :-)
    Reply
  • doctormonroe - Sunday, August 19, 2012 - link

    What happened to the photo galleries? Reply
  • Dustin Sklavos - Sunday, August 19, 2012 - link

    We had a bug in the system with them; adding galleries now. Reply
  • Conficio - Sunday, August 19, 2012 - link

    "the general industry tend towards smaller" Reply
  • Meaker10 - Sunday, August 19, 2012 - link

    An OCed 680M stays along side a stock clocked GTX670 :D Reply
  • Grok42 - Sunday, August 19, 2012 - link

    I am so glad to see more reviews of mITX cases. I believe as the reviewer does that these cases are the future of enclosures. I also believe that optical drives are legacy drives as well. All the reviews of mITX cases come to the same conclusion that the external bays seriously compromise the overall design of the case. Small cases are always going to be a set of trade offs but it seems obvious the trade off should be to remove the external bays but not a single case does. It seems so obvious that improved thermal and acoustic performance is more important than the ability to have an optical drive that is used once or twice in the life of the system.

    If your taking requests for future reviews I would nominate the Lian Li PC-Q16A. I'm worried it doesn't support a discrete GPU at which point I would retract my request. I can't find any information or reviews about it of any depth so I can't be sure if it does or not.
    Reply
  • JoanSpark - Monday, August 20, 2012 - link

    +1

    there is not a single mITX/mATX case out there without an external (optical) drive bay.
    Not a single case maker is producing a box where you can put in a mb, a gpu, some 2.5/3.5 drive(s) and call it a day.

    You get countless towers, med towers, mini towers etc with numerous external bays in all kinds of styles and colours.. but not a single case without an external drive bay.

    Pathetic.
    Reply
  • Zap - Monday, August 20, 2012 - link

    Check out the Lian Li PC-Q25 series. It is like the PC-Q08, except supporting more 3.5" drives and no external drive bay. And yes, gigantic graphics cards are supported.

    Alternately, for those who don't need discrete GPUs there are plenty of mITX cases which don't have external drive bays.
    Reply
  • JoanSpark - Saturday, August 25, 2012 - link

    I stand corrected.

    Thx for the pointer, very interesting.
    Reply

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