In and Around the SilverStone Sugo SG09

Pulling the SilverStone Sugo SG09 from the box and checking it out from all the angles, it almost feels like a little bit of a chimera. For sure, SilverStone has done a good job producing a fairly aesthetically pleasing design, but the odd bulges and vents along the sides are suggestive of the crafty internal layout required for getting a fairly fully-featured Micro-ATX enclosure down to this size. In fact, the SG09 doesn't even actually sit evenly on flat surfaces without the included adhesive feet being affixed to it due to the lip of one of the removable panels actually being on the underside of the case.

SilverStone has chosen to be fairly conservative in their material choices with the SG09, opting for plastic and steel instead of aluminum. The front fascia has an attractive, symmetrical design that's fairly typical of SilverStone, with a removable filtered vent beneath the slot-loading optical drive bay as well as additional ventilation below the power and reset buttons and port cluster. This front fascia is pretty much the only plastic you'll find on the SG09 outside of the removable vent covers for the top and side fans.

Speaking of the top and sides, the top of the case is where you'll find the biggest clue to how SilverStone plans for the SG09 to work its magic: a whopping 180mm Air Penetrator fan that's actually facing down as an intake instead of an exhaust. It's true SilverStone PR plays up natural convection as a selling point for their 90-degree rotated motherboard case designs, but the reality is that those cases are so effective because of the direct airflow on the motherboard, CPU, and components and not because of the direction of that airflow. Undoubtedly they know this, too, as this is the second case I've reviewed by them that has a top-mounted intake fan.

When you get to the sides, you'll see a slight bulge on the right side that gives the cabling from the power supply some additional room to breathe along with a small vent at the bottom for an optional 80mm fan. On the left side there's a big power supply sized vent along with a single 120mm intake fan and room for additional 80/92mm fans. You'll also see the left side is actually split between a top wraparound panel and a bottom "fan panel," with a screw in the side where you ordinarily never expect to see one.

Finally we get to the back, where we can see how the power cable is routed out; the bulk of the SG09 is pretty much just the space required to house a Micro-ATX board and tower cooler along with the 120mm exhaust and a healthy amount of space behind the motherboard tray. As you've probably sussed out, they moved the power supply to the front of the case and in a way it seems to do what good small form factor designs do in my experience: segregates cooling zones using the size of the components themselves.

Opening the SG09 up requires removing five thumbscrews on the back along with one screw on the side and one on the bottom; that allows you to remove the large top wraparound panel and the lower fan panel. And when you get inside, how SilverStone managed to fit so much in one space begins to come together. Opting for a slimline optical drive saves a ton of space, and behind the motherboard tray there's room for four 2.5" drives and three 3.5" drives, but even SilverStone recommends eschewing 3.5" drives entirely. That's a sound plan, as again, 3.5" drives take up a lot of space as well. Ultimately they've been able to condense their case down to: motherboard, power supply, video card(s). Not too shabby.

While I'm impressed with the SG09's design, I'm also amused at just how aggressively SilverStone culls space. In some ways they went the complete opposite direction of BitFenix with the Prodigy; BitFenix tried to cram as much capacity into a Mini-ITX case as possible, while SilverStone's design requires a more specialized approach to really maximize it. They culled everywhere they could in an effort to shrink the design down, and that meant pushing for smaller form factor components as well. I admire the approach, but it may not be for everyone.

Introducing the SilverStone Sugo SG09 Assembling the SilverStone Sugo SG09
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  • lmcd - Sunday, October 21, 2012 - link

    It's hitting $100 pretty much everywhere... Reply
  • lmcd - Sunday, October 21, 2012 - link

    This looks like the perfect case for me: it's nice and compact but I don't have to deal with ITX.* Nice cooling for maybe even CF, and I don't mind noise since I tend to game loudly. As for fans, I'll make sure my nicely-sized mATX board has enough fan headers; shouldn't be too hard. One optical drive is perfect and I don't mind spending a bit extra on it later (might not get it initially though) and will use a cheap external in the meantime (note: a cheap external is around $30 and so the "unbearable" slim drive can easily be mitigated this way).

    *ITX boards with wireless built in tend to be expensive and late to the market, and I need a wireless card, but want discrete graphics. As such, ITX is a no-go for me.
    Reply
  • extide - Sunday, October 21, 2012 - link

    Check out the ASRock Z77 M-ITX board. It's pretty sweet IMHO and I am dying to do a build with one :) Reply
  • lmcd - Tuesday, October 23, 2012 - link

    I'm actually looking at this for my next build, which should be around the time of Haswell. And I'm interested in maybe even dual-GPU with this case (two 7850-equivalents). Reply
  • piroroadkill - Sunday, October 21, 2012 - link

    Oh dear.

    If you need a premium microATX case, surely there's only one choice, the Fractal Design Define Mini..
    Reply
  • Orvtrebor - Sunday, October 21, 2012 - link

    I can't believe this is the final product....

    Hideous.

    Someone on another forum that starts with an [H] drew an awesome modified version of this case when the prototype was first shown. Pretty sure it's in the SFF forum.

    It is literally 10x better than this mess.
    Reply
  • dave1_nyc - Sunday, October 21, 2012 - link

    I forget the model, but several years ago there was one of the Sugo cases that I thought was so nice I was just looking for some reason to build in it, either in the all aluminum version or the steel-with-an-aluminum-front version.

    But honestly, could this thing *be* any uglier.
    Reply
  • joos2000 - Sunday, October 21, 2012 - link

    The main sacrifices SilverStone made with the Sugo SG09 are understandable ones barring one unusual decision. I understand their preference for slot-loading slimline optical drives from an aesthetic perspective, but it increases build cost for the end user and reduces options substantially.

    There are some rather obvious errors in your reasoning, at least to me.

    First of all, if you are even remotely interested in building a small system, then you are obviously looking at putting the smallest components in there. Having a full height disc player more than doubles, probably triples the volume requirement in the box for what is, in most cases, a completely redundant device in a modern system. So all of a sudden, you go against your requirement of portability and minimalism so you can save a buck on an optical drive? How does that make any sense at all?

    I wouldn't be all surprised if most of the builds based on this box will be without a DVD/BR all together. And yes, I am presuming that pretty much all of the builds based on this case will be LAN gaming systems since it is far, far to ugly to have next to your telly in the living room.

    And when did PC games come delivered in blu-rays anyway? Pretty much all PC games come on DVD's still, so paying through the nose for a blu-ray player for a LAN box just doesn't make sense. At all.

    That's my impression anyway and why I think Silverstone have made the right decision both in slimline form factor and skipping blu-ray's for their gaming systems.
    Reply
  • EnzoFX - Tuesday, October 23, 2012 - link

    My thoughts exactly as summarized in my original comment =P. Reply
  • tzhu07 - Sunday, October 21, 2012 - link

    Really tacky and plasticty looking. I'll definitely be sticking with Fractal Design cases. Reply

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