Assembling the SilverStone Sugo SG09

Part of the "joy" of reviewing small form factor cases is just how much of a royal pain in the neck they can be to put together. In trying to cram all of this hardware into such a small space, elbow room is generally the first thing to go. So while the SG09 supports tower coolers and full-length video cards, other spaces are decidedly much more cramped.

That said, SilverStone was still remarkably considerate when it comes to assembly. Motherboard standoffs are already built into the tray, but you do have to remove the sliding power supply bracket in order to fit a Micro-ATX board in. When you do, you'll also find that the AUX 12V line is going to be much harder to connect than usual, and two of the innermost mounting screws may be next to impossible to actually install. The problem is the close proximity of the 120mm and 180mm fans, a tradeoff made for what you'll see is pretty superior cooling performance.

Drives are mounted into the SG09 using three removable trays behind the motherboard. The topmost one is for mounting two 3.5" drives side by side, and the top 180mm fan actually overhangs this side of the tray just enough to get some cool air flowing. Unfortunately the 3.5" drives are bottom mounted, taking our standard Corsair Link kit out of the running. Meanwhile, just beneath them are four plastic brackets for mounting four 2.5" drives, stacked on top of each other. Finally, slimline optical drives are installed by attaching a mounting bracket included with the case to the drive, then attaching that bracket to the case itself.

Getting the power supply into the case is actually a pretty easy affair. You attach it to the sliding, removable power supply cage, then slide it back in, screw in the cage, and connect the routing cable. For testing I opted to orient the power supply's intake to the front of the case instead of the interior, as this isolates the power supply from the rest of the components while still allowing it to receive fresh air. This also prevents it from competing with the tower cooler for intake air. Installing expansion cards is also simple; there's a covered bracket (I do hate these even though I understand why they exist) that has to be removed, then the ventilated expansion slot covers come out.

Where things generally go to hell with small case designs is cabling, but SilverStone has actually done a reasonably good job allowing for this. The nature of the layout basically forces you to route cables intelligently; there's simply nowhere else to put them. Again, a modular power supply is pretty much essential, especially if you're planning on utilizing 3.5" drives. I do think they could've tried to allow at least a little more space at the top for squeezing all those cables through, though.

Unfortunately, putting the panels back on the SG09 is an exercise in frustration of the very highest order. What SilverStone needed to do was split the wraparound panel to handle just the motherboard and fan side and then make a separate panel for the side behind the motherboard tray. Though SilverStone does allow for a decent amount of space for cabling, it still isn't quite enough, and I had to struggle a lot to get the panel to fit correctly.

There are some design elements that I think are really strong, and then there are some that obviously need work. As I mentioned, the panels need to be split even if it increases complexity a bit, and the single 80mm fan mount seems superfluous and can probably be cut entirely, possibly in favor of using that real estate to mount one or two 3.5" drives laterally. The brackets for mounting the 2.5" drives also seem to be placed too low and you'll be struggling trying to get them installed again. An extra couple of millimeters would make all the difference, even if it meant shrinking the opening for the cooler backplate slightly.

With all that said, though, it's impressive how much you can actually cram into the SG09. I was able to fit our standard case testbed in without any real trouble. Better still, there's potential here for some really stellar performance.

In and Around the SilverStone Sugo SG09 Testing Methodology
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  • EnzoFX - Saturday, October 20, 2012 - link

    Is it me or does that look like a TJ-08E that was needlessly made ugly externally.

    As for going with a slim ODD, I applaud whenever cases do this. This is a must in an ITX form factor IMO, since it's all about saving space. Not so much large ITX cases however, so to each his own. Though I will argue that there is some merit in saying a full size ODD is more practical for someone trying to save money or whatever, HOWEVER, is it not more logical that they may not even use one? Hence I'd rather let the small ODD be wasted space, as opposed to dedicated much more of it to a full sized one. Optical drives are on the decline are they not? Unless this is your only computer in the house, leave ripping to another computer and save money by ditching the ODD.
    Reply
  • MadAd - Sunday, October 21, 2012 - link

    I agree, Ive just done a build in a TJ08 with a full size optical, three standard HDD, one SSD (and i didnt use the drive cage at all,threw it out), an 11.5" dual fan graphics card, sound card etc, i threw out the silverstone fan and used a TY150, and also a H60 with a silent typhoon doing double duty as a rad cooler and exhaust fan - sounds hot? its not - cant get cpu over 53 degrees no matter what i throw at it, and its virtually silent

    Looking over the review makes wonder what on earth they were thinking, its ugly, noisy, wider than the 08 and no little cut out tabs all over the back to aid cable routing - for me that was the star feature of the 08 and theres not one on the 09.

    i guess itll attract people that err on the side of caution and dont care if it sounds like an industrial vacuum in the corner of the room
    Reply
  • MadAd - Sunday, October 21, 2012 - link

    oh and i didnt have to use a modular psu Reply
  • lmcd - Sunday, October 21, 2012 - link

    Yes, the aesthetics are worse on this case but it's also 4 inches smaller in a dimension (appears to be height, but I can't tell):

    15.16" x 8.27" x 14.72" (TJ08-E, courtesy that review)
    8.66" x 11.61" x 13.94" (this case with conversions via WolframAlpha)
    Reply
  • HisDivineOrder - Sunday, October 21, 2012 - link

    I think the bigger shame about the ODD issue is that the slim slot drives are so expensive even today when you'd wish they were easier to buy and cheaper to buy by now. Reply
  • tim851 - Monday, October 22, 2012 - link

    Slot-in slimline drives cost under 40$ shipped on ebay. That's about 20$ more than a regular sized drive. Given that Mini-ITX (outside the world of Atom) is really not the best bang-for-the-buck, I'd consider 20$ more quite reasonable. Reply
  • 96redformula - Saturday, October 20, 2012 - link

    I finished building a new computer with this case several days ago and it was definitely more time consuming than typical builds. Looks great, fantastic air flow, and super quiet.

    My only gripes are that the front could use a bit of tweaking to optimize the looks, and secondly you cannot use the 120mm fan on the side because the connection to the power supply will be in the way.

    Highly recommend to anybody wanting a case they can put on their desktop and run a powerful rig in the smallest space possible.
    Reply
  • EnzoFX - Saturday, October 20, 2012 - link

    So since it's mATX, does that mean that the only benefit here is being able to run dual GPU's in a small space? Or perhaps overclocking cpu's to extremes what with being able to run a full sized CPU HS/F.

    My overall criticism is that it isn't someone really looking to go small, it's someone that wants all the power, and size being the 2nd priority. Because even making one sacrifice (take your pick, cpu hs/f size, PSU, or losing 2nd graphics card), will yield smaller cases, and more attractive ones at that. There are even some that will hold more drives than this does.
    Reply
  • MonkeyPaw - Saturday, October 20, 2012 - link

    To me, the benefits are obvious. You get more expansion possibilities with mATX, the boards are generally cheaper than ITX, there are more mATX boards to chose from, and you can use standards parts. You end up with a small, powerful build that doesn't require lots of expensive or hard-to-find components. I would love to build a system with this case. Reply
  • EnzoFX - Saturday, October 20, 2012 - link

    The only gain is expansion with mATX, and sure, more options. Prices are comparable these days. There are also no hard-to-find components. Not these days, everything has been well standardized, and there are many solid options. Sure not as many as full-ATX, but they are enough for even the budget oriented builds. I wish ITX cases would push the envelop in going small. I wish there were more use of flex-ATX PSU. Even those are readily available, and perfectly suitable for a mid-range gaming build. Let alone anything without a discrete graphics solution. It just feels like such a waste seeing oh so many ITX builds with a 40W+ PSU, be it microATX of ATX, that don't even have a mid-range card in it. Considering the high-end GTX 680's are the niche, what's the point of full ATX PSU in an ITX build.

    Granted I am not talking about full sized ITX cases such as these, I'm talking about the flip side for those really looking to save on space. There's a lot of ground that can be easily gained.
    Reply

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