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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  • janderk - Sunday, August 19, 2012 - link

    This is exactly what I wanted to say.

    If you aren't into heavy gaming (I just program) this thing will idle well below 50W and will hardly go over 150W if you load it.

    The 300W supply will be much more efficient in this kind of usage. I wish the review had added the power used in idle and under load (with and without an additional graphics card). That would provide the curious with the right information if 300W is enough for them.

    For those of us who care about the environment (or like saving on the energy bill) it is quite hard to find a low Wattage good quality power supply. Compliments to Silverstone to providing one. Hopefully there will be a 200W option next year :)
  • Metaluna - Sunday, August 19, 2012 - link

    Just to add to this: More efficiency = less heat generated in the PSU for a given load. With these SFX PSUs being limited to 80mm fans, they can't really move much air without ramping the speed up to audible levels. It's even worse because these cases are more likely to be sitting on your desk close to your ears.

    That said, it really depends on the design of the specific PSUs, and since the power draw is so small anyway, any small differences in efficiency might not be very noticeable in practice. A good 450W will probably not be significantly worse than a budget 300W for example. I certainly wouldn't give up something like front panel USB 3.0 just to get the smaller PSU, for example.
  • batteries4ever - Sunday, August 19, 2012 - link

    I am with the 300W fans, and would go even more extreme towards an external 200W brick...... and a smaller enclosure. enclosures are like suitcases, each size has its justification!
  • RaistlinZ - Sunday, August 19, 2012 - link

    I'm sorry, but your choice of PSU really isn't going to have one iota of difference on the global environment. Seriously.
  • Zap - Monday, August 20, 2012 - link

    To paraphrase a common quote:

    "Every journey begins with a single step."
  • UpSpin - Sunday, August 19, 2012 - link

    As always, great review.

    I also own such a MiniITX case, just with a different front (SG06). I run it with a quad core Intel CPU and EVGA GTX560Ti. Runs fine and silent. Silent but only because I modded the case.

    The ODD isn't really worth the wasted space. I haven't used it at all since I own the case (1 year), but because some people still use DVD or BluRay they should keep it, maybe optional?
    The 3.5" clamp is somehow stupid, better inlcude a few 2.5" holdings. (That's what I did) Make an open air construction and place it in front of the front intake fan. Then customers can add 3 or 4 2.5" HDDs, like 1 SSD, 3 RAID 1TB drives. Because the HDD holding is a lightweight construction, they don't block the air flow and get cooled fine. (I put 3 HDDs in a closed custom made shock absorbing case (tube) with a low spinning fan which blows air through the tube, thus I don't hear the HDDs at all. But such a construction might be too expensive for mass production)
    But the really annoying part is the PSU fan. The fan is too small. In the current design most of the air must get blown through the PSU fan. The heated air from the HDDs, Mainboard and mainly CPU + the heat produced by the PSU must get pushed through the tiny PSU with a 80mm fan. That's idiotic. It's loud and reduces the lifetime of any PSU drastically. I had to replace the 80mm fan with a 120mm fan and made a custom case for the PSU, now it's silent and cool.
    The case itself is very clairaudient because of the huge amount of air holes. This makes the noisy PSU even more annyoing and difficult to make the PC silent with standard components.

    Because the PSU issue isn't solveable with the current design and default PSU cases, and the case is very clairaudient at all, Silverstone should redesign the whole case and optimize the airflow. Like putting the PSU at the front, reduce the amount of air holes but optimize the air flow, maybe put the mainboard on the side & GPU to the bottom (better airflow for the mainboard, GPU fan noise gets absorbed from the desk), or anything else.

    It's difficult to build a small system which is both powerful and silent with standard components. For the money it's a great case, but if you want it silent, you have to mod it, which is the only real drawback I have. Once you've done that, you'll have a powerful PC in the smallest case possible.
  • Olaf van der Spek - Sunday, August 19, 2012 - link

    Why doesn't the PSU take in fresh air via the top? Would seem like a much better design.
  • Socaddict - Sunday, August 19, 2012 - link

    I have the PSU in mine flipped. Didn't take any real work to sort out.
  • hybridE4t - Monday, August 20, 2012 - link

    Having it pull air from inside the case then exhausting it will aid throughput of air through the entire case and lead to better cooling throughout, particluarly if your other fans are orientated to complement this push-pull effect. Not recommended for low quality PSUs but as SilverStone are supplying both the case and PSU the fact they've orientated it this way suggests that they're confident it provides a net benefit.
  • Jumpman23 - Sunday, August 19, 2012 - link

    I've been reading reviews on Newegg on the older version of this case with the 450W PSU and a lot of people are saying that the connector included in the PSU is wrong for slim optical drives and you need to buy a separate adapter in order for it to work. Is this still the case with this? If it is, it's a pretty big oversight.

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