In and Around the SilverStone Sugo SG05

The great thing about reviewing these Mini-ITX cases is that oftentimes there just isn't a whole lot to them, and that's true of the SilverStone Sugo SG05. This is the smallest case I've reviewed yet (at least until the impending review of the Antec ISK 110), and SilverStone makes smart use of the entire space. You can get most of the information you need just by looking at the case, and in fact when I went to assemble it I found myself checking the manual just to make sure it really was this simple.

The front is a clean black plastic bezel with sharp lines. On the right are the pair of USB 3.0 ports, the indicator LEDs, and two very small power and reset buttons, while the top of the fascia features the slimline optical drive bay. Of course the star of the show is the beefy 120mm intake fan at the center, and this 120mm fan represents the bulk of the cooling system. It isn't the most attractive thing in the world, but it's very functional as you'll see later on.

When you look at the top and sides of the SG05, you see how SilverStone is managing the rest of the case's thermals: copious, copious ventilation. This type of design choice winds up being a bit of a double-edged sword; there's nothing keeping the internal fan noise internal, but it also allows enough cool outside air to reach the components that the fans don't have to work as hard in the process. In my experience, smart airflow design can oftentimes be more conducive to keeping noise down than any kind of sound dampening material. Where I do think SilverStone misses the boat a little bit is the back. There's the expected extrusion to cover the expansion slots, but I feel like they could have and should have ventilated the space between the downward-facing PSU and the I/O cluster.

Popping open the SG05 reveals a very straightforward internal design. Given the fact that none of the case's dimensions exceed a foot, there just isn't space inside for any kind of chicanery; every inch must be accounted for. With that in mind, there's a removable support bar for the PSU (not strictly necessary but a nice touch) and the 3.5" drive cage and optical drive/2.5" drive cage are removable. That's it. There's the 120mm intake fan in the front, the cluster of headers for the case's I/O, and motherboard standoffs built into the bottom, but that's the extent of it.

Finally, SilverStone includes a very robust power supply with the SG05. The 450-watt unit is 80 Plus Bronze certified, and has a healthy 36 amps on the single 12V rail. This should be adequate for just about any video card you can actually fit inside the enclosure; NVIDIA's recent GeForce GTX 660 Ti may very well be an ideal candidate.

For how simple the SG05's design is, though, I feel like there's a bit of wasted potential here. The optical drive cage probably could've supported a pair of 2.5" drives side-by-side on the underside without interfering with the expansion slots, or alternatively could've included some means of mounting a 2.5" drive to the optical drive area. Interestingly, SilverStone opts not to include one of their 120mm Air Penetrator AP121 fans in the front, sticking with a more conventional fan. The AP121 can get a little noisy, though, and they may have just elected to err on the side of silence.

Introducing the SilverStone Sugo SG05 Assembling the SilverStone Sugo SG05
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  • Grok42 - Sunday, August 19, 2012 - link

    I'm building a new mITX system this month to be my primary workstation/game rig. So far this case seems to be my case despite it not having very well ventilated drive bays. Anyone have alternate suggestions?

    Intel core i7-3770
    Nvidia GTX 660ti
    16GB RAM
    128GB 2.5" SSD
    No Optical
    No 3.5" hard drive
  • DarkStryke - Sunday, August 19, 2012 - link

    Go with the Asus P8Z77-I DELUXE, and that system will be a monster.
  • Grok42 - Monday, August 20, 2012 - link

    Thanks for the feedback, this is for sure the board I'm going with. It's amazing how much they can get on these tiny mITX boards these days.
  • Japanesus - Sunday, August 19, 2012 - link

    For those willing to spend more (~$200) I'd recommend the SG08 . Although slightly taller and about 2 inches deeper, the extra room allows for a more efficient design I think.

    Some differences:

    - HD tray accommodates two 2.5" drives underneath and has silicone grommets to reduce vibration from the 3.5".

    - 600W bronze rated PSU

    -180mm Air Penetrator fan (which you can easily replace - I went for a Corsair H80 and replaced the noisy stock fans with one 38mm thick intake fan).

    -Nice looking brushed aluminum front panel.

    Easily got a mild 4.2GHz overclock on an i5-3750k with the H80's fan controller on low speed. Can always ramp things up if you don't mind a bit more noise.

    Anyways it was my first build and came together effortlessly. I gave it to my dad to replace his 10+ year old crappy Gateway... It's not cheap but neither are the components you would put in a case like this, so I think it's worth it.
  • daar - Monday, August 20, 2012 - link

    Having looked at both, from my recollection the depth of the SG08 is about the same as a regular PC tower, and a 5" difference from the SG05 (if it is the one I'm thinking of).

    Perhaps not an issue for some, but that difference was for me as I was sticking it inside a drawer. Otherwise, I'd just stick with the Prodigy or a mini tower for flexibility. Even if it's for home entertainment, TV stands generally space for a DVD player, and you can get a horizontal tower to fit in those.
  • pdjblum - Sunday, August 19, 2012 - link

    I must be in the minority, because no one else seems to mind that the material of the cases reviewed are not stated up front in the specification box. I am a snob when it comes to cases, and the first thing I want to know is if it is made from aluminum or not.
  • Dustin Sklavos - Sunday, August 19, 2012 - link

    It isn't, but in my experience aluminum isn't necessarily desirable or even appropriate for the design. The SG05 uses plastic for the front fascia and steel for the chassis, and while a brushed aluminum fascia might be more attractive, the SECC steel is exactly the right call for the chassis itself.

    Keep in mind that the aluminum someone like Lian Li or Cubitek uses is also going to be different than the aluminum SilverStone uses.
  • MadAd - Sunday, August 19, 2012 - link

    With all the recent buzz about SFF/ITX and the inevitability that PCs must shrink or die It would be great if we had a dedicated SFF forum here at Anandtech.

    Currently all SFF talk is drowned out by laptop and gaming posts, im sure there would be better discussion in its own home, currently the sheer volume of laptop posts deters anyone from even trying to discuss SFF, it feels pointless posting discussion if its just going to disappear.

    Fantastic review otherwise, really enjoying the series, im determined that my current ATX builds (x3) will be my last and anything i need going forwards can be done on either SFF graphics free, or a uATX for a main gaming box with several hdd.
  • Samus - Monday, August 20, 2012 - link

    @ the GTX560 in that thing. cool.
  • miahallen - Monday, August 20, 2012 - link

    nuff said 8)

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