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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  • 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.
  • 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
  • MadAd - Sunday, October 21, 2012 - link

    oh and i didnt have to use a modular psu
  • 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)
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.

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