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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  • 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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