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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  • cjs150 - Tuesday, August 21, 2012 - link

    That is one beautiful creation. Not convinced by the reservoir location or the carbon fibre but still beautiful.

    Just shows Water cooling and mini itx go together.
  • geniekid - Monday, August 20, 2012 - link

    In my opinion (yours may vary), not being able to use a power supply of my choice is a deal breaker. Maybe one day the standard size of components like power supplies and graphics cards will go down to where I'm comfortable with Mini-ITX, but until then, micro ATX is the lowest I'm willing to go for a gaming rig. HTPC...okay, you got me there :)
  • Zap - Monday, August 20, 2012 - link

    You can easily swap out the PSU. It is a standard "SFX" size that you can find replacements for at Newegg and other popular retailers.

    Besides the two Silverstone PSUs, FSP (who makes them for Silverstone) makes these PSUs in 300/400/450 wattages. Heck, Seasonic makes them in 300/350W. Silverstone has a new one that is 450W (maybe made by Enhance) but fully modular and 80Plus Gold!!! I used to own an Enermax 320W. SPI (Sparkle, part of FSP) has 300/350W versions. Some of these companies such as SPI/FSP also make lower wattage units down to 180W, but AFAIK those are older and less efficient designs.

    There are also a bunch of lesser quality units on the market from companies like SilenX, Ultra, Apex, Athena Power, etc. but I wouldn't normally use them.
  • LostBeacon - Monday, August 20, 2012 - link

    I've owned the USB 2.0 variant for 2 years and the 450W PSU is very quiet, same for the front 120 mm fan. I would deinitely recommend for a SFF PC build. I am using a Sandy Bridge corei3 with a 60 GB SSD, a 500 GB HDD, and a slim ODD.
  • JohnMD1022 - Monday, August 20, 2012 - link

    20-30 sec per photo, with Photoshop Elements or similar would make a world of difference.

    I used version 2.0 and adjusted the Brightness/Contrast.

    See the difference:
  • hasseb64 - Monday, August 20, 2012 - link

    - Remove external bay
    - Add a 250W GOLD PSU
    - Add 1 or 2 [2,5"-3.5] internals

    And we have a winner!
  • Sm0kes - Monday, August 20, 2012 - link

    Thanks for the great review! I actually just pulled the trigger on a SB08 in hopes that it does a better job with noise / temps (and aesthetics). It'll be interesting to see how it compares with a Z77 + 3750k + 660Ti.

    Also, I wanted to echo the comment about creating a SFF forum section that is separate from laptops. It would be nice to try and get some more discussion going around these types of builds without being buried.
  • Nuschwander420 - Wednesday, August 22, 2012 - link

    Can be had for about $20.

    Also a complete system based on this chassis can be had for $420- way beyond. This is the smallest possible system that can support a dual slot GPU! Look up the PICS for the SG05-bb on or on google and you will find it next to a 12oz pop can. Small! I can't wait to build this pc with a Corsair H60 watercooler,GtX 660 ti,Core i7 3770k,Asrock z77 mini itx, and 16 gb of Corsair Vengence Ram.
  • HardwareDufus - Wednesday, August 22, 2012 - link

    Think I just found my next case.... I'll tweak the drive caddy a bit to sling another 2.5drive under the other one..
  • HardwareDufus - Saturday, November 24, 2012 - link

    Heres' what I have:
    SG05BB case...
    I7-3770k CPU
    Asus P8z77i-Deluxe motherboard
    OCZ Vertex4 Sata3(6G) 256GB SSD (2.5")
    Seagate Hybrid HD (4GB SSD w/ 500GB 7200) (2.5")

    I really like this case.. I'll harp on two things that could use work..but other than that...fine case!

    wish harddive mounting were more flexible... lot of extra work and wasted space to use two 2.5 I have in my setup.... I will get out a dremel and rivit gone..and rework this someday... for now.. I put the SSD in the native 2.5" space... then I used the adapter that came with the SSD to mount the 2.5" HD in the 3.5" space... again cumbersome, time consuming and a waste of steel and space.

    The front 120mm fan is louder than I would expect at slow speeds.. I will yank this for a quieter model.

    Again.. I like this case... I'm at 4.225Ghz on all 4 cores of the I7, 1250Mhz on the built in HD4000 IGP and at DDR2400 (1200Mhz) on the 16GB of memory. Stock cooling... stock intel hsf and stock silverstone case fan...

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