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Silverstone SUGO SG05

The Silverstone SUGO SG05 is a small SFF-case that offers the possibility to combine a small form factor with regular performance components.

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INTRODUCTION

We’ve recently have tested a few really big computer cases like the Ikonik Ra x10 and the In Win X-Fighter. These cases are perfect for when you want to put it tons of components in it. The downside to these cases are they take up a lot of space. You definitely won’t put them onto a table and as they are standing on the floor they are prone to get clogged with dust and other filth that we can find on the floor.
At the opposite end of the scale we have the tiny mini-ITX cases. While being petite they on the other hand are severely limited in what you can put into them often not even accepting a separate graphics card or a regular CPU-cooler.

The case we are testing today, the Silverstone SUGO SG05, is a so called SFF-case where SFF stands for Small Form Factor. You could call it a compromise between the big cases and the tiny cases where you get the benefits from both and few of the negatives. Silverstone has a variety of SFF-cases but the case we are testing today is one of their first that combines the use of a mini-ITX motherboard with the ability to still use regular CPU-coolers and a modern graphics card.

In fact, the Silverstone SUGO SG05 is a good example that you do not necessarily need to sacrifice flexibility when selecting a small case.


 

FEATURES AND SPECIFICATIONS

Feature/Specification Silverstone  SUGO SG05
Material Plastic front panel, SECC body
Motherboard Mini-DTX, mini-ITX
Drive bay (external) Slim optical x 1
Drive bay (Internal) 3.5″x1, 2.5″x1
Cooling system Front: 1x120mm intake fan, 1200rpm, oversized vents on top and sides
Expansion slots 2
Front I/O Port USB2.0 x 2
Audio x 1
MIC x 1
Power Supply SFX 300W with 80+ certification
Expansion card Standard size long cards capable (9″,22.8cm)
Net Weight 3.52 Kg
Dimension 222 mm (W) x 176 mm (H) x 276 mm (D) 

There really are a few features that stand out for the case:

Support for standard sized graphics cards including those who need dual slots
Usually you have to make due with integrated graphics or at least only use a single slot graphics card. The SUGO SG05 allows you to take a regular modern graphics card and put it into the case, at least as long as it isn’t too long.

Single 120mm-fan that cools the entire case
The advantage with a 120mm-fan is of course that it does not have to spin as fast as smaller fans to pump the same amount of air which means you can keep the noise level down.

300W 80+ certified PSU
Silversone includes a good PSU that will easily take care of the power needs in the case.

 

CLOSER LOOK

As we got this case directly from Silverstone in a brown box, so we cannot comment on the actual shipping box. Needless to say the whole case still was very well packed and had no damage to it what so ever.

 

The SUGO SG05 is a black cube-shaped case. It has a very clean look that probably will speak to a lot of users that do not need a lot of bling on their cases. The case is perforated on almost all sides to let the air circulate better.

The front is dominated by a perforated surface. Behind it we see the big 120mm-fan that is used to cool the whole case. There is room for an optical player in the slot-in format and to the right of the fan we see the on/off-button as well as 2 USB-ports and the connectors for the headphone and mike.

The back of the case does not reveal a lot except that we get an power supply included and that the case supports thick 2-slot graphic cards.

LOOKING AT THE INSIDE

When we first open up the case we find a small box with some items in it.

Silverstone includes:

  • some screws
  • a manual with images on how to install everything in multiple languages
  • Rubber feet for the case
  • An EIDE-adapter for the optical player
  • A small plastic “holder” that is used to hold down cables in the case

The manual is pretty good and covers everything you need to know when installing components in the case. The images could be a bit bigger though and in color.

As expected there isn’t much room in the case. It can house motherboards that use the mini-ITX or mini-DTX format. As mentioned it does however support longer graphics cards. The maximum length of supported cards is 9 inches (22.8 cm). This includes cards like the GeForce 8800GTS, GeForce 9800GT, GeForce GTS 250, AMD HD4850 and AMD HD4770. What is nice is that the case also supports the thicker dual-slot graphics cards.

Silverstone includes a 300W 80+-certified power supply. The 80+-certification means that the power supply has to have at least a 80% efficiency at 20, 50 and 100% load. The power supply uses an 80mm fan which is rated at 19 dBA. It has the following connectors:

  • 1 x 24-pin motherboard connector (300mm)
  • 1 x 4-pin ATX12V connector (400mm)
  • 1 x 6-pin PCI-E connector (400mm)
  • 1 x triple SATA connector (300mm +200mm +100mm)
  • 1 x dual 4-pin IDE (300mm + 200mm)
  • 1 x single floppy power connectors (300mm + 200mm + 200mm)

This is more than enough connectors for this little case. We asked Silverstone if they ever have considered to make these power supplies use modular cables but they said it was a cost issue as well as that they thought it wasn’t needed. We definitely would love to be able to not have to have all cables plugged in but we can see their point.

 

Inside the front we find the 1200mm fan that spins at 1200rpm. The fan is screwed to the case and thus can easily be replaced with another fan if needed.

The top of the case is dominated by the holder for the optical drive and the harddrives. You can install both a 2.5″-drive (thicker models are supported) as well as a 3.5″-drive. And as mentioned earlier there is place for an optical drive here in slide-in format.
 

INSTALLATION

Before you start building a computer with this case it is important to plan ahead and prepared to do a bit more work than if you are installing in a regular case.

Components

One of the components that you need to think about is the CPU-cooler. While Silverstone says the case supports the standard coolers from AMD and Intel, most hardcore users change to other coolers as they are neither the best in cooling or the most silent types. There are some special considerations and limitations that you need to take in account when selecting a cooler.

First of all we are limited to only 78mm in height. The CPU-socket is placed halfway under the power supply so it does not even feel like a good idea to put in a cooler that sucks air from the top and that is sitting just a few millimeters from the power supply.

Second of all is the fact that as we are using a mini-ITX-motherboard we are restricted on how much room there is around the socket.

We ran into both these issues when selecting a CPU-cooler. Before we got the case we were thinking of using a Scythe Mini Ninja Rev B cooler but quickly dismissed it as it is too tall. Next we put in an Arctic Cooling Alpine GT7-cooler that fit right in. However – this cooler cooled horribly and produced some really weird noise so we had to scrap that one. Next up was a Cooler Master Vortex 752. It fit in height wise but turned out being a bit too wide so it pushed the cooler for the Northbridge and made the system unstable.

In the end we decided to just use a regular stock Intel cooler for the review as the main focus wasn’t on the CPU-cooler but on the case.

This build: http://hardforum.com/showthread.php?t=1414331 actually used a Cooler Master GeminiII which should be too high but somehow still fit inside. It is impressive but it also means you will not be able to use a separate graphics card.

After we wrote the initial review and where preparing it for release we kept searching for a good CPU-cooler and finally found a nice candidate: the Zalman CNPS8000 CPU-Cooler.  This cooler fits in perfectly into the case and motherboard (we did have to switch the memory to a version without the high heat sink), and it has a fan controller so we can choose how fast the fan will spin.

Cable Management

While cable management is quite important in all cases it is very important in a small case like this. Obscuring the 120mm fan can cause the CPU and rest of the case to heat up considerably.

The components in our system

We choose to build a system with the following components:

  • Motherboard: Zotac 9300-WIFI
  • CPU: Intel E8400 (Dual Core, 3.0 GHz)
  • CPU-cooler: Intel stock cooler
  • Memory: Corsair Dominator 2GB x 2
  • Graphics card: HD4770
  • HDD: Maxtor 320 GB

The Zotac 9300-WIFI is a very nice little mini-ITX motherboard that uses the NVIDIA GeForce 9300-chipset. It comes with a 16x PCI-E slot which is perfect for our system as we want to be able to use a separate graphics card.

As mentioned earlier there is only 78mm room up to the power supply.

Before we start installing the motherboard and the rest of the components we need to remove the tray for the optical drive and the hard drives. This is done by opening up the front of the case and removing the screws. Since all the cables from the front connectors go through the case and are hooked up to the front it is important to be a bit careful here when opening it.

In front of the 120mm fan we find a filter that can be removed and washed. This is also where we can unscrew the screws for the fan so we can exchange it if needed.

This is not a case for those who do not like to use tools. Everything uses regular screws, and you can forget about any tool less operation.

After the tray for the optical drive has been removed it is pretty easy to install the motherboard and start hooking it up. As we mentioned before it is important to make sure to route the cables properly so we get optimal airflow from the fan.

On this image you can see how we routed the cables using the space around the optical drive try. We did not have a slim-line SATA-drive available but even with such drive it is easy to route the cables on the tray.

The final result. It probably is a bit hard to see on this image but all cables are tucked away, either at the bottom or to the side of the fan leaving the air to flow freely to the CPU.

  

If we look at the right side of the case we see that the CPU sits close to the ventilation holes in the side. This should mean we get a good air flow over the CPU.

Most of the ventilation holes on the top of the case are blocked by the power supply. This area gets a bit hot during use so it is possible that the idea is that the heat can dissipate from the power supply here. We can’t see that we can get much more airflow here.

On the left side we have a much larger area with ventilation holes as this is where the Graphics card sits. We should get good airflow for the graphics card although there is a risk that this will increase the noise level.
 

PERFORMANCE

We tested the complete system with the program OCCT Perestroika 3.1.0. This program lets us put a load on both the CPU as well as the GPU while logging the temperatures. We ran this program for a few hours and noted the maximum temperature measured on either of the cores. In addition to this program we also ran the built in benchmark in HAWX at 1920×1080 with all settings maxed out and DX10.1 turned on.

As we put full load on both the GPU and the CPU the temperatures rise a lot. According to Intel the maximum temperature of the E8400 is 72.4 Degrees Celcius. This is however measured in a place between the two cores (also called Tcase). The temperatures measured by OCCT Perestroika and other software are measured inside each core (also called Tjunction) and are usually higher than Tcase. We searched the net and found some information that the max Tjunction-temperature for the E8400 is between 75-80 C. Regardless we still have some room even when we max everything out. When playing HAWX we see substantial lower temperatures.
The graphics card never have any issues and the on-board fan does not even speed up over 50% speed at any time.

Even though we have 4 fans in the system (120mm front fan, 80mm PSU-fan, fan on CPU-cooler, fan on graphics card) the noise level is quite impressively low. Yes, we can hear the system but the noise is not of the annoying kind and more a low sound that you notice but not really are disturbed by. When we put full load the noise level goes up but still not so it is disturbingly high. This of course all depends on what CPU-cooler you use. The Arctic Cooling Alpine GT7 cooler we tried had a completely different sound profile and was extremely annoying.
 

OUR CONCLUSION

The Silverstone SUGO SG05 is an impressive little case. Usually you have to compromise a lot if you do not want a big case but in this case it is fully possible to put in good performance components. It supports regular CPU-coolers, it supports modern graphics cards and it even allows us to have both a 2.5″-HDD and a 3.5″-HDD

Another nice feature is the low price. The case can be found at around 90$ (Newegg) and that is a really good price for such a special case.

OUR VERDICT: SILVERSTONE SUGO SG05
Performance 7
Value 9
Quality 9
Features 8
Innovation 8
We are using a new addition to our scoring system to provide additional feedback beyond a flat score. Please note that the final score isn’t an aggregate average of the new rating system.
Total 8
Pro Cons

Cools well for such a small case

Good low noise level

Included 300W PSU

Clean look

Small case

Accepts regular CPU-coolers and modern graphics cards

Can fit both a 2.5″”- and a 3.5″-HDD (or why not a 2.5″ SSD and a 3.5″ HDD)

Great price

No toollfree installation

Not as many good mini-ITX motherboards available

Only supports slot-in optical drive

Limited space for after-market CPU-coolers

 

Summary: The Silverstone SUGO SG05 is a great little case that proves that you do not need to compromise on performance just because you do not want a big case under your desk

 

 

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