Assembling the SilverStone Sugo SG05

For how smitten I was with Cooler Master's inexpensive Elite 120 Advanced, it had a couple of kinks that made it less enjoyable to assemble than SilverStone's Sugo SG05 is. Having to provide space for an ATX power supply and a full 5.25" optical drive bay meant cutting into some of the case's internal space, and the drive cage wound up actually being detrimental to the design in some ways. The SG05 is a remarkably clean design and was very easy to assemble, especially for a case of its diminutive size.

Installing the motherboard was for the most part very easy; standoffs come built into the tray, although it's nigh impossible to screw the board in on one corner without removing the power supply. You'll have to remove the bracing bar from the PSU along with the drive caddies, but you would've needed to remove at least the caddies anyways. Call me lazy, but I actually just left the corner of the board floating and still found it plenty secure. More responsible users may be inclined to remove the PSU to completely mount the board. There's a healthy amount of space around the board to connect power cables and headers, as well.

Honestly, the worst part of assembling our system in the SG05 was the optical drive and 2.5" drive caddy. Getting the screws into the 2.5" drive required a bit of dexterity, while the slimline optical drive's tiny, tiny screws made installing it a nightmare. I'm not a particularly steady person in the first place, and these are the kinds of screws a housecat will swallow without a second thought. Part of that is just the nature of the screws used to mount slimline drives and I'm not sure how much SilverStone could've done to make this process easier. As for the 3.5" drive bay, I actually eschewed that entirely. That cage is removable, and I found that when assembling the SG05 the copious amount of cabling stemming from the PSU made it exceedingly difficult to install.

The drive bays seem to be where SilverStone decided to make their sacrifices in the name of getting the SG05 as small as it is. If you're determined enough you can jimmy the 3.5" drive cage in, but as you can see in the image above, the cable spaghetti nature of building in a small enclosure makes it pretty difficult. You'll also have to remove the front fascia (there are six plastic snaps you can bend up) to pop out the bay shield.

When you install an expansion card in the SG05, you're also going to be deciding just how far you're willing to push the limits of the enclosure. The ASUS GeForce GTX 560 Ti we use for testing our bigger cases did indeed fit in the SG05 (and we had to test with it, naturally), but that card is 10.2" long and it was really as big as you can get away with; I had to angle and tilt to fit it inside. Keep in mind that certain shorter card designs may have the PCIe power leads facing the back of the card instead of the top, too, so you'll want to account for that when calculating clearance.

Mushing all the cabling down and getting the shell back on the SG05 wasn't too difficult, but the tremendous amount of ventilation means that any lights inside the case are probably going to be visible. The memory kit we use for testing has LEDs on it and those LEDs are very easy to see while the system is running, along with the LEDs on the motherboard itself. Enterprising builders will have no trouble making the SG05 glow.

In and Around the SilverStone Sugo SG05 Testing Methodology
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  • Chaitanya - Sunday, August 19, 2012 - link

    Could you do a comparative review of the some of the mini-ITX cases(thermaltake, coolermaster, silverstone, lian-li and bitfenix) available in market? as most of these cases look similar on the outside(except for the bitfenix one) I am interested to know how they stack up against each other in terms of usability and cooling performance. Reply
  • n13L5 - Sunday, August 26, 2012 - link

    yes, would be nice.

    As far as I know, there isn't a better form factor + cooling concept case than the SG05 and its sucessors.

    So, why haven't I bought one?

    Cause Silverstone doesn't give them a nice build quality. Its iron, its got sharp edges inside and the plastic front had a crummy fit.

    By far the greatest annoyance is, that Silverstone forces you into a crappy, non-modular PSU! Why oh why would you ever use a non-modular PSU in a tiny case where you want to avoid extra wires obstructing airflow???

    A few years back, I went so far as posting the measurements and concept to Lian Li's support site, asking them to please make a form factor like that, so that we could finally have a high quality, slightly elongated version of the SG05...
    Reply
  • wahaha686 - Saturday, September 08, 2012 - link

    n13L5,

    I share your frustration towards the build quality of the SG05 and have plans to address the demand for an aluminum alternative to the SG05 (Kickstarter + batch custom order :p).

    I'm interested in knowing 1) what Lian Li told you, 2) how serious you are about getting a new mini-itx case.

    Let me know
    Reply
  • sean.crees - Tuesday, September 18, 2012 - link

    Modular PSU's take up more space because of the connector to the PSU chassis. When space is a premium, an extra inch or so can make a big difference in such a small enclosure. Plus it's easier (cheaper) to get higher effeciency in a PSU that is non modular due to resistive losses from extra inter connects. Not saying it cannot be done (obviously it can), but it would make the PSU more expensive, and the case it comes with more expensive.

    Personally i prefer steel enclosures. The weight difference is negligible once you load it up with electronics, but the steel panels resonate sound less than aluminum panels. Plus steel is cheaper. I know a lot of people in the silent PC field who HATE aluminum enclosures with a passion for this very reason and refuse to buy them. So while making it aluminum might make some buy it, it will make others not buy it, and in the end only result in a more expensive overall product.

    Now i do agree a nicer (aluminum) front panel instead of plastic would be nice. Wouldn't affect sound quality since it would have steel behind it, and should only increase cost slightly, but make it look much more professional.

    You have to remember, nothing is ever going to be perfect for everyone, and so they have to make compromises hoping to appeal to the widest possible group of potential customers. For the last 5 years or so, the SG05 has been the standard all other ITX enclosures are compared to, so i think the compromises Silverstone has made were the right ones.
    Reply
  • wahaha686 - Monday, December 31, 2012 - link

    n13L5,

    If you are still looking for an alternative to the SG05, I started a project with the help of Lian Li and SilverStone to build an alternative to the SG05.

    The information can be found here:
    http://hardforum.com/showthread.php?t=1717132
    Reply
  • gandergray - Friday, February 08, 2013 - link

    wahaha686:

    The NCase M1 is impressive. I hope you are able to achieve a production run. I'll support a funding effort.
    Reply
  • Zhelus - Monday, August 12, 2013 - link

    holy mother of god i just stumbled upon the meeting of the ncase m1 team Reply
  • techexperience - Thursday, September 12, 2013 - link

    and now I, too, bear witness on this union. Can't believe I stumbled upon this after all these years. Reply
  • 457R4LDR34DKN07 - Sunday, August 19, 2012 - link

    I sprung for the sg08 and z77, design is very similar and due to the 130mm fan needed a right angle slimline SATA power adapter. Reply
  • krumme - Sunday, August 19, 2012 - link

    Thank you Dustin for another excellent review.

    I like the appriciative style for the product and the consumer oriented approach instead of a hysterical or hidden angry style.

    Mini itx cases is an interesting product at the moment. Ib and 28nm gpu iis one thing, but performance on many other components is just not interesting anymore. Who gives about 400Mb/s ssd og 550Mb/s or 60 or 90 iops, in an workload only a minority uses very seldom.

    One of the forum members have a powercolor 7550 running inside a sg05, forum is down for maintenance now, so no link.

    I am very interested in this case, but would like to get noise down. Can i just fit silverstones own 12mm low noise fan instead? or what else is needed?

    Any chance silverstone will upgrade to the gold standard ps?

    If this can be a message to silverstone reps, can we have a lower noise, higher efficiency deluxe version ? :) - i mean its pretty cheap as it is, you got all the other parts in house come on !
    Reply

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