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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  • ViperV990 - Sunday, October 21, 2012 - link

    You also don't usually see more than 2 DIMM slots on an ITX board, whereas 4 slots is the norm with MATX boards.
  • Grok42 - Sunday, October 21, 2012 - link

    I agree with a lot of what you are saying. I especially agree that expansion options on MBs are way over rated with two exceptions. I want the option to have a single discrete video card and as much memory as possible. I'll probably go mATX so I can have 32GB of memory. Unfortunately, I will drag along a bunch of useless cruft like pci-x slots, crazy amounts of USB headers and more SATA ports than I can ever possibly use. I can understand that there are plenty of people who want to build an overclocked dual GPU file server server with 6TB of storage with a Blue-ray drive. However, seems like the market should start also look to provide for those that want to build streamlined elegant single purpose machines as well. The only examples of this are HTPC side and it seems time for that level of focus to happen on the desktop.
  • lmcd - Sunday, October 21, 2012 - link

    AMD has a terrible mini-ITX board selection going for both AM3+ and FM2, so if you're looking at AMD you can't really go ITX. There might be a board or two for either of the sockets I just mentioned but they definitely don't have a full lineup there.
  • EnzoFX - Sunday, October 21, 2012 - link

    Edit: 400W+, not 40W+.
  • Dustin Sklavos - Sunday, October 21, 2012 - link

    Actually overclocking is potentially much better on an mATX board as there's more space for more power phases and so on. Extra DIMM slots, more expandability, enough power phases to overclock higher, etc. Look at what ASUS had to do on their mITX Z77 board to get decent overclocking hardware built into it.
  • EnzoFX - Sunday, October 21, 2012 - link

    Which was my point. A decent ITX board can handle a decent overclock, what with overclocking being dead simple these days. So the real benefit is above average overclocks, and the lure of expandability, which I contest at being at odds with the typical ITX build. I realize this may be a great mATX case in terms of size and performance, so sorry if this comes off as a rant of the ITX space =P.

    We demand more focus from smaller cases haha.
  • tim851 - Monday, October 22, 2012 - link

    I agree. ITX-cases shouldn't cater to the Extreme OC audience or try to steal some workstation customers. ITX was made to be small.

    Even the ASrock board regularly achieves 4.5 ghz overclocks on 2500k/3570k cpus, if you look around the web. That will be fine for everyone outside competitive overclockers. As will 16 gigs of RAM.

    I have a Q18 with such an oc'ed 2500k cooled by an H80. There's also 16 gigs of RAM, a 512 gig SSD and a GTX 670. And I've been spending much time trying to figure out if I couldn't cram all this into a Q03.
  • CloudFire - Saturday, October 20, 2012 - link

    I know Anand has a youtube channel but I've seen mostly phone reviews on there. Why not do video reviews of cases too? I love reading articles, don't get me wrong but often times I love watching a video review more.
  • Samus - Saturday, October 20, 2012 - link

  • exodios93 - Saturday, October 20, 2012 - link

    What's with all the small, reasonable cases?

    Review something big and pointless like a little devil PC-V8 please.

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