Silverstone Sugo SG07: The Ultimate Mini-ITX Case?

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AUDIO RECORDINGS

These recordings were made with a high resolution, lab quality, digital recording system inside SPCR's own 11 dBA ambient anechoic chamber, then converted to LAME 128kbps encoded MP3s. We've listened long and hard to ensure there is no audible degradation from the original WAV files to these MP3s. They represent a quick snapshot of what we heard during the review.

Each recording starts with ambient noise, then 10 second segments of product at various states. For the most realistic results, set the volume so that the starting ambient level is just barely audible, then don't change the volume setting again while comparing all the sound files.

FINAL THOUGHTS

The Silverstone Sugo SG05/06 is a solid chassis for a midrange gaming system but it suffers from limitations due to its dimensions. The SG07's design breaks down many of these issues, creating the potential for an even more powerful mini-ITX system. What's more impressive is the new Sugo isn't simply a bigger case — it's also rather intelligent use of space.

The case depth was increased to support cards up to 12.2" in length for gamers who cannot tolerate graphics card limitations. The extra depth opened up space at the front, enough for Silverstone to place a full-sized ATX power supply instead of the SFX 300W power supply on the back panel of the SG05/06. It's a fairly quiet 600W 80 PLUS Bronze unit too so most users won't feel the need to replace it unless it fails. CPU cooling has been improved by removing the PSU from above the CPU socket and extra space gives users more heatsink options. Finally, the front 12 cm fan was replaced with a huge 18 cm model blowing down on the motherboard giving it an additional performance boost.

Like most cases, the SG07 could use further improvement. After unboxing it and admiring the design we quickly discovered the outer casing was thin and flimsy, pretty much the complete opposite of the solidly-constructed Shuttle cases that first popularized SFF desktop systems. While not a big deal for a home system, we expect it would get dinged up quite a bit being lugged around to LAN parties. Cable management can also be an issue, mainly due to the extremely long ATX12V and EPS12V cables; 24" cables have no place in such a case. Our biggest gripe is reserved for the stock fan — the 18 cm Air Penetrator fan generates an annoying clicking sound at any speed. Similar fans are included with the Fortress FT02 and Raven series, but they are better muffled being deep inside their respective cases without any vents nearby for sound to escape. A case like the Sugo is most likely to be placed on top of a desk rather than under it, making it that much more audible.

Quieting a high-end gaming rig in the SG07 is not easy. A 18 cm replacement fan is hard to find; the few that are widely available also happen to be manufactured by Silverstone. You could swap it out with a 14 cm fan with 12 cm mounting holes, but this will reduce cooling performance. Thanks to the extra clearance, the CPU can be easily cooled, leaving the graphics card to be tamed. There is only about a slot and a half of space beyond the GPU which rules out most third party coolers except perhaps the Scythe Musashi or for less power hungry cards, the Arctic Cooling Accelero S1. The Sugo SG07 isn't quite good enough yet to have your quiet mini-ITX cake and eat it too, but it certainly comes the closest.

The plain black SG07-B (same as our review unit) currently sells for US$200. As usual Silverstone also has a windowed version, the SG07-BW which goes for above US$10 more. It seems an expensive proposition either way, but a good 600W power supply will run US$90~100, more for a modular unit to avoid a cabling nightmare. When you take that into consideration, the case's real cost is about US$100 which is hardly unreasonable as the SG07 is such a unique product — nothing else out there comes close to being its equal. If you wish to build the most powerful Shuttle-like PC possible, the Silverstone Sugo SG07 is the only case on the market that fits the bill.

Silverstone Sugo SG07-B
PROS

* Unusual design allows ATX12V PSU and good CPU heatsink clearance
* Quiet 600W 80 PLUS Bronze ATX12V power supply
* Fits all modern graphics cards
* Well ventilated
* Good value
CONS

* Clicky stock fan
* Main power output cables too long
* Thin panels

Our thanks to Silverstone for the Sugo SG07-B sample.


Silverstone Sugo SG07 is Recommended by SPCR.

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