Silverstone Sugo SG05 and SG06: Gaming mini-ITX cases?

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MORE TEST RESULTS

GAMING CONFIGURATION

With the most effective of the three heatsinks already in place, it was time to see how the cases would handle the addtion of a medium power graphics card. The Asus ENGTS250 DK1G uses a reissue of an older nVidia chip, originally called the G92, seen first in the 8800 chip. Though better performance models with lower power demand are now available, what really matters here for our testing is that its power demand is quite high — just what's needed to push the PSU and the cooling performance of the cases. nVidia rates the G92 as having a TDP of 150W, which is the limit for the 6-pin 12V auxiliary cable used on the card. We measured an estimated 124W power draw under Furmark stress testing for a similar card, the Sparkle GTS250 reviewed a few months ago.


The 9" long Asus ENGTS250 DK1G video card fills almost all the availble space. Any longer, and getting the 6-pin power connector in the front edge would be very tough. There's no photo of the cover on, but rest assured that the entire heatsink on the card is visible through the side vent.

The noise level of the system at idle jumped to 29 dBA @ 0.6m with the addition of the fan on the VGA cooler, regardless of the speed of the front fan. No serious effort was made to try to manage the speed/noise of the VGA fan. The main question here became less about whether the system could be quiet with a higher power video card, but more of a quick check about whether the power supply can handle it.

As it was, the VGA cooler fan was loud enough to drown out the rest of the noises in the system, so there was no point in testing with the front fan at anything lower than 12V; there was no acoustic benefit to slowing that fan down.

SG05 Gaming Configuration:
Case Fan at 12V + Coolermaster GeminII, fanless
Activity
dBA@0.6m
CPU*
GPU
Idle
29
40/45°C
49°C
Max load
41
64/68°C
66°C
*There are two cores in the CPU, with temps for both reported. Ambient temperature was 24°C.

SG06 Gaming Configuration:
Case Fan at 12V + Coolermaster GeminII, fanless
Activity
dBA@0.6m
CPU*
GPU
Idle
29
42/46°C
49°C
Max load
41
67/72°C
66°C
*There are two cores in the CPU, with temps for both reported. Ambient temperature was 24°C.

Both system stayed stable at full load with Furmark and Prime95 combining to stress both GPU and CPU. The AC power of the systems jumped from 64W at idle to 224W when the stress testing began. The power consumption under full load increased steadily over the course of 40 minutes. It stabilized at 229~230W after about 25 minutes. The VGA temperature was no different with the cover on or off, which demonstrates that the wide open vent on the cover is very good for cooling. The SG05 kept CPU slightly cooler again, but it was cool enough in either case. The PSU gave a good account of itself, although it was difficult to hear just how much its fan had ramped up due to the banshee screaming of the VGA card.

This test would have been better served by a quieter video card. An ATI Radeon HD 4770 would have been a better choice in some ways, most models being quieter and of similar performance to the GTS250, but it would have stressed the PSU much less, drawing only around 60W DC. It certainly would be the better choice for energy and noise conscious gamers. Other models of midrange video cards that provide similar performance can surely offer quieter performance out of the box, and aftermarket coolers can also be used to obtain quieter cooling.

In any case, what this test configuration shows is that cooling for the motherboard and CPU is little affected by your choice of discrete video card. The video card you choose will probably have a big impact on overall noise, as it will most likely be the noisiest component, especially under load. A passively cooled graphics card would be worth exploring, but with no forced airflow for the heasink side of the card, one that runs cooler thaa a GTS250 is recommended.

MISC NOTES

• The 3.5" drive bay blocks too much of the front fan. Removing it causes an audible drop in overall turbulence noise, especially when the fan is at 12V. If you;'re using a 2.5" HDDE or SSD (as we were), just remove the 3.5" drive cage.

• The wire grill on the inside of the fan is there presumably to protect wires from being sliced by the blades, but with just a bit of care, you can easily ensure that this does not happen. Removing that grill will help increase overall airflow just a bit, but that little bit could be the difference between "pretty quiet and cool" vs "quiet enough and still cool".

• Cable management is not difficult. Use parts of the internal frame and the optical drive bay to tuck unused power output connectors, and use plastic ties to ensure the front fan is not blocked by cables.

• The edges of a pop-out notebook style optical drive can get jammed against the front bezel opening for it. There's a tiny bit of adjustment available in the way the optical drive bay mounts. Try unloosening the screws, opening the tray, then retightening with the tray open. Or avoid the potential problem altogether with a slot-feed optical drive... but you'll pay a higher price.



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