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Silverstone SUGO SG08 Mini-ITX Case E-mail
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Written by David Ramsey   
Wednesday, 22 August 2012
Table of Contents: Page Index
Silverstone SUGO SG08 Mini-ITX Case
Features and Specifications
Closer Look: Exterior
Closer Look: Interior
Building a System
Final Thoughts and Conclusion

Building a System

While historically mini-ITX motherboards have been low-power designs relegated to home theater or server use, we're starting to see a number mini-ITX designs aimed at the enthusiast. Several vendors have or are releasing LGA1155 boards based on Intel's latest Z77 chipset. Paired with the right video card and CPU, such a motherboard can be a good basis for a high performance gaming rig.

But when dealing with the space constraints of this case and mini-ITX builds in general, you must choose your components carefully. You'll need a "slim" optical drive, for one thing; as well as a CPU cooler that will fit within the limited confines of the case (of course you can use the stock Intel cooler); in particular, the CPU cooler cannot extend beyond the edges of the motherboard. Mini ITX motherboards only have two memory slots, so consider how much RAM you'll need now and in the future. Here are the main components I used for this build:

Motherboard ASUS P8Z77-I Deluxe Newegg
Memory Corsair CMX16GX3M2A1600C11 (2x8GB) Newegg
CPU cooler Cooler Master GeminII M4 RR-GMM4-16PK-R2 Newegg

You'll also want to consider the video card and hard drive you select due to ventilation limitations. "Reference design" cards with a single axial fan that expels all hot air from the rear of the case are better than dual-fan video cards that exhaust part of their heat back into the case; these will create a hot spot in the dead air zone in front of the card. There's no air flow at all over the hard drives, so high-speed drives like Western Digital Velociraptors are probably a bad idea. The drives mount just inches from the motherboard, so some short SATA cables with right-angled connectors will help keep things neat.

As you might expect from a case this size, interior space is at a premium. SilverStone says the included power supply has "short cables". I suppose this is true for certain values of "short". While the cables might be considered short in the context of a standard full tower case, they are much longer than they need to be for this case, as shown below. The cables on the left are the front panel audio and USB 3.0 headers; on the right are the power supply cables.

silverstone_sg08_long_cables.jpg

If you've only built in standard sized cases before, you'll be frustrated at the lack of cable routing options. There is no motherboard tray to route cables behind, or empty drive bays to stuff them in. The extra length of power supply and PCI-E cables can be accommodated in exactly one place: a "ledge" beside the drive caddy. Even so, it's a tight fit. Zip ties and adhesive tie-downs are your friend. Of course if you're not going to use a separate video card, there's plenty of room for extra cable length.

silverstone_sg08_build3.jpg

Here's my first shot at wire routing. The idea is to clear as much space as possible for the video card, which will install right alongside the power supply. The power supply has a protective plastic pad that will prevent the back side of the video card from shorting out against it. You'll need a low-profile CPU cooler that doesn't extend beyond the edges of the motherboard, such as the Cooler Master Gemini M4 I used in this build.

silverstone_sg08_wiring1.jpg

SilverStone says the case will accommodate cards up to 12.2" long. Technically, that's true, but there are a few caveats. A card that long will be pressed right up against the bundle of cables exiting the non-modular power supply. And there are other potential fitment problems as well. Note the heat pipes visible on the top of this PowerColor PCS+ 6950 Vortex II card: they interfere with the fit of the Air Penetrator fan, which you really need since it's the only fan in the case. The MSI NGTX680 Lightning video card won't fit, either, since its large fan shroud hits the top rail of the case. If you plan to use a video card, stick with small or "reference design" cards without protruding components.

silverstone_sg08_radeon_7950.jpg

Fortunately, a reference design NVIDIA GTX680 fits perfectly. As you can see from the image below, there's about 1.5" of free space between the card and the bundle of cables coming out of the power supply. Since the GTX680 reference design is just a hair over 10" long, you can get an idea about how much clearance is left over for longer cards.

silverstone_sg80_complete2.jpg

Here's what the assembled system looks like from the other side. Another place to stuff extra cables is the 1" gap between the front of the top fan and the back of the optical drive. Note the right-angled SATA cables coming up from the two 2.5" drives-- there's about 1/4" of space under the optical drive tray you can use for routing these flat cables. You'll want to take extra care to keep the space under the top fan clear, as this is where all the case ventilation is. It took a lot of work to get the case even this neat; plan to spend some quality time on cable routing, and also plan to take everything out and start over a few times.

silverstone_sg80_complete1.jpg

When you press the power button on your new build and nothing happens, take a look under the power cord. The power supply switch is almost invisible under the cord exiting from the 90-degree power plug, and in my case the switch was turned off as delivered.

silverstone_sg08_power_switch.jpg

Join me in the next section as I give my final thoughts and conclusion about this case.



 

Comments 

 
# I'm impressedBruce 2012-08-23 06:43
"Note the screw-in plastic blocking ridge that keeps this warm air from being sucked into the power supply intake. Nice touch!"

This is what I call attention to detail...!! Impressive.
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# Not impressedYanni 2012-09-02 14:11
Slim optical drive only, included power supply is non-modular, cable management very difficult, only takes one 3.5" HDD, price is very high, too heavy, non rigid construction. These issues are simply unacceptable.

In my opinion, the Lian Li PC-Q08B has all the advantages but none of the above issues that the Silverstone case has. It is approx 80mm taller, but that is just about the only minor issue and I am happy with it!
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# RE: Not impressedSean 2012-09-19 14:47
While I haven't used this case, the comments from Yanni are a bit disingenuous. It's very hard to find a decent Mini-ITX case with a 600w power supply that will actually FIT. Finding regular ATX PSUs that are small enough and can power a full size dual slot graphics card is difficult at best. Cable management CAN be hard with the amount of space in this case, but considering the size of the ase management is not quite the issue that it's made out to be. I'll admit that the non-rigid construction could be an issue but I'm not entirely certain as to why. In regards to the point about the lack of 3.5" HDD slots...this case is designed, as are many SFF cases, for 2.5" drives as primary. You can get 2.5" drives with pretty decent capacity for about the same price as 3.5"'s. You can run a 2.5" for main OS duties (500GB, like the Hybrid Momentus XT or and SSD of your choice and a 1TB 3.5" for storage and apps). You just need to think about the flexibility as opposed to what are perceived limitations.

The Lian Li PC-Q08B is a very good case and does afford plenty of flexibility but for those that dislike the perforated front and glowing fan this case does a very good job, if only on paper. I have mine on order and am eager to give it a whirl.
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