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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

Mini ITX Case Final Thoughts

SilverStone is known for their innovative case designs, and the SST-SG08B, although ordinary looking from the outside, carries on this tradition. The main points of interest are its use and inclusion of a 600 watt ATX power supply, enabling enthusiasts to build a high-end gaming system with headroom for overclocking the video card, and the unique ventilation arrangement, with a single large Air Penetrator fan blowing down onto the motherboard area and out the side of the case. Baffles on the bottom of the case isolate any hot air exhausted from the video card or rest of the case from the cool air intake for the power supply.

Compared to a standard full tower case for ATX motherboards, the SG08 is miniscule:

silverstone_sg08_size_compare.jpg

The whole point of a mini ITX system is small size, and while there are certainly smaller mini ITX cases, SilverStone's made this one as small as possible given its beefy power supply and ability to hold three hard drives/SSDs. Building a system in a case this small might come as a shock if your only experience has been with larger cases; frankly I'd argue for a few extra millimeters to be spliced in here and there, and it would make building a system in this case much easier! SilverStone uses this same power supply in at least one other mini ITX case, the SG07, and I imagine it has the same problems with excess cable length in that case as well. Lopping a few inches off each of the power supply's cables would make things much neater inside.

I was surprised at the flimsiness of the steel case body. It's very easy to bend or deform both the rear panel of the case (when snapping in the I/O shield) as well as the top rails of the case, which seem to be natural "handles" for moving the case while you're working on it. The 10mm thick aluminum front panel, on the other hand, would probably stop small arms fire and adds a lot of weight to the front of the case.

SilverStone's decision to design the case to accept only slim optical drives limits your choices there, too. In this post-physical-media world, optical drives may be going out of style, but there are a number of other interesting things you can do with a full-sized 5.25" drive bay.

SilverStone's top-down airflow scheme is unique in the mini ITX case market, but having a 180mm Air Penetrator fan just inches above the motherboard works really well. Even though the Cooler Master GeminII M4 is hardly an enthusiast heat sink, I was able to run the Intel Core i7-2600K CPU through AIDA64 stress testing (at stock speeds) with no cooler fan at all. With the cooler fan I was able to run stress tests with a mild overclock.

What's really nice about this system is that with a late model video card, you can have a very high performance gaming system with very little noise.

SilverStone SST-SG08B Conclusion

SilverStone set out to make the smallest possible mini-ITX computer case they could that could still serve as the basis of a high-performance system. They succeeded, albeit with some design decisions and compromises that make the result possibly less than optimum.

Nobody expects a mini ITX case to have the sort of expandability a standard case would, and yet SilverStone manages to fit room for two 2.5" drives, a 3.5" drive, a slim optical drive, and a 600 watt power supply all inside one of the smaller mini ITX enclosures made. Granted, you do have to plan on putting some quality time in for cable management. With a standard case, poor cable management just means things are messy inside the case; with this case, it means you can't get it put together!

If you're familiar with SilverStone's other cases, like the TJ-11, the Raven series, or the FT02 and FT03 series, you'll find the SST-SG08's styling to be very bland-- even its predecessor SG07 was more visually interesting. It's a plain black box, and if you wanted to say nice things about it you'd use adjectives like "elegant" and "understated", which it of course is. The brushed and anodized aluminum slab that forms the front panel does give it some presence, though. While it may not be striking, it's also not garish or offensive and will fit in well with any decor.

The case body and frame are mild steel, with a 10mm thick aluminum front. While the construction is of high quality from a "how do the parts fit" point of view, the steel used for the case frame and rear panel is so thin that it's easy to bend or deform the case if you're not careful. I was quite surprised by this since it's completely unlike any other SilverStone case I've ever seen. The case is hardly a lightweight at over 12 pounds (admittedly with power supply), so I think some extra ounces devoted to a more robust construction would be well worth it.

The case performs its main function-- housing and cooling high performance components-- well. As a modern case it offers SuperSpeed USB 3.0 ports on the front of the case if your motherboard has the appropriate header. I still would have liked to have seen an integrated card reader, even if it's just for SD cards. Online gamers will appreciate the microphone and headset jacks. SilverStone has gone to a great deal of trouble to design the airflow for this case, with touches like the baffles on the bottom of the case that ensure the power supply intake air is cool, and the adjustable filter and foam collar that directs cool outside air directly into your video card's axial fan.

At $199.99 at Newegg, this is certainly one of the most expensive mini-ITX cases you can buy, but that price does include a very nice 80 Plus Bronze-certified power supply with exactly the number and type of connectors you'll need for a full build, with no wasted cables. That power supply also means that you can run cards like an NVIDIA GTX690 without a problem.

There are cheaper mini ITX cases you can buy, as well as larger ones that arguably provide a better home for high performance systems by permitting larger CPU coolers and more hard drives. SilverStone is aiming for a pretty small demographic with this case: people who want to build the smallest possible high performance computer and run a high-end graphics card. If this describes you, this is about the best case out there.

Pros:Quality Recognition: Benchmark Reviews Silver Tachometer Award

+ Included 600W 80 Plus Bronze power supply
+ Excellent ventilation and airflow management
+ Power, space, and cooling are more than adequate for any video card (that will physically fit)
+ All air intakes are filtered

Cons:

- Distressingly thin sheet metal is easy to damage
- Power supply cables are far too long for this case, making cable management difficult
- No integrated memory card reader
- Design for slim optical drive limits your options

Ratings:

  • Presentation: 9.50
  • Appearance: 8.50
  • Construction: 8.25
  • Functionality: 9.00
  • Value: 9.00

Final Score: 8.85 out of 10.

Quality Recognition: Benchmark Reviews Silver Tachometer Award.

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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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