|SilverStone SUGO SST-SG09 MicroATX Chassis|
|Reviews - Featured Reviews: Cases|
|Written by David Ramsey|
|Monday, 29 October 2012|
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Building a System
Micro ATX systems haven't been as pigeonholed to the HTPC and SOHO server roles as have mini-ITX systems, but it's still unusual to find them on enthusiasts' desks. Still, micro ATX motherboards are much more common than mini ITX motherboards, and the aspiring system builder has a wide variety of choices in this area. ASUS even has an X79 micro ATX motherboard!
There are several restrictions you'll run into when building in the SG09: for one, you'll need a slim optical drive (if you plan to have an optical drive), and you'll want to choose your power supply carefully. SilverStone has shrunken the interior of the case around its components like a a Vac-U-Form, and the space for cables in this case seems even tighter than it was in the mini-ITX cases I've reviewed. You're really going to want a power supply with modular cabling, and you should probably look hard at Silverstone's own Strider series of power supplies, if only because SilverStone sells an inexpensive "short cable kit" for them.
There's plenty of room for almost any video card or cards you want to use, although third party cards that take up more than two slots will obviously prevent you from using more than one card. If your card's cooling system exhausts all the hot air out the back of the case, great; otherwise, consider mounting an 80mm exhaust fan below the power supply in the mount provided, oriented to blow hot air out the side of the case.
SilverStone says a modular power supply up to 180mm long will fit, but that they "highly recommend" sticking to 160mm if you can. Here's an example of why, with a 180mm SilverStone ST85F-g modular power supply installed. Yeah, there's going to be a little pressure on those cables when the cover's on.
This problem was unexpected: a standard slim optical drive adapter cable (this particular one is actually supplied by Silverstone with their SOD02 slim optical drive) plugged into a slim optical drive butts right up against the Air Penetrator fan. This puts a lot of pressure on the cable connector, which in turn puts a lot of pressure on the connector in the drive. How much? Well, the first time I powered the system up, something near the connector in the optical drive instantly shorted out, puffing smoke out the rear of the now-dead drive. Now, it's certainly arguable that I should have been more careful as I was aware of the stress on the cable before I powered the system up. Still, as you can see, the only solution to this problem is to carve away part of the fan frame to give the cable more clearance. For folks with Dremels, it's easy, but you shouldn't have to carve on part of your new computer case to get it to accept the components it's advertised as supporting.
Note: SilverStone now offers a new right-angled slim optical drive adapter cable, part number CP10, that doesn't have clearance problems and should be available soon.
Here are the drives and all power supply cables installed. Obviously the wiring hasn't been neatened up yet, although there's really not a whole lot more you can do. The area under the power supply is the only place you have to stuff any extra cable length.
About that 180mm modular power supply: it's a real tight fit. Amazingly, I was able to move the cables into a position that let me secure the cover correctly, and it's not even bulging...but I don't like to think about the pressure that's being exerted on the cable connectors. I'm definitely going to swap this out for a 160mm supply. Fortunately SilverStone has a broad selection of 160mm power supplies ranging from 500 to 1000 watts in their Strider Plus line. This is a lesson to take to heart when you're building a small form factor system: do your research on component size and clearances up front, before you begin the build!
Things look better from this side. An Intel RTS2011LC water cooler, unknown in the wild except for Sandy Bridge Extreme reviewers, sucks the heat from the 2500K CPU courtesy of some Asetek mounting components. The excessively long USB 3 header cable is kind of coiled between the back of the power supply and the memory, and as you can see even the case's integrated power cord to the PSU has a good 6" of length that could be snipped out. At least the two NVIDIA GTX580s look cozy. It's not obvious in this shot but there's about 1.5" of space between the tops of the video cards and the side of the case.
Here's the PSU fan cover with the supplied 120mm Air Penetrator fan. There's plenty of room above the video cards for the fan, even with the power cables coming out of the top of the cards. And the fan is positioned perfectly to blow cool outside air right into the intakes of the 580s. As you can see there are mounting mounts for two additional 80mm or 92mm fans available.
The hardest part about this build was routing the power supply cables. SilverStone's PP05 short cable kit is the only thing that made it possible; I don't see how building a system in this case with a power supply with standard length cables would even be feasible, but if it were, it would be even more of a nightmare than this was.
SilverStone sent along a..."case accessory"...with the review unit I received. Let's check it out in the next section.