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Written by David Ramsey   
Monday, 29 October 2012
Table of Contents: Page Index
SilverStone SUGO SST-SG09 MicroATX Chassis
Closer Look: Exterior
Closer Look: Interior
Building a System
SilverStone SUGO Pack
Final Thoughts and Conclusion

Micro ATX Case Final Thoughts

SilverStone's reputation for innovative case design is well-earned, and the SG09 shows why. Its unique design is not without drawbacks, but it allowed SilverStone to make the case as small as possible while still fitting all the other components an enthusiast mATX dual-video card setup would need. The SST-SG09B is only about 30% larger than the mini-ITX sized SG08, and much smaller than a standard full tower ATX case:

silverstone_sg09_size_compare.jpg

SilverStone doesn't claim this is the smallest micro ATX case available, and it might not be. But I really don't see where they can trim any more cubic inches. In fact, I kind of wish they'd added a few millimeters here and there: for example, another 5mm front-to-back distance would solve the problem with the cable from the optical drive hitting the 180mm top fan. Another 5mm in width would make cable routing easier, too. However, according to SilverStone, a volume of 23 liters is the maximum size for a case that can be considered a "small form factor" system, and the SG09 as delivered encompasses 22.974 liters. So it's really not possible to make the case any larger and stay within this seemingly arbitrary limit.

After hours of gaming the temps and fan speeds on the GTX580s were only slightly higher than they were in a giant ultra tower case I'd been using previously, and there the full ATX motherboard allowed me to separate the video cards for better airflow. But the 120mm Air Penetrator blowing right onto the cards almost made up the difference. You're going to want a quiet power supply in this case, since the intake fan is facing straight out the front, but I've found SilverStone's power supplies to be reasonably quiet.

All in all, this is a very impressive case, although the $99.00 price seems a little high. After all, the much larger SilverStone Temjin TJ08 mATX case is only $5 more, and has an aluminum front bezel rather than the plastic front bezel of the SG09. Of course the TJ08 doesn't come with two Air Penetrator fans, so perhaps that makes up some of the difference.

My complaints about this case are few:

  • The asymmetric top panel can be quite a pain to put back on. No matter how many times I did it, it was still a clumsy process.
  • Excess internal cable lengths are really annoying... everything is too long, from the cables on the top 180mm fan to the front panel connectors and USB 3.0 cable to the internal power cord.
  • The clearance problem with the 180mm top fan and the slim optical drive really needs to be addressed. This is the first build I've ever had that killed a component. At the very least SilverStone should include a CP10 cable with the case.
  • Like the SG08, the steel SilverStone uses for the chassis is rather thin, and you need to be careful snapping the motherboard I/O shield into place lest you deform the rear panel.

The audience for this case is gamers or anyone else looking to build the smallest possible rig that can handle an SLI or CrossFireX setup-- or anyone else that wants a really small system but needs more memory or PCI-E slots than a mini ITX system can provide. If you need more interior space or 5.25" drive bays but still want to stick with the mATX form factor, SilverStone has several other cases for your consideration.

SilverStone SST-SG09B Conclusion

SilverStone set out to make the smallest possible micro-ATX computer case they could that could still serve as the basis of a high-performance system. The SUGO SG09 is it, but as with all things there are tradeoffs. The ability to handle six drives (two 3.5", four 2.5" is unique in this segment as far as I know, although I suspect you'd need to fabricate your own SATA power cables to actually use this many drives.

The SG09 is not as dramatic as the FT03, but is more interesting than the bland TJ08, two other mATX cases SilverStone offers. It looks rather industrial, but the design is inoffensive rather than striking. Frankly it looks more like a UPS than a computer to me!

The case body and frame are mild steel, with a plastic front bezel. I was a little disappointed to see that the front was plastic rather than aluminum, although it's visually indistinguishable from aluminum and it does have a very subtle curve that might have been difficult to reproduce in metal for the same price. The unique cover design, with an asymmetric top/sides piece and a separate GPU fan piece that forms part of the bottom of the case, is an obvious "part optimization" that removes the need for a separate GPU fan bracket. That's good, I suppose, but after working with another case whose slide-on side and top panels always snicked perfectly into place, it was jarring to wrestle with the large, floppy top/side cover. During the course of this review I had that cover off and on a dozen or more times, and it never got any easier. This a consequence of design rather than construction quality, but it still affects the "perceived quality" of the case.

Like most SFF cases, the front I/O panel is very simple: a couple of USB 3.0 ports and audio I/O. I would have liked to see eSATA and at least an SD card reader, but since nobody else is doing it, it's hard to complain. (No, actually, it isn't. I will keep complaining.)

For $99.99 (Newegg / Amazon), this is a moderately expensive mATX case, although you can certainly spend a lot more money on SilverStone's own FT03 or some Lian Li cases if you wish. Given that SilverStone makes larger mATX cases with more aluminum for the same price, I think the SG09 could be a little cheaper.

The SUGO SG09 is an interesting case aimed at a small audience. Does the size differential relative to somewhat larger cases that would be much easier to build in worth it to you? If so, this is your case.

Pros:Benchmark Reviews Seal of Approval

+ Unique design allows high performance components in a very small case
+ Included Air Penetrator fans for motherboard area and graphics cards
+ Uses (most) standard ATX power supplies. Technically.
+ All air intakes have easy to clean snap-off filters

Cons:

- Replacing the top/side cover is a nail-shredding pain
- Internal cables are far too long for this case, making cable management difficult
- Clearance problem with top fan and optical drive cable make it easy to kill your drive
- No integrated memory card reader
- Design almost mandates the use of a SilverStone power supply with short cable kit

Ratings:

  • Presentation: 9.50
  • Appearance: 8.25
  • Construction: 8.00
  • Functionality: 9.00
  • Value: 8.75

Final Score: 8.70 out of 10.

Recommended: Benchmark Reviews Seal of Approval.

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Comments 

 
# How well does it workJeff 2012-10-30 07:45
Just wondering if you actually started up the system, ran some tests. I am very interested in how your setup worked in terms of cooling.
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# RE: How well does it workDavid Ramsey 2012-10-30 07:56
Jeff, as I mentioned in the review:

"After hours of gaming the temps and fan speeds on the GTX580s were only slightly higher than they were in a giant ultra tower case I'd been using previously, and there the full ATX motherboard allowed me to separate the video cards for better airflow. But the 120mm Air Penetrator blowing right onto the cards almost made up the difference."
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# RE: RE: How well does it workJeff 2012-10-30 13:10
Sorry I was more referring to how well the water cooler on the cpu worked in this box. Trying to decide whether to go air or water for a build in this box. I imagine that using water left the air from the 180mm unblocked by a tower cooler and keeps the entire box pretty cool.
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# RE: RE: RE: How well does it workDavid Ramsey 2012-10-30 13:19
That's how it seems to work. The water cooler gets a shot of cool air from the outside, and if I switch the fan to "High", the temps on the upper graphics card drop by 3 degrees C under load.
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# RE: SilverStone SUGO SST-SG09 MicroATX ChassisSSR 2012-11-15 18:09
Like man SFF aficionados, I've been waiting for a Micro ATX case like this for a long time. In addition to the "cons" listed in the article, I'd also like to point out (1) The "Air Penetrator" fan is voltage controlled rather than PWM, and (2) sadly the front of the case is major-league fugly. I'm hoping Silverstone releases an SG10 that fixes some of these issues sooner rather than later!
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# RE: SilverStone SUGO SST-SG09 MicroATX ChassisPaul Blakeley 2012-11-24 15:38
Looking to build a new SFF system(daughter broke a couple USB ports and my
power button is defunct on my Thermaltake LanBox, I will miss the handle,
but the bag SilverStone makes looks nice) and was trying to find a new
case/chassis to use. Came across your SST-SG09 review and really like the
design here. Also thanks for the thorough review! Very helpful.

If you were building this today would you use the same parts?
I am only planning on using 1 video card for now.

I also have never used water cooling before. Am I using thermal paste as I
would with a standard CPU fan? Also the link listed to Amazon does not
include the Asestek mounting parts you described, correct? Will this be
difficult/not able to install with out these? If so where can I get them, or
am I better off using a standard CPU fan or different wc system?
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# RE: RE: SilverStone SUGO SST-SG09 MicroATX ChassisDavid Ramsey 2012-11-24 22:44
If you are not planning to overclock and only need one video card, you could easily get by with a mini ITX case like the SG08 or Cooler Master Elite 120, both of which I've reviewed here. The closed loop water coolers are very easy to use and install, and any one you buy new today will come with the mounting components you need, so that won't be a problem. All the water coolers come with pre applied thermal paste.

I like water coolers for these small cases since ventilation is frequently constrained.
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# RE RE REPaul B 2012-11-25 14:04
Thanks for the reply David,

I am currently not planning to OC and am just using one two slot GPU, but like the idea that I can upgrade whenever I want to something more powerful.

Do you currently recommend the same closed loop cooler? The link to the one currently on this review has no stock images on the Amazon website, so I just wanted to make sure it is current.
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# RE: SilverStone SUGO SST-SG09 MicroATX ChassisDavid Ramsey 2012-12-06 21:46
Sorry, Paul, I somehow missed your follow up question.

The Intel cooler was simply what I had laying around at the time I did the review. Its performance is not that great compared to some of the current closed loop coolers available now; I'd recommend one of the Corsair coolers if you're going to buy one.
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# Thank you for a splendid reviewJohan Sundberg 2012-12-29 06:45
This is one of the best reviews and pictures I have seen.

Thank you and happy new year.

Sincerely
Johan Sundberg
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# RE: Thank you for a splendid reviewDavid Ramsey 2012-12-29 06:55
You're welcome, Johan!
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