• Home
  • blog
  • Silverstone Sugo SG07: The Ultimate Mini-ITX Case?

Silverstone Sugo SG07: The Ultimate Mini-ITX Case?

The Silverstone Sugo SG07 is an impressive cube/breadbox style mini-ITX case with a large 18 cm fan for cooling, a 600W 80 PLUS Bronze ATX power supply, and enough room for an extra long graphics card as well as a moderately-sized CPU cooler.

Silverstone Sugo SG07:

August 23, 2010 by Lawrence Lee

Product
Silverstone Sugo SG07-B
Mini-ITX Case
Manufacturer
Street Price
US$200

Modern cube/box style cases like the Silverstone Sugo series owe their basic
design to the popular Shuttle PCs, the first line of SFF machines with the power
of mainstream desktops. For a time they were the only game in town despite their
problems. Though they were hampered by loud FlexATX power supplies and proprietary
motherboards that were expensive to replace, Shuttle barebones systems continued
to be popular because there were no other options. Today the climate of SFF
computing is much different. Thanks to the rising popularity of the mini-ITX
form factor, builders have plenty of options for customizing and building their
own mini-PCs. The hard part is choosing components that result in the desired
balance of size, performance, cooling, and noise.


The box.

The newest member of the Sugo family pushes the boundaries of what a mini-ITX
system can be, emphasizing performance over form. 3 inches deeper than its well-received
predecessors, the SG05/06,
the SG07 is something many enthusiasts have been waiting for: a mini-ITX case
big enough to house the fastest, hottest graphics cards on the market. Of course
to drive a high-end GPU, a beefy power supply is required, such as the 600W
80 PLUS Bronze ATX unit Silverstone has managed to cram into it. What’s more
the SG07 has the best CPU heatsink clearance we’ve seen in a mainstream mini-ITX
case, and a simple but potent cooling scheme courtesy of a gigantic 18 cm fan
blowing straight down on the processor and motherboard the out sides. This creates
a positive pressure situation, something for which Silverstone has somewhat
of a fetish.


The SG07 and provided accessories.

The case ships with a manual, a small bag of screws, a power cable, a pair
of strap-ties, and a pair of odd items: a foam disc and plastic cutout. The
two together are used to form a duct for the graphics card fan. The plastic
frame secures to the side panel and the foam ring adheres to it forming a shallow
tunnel between the VGA fan and the outside of the case. This duct is only about
1 cm wide though, so we don’t imagine it’s particularly effective.

Case Specifications (from the
product web page
)
Power Supply Specifications (from the
product web page
)

PHYSICAL DETAILS

The Sugo SG07 measures 220 x 190 x 350 mm or approximately 8.7 x 7.5 x 13.8"
and weighs in at 4.9 kg or 10.8 lb. It is about 0.5" taller and 3"
deeper than the SG05/06.


The front bezel is composed of brush aluminum in the middle and plastic
on the sides which extend further outward than the rest of the chassis.

While both side panels are well ventilated, the left side where the
graphics card resides is riddled with many more holes and there is a small
intake vent on the bottom as well. The power supply fan air filter is
also located underneath the chassis; that’s right, the power supply is
located at the front of the case.

With the power supply out of the way, there is room at the rear of
the case for a large 18 cm fan. The fan blows downward and presumably
exits out the sides.

The reset button and a low/high speed toggle for the 18 cm fan are
located at the back.

The case cover is rather thin, measuring only 0.7 mm thick, and is
removed using three screws at the back. The top of the case is home to
a slim optical drive tray and behind it sits a large 18 cm with a sliding
filter.

Even with a huge fan on the case ceiling, there is still room for
a decently-sized CPU cooler, up to 117 mm tall according to Silverstone.
A small air guide is attached to one side of the fan, though it’s so shallow
we doubt it does much good.

INTERIOR

Taking apart the SG07 is fairly simple affair. The optical drive tray and fan
assembly are screwed into beams at the top of the case while the hard drive
cage is attached from the side and slides out easily. The power supply has a
metal frame securing it to the bottom and front of the case.


The case interior with the fan, optical drive tray, and hard drive
cage removed. Most of the power supply cables have appropriate lengths
but the 20+4 ATX and 4+4 AUX12V/EPS12V cables are a ridiculous 24 inches
long. Additional plugs: 3 x SATA, 1 x molex + 1 x floppy, 2 x 6+2-pin
PCI-E.

To get AC power to the included power supply, an extension cable is
run around the front of the case, along the edge of the left side to the
back.

The blades of the included 18 cm fan are identical to the those found
on the stock 18 cm fans found in the the Silverstone Raven RV01/RV02
and Fortress FT02.
The frame allows the stock fan to be replaced with a 12 cm model if desired.

The only difference is the spiral pattern of struts on the exhaust
side of the fan. The struts curve in the opposite direct of the fan blades,
which according to Silverstone, creates more pressure than conventional
case fans by "straightening" the air flow. They have a new line
of fans utilizing this design, dubbed "Air Penetrator." Editor’s
Note:
We question the utility of this air flow straightener in such
a small case where all the components that need to be cooled are less
than 6" away: Doesn’t it simply add more impedance to reduce airflow?


The power supply has a 12 cm intake fan which draws air from underneath
the case. The exhaust drifts out the back of the PSU and the right side
of the case, but doesn’t sit flush against the case because of the on/off
switch and AC power plug.


The power supply is a 80 PLUS Bronze 600W standard ATX12V unit with
a Sugo specific model number: SST-ST60F-SG. It has a single 46A
+12V rail and its specs are close to that of the modular 600W Strider
Plus (ST60F-P).

SYSTEM ASSEMBLY

Our test system was assembled using a Zotac GeForce 9300-ITX, an Intel Core
2 Quad Q8200S, and an OCZ Vertex solid state drive. An ATI Radeon HD-4870 graphics
card was added later for a gaming rig test.


The drive cage slides out from the side and can hold 1 x 3.5"
and 2 x 2.5" drives. Due to the proximity to the side of the case,
perpendicular SATA data cables are required for 2.5" drives.

The hard drive cage is secured with three screws on the right side
of the case. The other side has two black pegs that slide into the grommetted
holes on the metal frame encapsulating the hard drive, but there is nothing
to lock them in place.

For the heatsink we opted for the downblowing Scythe Samurai ZZ. The
CPU cooler stands 95 mm and inside the SG07, there was another 24 mm of
clearance above it. The Ninja Mini is another option; it has a height
of 115 mm so it will just clear the top fan.

Without a graphics card, there is plenty of space next to the power
supply for excess cabling.


A 9.5" card like the Radeon HD 4870 can be installed with relative
ease. The case supports cards up to 12.2" in length (e.g. Radeon
HD 5970).

TESTING

System Configuration:

Measurement and Analysis Tools

System temperatures and noise levels were recorded with SpeedFan and GPU-Z
at idle and on load using Prime95 (large FFTs setting) and FurMark, an OpenGL
benchmarking and stability testing utility.

Baseline Noise

The included 18 cm fan is a higher speed model than those found in the Silverstone
Raven series and Fortress FT02 and unfortunately exhibits the same clicky bearing.
At higher speeds it is not as noticeable, but at low speeds it is audible even
at one meter’s distance. This is less of an issue in the larger Silverstone
cases because the fans are encapsulated inside the case. The SG07 is more likely
to be placed closer to your person, and the fan is located right at the very
top. Aside from the clickiness, the fan is very quiet at 5V. At 7V it develops
a bit of a hum but is bearable. At 9V and above, it becomes unreasonably loud
and has a drone that strengthens as the fan speed increases.

The power supply on the other hand is virtually inaudible at low power levels,
measuring just 13~14 dBA@1m.

Baseline Noise Level
Fan Speed
Power Supply
SPL@1m
System Fan
CPU Fan
5V
off
off
14 dBA
7V (low)
19 dBA
9V
24 dBA
12V (high)
32 dBA
off
8V
off
16 dBA
off
idle
13~14 dBA
off
8V
idle
17~18 dBA
5V
7V
20~21 dBA
Measuring mic positioned 1m at diagonal angle left/front
of case.
Idle system power consumption: 41W AC.

With the system idling, the CPU fan at a modest 8V, and the 18 cm fan at 5V,
the SG07 is fairly quiet, measuring 17~18 dBA; the CPU fan helps mask the ticking
system fan somewhat giving it a more broadband profile..


The SG07 with its stock fan on low measured ~19 dBA@1m.

Test Results: GeForce 9300 IGP

System Measurements (load)
System Fan Speed
off
5V
7V
SPL@1m
18~19 dBA
18~19 dBA
21 dBA
System Power
96W
93W
92W
Avg. Core Temp
54°C
39°C
37°C
GPU Temp
95°C
83°C
79°C
Ambient temperature: 24°C.
Ambient noise level: 11 dBA.
Idle noise level (system fan off): 17~18 dBA.
CPU fan @8V.
Dark gray boxes indicate testing failure.

Putting our test system on full load resulted in the power supply fan increasing
in speed, raising the system noise level by 1 dBA from 17~18 dBA@1m to 18~19
dBA@1m. The system fan was vital for cooling as the integrated GPU reached 95°C
during our initial stress test with the fan off. It usually fails at around
that temperature, causing the system to freeze, so we stopped testing before
it got any hotter. Setting the fan to just 5V delivered 15°C and 12°C
improvements to CPU and GPU temperatures respectively. Cranking the fan to 7V
(the low setting) resulted in further minor improvements but it wasn’t worth
the extra noise.


Our IGP test system measured ~21 dBA@1m on full load.

Test Results: Radeon HD 4870

System Measurements
System State
idle
load
System Fan Speed
7V
12V
SPL@1m
21~22 dBA
35 dBA
36 dBA
System Power
115W
270W
269W
Avg. Core Temp
38°C
41°C
34°C
GPU Temp
78°C
88°C
87°C
GPU Fan Speed
960 RPM
2080 RPM
2080 RPM
Ambient temperature: 25°C.
Ambient noise level: 11 dBA.
CPU fan @8V.
Dark gray boxes indicate testing failure.

Adding a Radeon HD 4870 increased the idle noise level only by half a decibel.
On load, the noise difference was monstrous with the system outputing a massive
35 dBA@1m; the quality of noise was okay, but the volume was incredibly high.
When we throw the 4870 into most ATX tower cases it typically runs much quieter,
but the tight confines of the Sugo SG07 proves to be a more thermally challenging
environment. The GPU fan is also on its side right next to the vent which gives
the noise it generates a clear path to our microphone position. Turning up the
speed on the system fan only improved CPU temperatures — the indirect airflow
against the back graphics card PCB didn’t help cool down the GPU.


Our HD 4870 test system measured 21~22 dBA@1m idle.

AUDIO RECORDINGS

These recordings were made with a high resolution, lab quality, digital recording
system inside SPCR’s own 11 dBA ambient anechoic chamber, then converted to
LAME 128kbps encoded MP3s. We’ve listened long and hard to ensure there is no
audible degradation from the original WAV files to these MP3s. They represent
a quick snapshot of what we heard during the review.

Each recording starts with ambient noise, then 10 second segments of product
at various states. For the most realistic results,
set the volume so that the starting ambient level is just barely audible, then
don’t change the volume setting again while comparing all the sound files.

FINAL THOUGHTS

The Silverstone Sugo SG05/06 is a solid chassis for a midrange gaming system
but it suffers from limitations due to its dimensions. The SG07’s design breaks
down many of these issues, creating the potential for an even more powerful
mini-ITX system. What’s more impressive is the new Sugo isn’t simply a bigger
case — it’s also rather intelligent use of space.

The case depth was increased to support cards up to 12.2" in length for
gamers who cannot tolerate graphics card limitations. The extra depth opened
up space at the front, enough for Silverstone to place a full-sized ATX power
supply instead of the SFX 300W power supply on the back panel of the SG05/06.
It’s a fairly quiet 600W 80 PLUS Bronze unit too so most users won’t feel the
need to replace it unless it fails. CPU cooling has been improved by removing
the PSU from above the CPU socket and extra space gives users more heatsink
options. Finally, the front 12 cm fan was replaced with a huge 18 cm model blowing
down on the motherboard giving it an additional performance boost.

Like most cases, the SG07 could use further improvement. After unboxing it
and admiring the design we quickly discovered the outer casing was thin and
flimsy, pretty much the complete opposite of the solidly-constructed Shuttle
cases that first popularized SFF desktop systems. While not a big deal for a
home system, we expect it would get dinged up quite a bit being lugged around
to LAN parties. Cable management can also be an issue, mainly due to the extremely
long ATX12V and EPS12V cables; 24" cables have no place in such a case.
Our biggest gripe is reserved for the stock fan — the 18 cm Air Penetrator
fan generates an annoying clicking sound at any speed. Similar fans are included
with the Fortress FT02 and Raven series, but they are better muffled being deep
inside their respective cases without any vents nearby for sound to escape.
A case like the Sugo is most likely to be placed on top of a desk rather than
under it, making it that much more audible.

Quieting a high-end gaming rig in the SG07 is not easy. A 18 cm replacement
fan is hard to find; the few that are widely available also happen to be manufactured
by Silverstone. You could swap it out with a 14 cm fan with 12 cm mounting holes,
but this will reduce cooling performance. Thanks to the extra clearance, the
CPU can be easily cooled, leaving the graphics card to be tamed. There is only
about a slot and a half of space beyond the GPU which rules out most third party
coolers except perhaps the Scythe
Musashi
or for less power hungry cards, the Arctic
Cooling Accelero S1
. The Sugo SG07 isn’t quite good enough yet to have
your quiet mini-ITX cake and eat it too, but it certainly comes the closest.

The plain black SG07-B (same as our review unit) currently sells for
US$200. As usual Silverstone also has a windowed version, the SG07-BW
which goes for above US$10 more. It seems an expensive proposition either way,
but a good 600W power supply will run US$90~100, more for a modular unit to
avoid a cabling nightmare. When you take that into consideration, the case’s
real cost is about US$100 which is hardly unreasonable as the SG07 is
such a unique product — nothing else out there comes close to being its
equal. If you wish to build the most powerful Shuttle-like PC possible, the
Silverstone Sugo SG07 is the only case on the market that fits the bill.

Silverstone Sugo SG07-B
PROS

* Unusual design allows ATX12V PSU and good CPU heatsink clearance
* Quiet 600W 80 PLUS Bronze ATX12V power supply
* Fits all modern graphics cards
* Well ventilated
* Good value

CONS

* Clicky stock fan
* Main power output cables too long
* Thin panels

Our thanks to Silverstone
for the Sugo SG07-B sample.


Silverstone Sugo SG07 is Recommended by SPCR.

* * *

Articles of Related Interest
Case Basics &
Recommendations

Fractal Design Array Mini ITX NAS
Case

Fractal Design Define R2 ATX Tower Case
Silverstone Grandia GD05: A Versatile
HTPC Case

Inwin Maelstrom: An Affordable Gaming
Case

Silverstone Fortress FT02 ATX Case
Silverstone Raven Two

* * *

Discuss
this article in the SPCR Forums.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *