Introducing the SilverStone Sugo SG09

You've seen it here: small cases are getting big. Mini-ITX boards are becoming both more common and less expensive, and there's been a bit of a renaissance for small case designs. This is a space SilverStone has served reasonably well for some time now with their Sugo line of enclosures, but a healthy amount of thunder was recently stolen by BitFenix's Prodigy case. It's true the Prodigy is an excellent design, but admittedly it's unusually large for a Mini-ITX enclosure and there are some things BitFenix could improve upon.

Meanwhile, SilverStone is content to let their Sugo line to continue serving the Mini-ITX market and serving it well, but today they have an option that's intended to appeal to users looking for a small form factor machine without compromising. The Sugo SG09 is aimed at cramming as much powerful hardware and a Micro-ATX motherboard (instead of Mini-ITX) into a space typically reserved for already cramped Mini-ITX hardware. Does it succeed? As it turns out, it does, and then some.

SilverStone includes in the reviewer's guide for the SG09 measurements of popular Mini-ITX cases by volume, and outside of a couple of Lian Li cases, the SG09 is actually smaller than the others. It's also noticeably smaller than the BitFenix Prodigy despite being able to hold a Micro-ATX motherboard instead. It's true they had to make quite a few sacrifices to get the SG09's size down to where it is, but you're going to see it's actually performance competitive with standard Micro-ATX and even full ATX cases.

SilverStone Sugo SG09 Specifications
Motherboard Form Factor Micro-ATX, Mini-ITX
Drive Bays External 1x slot-loading 12.7mm optical drive
Internal 4x 2.5", 2x 3.5"
Cooling Front -
Rear 1x 120mm exhaust fan
Top 1x 180mm intake fan
Side 1x 120mm intake fan, 2x 92/80mm fan mounts, 1x 80mm fan mount (opposite side)
Bottom -
Expansion Slots 4
I/O Port 2x USB 3.0, 1x Headphone, 1x Mic
Power Supply Size ATX
Clearances HSF 165mm
PSU 180mm (160mm strongly recommended)
GPU 13.3" / 337mm
Dimensions 8.7" x 11.6" x 13.9"
220mm x 295mm x 354mm
Weight 11.7 lbs / 5.3 kg
Special Features Removable fan filters in front of all fan grates
Price $99

The main sacrifices SilverStone made with the Sugo SG09 are understandable ones barring one unusual decision. I understand their preference for slot-loading slimline optical drives from an aesthetic perspective, but it increases build cost for the end user and reduces options substantially. You pretty much have to go to eBay to find a blu-ray reader or writer that will fit in this drive bay without paying through the nose, and SilverStone only sells a slimline DVD writer on their site.

Speaking of selling accessories to go with their cases, SilverStone has done a fairly good job of cornering this particular market. It's true you can probably install power supplies from other vendors, but it's also clear that SilverStone designed the SG09 to go with their Strider modular power supplies, as they also sell a collection of short modular cables to use with their own power supplies that are supposed to make assembly cleaner and easier. That may not be such a bad idea, and either way, I strongly recommend against using a non-modular power supply for building with this case.

In and Around the SilverStone Sugo SG09
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  • DanNeely - Sunday, October 21, 2012 - link

    Or how about the MountainMods monstrosity known as the Extended Ascension with room for 12x120 mm fans on the top, and side panels big enough to fit a custom 16x120 configuration.
  • Grok42 - Sunday, October 21, 2012 - link

    Yet another great review and even better, it's for a mATX case.

    As for your comment about the slim optical drive, I think you put too much emphasis on this as a negative. While I agree that the drives themselves are expensive, hard to source and a pain to install, the upsides are so great that any mATX or mITX case that chooses to use a full size bay is at a huge disadvantage. As another poster said, optical is on the way out and if you really need a legacy drive you can take the hit for the slim drive or use another computer for your optical tasks. The only thing I use my optical drive for in the last 5 years is to rip content to my hard drive and this happens less and less each year. I just use an external drive and put it back in storage until I need it again. Not sure why most users would need a percent internal optical anymore.

    I'm also not wild about the looks but the front is good enough since they didn't mess it up with any full size bays. I think the best part of this case is that it can take an mATX board. While a mITX board will work for me, mATX can be cheaper, have better overclocking abilities and there are just plain more boards to choose from. The biggest benefit is their ability to use 32GB of memory instead of mITX's 16GB. With memory so inexpensive these days, it is a shame that all motherboards don't offer more ability to handle more memory.
  • Dustin Sklavos - Sunday, October 21, 2012 - link

    I'll admit I might have been a little harsh on it and that the last thing my optical drive was used for was to play "Jason X" on DVD (I really, really love crap), but forcing you to use a slot-loading drive for aesthetic purposes does make things harder. Standard slimline opticals are easy to track down and reasonably priced, but slot-loaders are much more difficult.
  • geok1ng - Sunday, October 21, 2012 - link

    I understand that the plastic faceplate used is for slot loading drives, but the space seen compatible with a standard slimline drive. Can't we just remover the plastic cover and install a trayloading slimline?

    The whole point is moot: most sane people that still need an optical drive have forked the money for an external USB 3.0 optical+2.5" combo drive.

    The other critics are also weird:
    -anyone who opts for this case will use modular PSUs from the start,
    -most MOBOs have ate least one FAN header that can be software controlled
    -GPUs that need more cooling can and will received extra direct air from the 2 optional 80mm fans

    This case has one minor flaw- like every other really small case, its a pain to assemble and one major flaw:
    IT IS UGLY!!
  • Blibbax - Sunday, October 21, 2012 - link

    I feel like this case would be better with intakes at the bottom and exhaust at the top.
  • marvdmartian - Monday, October 22, 2012 - link

    That's certainly the more conventional pathway for cooling, as it takes advantage of the natural current of heated air to rise......

    .....but as ugly as most people here seem to think it is, it's more likely this would be placed under a desk, and that's where a top intake design wins out, since you're less likely to suck up the occasional dust bunny!

    I do think that the hard drives will tend to get rather warm, though.
  • swe3tdave - Sunday, October 21, 2012 - link

    i can understand why some people might prefer small cases, but this is nuts...
  • Earthmonger - Sunday, October 21, 2012 - link

    This thing is hideous. It's like a portable dehumidifier. I can't believe Silverstone attached their name to it. Oh how the mighty have fallen. But anyway...

    I applaud the slot-in optical. I applaud the front-mounted PSU, though it should be on the floor. And that's all the "nice" I can say about it. So many other SFF cases are available that are miles above this. What the Hell are you thinking, Silverstone? If these things have shipped, recall them. Don't sully your reputation.
  • lmcd - Sunday, October 21, 2012 - link

    I don't think it should be a concern: at this size you're making tradeoffs and half the time you're squeezing it into a small space and hiding it anyway.
  • mfenn - Sunday, October 21, 2012 - link

    I really disagree with publishing this "review" and giving the part the "recommended" seal of approval without knowing the price. This isn't a review, it's a preview and should be labeled as such.

    I for one would be fine waiting on reading the review (even if it was done and ready) until the product actually had an MSRP. If Silverstone was leaning on you to publish, you should push back and say that you'll publish once you get an MSRP.

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