Installation Impressions

Those who have done their homework before building a Mini-ITX gaming system will go for an Intel Core i5 build, so we slapped one of Intel's chips onto Asrock's little H87E-ITX/ac, a motherboard that includes just about everything from 802.11ac WiFi to six SATA ports -- more than can actually be used in the SG13.

Although we recommend gamers go for the more affordable Core i5, we used a Core i7-4790K for testing. Cooling the 88 watt processor is NZXT's Kraken X31 closed loop liquid cooler, which features a 120mm radiator and fan. To install the radiator and fan we had to remove the front panel and fortunately this is easy to do.

At this point we should mention that the mounting hardware for the water block needs to be attached to the motherboard before placing the motherboard into the SG13 as there is no rear motherboard access. Not a huge drama, but in such a compact case forgetting this step could be a pain. We would've liked if Silverstone had been more creative here by including a panel underneath the case that could be removed in order to access the underside of the motherboard.

With the water block attached and the motherboard installed we hooked up all the cables for the front panel stuff and then added a pair of Samsung SSDs to the top bracket. There is also room for a third SSD in the bottom of the case under where our radiator is now situated.

Again, it's worth noting here that if you wish to use this 2.5" mounting location you do so before installing a radiator and limiting your access. Those wanting to install a large 3.5" hard drive along with an SSD boot drive will need to use this bottom mounting position.

Next we installed the power supply and then connected everything up. Silverstone recommends the Strider Plus ST50F-PB, a compact 140mm long modular ATX power supply with a 500w output. At $80 it isn't the cheapest 500w power supply you'll find, but it is a high quality unit. The single 12v rail delivers 38A making it ideal for powering a high-end graphics card.

Additionally, Silverstone also sells a custom cable kit (product name PP05-E) for compact cases that is compatible with a great number of modular Silverstone power supplies. The 24-pin ATX power connector that comes with the Strider Plus ST50F-PB measures 550mm long and that is obviously very excessive for a case that measures just 285mm deep and 181mm tall. The 24-pin ATX connector that comes with the PP05-E kit is more practical at just 350mm long, though a 100mm long cable would be ample in the SG13.

For those wondering, the PP05-E short cable kit costs $30, which is a bit rich, but having had the pleasure of using them in the SG13 we feel they are worth the extra cost.

If the PP05-E short cable kit gets you excited then perhaps some of Silverstone's CP07 custom 500mm SATA III cables will tickle your fancy at $9 each. Although Silverstone recommends the CP07 cables for the SG13, we found that they are too long and would prefer the 300mm version of the CP11 blue SATA cables. Not only are they much thinner but the 200mm you save in length makes them far more practical in this case.

While on the subject of SATA cables, 90 degree angled SATA cables are no good in the SG13 as the top mounted 2.5" drives are positioned upside down, meaning the cables will be aimed upwards making it impossible to put the cover back on.