Thermals & Conclusion
For testing we used the Core i7-4790K which was cooled by the NZXT Kraken X31 closed loop liquid cooling system. The graphics card of choice was the Gigabyte GTX 960 WF2 which when stressed on an open testbed reaches just 64 degrees.
The results were taken with an ambient room temperature of 21 degrees. For the stress test we left 3DMark's 'Sky Diver' test on loop for 20 minutes. We then waited another 5 minutes and recoreded the lowest temperature as the idle temp.
The mesh front panel produced some impressive results. With the Kraken X31 and GTX 960 WF2 installed the system was almost silent under load yet we never saw CPU temps exceed 60 degrees while the GPU remained under 70 degrees.
The solid panel didn't impact the GPU temperature at all, in fact it dropped by a degree, though this is within the error or margin for testing. The CPU temperature did climb by 6 degrees but considering we installed a Core i7-4970, that's still a good result.
We'll cut right to the chase and say that Silverstone's SG13 is our favorite Sugo model yet. However, those planning to build with this case need to choose their hardware carefully.
For the power supply, we'd follow Silverstone's suggestion of using a 140mm model, and we'd also say a modular design is a must -- as is Silverstone's PP05-E short cable kit.
Given the limited headroom for a CPU cooler and the fact that just a single fan can be installed in the front of the SG13, we also recommend a 120/140mm closed loop system.
Silverstone's own Tundra TD03 is decent enough, though we have received word that this model is due to be updated shortly with the 'TD03-E', so you may want to wait on that.
Although the SG13 is said to take a 10.5" graphics card such as the GeForce GTX 980, getting it in there is no easy task. In fact, with the radiator and fan installed we weren't able to do it. This shouldn't be a dealbreaker for most buyers as there are plenty of Mini-ITX versions of the GTX 970 that are around just 7" long, so they would be a better bet.
Aesthetically, both the mesh and solid panel versions of the SG13 are attractive yet understated enough that they shouldn't deter anyone, though that also make them somewhat dull. Keep in mind that Silverstone has limited options here. The SG13 may have a plain design but it also has a plain price tag of just $50, which makes it hard to find faults.
The SG13 is surprisingly affordable for such a capable Mini-ITX case, though you can purchase much larger cases for the about the same price. Noteworthy Mini-ITX alternatives to consider include the Cooler Master Elite 110 ($40), Cooler Master Elite 120 Advanced ($50), Thermaltake Core V1 Extreme ($50) and Antec ISK600 ($65).
The Cooler Master Elite 110 is a larger 15.1L case which takes on more of a cube design. It supports a standard ATX power supply as well as a 120mm radiator in the front, but is limited to graphics cards just 8.3" long. Due to the shape of the case the Elite 110 is more difficult and even more cramped inside and the power supply hangs out the back.
The Thermaltake Core V1 Extreme is even bigger again with a 22.7L capacity, so at almost twice the size of the SG13 it has little in common apart from supporting the Mini-ITX form factor. Likewise, the Antec ISK600's 18.7L capacity works out to be 60% bigger than the SG13 while the prospect of saving $15 will surely sway some toward the SG13.
Those examples ought to emphasize how amazing the SG13 is for offering what it does with a 11.5L capacity and $50 asking price. Small form factor gaming cases don't get any better than the Silverstone Sugo SG13 at the moment and apart from wishing its design was more focused on SFX instead of ATX, we wouldn't change a thing about the SG13.
Pros: The Sugo SG13 is about as compact as PC cases come while still offering enough space for high-end enthusiast hardware and at $50 it's competitively priced against immediate challengers.
Cons: Although it can house plenty of horsepower, the SG13 requires careful attention to hardware selection and installation. Also, $50 can quickly become $80+ if you buy SilverStone's cable kit etc.
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