We have in our labs today something tinier than usual – Silverstone’s latest small form factor casing, the SG05.
Silverstone is pretty well known as a manufacturer of casings, power supplies and other peripherals. One area in which they have a strong presence is the small-form factor market. Over the years, Silverstone has built up a pretty impressive ensemble of casings to cater to those who prefer their computers small.
Today, we’re looking at their latest small form factor offering – the SG05. The SG05 hails from the Sugo series, which is aimed at those looking to pack as much performance as possible into a small space.
All previous casings from this series have supported the micro-ATX form factor, which some consider to provide the best balance between functionality and size. Taking things one step further, however, is the SG05. This is the first Sugo to support only mini-ITX and mini-DTX motherboards.
The reason for this move is the increasing number of mini-ITX motherboards geared towards performance, rather than traditional small form factor uses. Manufacturers have crammed a surprisingly large amount of features into these tiny motherboards, making it quite possible to construct a mini-ITX system with the horsepower to rival fully fledged ATX setups.
The mini-ITX form factor may be limited to just a single expansion card, but if this is a PCI Express x16 slot then constructing a gaming rig is still perfectly viable. You will have to forego any other expansion cards (most importantly audio cards), but with just about every motherboard having onboard audio, non-audiophiles should be able to survive without this.
Mini-DTX motherboards have slightly more expandability, having two expansion slots instead of one. The relative newness of the DTX standard means that mini-DTX motherboards are rarer though.
The original intention of the mini-ITX form factor was to couple embedded low-power processors with casings as small as possible. Hence, most casings do not go well with performance-oriented motherboards that use more power, generate more heat, all of which demand more space while still conforming to the mini-ITX specification.
The SG05 is designed specifically to fulfil this demand, and thus accommodates full-height graphics cards as well as standard desktop processor heatsinks. The trade off is of course a larger footprint, one that sits between traditional mini-ITX casings and micro-ATX casings.
How good of a balance does the SG05 strike between size and functions? Read on to find out…