Silverstone SG05 mini ITX system review

9.3 Overall Score
Build Quality: 10/10
Layout: 9/10
Price: 9/10

Tiny case packs a punch!

No room for expansion.

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The SG05 retails on for $99 plus shipping. The price may seem high for a mini ITX case, but the unit comes with a 300W power supply made by FSP. FSP Group, Inc. is the main supplier to Silverstone of power supplies. The 300W PSU included is 80 Plus certified. The wattage may seem inadequate to run anything other than an Atom board, but save your doubts for the results and conclusion section.

As you can see from the first two images, the SG05 comes in a plain brown box with basic information printed on the outside. Opening up the top of the box shows a well secured case wrapped in styrofoam. A simple instruction manual is included and all accessories can be found inside the case.

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Silverstone is known for sleek, simple and elegant designs. The SG05 is all that. This mini ITX case is about the size of a shoe box yet it carries on the elegance and simplicity that we’ve come to expect from this company. The front bezel is plastic, but the rest of the chassis is SECC(steel). With this unit we do not get a brushed aluminum finish, however, the paint job is above satisfactory.

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Looking straight at the case we see ports for two USB devices, headphones, a mic and the power and reset buttons. You will also note that this case uses a slim optical drive. Now, if you are concerned about price due to a slim drive, you need to consider what purpose the optical drive will have. In other words, DVD slim drives run rather cheap(around $50), burners and blu ray drives along with slot loading drives will cost more. For this review, we had the option of using a slot loading DVD burner or a Blu Ray combo drive. We went with the Blu Ray drive as our intent was to set it up as an HTPC.

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Removing the top cover reveals a roomy interior despite the small footprint of the case. With room for a full 3.5″ HDD as well as a 2.5″ SSD or HDD, you should have plenty of storage space. Western Digital just announced the world’s first 1TB 2.5″ HDD, so it is now possible to fit 3TB of storage in the available mounting brackets. Not bad at all.

The PSU is extremely small so as to make room for other system components. The slim drive fits nicely at the top front. One addition we would like to have seen is sleeving on the power supply cables. Although you can not see inside the case while it’s full of gear, sleeving allows for improved wire management and airflow. Airflow in this case was crucial for the hardware we selected to use. You will see why in the results section.

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As you can see with all the hardware installed, the inside of the case gets cramped rather quickly. The great thing about the Zotac GF9300-ITX WiFi motherboard is that it has a PCIe x16 slot and onboard graphics. The bad thing is that the NB heats up like a furnace. Looking at the bunch of cables just sitting there you can see that airflow is going to be tricky in this case with this motherboard. Arranging the wires to be out of the way as much as possible from the north bridge will help keep cool air flowing over the GF9300 onboard gpu.

Silverstone’s NT06-E CPU cooler works well with the E7400 chip and the SG05 mini ITX case. The cooler must be rotated as pictured in the above images in order to fit properly. The SG05 can accommodate a 9.5″ graphics card such as the GTS 250 or 4850. In the end, we chose to go with an HD 4870 for better graphics performance at higher resolutions(1920×1080).

Read on to see how the system did as an HTPC, gaming and general purpose family computer.


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