Sliding off the steel panelling reveals the SG05’s incredibly compact interior, including the 300W FSP small form factor power supply, rated at 80+ efficiency, which SilverStone has wisely chosen to bundle with the case. While many Mini-ITX cases come with their own external power bricks the more feature packed LGA 775 and AM2 boards will be much more power thirsty, especially if you were to install a high end GPU.
Like many small form factor systems, the hardware mountings are layered, with the optical drive and hard disk suspended from the internal steel frame above the motherboard below. The drive trays are both firmly screwed in place and are easily removed too, allowing clear access to the pre-installed motherboard risers below.
With the drive mounts removed it’s actually surprisingly spacious for a mini-ITX case, and there’s plenty of room at the front to make installing your hardware simple while also offering room to hide or bundle loose cables and wires.
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The front panel’s connectors are all of decent length, and the included PSU includes connectors for 20+4 pin ATX power, 4 pin CPU power, a single 6-pin PCI-E, triple SATA power, dual Molex and a floppy disc power connector – more than enough to power any system you could feasibly fit inside the SG05’s pint sized shell.
The 300W FSP power supply is also fitted with an 80mm which draws air from inside the case and exhausts it out of the rear – the only active exhaust fan in the SG05 thanks to the case’s extensive (arguably overly so) side and roof panel ventilation.
However, the PSU’s cables are unsleeved (although they are pre-zip-tied) and much too long for the short distance needed. This is sure to make man handling them around the tightly packed hardware a tiresome task and required careful cable management. The trunk of PSU cables emerging from the PSU itself is also extremely tight to the 3.5” hard disk drive mounting that fits alongside, although snipping some of the pre-fitted zip ties makes it easier to twist and compress the cabling out of the way.
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To best test the SG05, we selected Zotac’s 9300 Mini-ITX WiFi
looked at last month, along with an Intel Core 2 Duo E6700 2.66GHz dual core, 2GB of Corsair XMS2 PC2-6400 DDR2 and a Zalman CNPS 8000 low profile cooler – a fairly standard LGA 775 build for which this case should be perfect for handling. Having pre-assembled our core hardware outside of the chassis, sliding it into place was simple thanks to the generous space around the motherboard, and there was plenty of clearance between the Zalman CPU cooler to the power supply above.
Mini-ITX cases are notorious for their lack of support for 3rd party aftermarket coolers, but here there’s a full 78mm of clearance between socket and PSU, allowing for a decent choice of custom heatsink. While you’re still not going to be able to fit a high end heat pipe monster in, it’s certainly better than many alternatives and provides variety for an AM2 or LGA 775 based mini-ITX system.
With the core hardware fitted we then set about installing our GPU, a dual slot 8800 GTS 512MB. We’ve selected this card as it’s built using a 9" PCB: the maximum supported by the SG05 (although being honest, 9.5” cards will just about fit, but require serious amounts of creative PCI-Express cabling and patience, not to mention thin fingers).
Installing the card via the side opening was quick and pain free, although fitting the six pin PCI-Express power connector required some tricky angled finger gymnastics to manoeuvre into place thanks to the card’s connector being placed at the end, rather than the top.