SilverStone’s new Sugo 14 PC case is an innovative mini-ITX model that can fit a surprising loadout of components inside. True to the Sugo line, this one is designed to pack peak power parts into a compact chassis. Inside, for example, you can fit a full-size ATX power supply, three 2.5-inch drives, a 240mm liquid cooler, and a triple-slot graphics card up to 13 inches long, all at the same time. (Different possible combinations can include larger drives, including even a legacy 5.25-incher.) The case has a few downsides and isn’t the easiest to build in, but the $109.99 price and positive aspects more than make up for these shortcomings. Small-PC builders keen to stuff as much powerful hardware inside should give it a long look.
The Design: A Mini-ITX Power Box
The Sugo 14 measures 8.5 by 9.7 by 4.5 inches and has a volume of 19.55 liters. It’s roughly the size of a large shoe box. Most of the PC cases I review are towers, which is to say, full ATX cases, and it’s amusing to think that this entire case would fit inside of some of my old test chassis and still leave room left over.
The case is available in both black and white color schemes, both of which have an offset gold line down the front to add a little contrast. The front panel, as well as the bottom panel, are the only faces of this case that don’t come perforated to increase air flow.
Unlike on most compact cases, the panels that cover the four long sides of this case are all easy to remove. They are held on by two screws each. I referred above to the bottom panel, but this case doesn’t technically have a single “bottom.” It can be placed and used with almost any side facing down. The top panel has the most airflow perforation, however, and the left side holds the I/O panel. Because of that, it would make sense not to place either of these sides face down, but the case was designed to be used with either of the two remaining long sides as the bottom. SilverStone includes eight foot pads to allow for this repositioning logic.
The front I/O panel itself consists of two USB 3.0 ports and a USB 2.0 port, along with a combo audio jack. (There’s no USB-C port, which means, no cutting-edge internal USB-C header cable, which not every mini-ITX motherboard would likely have a header connector for, in any event.) The power button is set off, by itself, on the front of the case.
The Building Experience: Mini-ITX Is Never Easy
Building a system inside of the Sugo 14 isn’t the easiest PC DIY process I’ve done. Indeed, it can be a bit daunting, especially for beginners. Mini-ITX cases, more than other sizes, punish a lack of foresight and planning.
These issues are understandable due to the chassis’ small size, though, and by the way it’s designed. SilverStone’s aim was to make the case as versatile as possible while also leaving the potential to hold as much as possible. Some features do make putting the system together easier, but it’s still more complicated than building out a system in a typical ATX or MicroATX case, which would have a lot more wiggle room.
All four of the long rectangular panels can be removed by extracting two screws each. This design makes it possible to access the system interior from all angles, and you have to remove at least three of them to build the PC properly. After removing all four panels, it’s also best to remove the Sugo 14’s mounting bracket, at the top of the case, that is designed to hold fans, a 240mm radiator, or a 5.25-inch drive. This isn’t technically necessary, but it does make building the system a lot easier.
After the case is disassembled, you can slide the motherboard in through the top or from the left side of the case. After bolting it into place, it’s best to go ahead and connect the cables for the front I/O panel before adding any more hardware. They’ll otherwise get too tricky to access soon enough.
When installing the rest of your system components, some combinations will be easier than others, and it’s possible to block access to certain key connectors and other essentials if you don’t plan a logical attack order. I found it easiest to next add storage to the system. Or rather, it would have been easier if I actually had done this next. Instead, I added two sticks of RAM and the CPU cooler before the drives, and both got in the way. So did the motherboard main power cables, which I added third.
Lesson learned: You may not want to save storage for last. Ideally, though, you should install your actual CPU (and if you’re using a small air cooler for the CPU, that too) on the motherboard before installing the board in the chassis.
Mini-ITX may be the limit for the mainboard, but the system can hold a lot of other hardware for such a small case. In total, you get room to mount three 2.5-inch drives, as well as two 3.5-inch drives. The first of these 2.5-inch drive mounts is directly above the motherboard. The other two drive mounts are in an unconventional location outside of the case’s frame. These reside underneath the front I/O panel, and they are hidden well out of sight, though certainly not in the easiest-to-access location.
One or two 3.5-inch desktop-style hard drives can be mounted to that multi-functional mounting bracket at the top of the case that I previously mentioned. The mount cannot hold all of its supported hardware at the same time, though. If you opt to use a 5.25-inch device, such as a DVD optical drive, then you will only be able to install one 3.5-inch drive here. Alternately, if you want to liquid-cool and install a 240mm radiator, then you won’t be able to have any 3.5-inch drives or a 5.25-incher. You can fit a 120mm radiator in beside one 3.5-inch hard drive, however.
SilverStone doesn’t list explicitly that you can install both a 5.25-inch drive and a 120mm radiator to be mounted here together, but you can also mount a 120mm radiator to the back of the case, so this should be possible, if an edge case.
For my build, SilverStone sent along its FP510 5.25-inch hot-swap drive bay adapter, which is a useful device that adds two USB 3.1 Gen1 ports, a 3.5-inch drive bay, and a 2.5-inch drive bay to a 5.25-inch bay. The company also sent along its PF240, a 240mm water cooler, but unfortunately I wasn’t able to use this cooler. The AMD-based mini-ITX board I had on hand for testing has its capacitors set close to the back of the CPU socket, which prevented me from mounting the cooler’s bracket. So I settled for an aftermarket Noctua stock air cooler.
I did make use of the FP510 bay device, but the results don’t really sync with this chassis. The cover over the 5.25-inch drive bay is difficult to remove, and when it comes off, it also uncovers some unsightly holes that line the drive bay. These enable you to reattach the cover, if you want, but it gives you a rather unpolished appearance if you use the case just like this.
Adding an ATX power supply unit (PSU) to the Sugo 14 is a little unconventional, as the bulk of it goes behind the front panel, but getting it into place is easy enough. You just lay the system on its side and slide the PSU body in from the bottom, then bolt it in from the top. A pass-through-style cable then runs the PSU’s main power connector to a socket at the rear or the case. Realistically, putting a power supply into place doesn’t get any easier than this. SilverStone also gets kudos for not mandating a pricier-per-watt SFX compact PSU.
Getting the PSU cables into place was a bit tight, but I don’t see much that SilverStone could have done to improve this given the size of the case. The designers already left cutouts in the case at appropriate locations for easy cable routing. It’s simply difficult wiring up a system with this many cables in such a small space; it’s the nature of mini-ITX. It certainly helps, however, to use a fully modular power supply for builds like this, and I used SilverStone’s ST75F-PT for this build to keep cable clutter to a minimum. A modular PSU, which will let you leave out any unused cables to reduce clutter, is definitely worth the investment here.
Last but not least, adding a graphics card is painless. SilverStone provides three card-slot mounting points on this case, which means that you can add large triple-slot-width video cards to this system without issue. Cards can measure up to 330mm long (13 inches) and 148mm in width (5.8 inches) and still fit, and there’s virtually nothing aside from perhaps a stray cable to get in the way when mounting the card into place. The biggest, newest GeForce RTX and Radeon RX cards should fit…assuming you can find one. Below you can see the space afforded to the video card. It stretches from case front to back.
Verdict: A Great Balance of Power and Mini
Building a system inside of SilverStone’s Sugo 14 case is a unique experience and can be a little challenging in places, due to the cramped dimensions. But that is the path of the mini-ITX warrior. Overall, it’s still an excellent case. Some larger MicroATX and full-ATX cases we’ve assembled PCs inside proved to be a more fraught building experience. If you map out how to put the Sugo 14 together, depending on your components of choice, and test-fit the parts before the final build-out, it’s not particularly difficult.
For such a small case, it also can hold a lot of hardware. Building a solid gaming PC in this system, with the fastest processor and graphics card, is entirely possible. All you’ll need to do is shell out for a premium mini-ITX motherboard, which generally will cost you extra. And you can have a large amount of local storage, in the form of both hard drives and SSDs, for your gaming library.
Indeed, there’s not much point in going for a case like this if you won’t be putting a decent-size video card and a brace of storage inside, or want that flexibility. When it comes to this case, you’ll want to think big about your small PC. But if you want a compact mini-ITX build that really packs in the power, the Sugo 14 is well worth considering.
The Bottom Line
SilverStone’s Sugo 14 mini-ITX PC case may not be the easiest we’ve built in, but its moderate price and support for lots of power parts make the purchase (and the pre-build planning) worthwhile.
SilverStone Sugo 14 Specs
|Motherboard Form Factors Supported||Mini-ITX|
|External 5.25-Inch Bays||1|
|Internal 3.5-Inch Bays||2|
|External 3.5-Inch Bays||0|
|Internal 2.5-Inch Bays||3|
|Front Panel Ports||USB 3.0, headphone, USB 2.0|
|PCI Expansion Slot Positions||3|
|120mm or 140mm Fan Positions||3|
|120mm/140mm/200mm Fans Included||1|
|Fan Controller Included?||No|
|Maximum GPU Length||330 mm|
|Maximum CPU Cooler Height||182 mm|
|Power Supply Maximum Length||150 mm|
|Power Supply Form Factor Supported||ATX|
|Power Supply Mounting Location||Bottom|
|Internal Chassis Lighting Color||None|
|Included Fan Lighting Color||None|
|Dimensions (HWD)||9.72 by 8.46 by 14.49 inches|