Seventy Dollar Silverstone
Silverstone makes excellent, beautiful cases, but they certainly aren’t cheap.
The SG02-F (manufacturer site here) is not exactly cheap at over $70 without a power supply, but it certainly is competitively priced. What do you get for you money though, beyond the Silverstone brand?
Solid Brick of a Thing (4 out of 5)
Silverstone tends to build things very solidly, and this case is quite robust. You might notice it is pretty hefty for its size. The first picture shows some damage to the exterior packaging’s lower corners; perhaps someone had trouble with the limited extra-weight. Steel is heavier than aluminum, but stronger. It also doesn’t conduct heat as well. The picture to the left shows that the panels are very well vented however. We can also see that the packaging did its job and the case is unharmed. Silverstone is pretty thorough here too; look at how thick the card board used for the box is. A flap of said box can be seen in the background of the picture.
The venting is great to reduce weight and heat, but fan noise will get out of this case very easily. If you want this to be a quiet PC case, you will want to go with low-noise or fanless cooling. Silverstone offers a CPU cooler and fan meant to fit in the SG02-F that can help you keep it quiet.
Looks Good (4 out of 5)
It isn’t the most impressive looking case Silverstone has ever made, but it has an understated quality, perfect to sit in a living or bedroom without looking out of place. The paint on the metal panel is excellent, and the plastic front panel is about as good as you can get from plastic. The included internal blue LED is reasonably subtle, but you can always leave it unplugged if you would rather.
The picture to the right also shows the screws, 3.5” adapter brackets, and self adhesive cable clips included with the Silverstone. There is also a hardcopy of the manual, which is available online as well.
Well Thought Out (5 out of 5)
Build quality is high throughout the case. The picture at left shows the open case from the top down. Most prominent is the fan bracket. The case only includes one fan on the far side of the hard drive cage at lower right in the picture to the right.
The screws that hold the rear of the bracket also hold a small cage that protects the expansion card brackets. You can see it in the picture to the right poking out the back. This reduces the case’s overall weight and size.
Installing most components is straightforward. This case was used in the Building a PC Series, so check it out if you want details about how one builds in the SUGO.
This case can swallow one or even two large video cards, which we did not explore in that series. Looking at the manual shows that the process does involve some jumping through some hoops. The case did take in a 500W Antec Power Supply Unit (PSU) without undo effort however. Going with a short optical drive (170mm) helps free up some space though, as the 5.25” bays are right across from the PSU.
Cable routing in the small case is a bit of a headache, but Silverstone has an option there as well. The ST50EF-Plus sc is a 500W PSU. The “sc” suffix means it is a short cable edition. The shorter cables mean a lot less slack you have to find a place for in the small case. Though I did not use it because I wanted the flexibility of using the PSU in a different case down the road; Silverstone makes quality products, PSUs included. In fact the machine I am writing on at the moment gets its juice from an aging Silverstone Zeus unit that is holding up just fine.
Overall (5 out of 5)
It isn’t perfect, but it is pretty sweet. Seventy five bucks gets you a solid, attractive, case that can easily swallow an above average PC’s worth of components. It can even take in enough parts to build a great gaming LAN box or handle video and photo editing, though shoehorning all of that in there would not be called easy.
- Silverstone quality at a reasonable price
- Easily holds components for an above average system
- Can hold components for a high end system
- Can be configured for quiet operation
- Only includes one fan
- No eSATA on front panel
- Installing large, high-end components can be complicated