SG13 Mod - "The Pregnant Pug"

mladdy

Case Bender
Original poster
New User
Sep 27, 2020
2
3
I love the SG13. But you reach the limitations as soon as you start building in it.

The SG13 really is built to be used with an AIO if you have even a mildly powerful system. I have a 2700x cooled with ML120L + 1060 Mini + SF450 that has a passive fan. Once you replace the stock fan, the AIO is quite alright, idling at 45-50C and peaking at 82C, stock. It was also dead silent.

However I wanted to get out of using AIOs as tinkering with the system was a real pain in the butt. There was also zero scope for expansion / upgrades. What I had in there was pretty much the default maximum allowed by the SG13. At the same time I didn't want to shell out premium for more expensive cases.

I've been trying to mod the SG13 for a long time now - almost a year.

More pictures of each mod in the imgur links.

Mod 1 - Front mounted PSU (Idle 45°C, Peak 85°C)


https://imgur.com/a/jchzdcz

The traditional SG13 mod. I used an aluminum extruded profile to keep the PSU raised, to pass more of the smaller cables underneath it. I initially thought this would work well, especially with the added top fan blowing directly onto the Prism and the VRMs. However, the PSU portion of the case was heating up way too fast - the top fan + the GPU intake was trapping the heated air towards the front of the case. Even in idle there was simply no way for hot air to escape, or space to add an exhaust fan in the front.

I tried different PSU orientations and thought about drilling some holes into the side of the case, and even build a shroud to focus the airflow. But given the seldom spinning fan of the SF450, it felt like a pointless trial.

This was also the lightest the SG13 felt, fully built in.

Mod 2 - Swapping the Wraith Prism fan (Idle 50°C, Peak 105°C!)


Don't judge me. I just wanted to see what would happen.

I swapped the Prism's fan with a Phanteks one, held on with guitar string. To keep it short, it didn't work for obvious reasons. Even 5 seconds of rendering shot temps to 100°C. The Phanteks fan has a max RPM of 1865, lesser CFM and it also extends beyond the Prism's heatsink. It was not bound to work. Was bloody silent though, even at full loads. A fun and shameless experiment.

Mod 3 - Tipping the SG13 to the side (no pictures)

Continuation of Mod 1, I tipped the SG13 to the side, with the GPU facing the table. GPU temps were pathetic, constantly choking for fresh air and hitting 83°C. Now both the PSU and GPU were struggling to breath. The case looked beautiful on its side though.

The top mounted fan was also much louder when sitting in front of it, for some reason.

I also fu by using super glue to attach the rubber feet to the side. Not only did the feet not stay on, but the cabinet paint came off with it. That broke my heart. Any tips on how to fix up the 'torn out' paint?

Mod 4 - Mounting the fan outside the case (Idle 37°C, Peak 85°C)


I soon realized the strict limitations of modding within the confines of the case and set my eyes next on trying to mount the PSU externally. No mod really solved all my problems - they only created a different set of issues each time. I used the same aluminum mount from Mod 1 and attached the PSU along with the Silverstone SFF bracket to the back. The gap was needed to allow the stiff SF450 cables enough wiggle room to reach the internals.
However the 24 pin connector of the SF450 is too short for this distance - I had to stretch it over the Prism, beating the purpose - I wouldn't be able to use a different air cooler in the future.

The second major issue was reaching the back I/O ports of the motherboard. Had to lift the backside of the case everytime I wanted to plug something in.

The third major issue was that the case could not be closed, at least comfortably. The protrusion that acts like a handle would not go down fully. I didn't want to make any irreversible changes to the lid.

Really liked this mod though, aesthetically.

Mod 5 - "The Pregnant Pug", Hoisting the SG13 and attaching the PSU to the bottom (Idle 40°C, Peak 87°C, ran out of good thermal paste by this point)


I think I've reached my modding endgame with this mod! Of course, the case is now pushing the limits of SFF in terms of volume (16.5L vs 11L from before). Tried a variety of ways to 'hoist' the case - bent metal (never aligned well), door handles (ugly af), a custom box bracket (uglier af) before finally settling on mirror spacers.
The PSU is attached to the base via a cut piece of MS from an old desktop (plug side) and a U shaped clamp from bent aluminum. It is also not centered; I've reserved some space for a future custom bracket to two shucked 2.5" drives. So that's 4 drives in total, in the future!

The PSU is just 5mm from the table top, and I was worried how it would affect temps. But surprisingly it remained fairly cool despite 2.5-3 hours of sustained loads, including CSGO and some minor rendering. If absolutely necessary, I can lift it even higher with something.

There is a perfect wind tunnel now - the exact thing I yearned to accomplish inside the SG13. The 140mm Noctua pushes good amount of air throughout the entire system. The 120mm top exhaust really helps with GPU temps (10°C drop!). Even the HDDs are really cool to the touch now. In stock config, the underside of the motherboard was always hot, hence I wasn't confident about using an NVMe drive. Now I can!

The cables are fed into the system via the poorly cut square hole at the bottom of the case. I need to make some sort of plate to cover the open backside now. And also paint the new brackets.

The mod is actually fairly low-key despite the dramatic facelift. It may no longer be the portable brute it once was, but this thing is a thousand fold more maintenance friendly now. Most of you may not agree with what it looks like now, but I really like it.

With this last mod I can think about using aftermarket coolers and replace the Prism. There is a clearance of about 154mm from the top of the processor to the ceiling. But tbh, the Wraith Prism is actually pretty fine for my non-OC'd usage.