Sliger SM560 Build Guide & Review: Small Form Factor Perfection

Today we will be building in and reviewing the Sliger SM560, a small form factor mini ITX computer case. The SM560 is a boutique case with three PCIe slots and is capable of running a 92mm AIO and a full-size high-end graphics card. Fully based in the USA, Sliger designs, manufacturers and builds cases of all kinds and are known for their top-tier customer service and outstanding build quality. Let’s see if either of those claims are true!

sliger sm560 build guide

Unboxing & Case Overview

Before we get into the case, it’s worth mentioning that Sliger knows their stuff when it comes to shipping their products. The box that the SM560 arrived in was very durable and the case was surrounded on all eight corners with durable foam padding, it’s very unlikely that your case will be damaged in transit thanks to Sliger’s excellent packaging.

Here it is, the Sliger SM560. As you can see here on the GPU side, we received a white, windowed version. There is plastic on both sides of each window which protects the surface in transit and while you are building.

sliger sm560 gpu side

The top of the case is nearly fully ventilated and the borders maintain the same design as the front and sides. We absolutely love the design of the SM560, it’s minimalistic yet three dimensional at the same time. The power button can be seen on the right. It is a 16mm vandal switch which can be removed and changed.

sliger sm560 top panel

Moving to the CPU side, again you can see the plastic on the window as well as the generous amount of bubble wrap inside the case, holding everything in place. Also, there are a few I/O ports cleverly hidden on the left: USB 3.1 Type C (SS+ 10 Gbit/s), USB 3.0 Type A and headphone/mic audio jacks.

sliger sm560 cpu side

The front panel of the case can be removed like the side panels and the top panel.

sliger sm560 front panel

Here is the back, the motherboard I/O is on the left side and is inverted in order to make this case design possible. It’s very rare to see inverted motherboards in computer cases these days but we absolutely love it and believe it adds to the intrigue of the SM560!

sliger sm560 back

On the right-hand side are the power supply cable mount and the three PCIe slots. For those who desire a slightly smaller case, Sliger does make a two-slot version called the SM550. Another interesting and rare feature among ITX cases is the SM560’s ability to be configured with a bifurcated 2x PCIe 16x riser. This allows for multiple add-in cards to be installed together which is a useful feature for those who want more than one add-in card on an ITX system.

For those who aren’t aware, the SM560 is what’s known as a “sandwich design” case and for “sandwich design” cases to be possible, the motherboard and graphics card are separated into two chambers, back to back. This is achieved with the use of a PCIe riser cable which is a flexible PCIe cable that reaches around to the other side and plugs in your motherboard’s PCIe slot, with marginal to no loss of performance.

Here’s a close-up shot of the side panel which uses metal push pins to connect to the enclosure. These panels are slightly difficult to remove but in my experience that’s a good thing as I’d rather have a stronger connection instead of easily worn-down push pins which eventually can’t be secured at all. The side panels do use plexiglass so do keep that in mind when setting them near objects that could scratch them.

sliger sm560 side window

Another shot of the window where you can see the push pins up close.

sliger sm560 side panel push pins

The bottom of the case is well-ventilated and has two 120MM fan mounts which can accommodate fans up to 25mm tall. There are also four case feet which are fairly tall and help provide additional airflow.

sliger sm560 bottom fan mounts

We received both types of PSU kits with our review sample, the flush mount and the pigtail mount. Aside from the aesthetic differences they allow for, the type of plate you can install will depend on the height of your GPU. The standard flush mount restricts GPU height to 133mm, while the pigtail style power cord allows for GPUs (like MSI Gaming and Zotac variants) up to 145mm tall.

sliger sm560 psu kit

Here is the case accessories bag, included are the power supply cable, a PCIe slot cover and several additional case screws.

sliger sm560 accessories

The GPU side of the case showcases the PCIe riser cable and has generous room to accommodate nearly every graphics card currently available. In a segment where space is at a definite premium, Sliger gave us all the room they could while maintaining a footprint of 11L.

sliger sm560 case review

Close-up of the riser cable with a protective cover on the contacts.

sliger sm560 pcie riser cable

Front panel I/O connectors for USB Type A & C and front panel audio jacks. Power switch and LED cables are in the background.

sliger sm560 front panel connectors

The motherboard side is where your power supply will be installed on the left, either SFX of SFX-L PSUs can be installed. Based on our experiences building and ITX cases in general, we suggest choosing an SFX PSU as you will want all the extra room you can get to route cables.

sliger sm560 itx case review

Case Conclusion

Overall, we are extremely impressed with the SM560! The quality bests most cases we’ve used, the 20-gauge galvanized steel feels rock solid and the powder coated finish makes every surface smooth to the touch. Not only can you customize the type of panels on your SM560 from window to unvented and vented, you can also mix and match colors via special orders. This is the type of customization that you simply cannot get from mainstream case manufacturers that build only one version of a case for every custom…

You can also order replacement parts directly from Sliger’s website from panels to feet and wires. Yes, the SM560 is a premium product with a premium price tag but considering how unique and well-made the case is and the fact that the company stands behind its products, we believe it’s money well spent.

Now to building our computer in the SM560!

Building In The SM560

Here is our parts list. As we have for the past several builds, we are omitting the use of 2.5” SSDs in favor of M.2 drives which do not require data or power cables, in an ITX build this helps out tremendously with fewer cables to install and manage. Other than that, this build will embody the mission of a small form factor (SFF) case like the SM560: high-end desktop components in an extremely diminutive package.  

Starting with the motherboard, we are using the trusty ASRock Z390 Phantom Gaming-ITX/ac which is considered the best Z390 ITX motherboard on the market thanks to its superior overclocking abilities and outstanding feature set. We love this board and it deserves all the praise it has received from consumers and testers alike, ASRock knocked it out of the park on this one!

Here’s a shot of the rear I/O on the ASRock Phantom motherboard.

asrock z390 phantom gaming itx

After dropping in our 8700K, we installed 32GB of Patriot Viper Steel gaming memory. The Viper Steel has a definite quality to it and in our experience, has performed exceptionally. It is also shorter than most RGB Ram and in the SM560 and ITX cases in general, low profile memory is a must so you can route cables and AIO tubes more easily. Next, we went to work on adding our M.2 drives.

patriot viper steel 32gb

We initially installed the non-heatsink version of Western Digital’s industry leading 1TB WD Black SN750 NVMe drive on the back of the motherboard but ultimately settled on installing it under the ASRock heatsink on the front after learning that the SM560 had enough room to accommodate the heatsink version installed on the back.

wd black sn750 1tb

Here is the heatsink version of the WD Black SN750 installed on the back. This drive is very luxurious and the heatsink looks fantastic in person, the shiny metal grooves feel great in the hand and of course you are getting Western Digital’s legendary reliability and longevity.

wd black sn750 1tb build

While on the back of the motherboard, we also installed our backplate for the Asetek 645LT, the only 92MM AIO on the market.

asrock z390 phantom gaming itx build

Speaking of the 645LT, our next order of business was to mount it properly so we could install everything on top of it! We installed a high-performance Noctua NF-A9x14 PWM fan on the 645LT to provide as much airflow possible through the radiator. This AIO is very well made and if installed properly, will provide many years of diligent service. Asetek is the leader in AIOs and the fact that they created this unit specifically for SFF builders goes a long way in our book, it’s always nice to see major companies supporting niche markets like SFF.

sliger sm560 asetek 645lt

Here’s the other side where you can see the power cable coming out of the Noctua fan.

sliger sm560 asetek 645lt installation

We installed our motherboard after the AIO. Here you can see it in its inverted orientation; the PCIe riser cable is waiting to be plugged in!

sliger sm560 motherboard installation

On the GPU side, you can see there is indeed room for the WD Black SN750’s heatsink. There is just enough room to install and remove M.2 drives back here without removing the motherboard. CPU Cooler backplates however, need to be added prior to installing the motherboard in the SM560.

sliger sm560 motherboard cutout

Next, we added our EVGA 550 GM SFX power supply. It’s worth noting that this SFX power supply looks large in our pictures but seeing and handling this thing for the first time in person was unbelievable. An SFX form factor power supply is so tiny; you won’t truly appreciate it it until you use one in your own build. 

sliger sm560 evga 550gm

Back to the build, the EVGA 550 GM is as you would expect from EVGA: well made, nicely designed and a solid performer! The custom sleeved cable set EVGA provided is extremely high quality as well, the individual cables are small and easily routable. They’re also well sleeved and don’t easily fray or fall apart like cheaper alternatives.

Keep in mind that while this sleeved cable set is compatible with the 550 GM, it is meant for ATX sized power supplies which is why there are many cables in this set. In addition, the cables themselves are longer than typical SFX PSU included cables but because we aren’t using 120mm fans in our build, we have plenty of room to store the excess on the floor of the SM560.

Looking underneath the 550 GM, you can see where we initially routed the Astek 645LT’s tubes. They are touching the spine of the case here, but the pressure is minimal and the fan will function with this slight amount of pressure. However, as we will show you next, this position will cause problems later when a large GPU is installed…

sliger sm560 psu installation

Here is our EVGA RTX 2060 XC Ultra installed and if you look on the very bottom right corner of the GPU you can see where it was crushing the AIO’s tubes. We ended up moving the tubes all the way to the right to eliminate this issue.

sliger sm560 evga rtx 2060 xc ultra

The final GPU setup with the AIO tubes moved all the way over to the right side.

evga rtx 2060 xc ultra build

Here’s the CPU side with the EVGA sleeved cables routed over the AIO tubes. We’re using up every bit of space under the motherboard for the excess length on these cables. We positioned the AIO to maximize airflow through the vents on the bottom while still providing room for the power supply cables in front and on top of it.

sliger sm560 cable management

Here’s a slightly closer shot.

asetek 645lt aio

Just to show you it’s possible, we also installed an EVGA RTX 2080 XC2 Ultra Gaming GPU which is a 3-slot card with a thick, beefy cooler.

sliger sm560 rtx 2080

It fit with room to spare!

evga rtx 2080 itx build

Final Build Gallery

Click an image to zoom.

Conclusion

Building in the Sliger SM560 was very fun and coming from an ATX/mATX background, it’s quite the sight to see what would be considered a monster desktop PC in this tiny little box. Hats off to the designers at Sliger for creating a true ITX case that caters to high-end SFF builders who want a case that can comfortably fit such components including extra-large GPUs but value their desktop space or want a case that is easily transportable. We’ll delve into the thermals and noise in our Asetek 645LT and EVGA RTX 2060 reviews.

performance computer editors choice award

There’s never been a better time to downsize your existing PC to ITX or build a new machine centered around a case like the SM560. The support is there and while ITX components are slightly more expensive, the experience and the extra desk space are worth it!

We highly recommend Sliger Designs and their SM560!

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