Thermaltake Level 10 GT Case Review

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Posted by on Monday, June 6, 2011 - 12:00am

Thermaltake Level 10 GTThermaltake decided to take another swing at it though, and hitting at a much better price point they have come out with the new Level 10 GT. This go around it can be had for about $270, yet it still provides you with many of the functions of the original Level 10. Hinged door panels, hot-swap hard drive bays and support for water-cooling are all offered in the GT. Sound like it might be the case for you? Stick tight and find out as we take a look at the case in detail today.

Introduction to the Thermaltake Level 10 GT

Thermaltake has set the world on end many times with some of their products. The first would probably have to be their Big Typhoon CPU cooler as it was a great heatsink that performed with the best of them, but it also air cooled some of the fastest processors at the time. Then there was the SwordM full-sized tower since it was quite different from anything else on the market at that time, with its had hydraulic side panel and top led. The all aluminum and fully functional case was sought after by many, but not easy affordable. Thermaltake is back at it again.

About a year ago Thermaltake released the ultimate PC case, simply named Level 10. This new case turned the heads of all that got a glance of it. The all-aluminum construction and BMW engineering made many of us go looking for the case on retail shelves. However, once found it made us shake in our pants, as the price was much more than most people would consider to pay for a case. While it was no doubt a visual and technological marvel, the $700 price tag sadly meant it was out of grasp for the majority of the consumer DIY market.

Thermaltake decided to take another swing at it though, and hitting at a much better price point they have come out with the new Level 10 GT. This go around it can be had for about $270, yet it still provides you with many of the functions of the original Level 10. Hinged door panels, hot-swap hard drive bays and support for water-cooling are all offered in the GT. Sound like it might be the case for you? Stick tight and find out as we take a look at the case in detail today.

Thermaltake’s take on the Level 10 GT

Following the high-profile launch of Level 10 Super Gaming Modular Case, the design collaboration between Thermaltake and BMW Group DesignworksUSA, in 2009, Thermaltake looks to invigorate the PC enthusiasts with the latest Level 10 GT computer case. The design language of the Level 10 GT expresses a passion for visual aesthetics deriving from demanding and immersive game play and multimedia entertainment enthusiasm. Modern games and entertainment applications also require highly advanced hardware configurations, which at the same time request more space and optimized ventilation than conventional hardware. With EasySwap Pitstop 5 every HDD/SDD has its own removable tray, EasySwap in hot-plug mode within seconds. With this users have greatest storage flexibility and maximum data transfer speeds you need. Modern multimedia peripherals operate at tremendous data transfer velocities, with 2 USB 3.0 connectors right on the top of the Level 10 GT you be guaranteed to always enjoy SuperSpeed entertainment. The concept of the clear lines of the outside design of the Level 10 GT is just as well continued in the inside. An advanced and highly convenient cable management bundles respective cables almost like in tunnels behind a back plate. Your system shines in clarity, easy access to all components is warranted for and even ventilation is greatly improved. High tech components are prone to heat impacting longevity and performance. For this vital reason the implementation of Thermaltake's QuadFan (of which three also feature ColorShift) Ventilation concept creates an ideal environment for your components to unfold their full potential. Perception of what and how it is surrounding us, can have strongly inspiring, motivating and vitalizing effects on us. With triple ColorShift three LED fans with five sets of illuminations let you get into the driver seat of your respective moods. Or if so wanted, you turn them all entirely. At times enthusiasm may push you to the ultimate limits, to where you have not been before. Particularly for those who are bound to go beyond these restrictions, i.e. tune and clock your setting, further measures to keep the heat down might be asked for. Ready for Liquid Cooling Systems you can rest assured to keep your coolness. Powerful performance needs space to unfold, this is also the case for highly advanced graphics cards, which the length has grown considerable over the past years and is most likely to grow even further in the future. With space for up to 37 cm oversized cards, there is sufficient space to stay future proof.


Specifications

   

Case Type

Full Tower

Material

SECC

Front Bezel Material

Plastic

Color

Exterior: BLACK
Interior: BLACK

Side Panel

Window

Motherboard Support

Micro ATX
ATX
Extended ATX

Motherboard Tray

 

5.25" Drive Bay

4

Ext. 3.5" Drive Bay

1

Int. 3.5" Drive Bay

5

Expansion Slots

8

Front I/O Ports

USB 3.0 x 2
USB 2.0 x 4
eSATA x 1
HD Audio x 1

Cooling System

Front (intake):
200 x 200 x 20 mm ColorShift Fan x 1 (600~800RPM, 13~15dBA)

Rear (exhaust):
140 x 140 x 25 mm Turbo Fan (1000PRM, 16 dBA)

Top (exhaust):
200 x 200 x 30 mm ColorShift Fan (600~800RPM, 13~15dBA)

Side (intake):
200 x 200 x 30 ColorShift Fan (600~800RPM), 13~15dBA)

Bottom (intake):
120 x 120 x 25mm (optional)

Liquid Cooling Capable

Yes

Liquid Cooling Embedded

 

Power Supply Supported

Standard PS2

Power Supply Included

 

Dimension (H*W*D)

584 x 282 x 590 mm

Net Weight

28.0 lbs

Security Lock

Front HDD Access
Side Panel
Rear peripherals

Application

High Performance Gaming

Features

 

Performance cooling made quiet: one top 200mm exhaust fan, one front 200mm intake fan, one side 200mm intake fan and one rear 140mm exhaust fan.

 

Hinged side panel to enable easier opening of the side door and access to computer for maintenance or upgrade.

 

Dramatically improved cable management. User no longer "hides" the excessive cable on the back, the Level 10 GT features numerous holders designed into the chassis for cable management.

 

Five hot-swappable hard drive bays, each with its dedicated backplane to support hot-swap. Hard drive mounting supports both 2.5” and 3.5" drives.

 

Connectivity array. Four USB 2.0 ports are conveniently located on the front bezel including a pair of audio ports. Two USB 3.0 ports and one eSATA port located on the top.

 

Water cooling ready - 120mm or 240mm radiators can be easily attached to the top side of the chassis (top 200m fan needs to be removed)

 

Fan speed management control embedded. ColorShift fans can be easily controlled through controls on the top.

 

Fully black-powdered interior.

 


Closer look at the outside

One feature of the original Level 10 that I personally liked was the modular design. The fact that each component has its own compartment was original and unique. That design when paired with it's all-aluminum construction really gave the Level 10 the styling that was good enough for basically any living area in the house, not just under the desk in the bedroom or office.

The new Level 10 GT offers similar styling but has many differences compared to the older sibling. It begins with the new model's plastic makeup and not so modular design. Still, it is quite nice looking and easily worthy of common living area status as far as I am concerned.

The GT may looks a little heavy at first blush, and coming in at twenty-eight pounds empty is by no means light, but not exactly heavy either. The weight does give a slight indication to its sturdiness, as this case is pretty tough.

To review this case you can start from any angle. Normally, we start at the top and work our way around to the rear. This time I think I will start at the top though.

Like almost all the other cases on the market, mesh is the new big thing. Save for the Raven RV03, it has been present on every case we have reviewed this year, and the Level 10 GT is no different. Pretty much the entire top portion of the case is mesh, with exception to one small sliver towards the front which is the I/O section of the case. There are two USB 3.0 ports and a single eSATA for your data needs. And with the Level 10 GT being a high end case it naturally offers additional features. In this instance there are controls to operate the speeds of the fans and for shutting off of the LEDs in the case. The mesh area over the back portion hides the 200mm exhaust fan underneath. Then there is also something that might easily be overlooked and that is the handle to help move it around. Even it has gotten a styling treatment and is something carried over from the original.

Now, we reach the front of the Level 10 GT and it has a look that is very different from anything we have reviewed here at Pro-Clockers. To the right the case seems to have more of a "wall", as apposed to a side panel. On this wall are even more buttons and ports. It begins with the power and resent buttons, followed by a HDD indicator LED, and moves down to four USB 2.0 ports with the audio jacks.

For exterior drive support the GT has room for four optical drives and one 3.5” device. Each of the mesh bay covers are removable from the outside, so no need to bust open the case to insert a new drive. The key hole in the photo is to lock the hotswap bays below. There are a total of five of these bays. Once unlocked the drives exit out the side of the case.

Moving to the left side and we see it's as busy as ever, and is divided into four sections The upper left features a small window and should only give you a visual of the CPU cooler. Below that is a raised mesh box, which is to protect another large 200mm cooling fan and is back by a nice dust filter. Dividing the two sides of the panel is another small lock  in order to secure the side panel to the main body of the case, to prevent unwanted intruders.

 


 

The outside, continued...

The upper right has another mesh area that let warm air from the components to escape. Another function of this area is to hold your gaming headset if you have one. The five bunkers you see below that is where the hard drives exit the case. Each dock can house either 2.5” or 3.5” drives.

Turning to the back of the case things get pretty normal with the Level 10 GT. We have three outlets: one for the USB 3.0 pass-thru cable and the other two for water-cooling tubing. A rear mounted 140mm cooling fan for intake/exhaust is present. The case has support for Extended ATX (EATX) motherboards and is evident by the eight expansion slots. For PSU mounting the GT went with the bottom mount location, as apposed to the secluded top location the original Level 10 used.

The right side panel is somewhat plain except for the beveled design and the white Level 10 GT logo. As we mentioned earlier, you can grip the upper portion of the panel in order to carry the case around.

Here we have the bottom of the Level 10 GT and we can see the large ventilation for addition air circulation with provisions for a 120mm fan, and the power supply fan inlet; removable dust filter covering both.


Closer look at the inside

To access the interior of the case only a small portion of the side panel opens. It is hinged on the rear of the case and swings outward. Thanks to the half-barrel hinges it can also be completely removed for more convenience by simply lifting up on the panel.

Once opened, the first thing we realize is that the left side panel is not  just a hinged door, it employs a unique fan setup as well. With it open we can see the large 200mm side mounted fan and the small array of fins to direct air flow. It is worth mentioning that the fins are not like your house blinds that all have to be positioned the same way, instead you can point each fin however you see fit. So if you rather have some air deflected up towards the CPU and RAM area, leaving the majority left to provide some fresh air to the expansion slots, that is easily doable.

The interior of the case is painted matte black which is now a common feature with Thermaltake. Besides that, what reaches out for your attention are the multiple cable management options. There are several routing holes in the motherboard tray at the top, side and bottom. Then, as expected, in the middle of the tray is a large cut-out for the exchanging of CPU cooler back plates.

Each 3.5” bay has a simple SATA back plane to provide power and connectivity to the hard drives. A single line of power connectors allows power to all the drive bays, which really keeps down cable clutter.

The 5.25” bays use these plastic slide rails to secure optical drives into place. These are actually located on the right side of the cage instead of the usual left, due to the vent area on the opposite side.

The bottom of the case is where the power supply will be mounted. To install one you must slide the PSU in from front to back in order to slip between the rails on the motherboard tray. Longer power supplies may be a no-go here, but if tilted with the backside up it seems as though it should fit without any problem.  Just forward of where the PSU would sits the other location for a 120mm cooling fan we mentioned on the previous page.

There is ample room behind the motherboard tray for cable routing, and in order to tidy up any loose cables Thermaltake has provided large clips to secure them.


Assembling images


Here we have the PSU installed. The small lip on the left and above the PSU on the right is what you have to get between in order to place the PSU.


Motherboard, GPU and CPU cooling all installed. As you can see there is plenty of room left for maximum air flow.


There is more than enough of room left for video cards longer than our Radeon HD 5870.


Plenty of clearance between the top of the motherboard and the top mounted 200mm cooling fan.


A metal plate has to be removed in order to install any cards into the Level 10 GT.


Installing a HDD in the front bay tray.


With the Level 10 GT you have plenty of area to work with when replacing CPU cooling.


Headphone holder installed.


Conclusion

When it comes to the Thermaltake Level 10 GT its functionality matches style. One may look at the Level 10 GT from the outside and say that it is one nice looking case, perhaps thinking the functionality has been sacrificed in the process. If you are one of those people then we can assure you it is definitely not the case as the Level 10 GT is one of the most functional cases on the market.

First, there is a total of four very large fans to keep the internal ambient temp to a minimum, all of which are able to change color to fit your preference. The benefit of using such large fans means their speeds are greatly reduced making for a quieter interior, but can still supply a lot of airflow. Next, there is the locking hotswap HDD bays which makes the installation and removal of your hard drive quick, pain-less and simple.

At one time we thought that the Corsair Obsidian series had the best cable management but the Level GT is very close to it, only coming up short of topping them with space behind the motherboard tray to hide cabling. There are openings all around the motherboard tray to route cables from the power supply, and SATA cables or other front panel devices to the motherboard. Speaking of motherboard tray, the Level 10 GT has one of the largest cut-outs for CPU heatsink swapping. You can easily get to the mounting area of the motherboard no matter the board.

We could go all day about the different features of the Level 10 GT but the conclusion would run on for a few more pages. That just wouldn't be fair to the other products we have to get done to show you!

Granted, the Level 10 GT is much the same as the original Level 10 with its all aluminum chassis and expensive paint job. However, be that as it may, you don't have to worry about an $800 asking price for the Level GT. The GT is priced at a much more comfortable $270, which for many of us still pricey, but it makes up for it with all it offers.

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