Thermaltake Level 10 GT Review

Category: Casing | Posted on June 23, 2011

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Uglier, But Better than the Original

Thermaltake’s original Level 10 chassis was a remarkable collaboration with BMW DesignWorks in which the companies fundamentally restructured the chassis into a series of isolated compartments suspended from a central load-bearing wall. It was stunning, cost $800, and wasn’t actually that practical to use. With the Level 10 GT, has taken the basic look of the Level 10, slapped it onto a more standard full-tower frame, and slashed $500 from the asking price. The end result isn’t quite as sleek as its progenitor from an aesthetic perspective, but far outstrips the original in ease of use and practicality, and is not without a certain sci-fi flair of its own.

At 11.1 inches wide by 23 inches high and 23.2 inches deep, and weighing 28 pounds empty, the Level 10 GT is a hefty case. The case’s frame and right-side panel are made of black-painted steel, and the right side has a ridge with a handle cribbed directly from the Level 10, although it’s not part of the central pillar as on the Level 10. The front panel is made of plastic and contains four mesh 5.25-inch optical bezels and one 3.5-inch external-drive bay. The optical drive bays are toolless, with the latching mechanisms on the right side of the bays.

The left-side panel is where the action is. The rear two-thirds comprise a hinged-door panel that locks with a barrel lock, featuring a 20cm color-shifting fan (with directional shutters like a car’s heating vents) on the bottom and a clear plastic window on top. The front third of the panel is devoted to drive trays: five slide-out plastic 3.5-inch trays (with 2.5-inch mounting holes, as well) mimic the solid-aluminum drive trays of the original Level 10, but feature hotswap SATA pass-throughs, prewired with a five-head SATA power cable.

The 20cm color-shift intake fan on the side panel is matched by another on the front panel, as well as a 20cm color-shift top exhaust fan (which can be replaced by a 240mm radiator) and a 12cm rear exhaust fan. All intake fans, as well as the PSU intake, feature slide-out dust filters.

The Level 10 GT includes two USB 2.0 ports and audio jacks on the front of the right pillar, with two USB 3.0 ports, fan controls, and one eSATA port above the optical bays.

The Level 10 GT features a much easier install process than its predecessor—almost on par with the Corsair 800D. Its motherboard tray includes eight rubber-grommeted cable-routing cutouts, plus a large CPU backplane cutout. It has eight PCI expansion slots and supports ATX, microATX, and E-ATX motherboards. The motherboard compartment is sufficiently spacious to make installation of even the bulkiest systems a breeze, and the case easily accommodates 12.2-inch GPUs.

Thanks to its plethora of fans and capacious motherboard compartment, the Level 10 GT’s thermal performance was the second-best of any case in this roundup, bested (only slightly) by the Silverstone TJ11, which retails at $600.

If you admired the original Level 10 but couldn’t stomach its asking price or performance compromises, you’ll find the Level 10 GT more to your liking. It’s less sleek and, well, design-y, but in every other aspect it’s the superior case.

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