Thermaltake Level 10 Super Gaming Case Review

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Thermaltake Level 10 Super Gaming Case Review

Postby Apoptosis » Fri Mar 19, 2010 7:58 am

Thermaltake Level 10 Super Gaming Case Review

If you are tired of computer cases that look like just about every other chassis out there, then Thermaltake and BMW Designworks USA have the case for you. The Thermaltake Level 10 Super-Gaming Modular Tower Chassis is the culmination of performance, design and innovation in computer chassis. Actually, this case would qualify as a super case as it is in a league of its own!

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Article Title: Thermaltake Level 10 Super Gaming Case Review
Article URL: http://www.legitreviews.com/article/1217/1/
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Re: Thermaltake Level 10 Super Gaming Case Review

Postby Darkstar » Fri Mar 19, 2010 8:38 am

Wow, i would say a $700+ case is really in a league of its own!

Killer case though....

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Re: Thermaltake Level 10 Super Gaming Case Review

Postby Illuminati » Fri Mar 19, 2010 9:14 am

Sick.
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Re: Thermaltake Level 10 Super Gaming Case Review

Postby dramsey » Sat Mar 20, 2010 12:14 pm

Judging from the photos, your case has the same problem with the power button LED that mine does. (On mine, the button lights at random. I assume it's a defect.)

Overall, I like the case, but there are a number of minor irritations:

-- No IDE activity LED.
-- $40 extra for the SATA drive connectors? There should have been a solid PCB backplane for all the hard drives anyway.
-- The two included SATA drive cables use locking connectors. If your motherboard doesn't have locking sockets they might not fit. Exhibit A: ASUS Rampage Extreme II.
-- Very thin and delicate wires from the drive present switches in the drive bays; you must route power and SATA cables around these wires with great care. The switches should have been on the other side (towards the front of the case) of the bays.
-- There's enough slack in the locking mechanism for the drive bays so that even when they're locked, they can be pushed out a millimeter or so, enough to disengage the drive present switch and turn off the corresponding LED. Sloppy.
-- The drives bolt directly to the metal drive tray, with no insulation. If you have noisy drives, like 150G Raptors, each drive bay turns into a little resonance chamber. Personally, I kinda like the sound, but I imagine most people wouldn't.
-- What's with the huge gap between the bottom of the optical drive door in the first bay, and the top of the cover in the next bay?
-- The LED lighting is very uneven. The front bottom light bar is visually different from the front top and top light bars. The lights behind the USB port labels on the front are only visible from a higher perspective; if you're looking at the case straight on, they're all but invisible.

All in all, I like the case, but it does seem as if Thermaltake could have done a better job; it hurts to see obviously penny-pinching cost-cutting measures in a case this expensive.
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Re: Thermaltake Level 10 Super Gaming Case Review

Postby bubba » Sat Mar 20, 2010 9:31 pm

As for the drive activity LED, I never hook the things up. I hate the blinking light. This combined with Windows constantly indexing, the light it constantly blinking. No big loss to me.

The lack of the extra back plane is an issue, brought that up in the article.

I didn't think the switch wire were that thin, no thinner than the wire used for front panel switches.

Didn't notice slop in the bays on my case. The were rather snug in the mounting slots.

Think with SSD's the days of high reving hard drives are done. I was using a noisy laptop drive I retired from daily use (for being noisy) never noticed any rattle or hum.

The gap in the drive bay is for the cover to have room to swing. Near as I can figure.

Think the unevenness was on purpose. If it was solid and even it would be harsh to look at. As for the front panel back lighting I didn't experience this either, but I have it setting on the desktop not on the floor.
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Re: Thermaltake Level 10 Super Gaming Case Review

Postby dramsey » Sun Mar 21, 2010 10:57 am

Arg. It's annoying to spend 20 minutes crafting a reply and posting images only to discover one's session has timed out and you just lost everything by clicking "Submit". Swear to God, if I ever get access to a time machine, Tim Berners-Lee, me, and a baseball bat with a big spike sticking out of the end are going to have a real heart-to-heart about this whole "stateless" thing.

Anyway...other cases with "stealthed" optical drive doors seem to manage without the gap; Lian Li comes to mind, but even very inexpensive cases like some NZXT models do it better than this.

My grip with the "drive present" button wires is, I guess, not so much with their thinness (you're right, they're not THAT thin), but rather the fact that you have to thread SATA power and interface cables around or through them during a build.

My Level 10 is sitting on a desk. Seen straight on, the USB indicators are very dim. This photo actually makes them look a lot brighter than they are; in real life, they're almost invisible:

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Looking from above (as when the case is sitting on the floor) it's a lot better:

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If I grasp a drive caddy and tug on it with the case locked, it will move a couple of millimeters, enough to disengage the "drive present" switch:

Image

A push on the caddy will restore the light:

Image

I'm pretty sure your case will do the same. Give it a try. You can see the slack in the latching mechanism with the back off.

I've been experimenting with plexi side panels and internal lighting, but as yet haven't come up with anything I'm completely happy with. For instance, I don't see any way to keep the lower light bar out of sight:

Image

Overall, I'm happy with the case, but think that a little more thought and a few more $ would have made it better. HP's old "Blackbird" case is a good example of an uber-high-end case where the designers did sweat the details in a way that Thermaltake didn't. The Level 10, though, does at least have 8 slots, which the HP does not. Surprisingly few reviews mention this.
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Re: Thermaltake Level 10 Super Gaming Case Review

Postby bubba » Sun Mar 21, 2010 12:29 pm

I see what you are saying with the front panel lights. I don't notice this with mine, wonder if the LED and overlay placement is slightly different with yours.

Interesting that you put a window in, definitely changes the look of the case.
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Re: Thermaltake Level 10 Super Gaming Case Review

Postby dramsey » Sun Mar 21, 2010 4:04 pm

The window was easy: unscrew the side panel, take it to your local Plexiglas shop, and tell 'em to duplicate it in 1/8" stock of whatever transparency. I'd thought about having window(s) laser-cut in the existing panel, but chickened out, since that would really screw things up if I didn't like the result!
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Re: Thermaltake Level 10 Super Gaming Case Review

Postby dramsey » Wed Mar 24, 2010 9:52 am

I just noticed another little Level 10 gotcha. Well, it's not conclusive, but you judge for yourself...

My original setup consisted of three previous-generation WD Raptors (150g) in RAID0 in the top 3 drive bays. After a few weeks the lowest drive started throwing SMART errors. I could never find anything wrong and used the Intel Matrix Manager software to reset the error. Perhaps I was a little cavalier about this, but I did have Acronis True Image Home 2010 backing everything up continuously (more on that later...)

Anyway, yesterday things got bad: Windows was getting really flaky, lots of file errors reported, and the system was just unstable. I decided to yank the Raptors.

Wow, was the lowest drive hot! Almost too hot to touch.

As you know, the two uppermost drive bays are cooled by quiet little 60mm fans. The lower four bays have to fend for themselves. Perhaps, I though, it's not really a good idea to put a 10,000 RPM drive into a tiny unventilated caddy and run it for weeks at a time. Seems obvious, but Thermaltake never mentioned it...

Since the array was broken, I decided to reinstall Windows. That led to Fun With TrueImage, about which I will only say that if you're trusting this program with your data, you may be making a huge mistake.
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Re: Thermaltake Level 10 Super Gaming Case Review

Postby fischfry » Wed Mar 24, 2010 12:35 pm

sweet case, but I cant see justifying that much just for the case
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Re: Thermaltake Level 10 Super Gaming Case Review

Postby camaroguy1998 » Wed Mar 24, 2010 3:37 pm

i like the Level 10 for its uniqueness but, $700 is pretty steep!
dramsey.....The window makes that case! :supz:
Without it the case was slightly drab.
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Re: Thermaltake Level 10 Super Gaming Case Review

Postby slugbug » Wed Mar 24, 2010 10:28 pm

It's definitely a different looking case. I couldn't see myself pay that much for one though.
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Re: Thermaltake Level 10 Super Gaming Case Review

Postby wpeltola » Thu Mar 25, 2010 8:32 am

Nice review on a unique case :)
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