|Thermaltake Level 10 GT VN10001W2N|
|Reviews - Featured Reviews: Cases|
|Written by David Ramsey|
|Wednesday, 09 March 2011|
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Closer Look: L10GT Exterior
Henry Ford is reputed to have said that buyers of the Model T could have it in any color they wanted, so long as it was black. That's your choice with the Thermaltake Level 10 GT as well: solid black. The black powder-coated interior gives the case a more finished appearance. The box hints at the design collaboration with BMW that resulted in the original Level 10 case, and Thermaltake's advertising copy claims that "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.", but apparently the Level 10 GT was designed entirely by Thermaltake. The picture of the case on the box shows red plastic trim strips on the top and front of the case that appear to be lit, but unlike the original Level 10, these strips are not illuminated.
The accessories include re-usable cable wraps, a collection of screws, an EPS-12V extension cable (suitable for 4-pin or 8-pin motherboard connectors), a "Certificate of Authenticity", a manual, and two keys for the locking compartments of the case. Oh, that odd thing above the certificate of authenticity? It's a headphone hanger, which you can attach to the side of the 5.25" device bays if you wish.
The Level 10 GT certainly makes a strong visual statement. It's not as large as the original Level 10: it's both not as tall and shorter front-to-back. However, it's significantly wider. In this comparison photo you can see that the Level 10 GT gives up one hard drive bay to the Level 10, but adds another 5.25" bay, a new 3.5" bay, and the ability to accomodate Extended ATX motherboards, a worthy tradeoff in my opinion. Seeing the cases side-by-side, the first thing you'll notice is that while the original Level 10 is all metal, the Level 10 GT seems to be almost all plastic. However, it's good-quality plastic, and contributes to the 20-pound weight difference between the two cases.
While the Level 10 GT appears outwardly similar to the original Level 10, its internal design is very different. While the original Level 10 had physically separate compartments for the motherboard area, power supply, 5.25" drives, and hard drives, these differences are only visual in the Level 10 GT. Internally, it's all one large compartment as with most other cases, despite Thermaltake's calling it a "modular" case. A clear window offers a view into the top area of the motherboard, and an LED-lit 200MM fan provides extra ventilation for your video cards. You can remove any of the five hard drive caddies by pressing the circular button at the left edge of the caddy (right by the number) and sliding the caddy out to the left. The key lock seen to the left of the 3.5" device bay can be set to lock the hard drive caddies in place. The left side panel is hinged and swings open for motherboard access; you can easily lift the panel completely off its hinges if you wish.
The right side of the case is a slide-off steel panel, embossed outwards to provide room for cables, and with a silk-screened logo at the bottom right. This view of the case also highlights the handle, which is easily strong enough to move even a fully loaded case.
The rear of the case contains three rubber-lined pass-through holes for wires or water cooling hoses, the keys for the case, the 140mm rear exhaust fan, 8 card slots, and the power supply mounting area. The small metal loop to the right of the power supply opening is secured by a screw inside the case and is intended to lock your keyboard and mouse cables at LAN parties.