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Thermaltake Level 10 GT VN10001W2N E-mail
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Written by David Ramsey   
Wednesday, 09 March 2011
Table of Contents: Page Index
Thermaltake Level 10 GT VN10001W2N
Closer Look: L10GT Exterior
Detailed Exterior Features
Closer Look: Interior
Detailed Interior Features
Building a Level 10 System
Final Thoughts and Conclusion

Level 10 GT Final Thoughts

In many ways, a computer case is one of the least important parts of your system. Potential cooling issues with high-end components aside, your rig will operate the same whether it's in a $30 no-name case or the $800 Thermaltake Level 10. But if you're an enthusiast, there are other considerations to keep in mind when choosing a case, especially one as expensive as this:

  • Is the case built well?
  • Does its design make it easy to build a system, and replace components in an existing system?
  • Does it offer enough expansion capability for your future hardware acquisitions such as additional hard drives and video cards?
  • Does it provide enough airflow to keep your components cool?
  • Is it a good-looking case?

The last issue might seem petty, but if you're spending upwards of $200 on a computer case, you'd probably like it to at least look as though it's worth the money. The Level 10 GT's appearance is striking without being silly, and the only real complaint I can make about it is that it perhaps uses too much plastic: every surface you see in the image below except the perforated mesh is plastic. The exquisite Lian Li PC-V1020 and the Silverstone Fortress FT02 cases are both slightly less expensive than the Level 10 GT and contain much more metal.

thermaltake_level_10_GT_front.jpg

The Level 10 GT's large interior, many cable routing holes, SATA backplane, and toolless 5.25" device bays make building a system in this case very easy. If you have a modular power supply, the fact that a single SATA power connector handles all your hard drives means that you can use fewer power cables, making it easier to keep the interior neat.

My one reservation about this case stems from the failure of the side panel fan connector, which fell off the interior of the case when I opened the side door for the first time. At best, this is a very delicate component that would be knocked off by even a small impact, since it appears to be secured only by solder. I was able to "kind of" re-attach the connector, but most people would have to make a warranty claim and get a new case.

Thermaltake VN10001W2N Conclusion

Although we strive for objectivity here at Benchmark Reviews, please remember that each author perceives these points differently, and our conclusions and recommendations will necessarily differ from others. Also, prices can fluctuate and designs change after publication, so that the product we review might not have the same price and specifications of a product that's available later. Please do not base any purchase solely on our conclusion, as it represents our product rating specifically for the product tested which may differ from future versions. Benchmark Reviews begins our conclusion with a short summary of each of the areas that we rate.

The performance of this case was excellent. The SATA backplane, multiple cable routing holes, and large interior make it easy to build in, while the swing-open side door and pop-out hard drive caddies make system upgrades a breeze. The security locks and large carrying handle indicate that Thermaltake thinks you might take this to LAN parties, and while that's certainly possible, the case's 28-pound empty weight might be more than most people want to try to lug around. The three 200mm fans, combined with the 140mm rear fan, provide ample cooling with low noise, although under stress the video cards and CPU run a few degrees hotter than they do in the Silverstone Fortress FT02 case.

Functionally, Thermaltake has managed to incorporate and even improve upon some of the features of the original Level 10 case. Pop-out hard drive caddies are are enhanced with the standard SATA backplane, and the included fans provide much better cooling than the rather weak fans included with the Level 10, which were simply inadequate for high-end multi-GPU systems. The elimination of some "bling" features like illuminated trim strips and hard drive presence lights is compensated for to some extent by the controlled-lighting fans.

The quality of construction of the case was very good, although I think there's too much plastic for a case in this price range. Arguably, though, Thermaltake applied the money that would have been spent on more metal to functional features like the pre-configured fan wiring and SATA backplane, and looking at it from this perspective, I think it's a reasonable tradeoff.

The value of this case is harder to asses, but it depends on what you're looking for. The features of this case that account for its cost are those that make building and upgrading a system easier; if you tend to build a computer and not change it for a year or two, your money might be better spend elsewhere. If, on the other hand, you're the type who rarely goes a week without diving into the hardware, buying this case is a much easier decision to make.

Appearance is always subjective. Manufacturers strive to make their products distinctive, and accomplish this in different ways. Cases aimed at enthisiasts and gamers are almost always black these days; indeed, the black enthusiast computer case is a stereotype as much as the beige computer case was in the 1990s; even so, the Level 10 GT has a distinct appearance that enthusiasts and gamers will appreciate (although it's hard to imagine it in an office setting).

Thermaltake has done an excellent job with the Level 10 GT, bringing the style and most of the features of the original Level 10 down to a price that, while still high, is at least more affordable for many. Costing 'only' $269.99 at Newegg, this is now one of my favorite computer cases. But hey, if you really want the ultimate, the original Level 10 is still available at Newegg for only $699.99!

Pros:Quality Recognition: Benchmark Reviews Silver Tachometer Award

+ Similar appearance to and the best features of the original Level 10 at a much lower price
+ Pre-wired fans with speed and lighting control
+ Full SATA backplane
+ Security locks for side door, drive caddies, mouse and keyboard cables
+ USB 3.0 ports
+ Very good cooling for high-end systems
+ Large interior and excellent cable routing features

Cons:

- Cheaper than a Level 10, but still pretty expensive
- Delicate side fan electrical connector
- Too much plastic

Ratings:

  • Performance: 9.0
  • Appearance: 8.75
  • Construction:9.0
  • Functionality: 9.0
  • Value: 8.25

Final Score: 8.80 out of 10.

Quality Recognition: Benchmark Reviews Silver Tachometer Award.

Does the Level 10 GT have a price tag you'll consider? Leave comments below, or ask questions in our Forum.

NewEgg.com

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Comments 

 
# Consultant engineerJean Olbrechts 2011-03-10 01:40
I just intended to start building a new computer devoted to image analyzes.
I'm ready tro give it a chance, but, at the same time, would like to try a water cooling ... Never did !

Thanks for reviuw,
Jean
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# Cool features, but ugly as hellBunzing 2011-03-10 03:35
Damn this thing is ugly. I prefer a nice sleak design. This thing has way to many shapes and looks like a ps2. It does have some nice features though that I would like to see in better looking cases.
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# RE: Thermaltake Level 10 GT VN10001W2NWhyNot 2011-03-10 03:40
Really nice case and had I not "future proofed" my case already several years ago I'd really consider this case. As a matter of fact, I just passed my 4 year anniversary with my LIAN LI PC-65B case and have built 4 systems in it during that time (I get bored :) ). Simple, clean and the only real issue I've had with it is cable management, but even then it's not terrible. I like the cutouts and rubberized areas that the Level 10GT has, really good idea there. Maybe in another 4 or 5 years I'll be willing to give up my LIAN LI, but for right now I'll ust window shop :)
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# RE: Thermaltake Level 10 GT VN10001W2NAnders 2011-03-10 08:44
The GT version looks nasty. It's the Full Tower version that's the looker!
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# LOLJN 2011-03-10 09:46
What an monstrocity - I have a non-GT which is a OK, but this... LOL

Its super ugly and probably just as little functional as the original Level 10. Just to add extra SATA cables you have to pay $50+ and rip the whole case appart (even where it's glued) and spend the whole day on such a simple job.

Make no mistake - the original one looked OK because it was designed by BMW but it was still made by LOWLIFE Thermaltake - so go figure, the quality and common sense is not there.

Thanks God those Asians did not put flashy leds everywhere or other of the crap they love
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# RE: LOLDavid Ramsey 2011-03-10 10:51
You read the review, right? The Level 10 GT is more functional than the original Level 10: better ventilation, larger motherboard capacity, more 5.25" bays, a 3.5" bay, full SATA backplane, etc. so on and such forth.
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# RE: RE: LOLJN 2011-03-10 21:53
Yeah, but not by much and only 5 drives vs 6 so how is it "more" functional - in some areas yes, in some not.

Nutw, the only reason to buy it would be for its looks - that's why I bought my original Level 10 - any $100 full tower case will have more functionality anyways - and I agree it has no LOOKS...

The thing is they put a draft pic of a BMW automobile on the box and hope this ugliness will sell...

I bet it won't...
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# RE: Thermaltake Level 10 GT VN10001W2NRobert17 2011-03-10 15:20
Nice review, David. I've read several others and they reflect somewhat the same pluses and minuses.

And yeah, the SATA backplane on the hard drive bays, very nice. How long till all manufacturers line up behind this idea?

I have a Phantom and have a similar issue with the MB cutout for mounting an add-on CPU heatsink retention bracket, cut-out being just off kilter for my ASUS board. Looks like the engineers need to measure more MBs?

Either way, working in a larger case is much more the pleasure than mid-towers, or smaller. Like you said, if an entusiast tinkers much, might as well get a case with plenty of room under the hood.
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# It wasnt the priceDaveMC 2011-03-13 13:16
It wasn't the price that kept sales low, it was the fact it is one of the ugliest cases on offer ever.

I showed it to many people and never mentioned price, and some were offered it free, and none were interested.

BMW needs to stick to cars, ThermalTake needs new designers.
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# RE: It wasnt the priceDavid Ramsey 2011-03-13 13:41
A lot of people disagree with you on that; most reviewers liked the looks of the case. But each to his own.
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# what about actuall figurestomer 2011-03-13 23:46
when it comes to cooling, i think is one of the big aspects when choosing a performance expensive case.

also some facts are wrong when compared to FT02:
"..but the Level 10 GT case is not only much easier to build in, but can hold larger motherboards and more drives as well."
The FT02 can hold 5 x 3.5' , 1 x 2.5' and 5 x 5.25' drives...also it can hold 12? x 11? mb.
FT02 comes with 1 SATA backplane by the way.
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# RE: what about actuall figuresDavid Ramsey 2011-03-14 08:12
The top 5.25" bay in the FT02 is of limited utility since even short 5.25" drives will bump up against the inside of the card slot bracket (I covered this in my review of the case). The FT02's 2.5" drive mounting point is difficult to utilize effectively since it's so far from the other drive bays that you'll have to dedicate a SATA power cable to it, potentially wasting several SATA power connectors. And the FT02 cannot accommodate an E-ATX motherboard, whereas the Level 10 GT can. Don't get me wrong, the FT02 is still a great case, with better cooling than the L10GT, but overall I like the L10GT better.
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# RE: RE: what about actuall figuresTomer 2011-03-14 08:59
I've installed my FT02 rev 1.4 , 2 weeks ago. on the top 5.25' bay I had Asus standard DVD drive in with no issues. below it, a DVD writer.
by the way, all my fans are on low and I my cpu temp dropped about 10c degrees from my old Xaser III but i'm sure new thermal paste and some dust cleaning helped as well.
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# RE: Thermaltake Level 10 GT VN10001W2NAdam 2011-03-14 13:26
I'd just like to say before reading the review, that is the single ugliest case I've ever seen.

Sweet jesus is that thing harsh on the eyes. Looks like it was designed in the 80's.
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# RE: RE: Thermaltake Level 10 GT VN10001W2NDavid Ramsey 2011-03-14 13:59
You weren't around in the 80s, were you? Computer cases then were rectangular beige boxes.
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# RE: RE: RE: Thermaltake Level 10 GT VN10001W2NAdam 2011-03-14 14:26
I meant from a general 80's design perspective, not specifically those delightful beige boxes.

It reminds me of concrete tower blocks.
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# RE: Thermaltake Level 10 GT VN10001W2NJm 2011-10-08 01:24
I like this case alot and thanks for your review I finally made up my mind. I will buy this case today and hopefully I won't have to change my case in the next 4 years or so.
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# RE: RE: Thermaltake Level 10 GT VN10001W2NDavid Ramsey 2011-10-08 09:38
I think you'll like it. Just be careful about the little spring loaded power connector for the side panel fan, it's quite delicate.
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# You skipped a conDaniel Kufer 2012-03-29 14:58
You forgot to add "no lights" to the list of cons
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# RE: You skipped a conDavid Ramsey 2012-03-29 15:04
I didn't add it because it has lots of lights: specifically, three multicolor LED fans which I do mention the review?
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