|Thermaltake Level 10 GT VN10001W2N|
|Reviews - Featured Reviews: Cases|
|Written by David Ramsey|
|Wednesday, 09 March 2011|
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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:
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.
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!
+ Similar appearance to and the best features of the original Level 10 at a much lower price
- Cheaper than a Level 10, but still pretty expensive
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.