Thermaltake Level 10 GT Review
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Thermaltake Level 10 GT Review

April 19th, 2012 James Leave a comment Go to comments

Overview

 

This is the Thermaltake Level 10 GT (VN10001W2N) a full tower case based upon the award winning Level 10 case that was designed in collaboration with BMW. The Level 10 is a monster of a case both in size, weight and cost. This is the cut down more sensible (yeah right!) version, costing at the time of writing, approximately £200. The Level 10 GT also won a reddot design award in 2011. The Level 10 GT is also available in white; the Snow Edition (VN10006W2N) can be seen here.

The Level 10 GT comes in an extremely large box with ample protection inside. This latest version of the Level 10 GT features USB 3.0 support via an internal motherboard connector, some earlier versions (that I have seen) use a pass through cable instead.

 

Thermaltake Level 10 GT - box

 

As you can see from the image below the Level 10 GT also comes with a rather smart dust cover (pre-fitted), this can be used when the PC is not in use (perish the thought!).

 

Thermaltake Level 10 GT - dust cover

 

In addition to the case the Thermaltake Level 10 GT comes with a User Manual, Accessory Package, Lanyard (with keys) and a Hammer! (read on to find out more…)

 

Thermaltake Level 10 GT - accessories

 

Specifications/Features

courtesy of Thermaltake

Case Type   

Full Tower

Material   

SECC

Front Bezel Material   

Plastic

Color   

Exterior: BLACK
Interior: BLACK

Side Panel   

Window

Motherboard Support   

Micro ATX
ATX
Extended ATX

Motherboard Tray   

5.25″ Drive Bay   

4

Ext. 3.5″ Drive Bay   

1

Int. 3.5″ Drive Bay   

5

Expansion Slots   

8

Front I/O Ports   

USB 3.0 x 2 (Internal 20 pin connector)
USB 2.0 x 4
eSATA x 1
HD Audio x 1

Cooling System   

Front (intake):
200 x 200 x 20 mm ColorShift Fan x 1 (600~800RPM, 13~15dBA)

Rear (exhaust):
140 x 140 x 25 mm Turbo Fan (1000PRM, 16 dBA)
120 x 120 x 25 mm Fan (optional)

Top (exhaust):
200 x 200 x 30 mm ColorShift Fan (600~800RPM, 13~15dBA)

Side (intake):
200 x 200 x 30 ColorShift Fan (600~800RPM), 13~15dBA)

Bottom (intake):
120 x 120 x 25mm (optional)

Liquid Cooling Capable   

Yes

Liquid Cooling Embedded   

Power Supply Supported   

Standard PS2

Power Supply Included   

Dimension (H*W*D)   

584 x 282 x 590 mm

Net Weight   

28.0 lbs

Security Lock   

Front HDD Access
Side Panel
Rear peripherals

Application   

High Performance Gaming

 

First Impressions

 

Obviously the first thing that strikes you about the Thermaltake Level 10 GT is the design, it’s not sleek or curvaceous and it’s certainly not subtle. The Level 10 is a rather bold design that will no doubt have some people declaring it a monster and others (like me) really rather liking it. It’s important to note that although the design is bold its cues have been taken from an award winning case designed in conjunction with BMW.

 

Thermaltake Level 10 GT Thermaltake Level 10 GT Thermaltake Level 10 GT

 

The case is a large case ((H*W*D) 584 x 282 x 590 mm) although it’s not what I would call massive it is in fact a very similar size to my current case the Antec Twelve Hundred V3. The chassis of the case is made from aluminium with a high quality plastic exterior, giving the case an empty weight of approximately 13kg.

The case features an integrated carry handle into its design, which is useful as the case is large and relatively heavy (especially when loaded up). The handle houses both the power and reset buttons as well as 4 USB 2.0 ports, headphone and mic ports and a drive activity LED (blue). The handle also features a red strip that looks like it would light up (I was disappointed to find out that it doesn’t!).

 

Thermaltake Level 10 GT - front Thermaltake Level 10 GT - top

 

At the top of the front of the case there is x4 5.25″ and x1 3.5″ drive bays, below this (visible from the front but accessed from the side) there are 5 internal hot swap drive bays. These drive bays are also lockable, this ensures that one or more doesn’t go missing whilst left unsecured, it also prevents an interested friend pulling one out (oops!) at the wrong time. Blowing cool air over the drive bays and into the case is a 200mm ColorShift (red/green/blue) fan.

 

Thermaltake Level 10 GT - top controls

 

The top of the case features a control panel that houses x1 eSata port, x2 USB 3.0 ports, a fan speed controller (low/high) and a fan LED light control. The fan speed controller allows all three 200mm fans (front, side, top) to be switched between low and high speed. The fan LED control allows all three fans LED lighting to be changed (red, blue (the default), green, all three rotating, all three cycling and thankfully off!). Behind this control panel, towards the back of the case, there is a 200mm ColorShift exhaust fan, this fan can be easily removed if so desired, allowing fitment of a single 120mm or a dual 240mm radiator (such as Corsair’s H100 (image here)).

 

Thermaltake Level 10 GT - left Thermaltake Level 10 GT - back Thermaltake Level 10 GT - right

 

The left side of the case is where you will find most of the drama of the Level 10 GT. In no particular order you will find a small window that allows you to see the internals of your rig (the main visible area is the CPU). Below this there is a 200mm ColorShift intake fan. What’s really neat here is the clever connection (see image below right) that Thermaltake has used to power the fan, this allows the side door to be completely removable.

The back of the case features 3 water cooling grommets (although these are now becoming a thing of the past!) a 140mm exhaust fan (no LED & no speed control) and 8 expansion slots. This is alongside the obligatory motherboard back-plate cut-out and a bottom mounted PSU cut-out. The PSU area also features a bottom mounted removable dust filter, this can be slid out from the rear of the case.

On the right hand side of the case (featuring a rather smart Level 10 GT logo) is an all aluminium panel that can be removed by way of two thumb screws and pulling the panel aft.

 

Thermaltake Level 10 GT - door open Thermaltake Level 10 GT - door fan connections

 

To the right of the side door there are a couple of interesting features. The first is the strange looking lever, this looks like it’s a lever for opening the side door, but it is in fact, a lever for operating the internally mounted louvers. This allows you to direct the side intake airflow for optimal cooling, nice!.

To the right of this is a key lock that allows you to lock the side door preventing entry should anyone want to take too close a look at your hardware! The supplied keys and lanyard are a nice touch also…

 

Thermaltake Level 10 GT - lock & lever Thermaltake Level 10 GT - lanyard

 

To the right of the of the side door at the top is another nice touch, a headset hanger, as you can see this is an option and can be fitted if desired (I liked it!).

 

Thermaltake Level 10 GT - headset hanger Thermaltake Level 10 GT - headset hanger

 

Finally you come to the 5 hot-swap drive bays, these support both HDDs and SSDs. All bays are powered internally and only one wire (supplied) is needed to power up all of the bays. Each bay can then be connected to the relevant controller on your motherboard. Although the hot-swap feature is not something that I’m likely to use, it is a rather smart way of housing all of your drives…

 

Thermaltake Level 10 GT - drive mounts

 

Taking a look inside the case you can see there’s plenty of room in there, enough to swallow even an E-ATX motherboard like the Asus Maximus IV Extreme-Z. The Level 10 GT also features a nice large cut-out for the installation of your CPU Coolers’ back-plate (unlike some other cases I have seen in the past!). There is also a plethora of cable management holes (with grommets (that don’t fall out!)).

As you can see all of the pre-installed wiring is very neat and black sleeved cables are featured throughout. The case ships with internal USB 3.0 support allowing you to connect the top USB ports directly to the motherboard header (assuming you have one). The case also has the ability to fit an additional 120mm radiator to the floor of the case just to the right of the PSU (although this is not easy to see on the images above (soz!)).

With the right side panel removed you can see the ample room for cable management, in the image (below right) you can also clearly see the hot-swap drive bay backbone.

 

Thermaltake Level 10 GT - inside Thermaltake Level 10 GT - cable management

 

The feet, easily seen in the images above, can be swiveled through 90 degrees giving the case more stability at the cost of a somewhat larger foot-print.

 

Hardware Installation

 

The accessories supplied with the Thermaltake Level 10 GT, other than the lanyard and hammer (you’re gonna have to wait for that one…), amount to the headset hanger (also shown above), an ATX 8-pin power extension cable (very handy if your PSU’s cables are on the short side) an internal speaker/buzzer, some cable ties and various screws.

 

Thermaltake Level 10 GT - box contents

 

During installation into my test rig the 8-pin power extension was not used as the cables from my Corsair AX1200 were long enough.

The Corsair PSU was fitted first, fan side down, as the Level 10 GT has a bottom mounted PSU air intake (with filter). The PSU fitted fine despite its rather large size (150mm(W) x 86mm(H) x 200mm(L)). Next the motherboard assembly (MB, CPU, Cooler & RAM) from my current Antec Twelve Hundred V3 was dropped (well, very gently inserted is the more accurate term!) into the chassis. As the Thermaltake Level 10 GT can accommodate motherboard form-factors up to and including E-ATX my MSI Z68A-GD80 ATX board fitted fine with plenty of room to spare. It’s worth noting that I had no issues with cooler height or back-plate access while using my Zalman CNPS11X Extreme CPU Cooler, the quoted max cooler height for the Level 10 GT is 190mm. The motherboard’s power system was then connected up (8-pin & 24-pin power cables) and the rig was powered on, as a quick test.

I continued by wiring up the fan/LED light controller via the single molex provided, it was nice to see just a single plug as the Antec Twelve Hundred V3 has a connector for each of its 6 fans!. The case’s power switches and activity LEDs were then connected along with the USB 2.0 and USB 3.0 cables, all of which connect directly to the motherboard.

Next I powered up the hot-swap back-plate with a single SATA power cable and connected up one of the motherboard Intel SATA-III 6Gb/s ports to the lowest drive bay. The lowest bay was chosen to avoid disrupting the air flow of the front intake fan. My SSD was then screwed to the caddy and the caddy was popped back into position, nice!

 

Thermaltake Level 10 GT - drive caddy with SSD

 

Finally I wired up the 4 cables required for the x2 MSI N580GTX Lightning Xtremes and the wiring was complete. There is plenty of room at the back of the case so hiding/tidying the cables was no problem.

 

Thermaltake Level 10 GT - installation complete (shown with Corsair H100 fitted) Thermaltake Level 10 GT - Gaming Rig

 

Testing Methodology/Setup

 

I will be using Prime95 and Core Temp to evaluate CPU temperatures and I will be using MSI Afterburner to evaluate the GPU temperatures. To help generate some heat in the case I will also be utilising the following benchmarks:

3DMark 11
Unigine Heaven
Metro 2033

CPU performance testing was carried out using Prime95 to stress the CPU. Each run was timed at 30 mins and the max temperature reading for each core was noted. Testing was carried out at both 4.3GHz and at 4.8GHz.

GPU performance testing was carried out by running each benchmark for 15 minutes and then recording the maximum GPU temperature recorded (2 temps in my case (no pun intended!) as my rig has an SLI setup).

 

Hardware Performance

 

From a performance point of view the main area that we want to focus on is cooling. Let’s see how the CPU and GPU cooling of the Thermaltake Level 10 GT compares against my default (and one of the coolest cases) the Antec Twelve Hundred V3.

 

  • Thermaltake Level 10 GT: CPU Cooling Results – (fans at low)
CPU Speed CPU Voltage Ambient Temperature CPU Temp (avg cores) Delta Temperature
4.3GHz 1.352 22.5 58.75 36.25
4.8GHz 1.472 23.0 74.00 51.00

 

  • Thermaltake Level 10 GT: CPU Cooling Results – (fans at high)
CPU Speed CPU Voltage Ambient Temperature CPU Temp (avg cores) Delta Temperature
4.3GHz 1.352 23.0 59.00 36.00
4.8GHz 1.472 23.0 73.00 50.00

 

  • CPU Cooling Results – Thermaltake Level 10 GT vs Antec Twelve Hundred V3 (all fans at high)
Case CPU Speed CPU Voltage Ambient Temperature CPU Temp (avg cores) Delta Temperature
Antec Twelve Hundred V3 4.3GHz 1.352 22.5 58.75 36.25
Antec Twelve Hundred V3 4.8GHz 1.472 23.0 74.00 51.00
Thermaltake Level 10 GT 4.3GHz 1.352 22.0 59.50 37.50
Thermaltake Level 10 GT 4.8GHz 1.472 21.50 72.50 51.00

 

 

  • GPU Cooling Results (x2 SLI – MSI N580GTX Lightning Xtreme Edition (Core: 940MHz Memory: 4400) – fans at low)
Benchmark Ambient Temperature GPU 1 Max Temperature GPU 2 Max Temperature
3DMark 11 22.0 81.0 78.0
Metro 2033 22.0 78.0 75.0
Unigine Heaven 21.5 82.0 79.0

 

  • GPU Cooling Results (x2 SLI – MSI N580GTX Lightning Xtreme Edition (Core: 940MHz Memory: 4400) – fans at high)
Benchmark Ambient Temperature GPU 1 Max Temperature GPU 2 Max Temperature
3DMark 11 22.0 80.0 78.0
Metro 2033 22.0 78.0 75.0
Unigine Heaven 22.0 81.0 78.0

 

  • GPU Cooling Results (Thermaltake Level 10 GT vs Antec Twelve Hundred V3) – all fans at high)
Case Benchmark Ambient Temperature GPU 1 Max Temperature GPU 2 Max Temperature
Antec Twelve Hundred V3 3DMark 11 22.0 80.0 77.0
Antec Twelve Hundred V3 Metro 2033 22.0 78.0 75.0
Antec Twelve Hundred V3 Unigine Heaven 21.5 78.0 75.0
Thermaltake Level 10 GT 3DMark 11 22.0 80.0 78.0
Thermaltake Level 10 GT Metro 2033 22.0 78.0 75.0
Thermaltake Level 10 GT Unigine Heaven 22.0 81.0 78.0

 

  • Thermal Performance
  • Well as far as cooling is concerned the Thermaltake Level 10 GT performs very well. In the CPU test (with the fans at high) the Level 10 GT’s cooling performance is about the same as the Antec Twelve Hundred V3 (the Antec case has 6 fans!), keeping my overclocked 4.8GHz 2500k CPU down to a delta temperature of 51 degrees. It didn’t perform quite as well in the 4.3GHz test (strange!) but was still within 1.25 degrees.

    In the GPU tests (with the fans at high) the Thermaltake did a grand job of keeping x2 overclocked GTX580s cool, cooling the cards to (81.0 & 78.0) degrees. Again we see that it still can’t quite match the cooling capacity of the 6 fans fitted to the Antec case, but it’s close.

    As you can see from the data above there is not a lot to gain from having the fans set to high, with never more than 1 degree separating the two measured temperatures, but with the fans set to high there is of course an increase in noise…

     

  • Acoustic Performance
  • Now although the Antec case is cool it is rather noisy when its six fans are running at full speed, the noise output is approx 50db. This is where the Thermaltake Level 10 GT plays its trump card as the noise output (with the fans set to high) is only 43db, with the fans at low this drops to 38db. So while the cooling performance of the Level 10 GT is not quite up to the Antec, it is significantly quieter.

     

    Final Thoughts

     

    Impressed, very impressed I am (hold on I sound like Yoda!); the Thermaltake Level 10 GT impresses on all fronts, of course the styling may not be to everyone’s taste, but there is real function behind its bold design and I for one really like it. I like it as it’s not afraid of being different it’s not like all of the other cases out there, it’s something , well, special.

    During my time with the case I encountered no issues at all, the only thing that I would like to see changed (other than the inevitable (read on to find out more)) is the fact that the three LEDs on the top panel are different colours, this is OK, but the fan LED Light control LED is Red and bleeds light towards the Fan Speed control LED which is Blue. I would have preferred to have seen all of the top LEDs to be one colour (Blue!) If that’s all I have to moan about then this must be a truly great case, and I think it is!

    The case’s feature set is rich, with its support for E-ATX motherboards, support for single and dual radiators, the fan/LED control, the hot-swap drive bays, the list goes on. Couple this with the great cooling and acoustic performance and the ease of installation puts the Thermaltake Level 10 GT up at the top with the best of them. I have to confess that I have fallen for the Thermaltake Level 10 GT and as of now this is my new case of choice, yes I’m keeping this one!

    If you’ve managed to get this far and you’ve been reading carefully (you didn’t just skip to the Final thoughts, did you!?) then you may also be wondering what was all that talk about a hammer, well, I’ll let my son show you, thanks Thermaltake just what he always wanted! 😉

    Of course the inevitable high price is the only real cause for concern, but as we all know, good things don’t come cheap!

    * Rig page updated…

     

    Verdict

     

      Design/Quality pcGameware awards the Thermaltake Level 10 GT a Gold
    Performance
    Value
    Overall

     



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