We get a peek inside Thermaltake’s Level 10 case

COMPUTEX — Our initial description of Thermaltake’s Level 10 may not have been the most flattering. While it does look a little like a school lunch tray, the BMW-designed PC enclosure has more in common with a sports car engine cover or some sort of sci-fi skyscraper. And at Computex last week, Thermaltake let us open it up to see how components actually fit inside.

The motherboard, power supply, and optical drive covers all rotate outward on hinges, with most of the cabling running at the back. That gives a surprisingly clean look to the Level 10’s guts even with a working PC mounted inside. As neat as they look, however, the covers feel a tad flimsy, and we had trouble getting the optical drive cover back on after taking it off.

Hard drives mount in special little trays with rounded hoods, and they clip into the side of the case. (See the image gallery below for shots of the mounting mechanism.) A light comes on at the front of the 3.5" bay when a drive is plugged in. The design should make hot-swapping relatively straightforward, although here, too, the prototype didn’t let us—or the Thermaltake rep—put things back together particularly easily.

Thermaltake plans to start shipping the Level 10 in late August or early September. Availability will follow "by October." Without a power supply, this puppy should set you back a cool $699.

Comments closed
    • puppetworx
    • 10 years ago

    I didn’t like this case initially, but at that price I can see the market they are going for and it makes sense. Low run, high quality and truly unique case. I like it much more now then I did before.

    • Rakhmaninov3
    • 10 years ago

    This might look cool for the first 2 weeks or so, then it would get dusty and be a royal pain in the ass to clean. Kinda like piano black laptops and fingerprints.

    • ronch
    • 10 years ago

    l[< It costs that much because it is low production and a luxury item. <]l Dude, most (if not all) luxury items ARE low production. But they have to have that certain 'feel' that makes the buyer not think he's been ripped off. At $700 any flimsiness in a case that uses off the shelf materials is inexcusable.

    • droopy1592
    • 10 years ago

    $250-320 I’d be all over it. $700? I just built a quad core shuttle that’s quiet and has all of the goodies I need for less than $450, heh.

    • GreatGooglyMoogly
    • 10 years ago

    Grotesque.

    • Joshvar
    • 10 years ago

    At $700, the flimsiness is laughable. Seriously? The thing should feel like tank at that price!

      • GTVic
      • 10 years ago

      Oh, you were serious, thanks for the heads up. Minus 10 points for actually typing it out.

      Now, how do you know this wasn’t pre-production or a mock-up or beta 2 of 5? It costs that much because it is low production and a luxury item. If it is not in your price range then please go whine somewhere else.

        • Skrying
        • 10 years ago

        Shouldn’t a “luxury” item actually be luxurious? I don’t consider a product that has a part of it described as “flimsy” being luxurious.

          • shaq_mobile
          • 10 years ago

          boom, headshot. my antec lanboy was flimsy. then i decided to give it away.

    • prtzlboy
    • 10 years ago

    Thermaltake is like the rhinestone cowboy of the PC world.

    • Obsidian
    • 10 years ago

    Seven. Hundred. Dollars… ‘Nuff said.

    • danny e.
    • 10 years ago

    wait a minute.. the hard drives are enclosed? what?

      • ludi
      • 10 years ago

      They seem to have a thermal plate or something integrated into the mounting sleeve to conduct heat away from the drive. The case is, after all, a giant aluminum heatsink with exorbitant surface area.

    • danny e.
    • 10 years ago

    looks interesting if it was $299.
    definitely not worth $699

    • Farting Bob
    • 10 years ago

    This will go great with the Optimus Maximus keyboard and other insanely expensive pieces of consumer tech that i will never own.
    Also: you would have thought they could have given it a wipe occasionally to get rid of the finger prints, dirt and dust.

    • albundy
    • 10 years ago

    i’d think the zalman’s cool better and look better. i have no idea what this does for that amount of money.

      • ludi
      • 10 years ago

      It gives you a cubic blooming acre of machined, annodized aluminum. That costs a lot of money to design, procure, and assemble no matter how cheap your materials and labor are, and therein lies the problem: They took a concept that could have looked nice at half the price and then went way beyond excess with it.

    • Thresher
    • 10 years ago

    I would kind of like to see the PC somewhat inverted. Instead of having the drives on the same side as the CPU and PCI slots, have them on the other side of the motherboard, divided by the motherboard tray.

    I think from a cooling perspective, it would make a lot more sense than to have them all on the same side.

    • herothezero
    • 10 years ago

    Some wheels don’t need to be reinvented.

    • Dposcorp
    • 10 years ago

    Thanks for the hi rez pics. So much easier to see what it is all about now.

    • ludi
    • 10 years ago

    Expensive sci-fi lunch tray is still a lunch tray I will never, ever budget for.

    • MadManOriginal
    • 10 years ago

    Insane price. I can see it being a good basis for some really cool visual mods but otherwise I’m calling this one a sales flop.

      • Jive
      • 10 years ago

      Expect imitators to steal sales.

        • Skrying
        • 10 years ago

        Good. Thermaltake’s entire heatsink line up is a terrible rip of Zalman’s. Remember the Tsunami case? A terrible wanna be Coolermaster Wave. I wouldn’t touch a Thermaltake product.

          • MadManOriginal
          • 10 years ago

          Tis a little silly to dismiss an entire company’s products. I had a TT DuOrb VGA cooler at one point and it worked really well and might seem like a ‘Zalman knockoff’ just due to design but some times there’s only so many ways to design something within given constraints. It was a bit noisy due to dual 2500RPM fans but not terribly so, it cooled a bit better than a Zalman VF-900 just with more noise, the usual tradeoff.

            • Skrying
            • 10 years ago

            No it’s not. I won’t support a company who has a significant part of their product line being knock offs. I won’t support a company whose policy seems for the most part to copy and not innovate.

            • MadManOriginal
            • 10 years ago

            So what about this case is a knock off? Or what other products in TT’s lineup are? And do you think that many companies who are designing towards standards aren’t going to make similar products?

            Yeah it’s silly and illogical no matter what you feel, you’re certainly free to think that way but that doesn’t change the irrationality of it. If you have an e-boner for Zalman that’s great (btw their heatsinks are often overpriced for their performance in objective measurement) but if you visit the TT website and look through all the various products there are some original designs. Your loss if you disregard a company completely because of some irrational bias.

            • Skrying
            • 10 years ago

            You’re funny. I’ve never even owned a Zalman product. I also think their products are inferior and over priced in comparison to today’s market. I used it as an example because it’s an extremely obvious one. This should have been clear, but apparently not clear enough for you.

            I’ll provide another example; the “dock station” is a rip off of a Brando device. Brando being a crap gadget manufacturer, which makes it even more funny. Thermaltake certainly isn’t the only company that does this, but I don’t buy those other companies products either.

            Not supporting companies who make rip off products is completely logical. Thermaltake could survive on their own original products alone, so why they feel the need to also put out rip off models is beyond me. Simply put though; I don’t support such things.

            Building towards standard is not some excuse. Especially in the realm of case design where the standard is not even that specific beyond the layout of slots and some screws. Thermaltake’s Tsunami clearly took the distinctive look of Coolermaster’s Wave. That’s just out right annoying, Thermaltake didn’t even have the decency to make it the same level of quality.

            Trying to push this off as some bias I have is crazy. It never even made sense, you completely disregarded my original statement which also included a Coolermaster reference (I’ll bash the Cosmos and Stacker line if you want, you know, so you don’t get any crazy ideas).

            • SubSeven
            • 10 years ago

            Listen man, i guarantee you without a shadow of a doubt that you buy stuff and own a CRAPLOAD of stuff from companies that rip off designs/ideas of other company products (intel, microsoft, etc). So do you have such feelings and attitudes for all these companies too or is it strictly Thermaltake? Madman was right, your decisions and actions are silly, and therefore irrational even if he didn’t quite phrase it they way i did (sorry if i’m putting words in your mouth Madman). In the end, what you should be looking at is the product, the quality, and its cost PERIOD. Isn’t good capitalism all about rewarding those that can make the better (or in some cases the exact same thing), product at the best possible price? Imitation, or “ripping off” as you call it is a natural and effective method of business. So if Thermaltake can make the exact same product and price it less, i say good for them! Please note that the actual quality or price is irrelevant to this argument.

            • Skrying
            • 10 years ago

            Quality rip off? That’s one issue, I *[

            • SubSeven
            • 10 years ago

            Quality is a matter of taste, and taste is one of those things that like Einstein would say, is very relative. If TT (Thermaltake) is making a similar case and it’s of lesser quality and it’s selling it for cheaper, that is more than fine. The fact that they are selling should tell you that people, i.e. the market sees a value in this case, even if it is inferior. Again, that is kudos to TT. If you are willing to pay more for a “better” quality case than that is fine, but that is YOUR PREFERENCE. You shouldn’t knock down a whole company just because they imitate products of competitors. I have nothing for or against Thermaltake or Zalman or whatever. I have two TT 430 watts PSU that I got for $30; and you know what, they may not be great, but they are AWESOME for $30. I also have a corsair 620HX which is considered one of the best PSUs made and it costs a bit more than $30, again, it is based on my perception of value. But, I digress; I even said in the last sentence of my previous post, quality is not what I am arguing about, it’s people’s perception of value.

            With respect to patents, I hate to tell you this, but like most people you have been brainwashed. Patents are some of the most inefficient mechanisms in our modern world economies, in some ways much more so than taxes. Patents DESTROY innovation and competition. I bet that’s not what you’ve been hearing in school or watching on the TV, but it is a fact. Patents are things used by large corporations to keep competition out of market and they pay governments HUGE sums of money to look the other way, plain and simple. If patents didn’t exist, the turnaround cycle of invention would be so much faster than it is right now because companies would be forced by market forces to continually innovate as opposed to sitting on something they “made” for twenty something years and ripping off the consumer when so many better things are potentially available. I know you’re going to throw out that famous “but if there are no patents, there is no incentive for companies to do research and develop” crap argument, but before you do, you think about it carefully and tell me if the demand is still there, why would companies not have incentive to develop? I’ll tell you why, because it won’t make them the $100 billion they want but it might make them $2 billion. Patents promote greed, kill off innovation, and encourage decadence, nothing more and nothing less. All that crap you’ve heard about patents promoting stability, encouraging companies to develop, blah blah blah and so on is what has been pulled over your head to blind you from the truth (think matrix here). And now, tell me, do you really honestly believe that you reward innovation, or instead are you just another sheep in an endless flock just like the rest of us, myself included, by the way?

            P.S. Sorry for the lecture, but to those that do actually read all that I wrote, something to think about (or there is the favorite alternative of dismissing me as a paranoid psycho, burying your head in the sand, and going back to live your perfect life just as you did before).

            Sub

            • Skrying
            • 10 years ago

            I didn’t contend that patents are perfect, in fact I specifically mentioned only their INTENT. Which is a massive difference that, you being a lecturer, would surely note. You would also note that most of what you discussed was aimed towards the failings of the US patent system, not the intent of patents.

            I also found it massively ironic that you talk about the market perceiving a value in inferior goods and then talk about someone being brainwashed.

            While the $30 Thermaltake PSU might do it’s just you most certainly could have found products from other companies which provide the same level of quality at the same price point. Which is exactly what I would do and have done.

            • SubSeven
            • 10 years ago

            We are going on too far off on a tangent with perceptions of quality, and i don’t want to head there, because it will turn into a much too drawn out debate i do not wish to have online. But you have some merit in saying that many consumers are brainwashed and therefore pay more for an inferior/similar product because of ignorance (Apple is a great example in my opinion where products may not necessary be of lesser quality, but they are heavily overpriced.) Again, that is off topic.

            With respect to patents, who cares what the intent is? What is important are the outcomes. As humans we act in ways because we have certain intentions, good or bad, but the outcomes are sometimes far from what we intended. That happens because of poor planning and because of poor consideration of facts. Patents are such things. The intent behind them may be noble, but the planning behind them is poor because it ignores many fundamentals of human nature. Another great example is communism. What wonderful intent there is in the idea of communism. I mean, what could be better? But it DOESN’T WORK because humans cannot function in a manner that is required for communism to work (at least not yet). That’s why capitalism is a far better system for the time being (at least when compared to communism) because it better tailors to the human character. In short, it is the outcomes we should focus on.

            • Skrying
            • 10 years ago

            I didn’t use intent as a justification for the patent system. I used it as an example of why I feel avoiding a companies products, where possible, isn’t completely illogical as you tried to pass it off as. Additionally, just because capitalism fits human nature doesn’t mean we should all conform ourselves to it. Resistance builds change, human nature will progressively change over time or we’ll vanish. For the time being I’ll avoid it wherever possible.

          • Forge
          • 10 years ago

          I have a TT Armor+, and previously had a TT Armor before a brief return to Antec land.

          The Armor+ is pretty close to my ideal case, and I haven’t seen anything else on the market quite like it.

            • Skrying
            • 10 years ago

            The market is tending to move away from large masses of plastic everywhere, that’s probably why. I didn’t say every product from Thermaltake is a rip off of other designs. I would contend they don’t have a single good product, but hey… you’re certainly allowed to disagree with what I actually said.

            • MadManOriginal
            • 10 years ago

            You may not have said every product but you did say q[http://www.thermaltakeusa.com/Category.aspx?S=1118<]§ Sure, some are similar to other designs by other companies but fewer than a majority and certainly not all. In fact TT did innovate at one point with the Typhoon designs, the Big Typhoon was actually one of the top coolers until large tower-style became popular. Heck in the very picture in this article there's a TT heatsink that looks like nothing else from any other company afaik, and certainly not Zalman. That quote about heatsinks is why I went off on you with a harsh post. Plus I was bored and needed some entertainment :p If you attempt to limit yourself only to companies that never have visually similar, functionally derivative, or rebadged products which I think covers your ideas of 'ripoff' I think you'll have an extremely hard time ever buying components again. Have fun with that!

            • Skrying
            • 10 years ago

            You’re right, I only counted 10 of the available CPU heatsinks and 2 of the GPU ones. I did count 2 of the GPU ones being Arctic Cooling ones. Another one of the CPU ones were also a bad interpretation of a ZEROtherm model.

      • Thresher
      • 10 years ago

      I think you are overly pessimistic. I think this will sell, just not in huge numbers. I don’t think they ever intended it to sell in huge numbers.

      But I do think that properly fleshed out, this could be the basis for a new formfactor case.

        • MadManOriginal
        • 10 years ago

        It’s $700 (!) dollars. For a case that just mostly looks different. Look at TR’s or other site’s system guides, you can get very capable i[

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