Thermaltake Level 10 descends to budget territory

Truly distinctive case designs are surprisingly rare in the PC world, but Thermaltake has one of its own with the Level 10 series. We’ve already reviewed the original and tested its more reasonably priced GT variant. Before long, we may have another Level 10 in the labs. At CES last week, we caught a glimpse of the latest addition to the family, the Level 10 GTS.

With a target street price of $109-119, the GTS is quite a bit cheaper than the GT, which runs $240 online. The GTS has fewer perks, of course, but it’s reasonably well equipped given the price. In addition to USB 3.0 connectivity up front, a headphone hanger on the side, and cable management options galore, the GTS features four removable drive bays. The case also comes with dual fans: one massive 200-mm spinner up front plus a 120-mm exhaust at the rear. Additional 200-mm fans can be mounted in the top and side panels, and there’s room for a 120-mm fan at the bottom of the case. The top fan mount can also accommodate a 240-mm radiator for liquid cooling.

Thermaltake has retained much of the Level 10’s unique styling with the GTS, and the design is really a love-it/hate-it affair. The official press materials only mention a black version of the case, but given the company’s history, I’d expect a gleaming white edition to make its way to market before long. As it stands, the black version is due to hit store shelves in March.

While this particular version of the Level 10 won’t be available for sale, Thermaltake was eager to show off a modded version of the GT with a matching keyboard and mouse. The three were done up in a Mayan theme, complete with a doomsday calendar on one of the case panels and tiny bits of moss protruding from cracks in the faux stonework. During a show filled with high-tech gadgets, this was a refreshingly ancient throwback—and a truly impressive piece of craftsmanship.

Comments closed
    • BIF
    • 8 years ago

    Well it may be somewhat ugly but the Level 10’s have the one feature that I want the most these days and my current Cooler Master HAF 932 (which I absolutely love) doesn’t have:

    Side-mounting hard drive bays with sleds that don’t require you to remove the main side panel to access the drives.

    Right now my huge HAF has a ton of wasted space because I use none of the internal hard drive bays!

    You see, I like being able to change to other operating systems just by sliding out my Windows 7 drives and putting in different ones containing one or more other OSs. I like the protection that my closet offers my production hard drives when I’m dinking and doinking with a new OS or if I’m using my workbench system disks to remove viruses from a friend’s hard drive.

    I have done extensive experimentation and research on this and I can say with 100% certainty that my hard drives have NEVER EVER picked up a virus while siting on a shelf, nor have they ever been inadvertently reformatted or corrupted while sitting on that same shelf.

    I could be wrong but I’m pretty sure it’s just a plain melamine shelf and it doesn’t have any paranormal data preservation abilities.

    But as for the cheapie Level 10, I’m thinking that as long as the sleds can slide out the side, will still benefit from being behind that big front fan, will not require case disassembly or door-opening for swapping, and are at least cold-swappable (designed for a significant number of plug/unplug cycles) with a few extra sleds included or available for purchase, this would allow me to eliminate my SATA 3-in-2 bay from the front of the case and add a full water cooling system with a 2H reservoir.

    Pretty? No. But it would open up a lot of possibilities for me!

    Why doesn’t anybody else make side-mountable external hard drive bays? It’s an under-exploited marketing opportunity.

    • ModernPrimitive
    • 8 years ago

    That case made my top 10 list of units NOT to buy…. The original Level 10 was interesting even if it was something I wouldn’t buy even if I had the cash. This thing lost everything in transition except for the oddness..

    • Draphius
    • 8 years ago

    ive never understood the apeal of the lvl 10 cases. just a big gaudy cheap piece of plastic. usually the pieces that snap together dont even line up correctly. ill stick with functional cases

    • Buzzard44
    • 8 years ago

    Y u no just make beige box?

    • Bensam123
    • 8 years ago

    Level 10 is disgusting, the modded one doesn’t look that bad. I think that has more to do with it being modded to look cool then anything remotely relating to the case though.

    • Forge
    • 8 years ago

    I think it’s funny, but also sad. Thermaltake made something new and exciting with the original Level 10, but it was ridiculously expensive. Then they made the Level 10 GT, which aped the styling but dumped most of the technical changes. Now they’re making a totally unremarkable case, which has a few visual callouts to the original, but is more or less totally unremarkable. 🙁

    • hiro_pro
    • 8 years ago

    as my computer gets older i appreciate a side window with enough LED’s to see if my fans are still spinning. as i get older and my brain runs out of storage it is nice to look through that window and see in which case did i put what.

      • just brew it!
      • 8 years ago

      Y’know… there’s software you can use to monitor your fan RPMs and tell you what hardware is present… 😉

    • willmore
    • 8 years ago

    I don’t mind the LEDs so much when they mean something, but when they’re just there for no purpose, I don’t care for them.

    For example, I once built a pair of raid arrays for some kernel testing I was doing. I wanted activity lights for the drives, so I took a few 10 segment LED bargraph displays and wired them up to the drives. Looked pretty nice when a bunch of seeks were being done in bonnie.

    Just for fun, I did write a little program to access the drives to make them light up like KITT. So, I bear some guilt over the abuse of LEDs in cases, too.

    • Walkintarget
    • 8 years ago

    Tt Level 10s have always been a love/hate thing for gamers. Nobody is riding the fence on its looks. I had already done a modded build years ago, with 5 CCFL tubes and an etched side window.

    I then calmed down on the next build and went with an Antec P180b. That lasted me 3 years, but I just recently built a rig around a Tt Level; 10 GT Snow Edition, and if the colored LEDs bother you, you can turn them off.

    I simply found no other cases that fit the bill for my build. I wanted:

    SATA backplane
    240mm W/C support
    White on black color scheme
    Large side fan for direct air on GPU

    The Tt Level 10 GT fits that search perfectly. I understand beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but I really do like its look compared to the plethora of rectangular black boxes out these days.

      • Farting Bob
      • 8 years ago

      A fan on the side of your case ruins the airflow. You only need a front and back (or top) fan. If they dont provide adequate cooling, get a faster one. Will result in much quieter cooling (and a solid side panel lets less noise out).

        • Walkintarget
        • 8 years ago

        Its a 240mm fan that matches both the front and top exhaust fan in this case. It also has the added benefit of being powered by a contact point, so no umbilical power cables. Also, it has an internal louver setup so that you can direct the air exactly where you want it to go.
        I really do like the case, and the noise (or lack thereof) is amazingly quiet compared to my current Nirvana NV120 air cooler that makes a lot of noise.

        Maximum PC had the Level 10 GT case in a shootout and it scored the highest as far as internal case temps, only bested recently by the Rosewill Thor case, so I really think that any suggestion that its airflow is ruined by its fan setup is not quite accurate.

          • axeman
          • 8 years ago

          You said it had the highest temps though? 😛

            • Walkintarget
            • 8 years ago

            Doh !! Ya, that really did get typed with no thought at all given to it. It’s case temps were the best of the reviewed cases, meaning it had the lowest temps. Gotta learn to stop posting while on lunch break at work.

    • yogibbear
    • 8 years ago

    Looks absolutely terrible. I think everyone goes through a big, bulky, lots of blue LEDs phase. But it’s a phase. You get over it, and then you want a sleek, sexy, cool, quiet and discrete looking case.

      • ImSpartacus
      • 8 years ago

      Kids, couldn’t they grow up a little faster?

      Temjin TJ08-E for life!

        • etrigan420
        • 8 years ago

        Yup, or damn near *any* Lian Li.

      • Bensam123
      • 8 years ago

      Yup and then Lian-Li takes it all.

        • Draphius
        • 8 years ago

        and then caselabs smacks down lian li

          • d34thly
          • 8 years ago

          Yeah, but then Fractal Design makes it all affordably perfect 🙂

            • Bensam123
            • 8 years ago

            Fractal design looks like it just copied everything from Antec and made slight modifications to it…

          • Bensam123
          • 8 years ago

          Not seeing the appeal of their doublewide turds and single wide cases… :l

      • Pez
      • 8 years ago

      It looks great, You have your pipe and slippers on yet?

    • dpaus
    • 8 years ago

    [quote<]a truly impressive piece of craftsmanship[/quote<] Agreed, but it really needs a few deadly traps and a little Lego Indiana Jones to go with it.

      • Wirko
      • 8 years ago

      Impressive indeed but if I found this case under my desk one day, I’d probably believe that the end of the world is near.

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