Wednesday, 11 July 2012

Thermaltake Level 10 GT Battle Edition Case

So Thermaltake have created a case that has quite the long name. Some may say a bit too long and i'd have to agree. I mean when someone asks you what case you have, by the time you say 'I have a Thermaltake Level 10 GT Battle Edition', the other person would have already snoozed off.

So the first striking thing about this case is its colour. It's green. Now, one might find the green all monstrous and somewhat Hulk like which would be a slightly fair point. The case is definitely big, but where the Hulk excels in strength is where the Level 10 GT fails. The case is pretty lightweight which is from the plastic made shell. Looking at the design, it would've been magical if Thermaltake added steel parts to it. All the green parts are all plastic and is a massive let down. Even the handle up on the top is plastic and even had some issues with the way it is placed. The corners of it jagged out of line which diminished the smooth complete look of the handle.
So taking the case out of the box was a bit of a surprise with its light weight, but then revealed was the bag/case covering the case. A nice velvety material with the Thermaltake logo and Level 10 GT branding printed on one of the sides in white. A small but nifty touch to the packaging. Removing the black cover reveals the full sized green mammoth of a case. With jagged edges, army inspired design and extruding areas the case does what a lot of others don't, stand out. The front and top of the case features a mix of its power buttons, USB/eSATA and audio jacks. A total of 6 USB ports with 2 of them USB3.0 gives the user plenty of connectivity on the front. Probably one of the most connections I've seen in a while.

Moving down the case gets you to the hard drive area. You'll find yourself 5 bays which i believe are meant to resemble rockets or bullets (correct me here people). A push of the button beside the numbering unlocks the cage and allows for it to be pulled out. Be aware though, once you pull it out you cannot unsee what lays before you. You'll find yourself holding a pretty ugly green plastic case. What makes this a bit more of an issue than other plastic holders is the larger area covered by plastic. It disappoints me really to see Thermaltake design a drive mount with so little thought. 
Personally i am quite a fan of Thermaltake and have owned/own all their Xaser series cases which have amazing design ideas put into them, so when i see something that i feel is going backwards, it really does let you down. Looking around the cage however you will find some interesting illustrations and instructions for the hot-swappable bay which definitely lifts the overall army feel of the case, a nifty little touch! The overall colour could have used a bit more work though. I would've liked to have seen either a better green colour or some army camouflage. The plain green colour is very different from usually but doesn't have a very strong aspect to it.

Sure, standing out is always a good thing, but i guess what all people would want to know is its performance and practicality. Just note, the case comes locked so you can't open it till you find the keys which are subtly located at the back. Once you remove the keys (read the manual for this one) you can get to unlocking the side panel. Opening the door reveals the mounted fan with directional flaps and the roomy but somewhat enclosed motherboard area. The drive area is pretty well closed off besides a few holes. It does mean it would look good for people who like to show off their rigs. You have a nice complete isolated area to work with. The grommets on the Level 10 are very firm and are probably the best quality grommets i've come across. I've had a lot of cases in the past where the grommets would easily come off, and if you've experienced this you'd know how much of an effort and struggle it is to put them back on, so the Level 10 gets a big plus for it's cable management system. Opening the rear reveals more of the Level 10's fantastic cable management system. Most cables are pre-tied and ready to be plugged in. Sure you may need to change a few cables around and you can easily do it with the Level 10. One problem i did kind of have is trying to trace the cabling back to its source so if you do plan on rewiring some of the cabling, be prepared. The drive bay is interesting. It's all hot-swappable-like where you plug the drives into pre-built mounts and attached the cables to the mounted ports. The power ports come with a special made 5-port cable with an extension at the end of it. Now, this could cause a problem and make things worse and here's why. 
When plugging in a hard drive, you are going to run a SATA line anyway (which typically has 4 ports on it) so creating something like this means you need to find somewhere else to hide the extra power ports on the cable, whereas if you'd ran the whole cable directly to the mounted ports you could tuck the extras into the empty drive bays. Another issue is line amperage on PSU's. Unless you have a 1200watt+ PSU chances are a single SATA power rail isn't going to supply enough amperage to power 5 hard drives through the one cable.
The case does come with 3-led fans which have their speed control and light switch on top of the case. The fans aren't too bright but the airflow in them was surprisingly good and you'll find it provides very good cooling solution. Long graphic card owners beware though, there isn't too much space in there for long graphics cards. The GTX690 for example at first glance does not look like it would fit in. There isn't much you can do either. The drive cage is locked into place and unmovable.
 
Overall, the case is pretty good. Regular LANners would love the ease of carrying this around with its handle and large windowed area and plenty of fan space allows for great cooling. This really is a solid gaming machine. Sure, it does have a few flaws including the a bit steep price tag but it offers the owner something special and unique. It gets my Silver Best Choice award for a few reasons, 1, It's uniquely designed, 2, it has the 'cool'factor, 3, Solid cooling at no extra cost.

By Sahin Selvi
sahin.s@centrecom.com.au

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