Thermaltake’s Level 10 GT enclosure
|Model||Level 10 GT|
If you care the slightest bit about computer cases, odds are you’re aware of Thermaltake’s Level 10. Co-designed with BMW Group DesignworksUSA and shaped like a cross between the monolith in Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey and some sort of sci-fi skyscraper, the Level 10 dazes and amazes. No other computer enclosure looks quite like it.
The problem with the Level 10, as we noted in our review, is that it doesn’t seem to be designed for PC enthusiasts from this planet. The empty case alone is over 2 ft tall, weighs in at nearly 50 lbs, and costs between $700 and $850 depending on where you order. Even if you can handle the stupendous cost, weight, and size, the enclosure seems to place greater emphasis on form than function. While a system built inside the Level 10 will draw oohs and aahs from your friends and neighbors, the process of building and upgrading isn’t as smooth as you’d expect considering the price tag.
Last summer, we concluded that the Level 10 was more showpiece than ultimate enthusiast case. We went so far as to say that folks seeking a genuinely practical top-of-the-line enclosure might be better off with something like Corsair’s Obsidian Series 800D—a sort of monolith in its own respect, but a less extravagant one centered more on function than form.
Today, the Level 10 is still among us, but Thermaltake is also offering a new, rather different version of it dubbed the Level 10 GT. This newcomer apes the Level 10’s looks yet does away with much of what makes the original unique: the fully compartmentalized design, the remarkable price and weight, and the absolutely massive size. The GT may look like a baby Level 10, but it’s largely not; the innards have obviously been reconfigured with more practical operation in mind, and the price has been adjusted to a reasonable level.
At a glance, the Level 10 GT looks like a different animal, too. You can still see traces of the original Level 10 design, but they’ve been subdued, smoothed out, and swallowed up into something a little more rectangular and conventional. Thermaltake has retained the hot-swappable 3.5″ hard-drive bays but has de-compartmentalized them and reduced their number from six to five. The number of 5.25″ bays has grown from three to four, and an external 2.5″ bay has materialized.
At the same time, the front and top sides of the enclosure play host to more connectivity: dual USB 3.0, quad USB 2.0, external Serial ATA, and audio ports. The cooling system has been reconfigured to include three 200-mm fans (at the front, top, and side) and a 140-mm rear exhaust fan—quite an upgrade from the Level 10, whose largest fan measures 140 mm across, and whose hard drives are cooled by a tandem of rather whiny 60-mm fans. The somewhat loud and pedestrian cooling provided by these fans was one of the reasons the Level 10 disappointed us. The Level 10 GT addresses that shortcoming with not just more and larger fans, but also an integrated fan controller that lets you switch between slow and fast rotational speeds at the touch of a button.
The Level 10 GT builds up from the Level 10 in other ways, adding a rectangular window over the CPU area, holes for liquid-cooling pipes at the rear, easily serviceable dust filters, a removable headphone stand, and a cable-locking scheme.
Despite all of these enhancements, Thermaltake says the Level 10 GT tips the scales at about 28 lbs and measures 23″ x 11.1″ x 23.2″. Newegg currently charges $269.99 for the case, putting it in the same neighborhood as high-end offerings from Corsair, Lian Li, and Silverstone—you know, enclosures that enthusiasts actually buy.
On paper, the Level 10 GT looks to have the bells and whistles to compete with the best products in its price range, all the while retaining some of the peacocking abilities of the Level 10. The question is, can the Level 10 GT marry showiness and ease of use?
An open-door policy
The Level 10 GT is unique in many respects, but one of its most striking attributes is no doubt the door that conceals access to the motherboard and power-supply areas.
Getting that door to swing on its hinge is a two-step process. First, one must unlock the side panel with one of the two keys Thermaltake drops in the box. Next, pull up the release latch on the bottom-right edge of the door, which is conveniently marked with an eject icon. (In case you’re wondering, the other lock you see in the picture above—the one located on the front of the case—secures the hard-drive bays.)
Open sesame. Among other things, cracking open the door gives us a glimpse at three of the Level 10 GT’s cooling fans. The top and rear ones are located where you’d expect, while the side intake fan is in a rather odd position, with slats like Venetian window blinds covering it. The orientation of those blinds is controlled by a lever on the outside of the case.
Take a closer look at the picture above, and you’ll notice that the side fan is plugged directly into the panel. A special connector links the fan to the rest of the system via a few pins that make contact when the door is closed. Three of the Level 10 GT’s built-in fans (all except for the rear exhaust) are discreetly connected to the main fan controller and receive power via a single, four-pin Molex plug that also delivers power to the many LEDs that adorn the case. The exhaust fan has a 3-pin connector designed to plug directly into your motherboard.
If you’re so inclined, you can even remove the door by lifting it off its hinges—and there’s nothing to unplug before you do. Putting it back together is surprisingly quick, as well.
Peeking deeper inside, we see a motherboard tray with a generous cut-out under the CPU area. That cut-out lets you fasten and unfasten aftermarket heatsinks that bolt through the motherboard without having to take the whole system apart. You’ll also have access to numerous cable-routing holes, several of which are cozily padded with rubber grommets.
Lifting the Level 10 GT’s right panel reveals the rather tidy out-of-the-box cable arrangement, not to mention the somewhat unusual way the hot-swap bays are connected. Thermaltake takes care of distributing power, asking you to plug in only a single Serial ATA power connector for the entire array of drive bays. Data cables must be connected to the bays individually, and you’ll need to route the associated cabling to the motherboard. Once everything is hooked up, you can slide drives in and out of the hot-swap bays while the system is still running… assuming you’ve set your storage controller to AHCI or RAID mode and aren’t trying to unplug your system drive, that is.
We’ll talk more about storage installation in a minute. For now, let’s take a closer look at some more of the Level 10 GT’s peculiarities.
A closer look
Thermaltake positions most of the important ports and buttons along the right edge of the system, saving a few ports for the top panel.
The edge plays host to the power and reset buttons, the hard-drive activity LED, four USB 2.0 ports, and a pair of audio jacks for headphone output and microphone input. At the top lie the lone eSATA port, a couple of USB 3.0 ports, two buttons that control the fan speed, and a final button for the fan LEDs.
Depressing the LED button cycles the fan lighting through different colors and, if you’re patient enough to click the right number of times, disables the LEDs altogether. If your PC resides in a dorm room or a studio apartment, you’ll no doubt appreciate that last option.
We mentioned serviceable fan filters earlier. Here they are. The original Level 10 had filters, too, but they were little more than sheets of material positioned atop cooling vents. The GT’s filters have plastic frames and can be slid out of their slots with confidence.
Here, we see one of the enclosure’s most unique attributes: a removable headphone hanger. If you flip back a page or two, you’ll see that the mounting point for this hanger is rather inconspicuous and covered by a rubber strip. Take off that rubber strip and pop the hanger in, and you can rest your totally sweet gaming cans on the side of the Level 10 GT to impress all your buddies. Or so I imagine.
Don’t want those headphones stolen by some jealous knave? Good news. Thermaltake has implemented a cable-locking scheme similar in concept to the one we saw on BitFenix’s Survivor enclosure. The execution is a little simpler here, though. As you can see above, a small bracket sticks out of the back of the case. The bracket is secured by a thumbscrew on the inside of the rear panel, a location that is safely protected by the side-panel lock when the case is buttoned up.
Any cable threaded through the bracket should be able to slide around with some freedom. However, the opening is too small to allow full-sized connectors—including the 3.5-mm jacks found on most headphones and speakers—to pass through. This simple design makes it easy to effectively anchor any peripherals connected to your system. The Level 10 GT is a little big to haul over to a LAN party, but if you do, you need not fear returning from the restroom to an empty mousepad or a missing set of headphones.
Now that we have a pretty good grasp of the Level 10 GT and its features, let’s stuff it with some components and get a feel for how easy it is to use.
Thanks to a roomy upside-down layout and pre-mounted ATX motherboard standoffs, installing the mobo, power supply, and graphics card shouldn’t throw you for a loop. There’s no separator between the power-supply and motherboard areas, so stuffing cables through the routing holes should be easy. You can always forgo tidiness and leave cables hanging out in the main compartment. Doing so might impede airflow, though.
The right side of the case is where all your cables and wires should reside. As you can see, the result might be messy, but at least it doesn’t interfere with cooling. Thankfully, the Level 10 GT has enough space between the motherboard tray and the right panel to accommodate a few layers of somewhat carelessly arranged cables. If you want to be extra tidy here, Thermaltake provides some cable ties in the accessory box included with the case.
Look closely, and you’ll see two USB 3.0 cables dangling free and unconnected. Such cables seem to be the standard way that case makers offer SuperSpeed support these days. You’re supposed to poke the cables out of the enclosure and into the motherboard’s rear ports. Since our case-warmer build is growing somewhat long in the tooth and doesn’t have built-in USB 3.0, we left the cables disconnected. We could’ve hooked them up to some USB 2.0 ports if we really wanted additional front-panel (or, in this case, top-panel) USB connectivity, though.
Popping hard drives into the Level 10 GT is rather straightforward: unlock the storage bays with one of the keys, and then simultaneously pull out the desired drive tray while pushing the corresponding button on the front of the case. The trays themselves feature rubber-grommetted screw holes for both 3.5″ and 2.5″ drives, allowing you to load up on SSDs. Regardless of which size drive you use, all the SATA connectors will align with the data and power plugs inside the hot-swap bay.
Last, but not least, you might want to chuck in an optical drive for old times’ sake. That task is easily accomplished: slide in the drive and pull the corresponding tab on the right side of the 5.25″ bay. A couple of little nubs will go into the drive’s screw holes to keep it steady. You’ll need to take care of the power and data connections the old-fashioned way, though.
Here’s our working case-warmer build ticking away inside the Level 10 GT:
Note the LED fans. CPU cooler excepted, those fans can be toggled between blue, green, red, and “mixed color” modes using the button on the top of the case. As we noted earlier, the LEDs can also be switched off. The case doesn’t look half bad with all of the lights on and some guts behind the window, though.
Our testing methods
You’ve already seen our test components on the preceding pages, but here’s an exhaustive list with all of the nitty-gritty details. We used Thermaltake’s V1 cooler on our CPU:
|Processor||AMD Phenom II X4 975 Black Edition|
|Memory size||2GB (2 DIMMs)|
|Memory type||Corsair Dominator DDR2-1142 at 800MHz|
|Audio||Realtek ALC889A with default Windows drivers|
|Graphics||EVGA GeForce GTX 280 with GeForce 257. 21 drivers|
|Hard drive||Western Digital RE3 1TB|
|Optical drive||Samsung SH-W163A DVD burner|
|Power supply||BFG Tech 800W Power Supply|
|OS||Windows 7 Home Premium x86|
A number of these parts have already been supplanted by newer, faster components, but their energy consumption is what matters here—and they don’t sip power. Using a Watts Up meter, I recorded power utilization at 385W with our CPU and GPU loads running simultaneously. That’s not all that surprising, since we’re talking about a 125W processor and a graphics card with 236W peak power consumption. Keep in mind that today’s fastest components are designed to fit within similar thermal envelopes.
We used the following versions of our test applications:
- Prime95 (32-bit) 25. 11
- GPU-Z 0.4.3
- Speedfan 4.40
- Unigine Heaven 2.1
Most of the tests and methods we employed are publicly available and reproducible. If you have questions about our methods, hit our forums to talk with us about them.
Here are individual component temperatures inside a fully built Level 10 GT system. We ran our tests once with all fans running at their lowest speed and a second time with everything cranked up. The motherboard was entrusted with controlling the speed of the CPU fan and the case’s rear exhaust.
For our first test, we booted up the machine and allowed temperatures to stabilize before taking readings using Speedfan and GPU-Z:
Then, we loaded up the Unigine Heaven benchmark and waited a few minutes for temperatures to stabilize again. We looped that benchmark with stereoscopic 3D and tessellation disabled, “high” shaders, 16X anisotropic filtering, and 4X antialiasing in a 1920×1080 window. Frame rates were a little choppy, so we expect our GeForce GTX 280 broke a sweat.
After logging temperatures with our GPU load, we waited for things to cool down before looping the Heaven benchmark and a Prime95 torture test simultaneously. Once temperatures peaked, we took the following readings:
The low fan setting lets our CPU’s temperature climb from 47°C to a scorching 72°C during Prime95’s maximum-heat torture test. Turning up the fan speed shaves off a good 7°C. Obviously, CPU temperatures will largely hinge on your choice of cooler. With a 125W chip like the Phenom II X4 975, something reasonably beefy is in order even if you plan to use the world’s most well-ventilated case.
Cranking up the Level 10 GT’s fan speeds also helps reduce motherboard and hard-drive temperatures, although not by huge margins. Meanwhile, the graphics card seems largely unfazed by how much air is circling inside the case.
Do noise levels change dramatically when you switch between fan speeds? While we were running our temperature tests, we probed noise levels using an Extech 407727 Digital Sound Level Meter to find out.
When idling with the low fan speed, the system was quiet enough to stay below our meter’s 40 dB threshold. Cranking up the fan speed had a noticeable effect on noise levels.
The difference between the two fan settings wasn’t as apparent under load. Most of the noise seemed to be generated by the CPU and GPU fans, which are more audible from the side of the case than from the front or top.
Since Thermaltake had a hand from the folks at BMW when designing this case, perhaps a car analogy is appropriate here.
In many ways, I think the Level 10 GT is akin to a muscle car. It’s big, showy, and loud—visually, that is—and tremendous fun to tinker with. You can still take it to the track, but it doesn’t forgo comforts like cup holders and a sunroof—that headphone stand and the windowed side panel. Just as importantly, buying one won’t involve mortgaging your house. The original Level 10 is more comparable to a top-of-the-line Ferrari: gorgeous to look at and great on the track, but not terribly practical for day-to-day driving.
Is the Level 10 GT worthy of a recommendation? Yes and no. $270 is still a decent chunk of change to spend on a computer case. The Level 10 GT should definitely be on your short list if you have that kind of money to spend, but there are a number of more affordable choices that come close to matching the GT’s feature set. (Corsair’s Graphite Series 600T comes to mind.) Our Level 10 GT’s build quality falls a little short of flawless, too: it has a slightly warped right side panel, and the plastic border around the top USB 3.0 and eSATA ports isn’t glued down all the way. Those are minor kinks in an otherwise great enclosure, though.
Ultimately, I’ve got to give Thermaltake kudos for taking many of the good ideas introduced in the Level 10 and putting them to use in an enclosure that’s much, much easier to turn into a fully assembled PC. The result doesn’t look quite as classy or as unique, but it’ll still turn heads—and it won’t do so at the expense of usability.
Thermaltake Level 10 GT review
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Thermaltake does make some fine cases, but this one doesn’t even come close
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The Thermaltake Level 10 GT is another BMW-designed chassis, and a response to the very poorly received original Level 10 case.
This time around it’s very much a more traditional PC design, improving the cooling and sound levels while at the same time knocking a huge chunk off the frankly insane pricetag of the original.
That’s a win then, right?
Straight away, before anyone even thinks about letting so many pounds loose into the wild in exchange for one, we’d have to say wait for the rest of the review.
Ignoring price, it’s a hard case to recommend. Factoring in the still rather high pricetag makes it risible.
Chassis are relatively simple bits of kit in comparison to other PC components, so it’s a big ask to get people to spend so much money on a PC part that won’t directly affect a PC’s performance beyond actually being able to fit the components inside it and provide adequate cooling to those components.
Herein lies the Level 10 GT’s crucial failings. Not only does it not justify itself as a luxury consumer item with decadent extras, it doesn’t even get the fundamentals right. It’s a nasty, two-headed serpent of failings.
For starters, the GT has done away with the visually arresting, it’s-the-futurecome-early modular design of the original Level 10. Most likely because the airflow and subsequent cooling was terrible.
The more traditional structure of the GT has undoubtedly improved this issue, but the visual appeal suffers as a result – it looks like any other case now, albeit a case full of huge neon fans.
Said fans can be controlled by a button on the top of the case to change from red, green or blue, to a flashing multi-colour mode that brought back hazy memories of cheap wedding receptions. You don’t find controllable neon fans on just any case, and in this regard the Level 10 GT retains some appeal to the enthusiast.
It’s a very cheap mod to do yourself though, and if you mod another case in this way you’ll save yourself the nightmare of descending into the labyrinth of cheap plastic that is the Level 10 GT’s interior.
- Thermaltake Level 10 GT (Black) at Amazon for $219.99
Once you’ve used the key to unlock the farcically unnecessary panel lock, you’re presented with all manner of flimsy storage bays and airflow directors on fans.
If the build quality were higher, we’d be impressed with the hot-swappable drive bays and neat SATA cable management system. But for a case of this price, the build quality’s way off.
Undeterred? Still hell-bent on investing on a BMW-designed case because it’s got its own Flash site and, you know, those neons? How about a front fan that rattles against the tacky plastic front panel lock mechanism? Or the four (count them!) screws you need to remove from the back plate just to install a GPU?
Throw in side panels that only close after jigging them about like a second-hand car door, not enough space for admittedly oversize, but serious, enthusiast-class motherboards like the MSI Big Bang Marshall, and ultimately poor interior temperatures, and you’ve got one hell of a chassis for your £205, mister.
There are much, much better chassis on the market for almost half the price – we literally cannot think of a single reason for someone to buy this. In fact, all Thermaltake’s other cases are heaps better than this, which is another reason why the Level 10 GT is such a perplexing anomaly to us.
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Thermaltake Level 10 GT: Price Comparison
Ad creative by day, wandering mystic of 90s gaming folklore by moonlight, freelance contributor Phil started writing about games during the late Byzantine Empire era. Since then he’s picked up bylines for The Guardian, Rolling Stone, IGN, USA Today, Eurogamer, PC Gamer, VG247, Edge, Gazetta Dello Sport, Computerbild, Rock Paper Shotgun, Official PlayStation Magazine, Official Xbox Magaine, CVG, Games Master, TrustedReviews, Green Man Gaming, and a few others but he doesn’t want to bore you with too many. Won a GMA once.
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Thermaltake Level 10 GT — the second coming of the legend / Case, PSU and cooling
Many people remember the sensational full-tower Thermaltake Level 10, which we have already tested. This case is remembered not only by its conceptual design, but also by its unusual structure — the internal space of the case is divided into compartments isolated from each other. As you remember, this did not have the best effect on the temperature of the components. Level 10 GT is made according to a different principle: despite a somewhat unusual appearance, the interior of the case is one-volume. Let’s check how well the newcomer took into account the mistakes of his predecessor.
Level 10 GT is packaged in an impressive black glossy box, most of the front side of which is occupied by an isometric photo of the case. Nearby is a drawing of a sports BMW, which, as it were, emphasizes that manufacturers of legendary cars are largely involved in the creation of the case.
The delivery package already leaves a good impression — an adapter that extends the processor power cable will come in handy for owners of those power supplies that have this cable short and its length is not enough to lay it behind the motherboard tray. Also useful will be a hard drive power extension cord with an angled connector — it will negate the possibility of a short-term loss of power to the hard drive when moving the case.
Although the case retains the outlines of its predecessor, it has become much more austere. With the advent of the GT prefix, the dimensions of the Thermaltake-BMW were reduced to 282x590x584 mm (the predecessor had 318x666x614 mm), and the weight almost halved — 12.7 kg versus 21.37 kg. In the automotive industry, the GT class includes high-speed cars with a coupe body — if this logic is designed for computer hardware, then we can conclude that the developer of this prefix wanted not only to emphasize that the body belongs to the category of elite components, but also to indicate the maximum return on the system’s operation in in general. At least at the first examination, this is not in doubt. Let’s take a closer look at the Level 10 GT.
The asymmetric front panel is controversial, but it’s also very efficient with four 5. 25″ bays and one 3.5″ bay that can be easily removed without having to climb inside the case. The lower part of the front panel is occupied by a fine mesh with plastic inserts, behind which is a fan that cools hard drives.
Place on the decorative ledge of the front panel also went to work — here are the power and reset buttons, system activity indicators, four USB 2.0 connectors and audio jacks. The distance between the connectors is quite enough to use them all at the same time, and the space between the extreme USB port and the buttons allows you not to worry that any device inserted into the connector will interfere with turning on or restarting the computer.
It would seem that such a set of items on the quick access toolbar could be limited. No, the developer considered it necessary to put an eSATA port on the top panel, two more USB connectors that support the third version of the interface, as well as fan control buttons — a two-stage speed controller and a backlight switch.
The entire back of the top cover is given over to a rectangular ventilation grill, under which a 200mm fan is hidden.
Like the top panel, the left wall is also divided into two unequal parts — the rear part is a door that opens to the left, the space on which is divided between two ledges. The smaller protrusion performs only decorative functions, its entire area is occupied by a transparent plastic rectangular window, and the larger one is a ventilation grill with a fine mesh, behind which there is a fan equipped with a dust filter. To clean the filter, there is no need to remove the fan or open the door, it can be changed outside the case, for this purpose there is a special label sticking out on the rear end of the ventilation grille. The front of the panel is occupied by individual hot-swappable hard drive bays. There are five compartments in total, and access to them can be blocked by turning the key in the keyhole on the front panel, while the hole on the left side is responsible, as expected, for locking the side door. Both of these locks can be opened with any of the keys supplied.
The right side wall is much less interesting — on it we see only a few decorative protrusions and the name of the case itself, and it is fastened in a simple way, with two screws on the rear end.
The rear wall is quite traditional for cases where the power supply is located at the bottom, except that the impressive height made it possible to place three holes for the liquid cooling system hoses at the very top of the panel. I would also like to note that the fixing screws for all eight expansion slots are accessible from the outside of the case. Of course, it will be much more convenient to fix, for example, a video card, but an additional cutout on the rear end may not have the best effect on the dust protection of the case.
The ventilation mesh on the bottom panel is longer than usual, and for good reason: inside the case, a 120mm fan can be installed on the bottom panel for additional air flow, and massive legs provide the necessary air gap for the efficient operation of both «propellers».
⇡ # Internal structure. Assembling the system
It’s time to start looking inside and open the side door by feeling for the release button on the bottom panel. The size of the button is quite sufficient to do this operation blindly, and a small stroke will not cause inconvenience. Inside there is enough space to accommodate EATX motherboards, and the case also allows you to install ATX- and microATX-boards. A large number of slots in the tray will allow you to route cables as efficiently as possible and not interfere with the cooling system, and an impressive cutout for the backplate will allow you to replace the cooling system without removing the motherboard.
In order not to be unfounded, let’s start assembling the system. The bench motherboard really fits into the case without any problems, and the cutout in the tray allows you to easily replace the processor heatsink — there is plenty of space.
There shouldn’t be any problems with the height of the radiator either, the bench Titan FENRIR fits in with a margin of a few centimeters.
The power supply can be installed in both positions, we traditionally placed it with the fan down. There are no doubts about the reliability of fastening, first the power supply must be inserted along the guides, and then fixed with screws on the rear panel, which may seem inconvenient for owners of power modules in elongated cases. A pair of rubberized holes next to the power module will allow you to bring all the cables out of the tray, even for the most dimensional models.
The video card is mounted traditionally, this process has no special features. There is also quite enough space for expansion cards — the bench HD 6970 fits without difficulty. There are still about 9.5 cm left to the hard drive rack.
To mount the drives, you must first insert each drive into the tray, secure it with screws, and insert the whole assembly into the desired slot. The trays are fixed in place with latches, the release buttons of which are located on the front panel.
As noted, the 5. 25-inch bay covers are easy to remove. To install the drive, insert it into the bay and secure it with the screwless lock located under the right side wall. The drive of standard sizes does not protrude beyond its rack, and there should not be any problems with its connection either.
Before we start testing, it’s worth telling the readers what exactly we will be testing, so let’s say a few words about the standard case cooling system.
Front fan 200x200x20mm (600~800rpm, 13~15dB) with switchable backlight set to blower. Its task is to create comfortable conditions for the work of information carriers.
The top panel is equipped with a 200x200x30 mm fan with the same characteristics as the front one: it works for blowing, removing hot air from the processor heatsink.
A 140x140x25mm (1000rpm, 16dB) fan located on the rear panel blows out, creating additional airflow through the processor heatsink.
The air from the 200x200x30mm fan (600~800rpm, 13~15dB) mounted on the side wall can be directed upwards or downwards with a special damper.
Now let’s check this cooling system in operation.
|Test bench configuration|
|Motherboard||Asus M4A79 Deluxe|
|Processor||AMD Phenom II X4 940 @ 3.0GHz|
|RAM||2×1048 MB, Corsair Dominator|
|Hard disk||1TB Seagate Barracuda 7200.10|
|Video card||ATI Radeon HD6970|
|CPU cooling system||Titan FENRIR|
|Power supply||Silverstone ST75-F|
Everest Ultimate Edition utility (CPU, GPU, MB, HDD) was used for temperature control.
- Office — in this mode, simple programs were launched, such as notepad, browser, music players, Klondike solitaire, Microsoft Word and Excel, and then temperature values were taken.
- Multimedia — we used the following test packages for this mode:
- FarCry 2 DirectX 10 Benchmark (1920×1080, 4xAA/16xAF), 10 cycles;
- WinRAR 3.90 Int. benchmark. The duration of the test is about 30 minutes.
According to the results of testing in these packages, the highest temperature values obtained were selected.
- The maximum load on the CPU was created using the OCCT 3.0.1 utility in LinPack mode, the test lasted 1 hour;
- The maximum load on the GPU was provided by the FurMark utility (Extreme Stability Test mode, 1920×1080, 8xAA 16xAF), testing stopped after the GPU temperature was set to a constant value.
The chassis has been tested in eight cooling modes:
- All fans in the chassis rotate at maximum speed, the processor is actively cooled, the side fan shutter is directed downwards;
- All fans in the case rotate at maximum speed, the processor is actively cooled, the side fan shutter is directed upwards;
- All fans in the case rotate at minimum speed, the processor is actively cooled, the side fan shutter is directed downwards;
- All fans in the case rotate at minimum speed, the processor is actively cooled, the side fan shutter is directed upwards;
- All chassis fans spin at full speed, CPU passively cooled, side fan flap downwards;
- All chassis fans spin at full speed, CPU passively cooled, side fan flap up;
- All chassis fans spin at minimum speed, CPU passively cooled, side fan flap downwards;
- All fans in the case rotate at minimum speed, the processor is passively cooled, the side fan shutter is directed upwards.
At low loads, the temperatures on the open bench and in the case are approximately the same. With increasing load, the difference increases in favor of the case, even the HD6970 bench video card, the temperature of which at maximum loads practically does not depend on ambient conditions, even by a degree, but it is colder than under similar conditions outside the case. Now let’s change the conditions a bit and direct the side fan damper up.
What has changed? The temperature of the video card remained at the same level as before, but the processor became somewhat more comfortable, by 1-2 degrees, depending on the load mode. A similar situation is observed with the motherboard, but the hard drive has become a little hot, although this change is not at all critical — the maximum temperature still does not reach 40 degrees.
Reducing the speed of the case fans did not lead to the expected increase in temperatures. This can be due both to the fact that the speed is reduced by only 25%, and to the excellent airflow of the hull.
At low speeds of case fans, the reaction to a change in the direction of air flow from the side fan is the same as in the previous case: the processor has become somewhat more comfortable. The remaining components practically did not react to the redistribution of air flows.
With passive cooling of the processor, its temperature in various modes increased by an average of 10 degrees. In the maximum load mode on the CPU, the maximum operating temperature of the processor, declared by the manufacturer, is exceeded, but quite a bit — only two degrees. Also, the motherboard began to heat up a little more, and the video card and hard drive practically did not feel any changes.
With passive cooling, we observe the same effect as with active cooling — when the air flow from the side fan is directed to the processor heatsink, the temperature indicators of the latter in all modes change for the better, and the video card hardly notices any changes.
Case ventilation allows the system to work in passive mode even at the minimum speed of the case fans. The processor temperature at maximum load was 75 degrees — although this is a lot, it is far from critical values. The remaining components inspire even less concern about overheating.
Raising the damper, we see that this time the video card reacted to the change in airflow direction — in the office and multimedia modes, the temperatures dropped slightly. The processor and motherboard in this mode became slightly colder, and the hard drive, as usual, practically did not feel any changes.
In general, the case showed itself very well — thoughtful ergonomics and roomy interior, as well as an efficient cooling system and good ventilation will surely help the novelty gain considerable popularity. The disadvantages include perhaps not the most convenient seat for the power supply, however, when using most models of blocks, this will not be noticeable. So far, the Level 10 GT is not in the windows of computer stores, but the manufacturer promises that it will appear soon and will be sold at a price of about $270, which is quite adequate for a case of this level.
Test: Thermaltake Level 10 GT case
- A plastic window on the side panel allows you to observe the work of hardware Thermaltake Level 10 GT was developed in collaboration with representatives of the BMW concern, as a result of which the appearance of the case turned out to be quite aggressive and evil in a good way: already at the first glance at it (without even knowing about the hardware parameters), one gets the impression that we have a powerful gaming PC. This model is the younger brother of the original Thermaltake Level 10 and has a number of advantages compared to it: a significantly lower price ($300), less exposure to dust pollution, and almost half the weight (13 vs. 24 kg). If the predecessor looked more like a steel panel with containers-compartments installed on it, then the GT is closer to the classic monoblock form. Its dimensions are 584x282x590 mm, but still a rather large weight (along with the filling, it will naturally exceed 13 kg) is compensated by a convenient carrying handle.
There are separate units for the key system components (hard drives, motherboard, power supply). To connect these components, a whole network of cables is used, routed to each of them from the motherboard bay. In addition, everything is done so that the user has to mess around with installing or replacing hardware as little as possible: for example, in the hard drive bays (both 3.5- and 2.5-inch drives are supported), the corresponding connectors are simply located in the rear walls — the user just needs to «drive» the hard drive all the way — and it is connected. Naturally, the usual «in-case» installation of hard drives is also supported. Inside there is room for four 5.25 and one 3.5 HDD.
Case compartments are opened by pressing special buttons and levers. The system of locks can block their use
Taking into account the gaming orientation of the case, the developers naturally created conditions for connecting the most powerful (and, consequently, the most overall) video cards — the system can install cards up to 36 cm in length (with such dimensions on today have, for example, ATI Radeon HD and 6870 NVIDIA GTX 580). We didn’t forget about the processor, or rather, its cooling: the maximum value of the processor cooler is 190 mm.
Access to all compartments is carried out using special buttons and levers on the case. In addition, there is a security lock system: with closed locks (the keys to which can be stored on a special holder at the back — this, by the way, is not very convenient, but it guarantees that the keys will not be lost) it will not be possible to open the compartments.
True, in our opinion, you should use these locks only when transferring (well, if you keep money inside) in order to avoid accidental opening of the compartments — in everyday life the case is securely closed even without them. Well, for those who like to observe working hardware, and just for quick visual diagnostics of the system, there is a rather large plastic window on the left wall of the case.
The opening button is hidden from below
Thermaltec also took care of the cooling system. So, the case is equipped with four impressive fans. There is one rear 140mm Turbo Fan with 1000RPM and 16dB noise level, and three 200mm Colorshift Fans with LED color change function, which are located in the front, top and side, rotate at speed from 600 to 800 rpm and create a noise not higher than 15 dB. On top of the case, there are buttons for controlling fans, namely on / off, speed control, as well as cooler backlighting. If such a system cannot cope with cooling the air inside the case, you can add another 120mm cooler from the bottom, or even resort to using a water cooling system.
- Changing the hard drive in the external bay takes only a few seconds
- To open the slot, you need to press the button on its front
four USB 2.0), eSATA and two USB 3.0 on the roof of the case, the original headphone holder on the side panel. On the front panel, everything is standard — it is possible to install DVD / Blu-ray drives (four pieces), as well as a card reader.
The case has an interesting air flow direction system from the cooler. So there is no doubt that we have a very powerful and productive PC in front of us — there is simply no point in taking it for other purposes.
Thermaltake Level 10 GT
Form factor: Full Tower
Dimensions: 584x282x590 mm
Cooling — 4 cookers: one — 140 mm Turbo FAN, three — 200 mm ColorsHift FAN
PODI panel: 4 USB 2.0, audio out and in
Top panel ports: 2 USB 3.0, eSATA
Rear panel ports: 2 USB 3.0
Hard drives: 5 slots for HDD 3.5
or 2.5 on the front panel , 4 slots for 5.25 and 1 slot for 3.5 inside
Supplier: MTI, (044) 581-5121
Price: $ 300
+Easy to connect and replace the system components
+good expansion system with the ability to expand
+button of control over
+ many remote ports (USB 2.