titleWhen Thermaltake introduced the BMW designed Level 10 a few years back they got everyone thinking outside of the box. Of course with its price tag of almost 1,000 dollars they are few and far between. They followed it up with their Level 10 GT, a case inspired by the Level 10 but with a much lower price tag.  The Level 10 GT has been a popular case but we haven’t had a chance to take a look at it. When the Level 10 GT Snow Edition was introduced I knew it was time to finally see what the fuss is all about. Today we are going to take a look at one of Thermaltake’s flagship cases, lets dig into it and find out what it’s all about.

Product Name: Thermaltake Level 10 GT Snow Edition

Review Sample Provided by: Thermaltake

Review by: Wes

Pictures by: Wes


Specifications

Case Type  

Full Tower

Material   

SECC

Front Bezel Material  

Plastic

Color 

Exterior: White and Black
Interior: Black

Side Panel   

Window

Motherboard Support 

Micro ATX 
Standard ATX 
Extended ATX

Motherboard Tray 

N/A

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) 

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

No

Power Supply Supported 

Standard PS2

Power Supply Included  

No

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
Super Airflow Chassis

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Packaging

The Level 10 GT Snow Edition is packed up in a black and white box with a large photo of the case on the front.  Beyond the product name and Thermaltake’s logo there isn’t much on the front to tell you about the case. There is however a large Internal USB 3.0 badge on the front however that gives me even more reason to be excited about the Level 10 GT Snow.  Inside the case is wrapped up in a soft fabric bag and secured with Styrofoam on each end.

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Outside

It’s easy to spot the similarities between the Level 10 GT and the original Level 10. The main difference between the two is that the Level 10 GT doesn’t have the compartments that the Level 10 had, in place it just gives you the impression of the compartments. The Level 10 GT uses a lot more plastic where the Level 10 only used a small amount. There are also area’s where they learned from the Level 10 and improved on the design like using a mesh on the left side panel in multiple spots for better air flow to the motherboard and CPU.

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Starting up top, the Level 10 GT has a large handle on the right side that is made of plastic but supported properly to be able to use as a lifting point. Rather than the red strip, the snow edition sports a blue LED strip on the handle. Most of the rest of the top of the case is ventilated for good air flow; each vent is painted black to contrast the white color of the case. Near the front of the top you also have part of the I/O panel with an eSATA port and two USB 3.0 ports. Along with them you also have three buttons that control the cases fan speed and the fan LED lighting.

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The front of the Level 10 GT Snow Edition has the same tower that wraps around to the top handle with more blue LED lighting. The bottom half has 5 hard drive bays with each sporting small black ventilation on the side, an improvement over the original Level 10’s hard drive bag design that had no ventilation. Each hard drive has a button on the side that when pushed (and unlocked) will allow the drive to be removed. You have four 5 ¼ drive bays with mesh and one 3 1/2. Each drive bay is easy to remove using the tabs on each side that stick out. You will also notice the lock next to the 3 ½ bay, this is used to lock or unlock the hard drives to keep someone from running off with them. The front is also where you will find the other half of the front I/O panel with four more USB 2.0 ports, headphone and microphone ports, a hard drive activity light, and power and reset buttons. 

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The right side panel is simple with a few designed formed into it, I like how these designs allow for even more room behind the motherboard tray for wire management. In the bottom right corner there is a nice Level 10 GT Driving Inspiration logo painted on also. On this side I was also able to see a slight color difference between the painted side panel and the plastic. This is fairly normal for white cases, but the perfectionist may be bothered by it.

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The left side panel is where most of the action is going on with both a window to the inside to see your motherboard and two large black vents. This is also where you pull the hard drives out at. With the drives unlocked and with the button on the front pushed you can put your hand under the drive through the spring loaded slot and pull each of them out individually.

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Another feature on the left side is the small lever next to the main vent. This lever controls the air flow coming in from that same vent to point it up or down or close it.  Next to that lever is the side panel lock. With this locked you can’t open the side panel at all preventing anything from being taken at a LAN or event.

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Around back the back panel is completely black. Up top, you will notice a small hoop up top and on the bottom; Thermaltake has included a small hoop to lock your cables down at a lan party to prevent anyone from walking off with your keyboard or mouse. Next to the top hoop are three water cooling grommets, an odd number for sure but I think this comes from this case being designed before internal USB 3.0 connections being released. You have one 140mm fan on the rear just above the rear I/O panel.  For PCI slots you have a total of 8 meaning support for extended ATX motherboards but no support for XL-ATX boards. On the right side of the rear panel there looks to be a large floppy disk drive, in reality it’s the filter for the side panel vent.

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Finally to the last area, the bottom of the Level 10 GT. You have four large feet and a long filter that covers the bottom vent on the case. The white button on the bottom of the case is the button that opens the side door when it’s unlocked. It almost feels like you are opening up the door on a car with shaved door handles when you have to reach under the case to open the door up.

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Inside

There are two things you will notice when you open up the side panel to the Level 10 GT and one thing that you most likely won’t notice that is also very interesting. First as you open the door you will notice that it is on hinges giving it a smooth action like opening a car door. With the door open you will finally see the fan direction louvers. What you might not catch though is the way they have wired up the side panel fan. There is a nice contact in the hinge that makes lifting the door off its hinge easy because you won’t have to worry about unplugging the fan.

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As you can see the entire interior is finished in black and you have a whopping eight wire management holes with grommets in them. On top of that you have a few other holes without the grommets just in case you need more than eight, lol. The CPU backplate access hole is large and well placed and should make accessing any backplate easy on any single CPU motherboard.

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For airflow you have three 200mm fans and one 140mm fan, more than enough to keep everything cool.

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Considering the built in fan controller the wiring for the Level 10 GT wasn’t bad at all. Typically you would have a mess of cables to sort through when first setting everything up but because more of the fans are included Thermaltake has made it as easy as possible. I also love the use of black on the internal USB 3.0 cable, both for its black color that matches the interior and the internal header that avoids having to run cables out of the back of the case to plug into the motherboard.

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Setup and Installation

Building in the Level 10 GT is worlds apart from working in the original. Having lived with the original for a long time I’m really happy to see that they improved on that. The crazy amount of wire management holes on the Level 10 GT made wiring on our installation a breeze. As mentioned before there is more than enough room behind the motherboard tray to fit all of our hidden wiring. Speaking of wiring, one of the most impressive areas is how Thermaltake wired up all of the hard drives. Not only do you only need to plug in one power connection, but the custom wiring just looks amazing and clean. Because of the side of the case you might run into issues trying to run your 8 pin power cable but the included extension cable will help with this.

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While setting everything up I noticed that the Level 10 GT also comes with a round clip in with its accessories that clips right onto the side of the case for you to hang your headset from, a nice touch.


Performance

With half of the case being made out of mesh I wasn’t surprised when the Level 10 GT wasn’t silent but the noise output wasn’t anything more than should be expected. If you are looking for it to be quieter the fan controller can also turn the fan speed down and reach silent or near silent levels. Even at lower speeds the case has more than adequate cooling but with everything turned up there is no way you will have to worry about things heating up.

The Level 10 GT is packed full of features like the multi-color LED lighting controlled by the LED button on top of the case.  Even more impressive, and the basis for this article, is the cases security features. The locks and the cable locks on the rear of the case mean short of someone walking off with the entire PC there is no way anyone is going to snatch any of the pocket able parts of your PC.

I spoke about the top handle before but any one of our LAN staff who helped moved our original Level 10 would attest to how difficult it was to carry. Not only was it heavy but the metal “feet” on the bottom could hurt your leg easily. The redesigned Level 10 GT is much easier to carry and a perfect compromise between a large case that is difficult to carry and a small portable case.

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Overall and FV

The Snow Editions colors will get your attention and I think anyone who looks into the details of the Level 10 GT will be impressed. Thermaltake went over the top when implementing details like the wire management, the wiring for the hard drives, and how the door fan doesn’t have to be unplugged when removing the door. The style of the case is going to be very polarizing, some people aren’t going to like it because it is different enough from a standard case, but for that same reason there are going to be people who love it. You don’t have to worry though; Thermaltake did everything short of bolting it to your desk to prevent anyone from taking it or your components. My only real complaint about it is the amount of plastic used in the case design, but in order for them to break out of the box design and keep the price well below the cost of the original it’s the only option. If you like its style I would highly recommend the Level 10 GT and the Level 10 GT Snow Edition. You are going to be hard pressed to find anything better.

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Author Bio
garfi3ld
Author: garfi3ldWebsite: https://lanoc.org
Editor-in-chief
You might call him obsessed or just a hardcore geek. Wes's obsession with gaming hardware and gadgets isn't anything new, he could be found taking things apart even as a child. When not poking around in PC's he can be found playing League of Legends, Awesomenauts, or Civilization 5 or watching a wide variety of TV shows and Movies. A car guy at heart, the same things that draw him into tweaking cars apply when building good looking fast computers. If you are interested in writing for Wes here at LanOC you can reach out to him directly using our contact form.

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garfi3ld replied the topic: #21767 23 Dec 2011 19:43
For the last day of case week and the last work day before Christmas I give you a little snow!

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