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My long term review of Thermaltake Level 10

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 
Well I bought the Thermaltake Level 10 back in Feb, so I have been using it for about 10 months now. I like the design of the case but it does have some flaws and drawbacks. I will start with the general things and go into the details later, hopefully I can finish the review in the next few days or so.

I have changed my computer setup a few times since I got the case back in Feb. I have used 3 different motherboard, 2 CPU cooler, lots of fans, 4 different video card setup, and 2 PSUs in this case. I will start with the compatibility of the different parts I used.

Motherboard:
EVGA X58 LE, ATX size: no fitment problem
Asus R3E, E-ATX size: does fit, but the extra width of the motherboard will block part of the SATA cable hole. Very annoying if you have more than 3 HDD/OD/SSD
Asus R3F, ATX size: no fitment problem

attachment.php?attachmentid=185420&stc=1&d=1292651040

The area that I circled with the red rectangle is the SATA cable hole/slot that will be blocked by the extra width of Asus Rampage III Extreme. The R3E is 10.6inch wide, so if you have a wider board, it may block the entire SATA cable hole.

EDIT: Looking at the design and space available on the case, I honestly think that ThermalTake could have added another inch or two to accompany the wider E-ATX motherboards, which will make the case much more desirable to customers with high end motherboard and longer video cards.

attachment.php?attachmentid=185412&stc=1&d=1292648944

The actual distance between the 140mm intake fan, and the HDD cages are about 1.7inch, or 40mm.

Video Cards:

Asus 5870 Reference: Perfect fit, no problem
Asus 5870 Matrix: Perfect fit, no problem
MSI 5870 Lightning: the PCB is too wide, case won't close
Asus 6850 Crossfire: Perfect fit, no problem

I tried 4 different video card setup(although 3 of them are really the same card, lol) and the only card that won't fit is the MSI 5870 Lightning. The extra width(or is it depth? whatever lol) of the Lightning's PCB prevent the case from closing. I have not tried 5970, but anything over 310mm long won't fit into the case according to Thermaltake.
attachment.php?attachmentid=185368&stc=1&d=1292628008

PSU:
Antec True Power TQ-1000Watt: No problem, but motherboard power cable(8-pin) is too short, need extension.
Seasonic X-750 750Watt: No problem fitting like the Antec above, but also need extension cord for motherboard power cable.

The design of the PSU cage is very thoughtful. (The length of the PSU is limited, so you can't really fit a very long PSU there) There are two sets of vents on the PSU cage. One is in the front, which is perfect for PSUs like Antec True Power Quattro 1000w, which have front intake cooling fans. The other set is on the bottom, for PSUs like the X750 and most Corsair PSUs, which have large cooling fans on bottom of the PSU unit. (The bottom vent is hard to see on the pic, but I circled it on the pic.)

attachment.php?attachmentid=185414&stc=1&d=1292649445

CPU Cooler:

Corsair H50: Only tried to mount it as exhaust, no problem. Both push and push/pull setup works good.
Noctua C12P: Perfect fit, also provide a good amount of air for motherboard cooling.

There is a CPU cooler height limitation of 150mm(some says it's 160mm), which means most high performance CPU coolers, like True, Ven-X, Mega, D14, WILL NOT FIT WITHOUT MODDING THE CASE.

attachment.php?attachmentid=185419&stc=1&d=1292650285

The part circled on the pic is the thing that limits the height of CPU coolers. Unless you cut all the vent grills in the center, the taller coolers will touch the grills and prevent the case from closing.


Personally, I think this is one of the biggest flaw of the Level 10.


Fans:

Stock fans: I honesty think the stock 120mm exhaust and 140mm intake fans are pretty crappy. I replaced both fans shortly after I bought the case. The stocks fans are not very sturdy, and make random rattling noise. I know a lot of higher end case don't have really nice fans, so I'm not gonna complain much here.
Scythe GentleTyphoon AP-15: I used the AP-15 as exhaust fan with Noctua C12P and as radiator fan with Corsair H50. The AP-15 works great on the Level 10 just like they do on any other computer case.
Noiseblocker 120mm Blacksilent XLP: This is the PWM, up to 2000RPM version of the NB 120mm Blacksilent fan. It's quieter than other fans in same size and comparable airflow, but it's not that quiet. Plus the one I had will make some weird noise when running at lower RPM with PWM control. I used this fan as radiator fan for H50. While it does have higher CFM than AP-15, it didn't really make much of a difference on cooling performance. I switch it out because I didn't think the extra noise was worth it.
Noiseblocker 140mm BlackSilent Pro PK-3: This is the 1700RPM version of the NB 140mm BlackSilent Pro fans. It offers much higher airflow than the stock 140mm intake fan, but also louder. I used the BIOS fan control on my R3F and made it run around 1200RPM. Much quieter and didn't see any increase in temperature yet.
Lian Li 120mm stock fan: I used one of the stock Lian Li fan that I had for motherboard cooling. The 140mm intake fan from Level 10 blows air toward the video card section, and the H50 doesn't help on motherboard cooling either. So I just throw in the Lian Li 120mm fan. It did drop the NB and SB temp by a few degrees. I may switch out the Lian Li and replace it was a Scythe S-Flex E later on.

Overall, I'm not so happy with the airflow design of the case. I think putting two 120mm fan slots will be a lot better than one 140mm fan slot. There are just much more choices when it comes to 120mm fans, and two 120mm fans will provide a good amount of air while staying relatively quiet. Plus, a top 120mm fan will blow air toward the VRM and NB section of the motherboard and helps with MB cooling as well.

This could be done by Thermaltake easily by 1. Makes the main component section 'wider', so it can fit an E-ATX mobo easily and also add another 120mm on top of the current fan slot. or 2. Move the power cord hole left by a few inch, which makes it align with the SATA cable hole, and fit a 120mm fan there.(I don't think I did a good job explain it, I will add a pic later)

Edited by nardox - 12/18/10 at 12:50pm
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post #2 of 10
My friend has this case. It seems like a major pain in the ass.
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post #3 of 10
Case looked cool, but it's really useless... For $800 I honestly think it's a ripoff
post #4 of 10
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by jfiaff;11684924 
My friend has this case. It seems like a major pain in the ass.

It's not that bad, but it's definitely not easy to work with. smile.gif
Quote:
Originally Posted by srsdude;11684968 
Case looked cool, but it's really useless... For $800 I honestly think it's a ripoff

I wouldn't say it's really useless, but it's more about look than functionality. Definitely not something for you if you are looking for price/performance or something very functional.
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Plextor M3 256GB, WD 1.5TB Black, 2x Hitachi 2T... Lite-On 20X DVD burner Thermalright HR-02 Windows 7 Ultimate 64bit 
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post #5 of 10
i think i saw the level 10 in ncis
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post #6 of 10
Thread Starter 
updated with PSU and CPU cooler smile.gif
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post #7 of 10
Cool!

I was hoping someone would come thru with a "real world" review of the case.

There's no way I could afford one but I'm glad somebody could! smile.gif
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post #8 of 10
Its such a sick looking case, if only Thermaltake had engineered it better.
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post #9 of 10
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Old Hippie;11691206 
Cool!

I was hoping someone would come thru with a "real world" review of the case.

There's no way I could afford one but I'm glad somebody could! smile.gif

I will write as much as I could about all the aspects that were not mention in all the big tech reviews biggrin.gif
Quote:
Originally Posted by LingLing1337;11691379 
Its such a sick looking case, if only Thermaltake had engineered it better.

I agree with you. The exterior design, probably mostly by BMW, is very unique(of course some people don't like it) and it's one of the best looking case IMO. However Thermaltake did not do a very good job with all the functionality design and construction could have been a little better, too.

I really believe that a few minor changes will make the case much more functional without sacrificing the styling.
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Plextor M3 256GB, WD 1.5TB Black, 2x Hitachi 2T... Lite-On 20X DVD burner Thermalright HR-02 Windows 7 Ultimate 64bit 
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SK-004
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Plextor M3 256GB, WD 1.5TB Black, 2x Hitachi 2T... Lite-On 20X DVD burner Thermalright HR-02 Windows 7 Ultimate 64bit 
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post #10 of 10
Thread Starter 
added fans
SK-004
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Plextor M3 256GB, WD 1.5TB Black, 2x Hitachi 2T... Lite-On 20X DVD burner Thermalright HR-02 Windows 7 Ultimate 64bit 
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HP ZR30w Razer BlackWidow Ultimate Seasonic X750 Lian Li V1020R 
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SK-004
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Intel Xeon E3-1235 Asus P8P67 WS Revolution Gigabyte 7950 Windforce Samsung Low Profile 4x4GB, 1600Mhz 
Hard DriveOptical DriveCoolingOS
Plextor M3 256GB, WD 1.5TB Black, 2x Hitachi 2T... Lite-On 20X DVD burner Thermalright HR-02 Windows 7 Ultimate 64bit 
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HP ZR30w Razer BlackWidow Ultimate Seasonic X750 Lian Li V1020R 
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