Thermaltake is one of the biggest names in computer cases and cooling, and for good reason. For years they have been creating impressive looking, affordable products, and today that range is huge.
Taking into account the myriad of housing designs, there is a new model that stands head and shoulders above the others. The Thermaltake Level 10 chassis, shown as a prototype for the first time at CeBIT 2009, immediately caught everyone's attention, if not because of the commitment of BMW Designworks, then because of its radical appearance and the proposed design of individual compartments for the various components.
It took them some time to deliver after that and we were happy to have a unit to review on Catrachadas last year. It was perfectly clear that the Level 10 shouldn't be a mainstream product, far from it, with a suggested retail price of $ 699. That kind of money will give most gamers the courage to buy a decent gaming rig or, alternatively, a monster with two GPUs like the Radeon HD 6990 or the GeForce GTX 590.
Speaking of unnecessary luxury, for the price we ultimately found that the Thermaltake Level 10 could best be described as a luxury sports car as it isn't very functional, but certainly far more exciting than the average mainstream offerings. In addition, it was rather inconvenient due to its size, weight and design. Regardless, the level 10 remains the most iconic computer case ever made.
In fact, the Level 10 was the most expensive Thermaltake case we'd ever tested, certainly far more expensive than the Spedo Advance Package ($ 200) which was previously the most expensive case I checked firsthand. Thermaltake is now taking some clues from the original Level 10 and hoping to take advantage of this by offering a more down-to-earth "GT" version. The Level 10 GT is not only cheaper, it is also smaller and lighter, but has also lost everything that made the original such a work of art?
First impressions aren't great, the Level 10 GT looks like it was free-range on Candy Island. He's sitting next to the original level 10 and looks like a fat little kid. While the original had that unique compartmentalized look, the GT looks like a size 10 trying to fit into a size 6, there are unattractive bulges everywhere.
Finally, the Level 10 GT was made from melted Tupperware – the outside is 90% plastic. The problem is, at $ 270, it's still considered expensive, even for a full tower case.
For roughly the same money, the Lian Li PC-P80 and Corsair Obsidian 800D are available, while the recently reviewed Silverstone Raven RV02-E is only $ 180. In addition, the popular Cooler Master HAF X costs less at $ 190. Maybe it's just the wrong first impression and there's more to it than that. Well we plan to find out …