28 of 28 people found the following review helpful
- Published on Amazon.com
First, you buy this case if you want to prove to Apple customers that a personal computer can be stylish. Thermaltake hired BMW to design this and you know it's a piece of art when some people love it, some hate it and others just wonder what the thing is from casually viewing it. It's REALLY big, REALLY heavy (40+ pounds), and it's very interesting. As the other reviewer noted, the top is disappointing because there are just two LED's on each end, and it's not uniformly illuminated like the external packaging box shows. I wonder if Thermaltake took a shortcut here. I have some enthusiast parts in my setup, such as Corsair Dominator memory and a Corsair H50 cooling system. When I installed the Corsair cooling system, due to the shape of this "uber case" I had to position it in a slightly awkward position, which is just a minor quirk, but it helps me give this case 4 out of 5 in the Amazon rating system. The moderate difficulty in adding in extra official components to enable drives 3-6 on the chassis contributes to the 4 star rating. I have a 3.2 Ghz Core i7 overclocked to 3.5 Ghz and this is running Windows 7 ultimate 64-bit. The motherboard is an ASUS P6X58D. The price has dropped to $750 from the $850 I paid for it, although I don't know if even $750 justifies something like this. I think $500 would be a good price point though because it's solid metal.
I suppose some company could do something very similar to this but make it in plastic and get the cost under $300, if not $200. The cooling fans are illuminated with in red color, but I replaced one with my Corsair H50 water cooled system instead, although you don't really see the illumination unless you are looking at the back of the case. The Thermaltake Level 10 is 90% metal, so it will resist scratching, although it's not shiny like the prototype images sometimes show, it's a brushed-like surface, not that I am complaining. The design is very solid and for people who have not seen it, it's a conversation starter for sure.
The cord length can be a problem, and you may have to spend a lot of time getting your cables a very specific way for everything to successfully connect. Do not expect a 15 minute assembly time, but at least a full 30 minutes if not longer. Besides, the shipping box is even bigger than the case, although it has sufficient external protection when packaged up. It also includes a cloth-like bag which is good for protecting it from dust initially.
I would cautiously recommend this, but only if you are looking for something truly different with a personal computer case. I'm pleased with it in a general sense and I hope it lasts for at least 10 years, if not 15. Be aware though that if you plan to use all six drive bays you can buy the other components from the Thermaltakestore (yes, it is two words combined together, then use a search engine to find the website because Amazon does not sell the components) as you need the backplane chassis component and at least one 60mm replacement fan. Be aware that enabling those other four drive bays with the correct parts is a major undertaking. It would be simpler to just add a hard drive just below the optical drive bay if you have not used all the space up already.
I hope enough people buy this to get personal computer case companies to make more radical designs like this.
33 of 36 people found the following review helpful
- Published on Amazon.com
There's no denying that this case is chiefly for looks, but like any decorative item, that's the main purpose it serves. It's not meant to win overclocking competitions, nor be the best at air-cooling; it's probably just average in those respects (and so far, I've only seen one site that actually checked out this case's thermal properties; it won some and lost some). I really like this different look; computer cases have been such boring boxes for so long, that on an almost altruistic level, I don't mind "voting" some dollars in this direction, to encourage companies to do more to deliver interesting and unusual, decorative and evolving designs.
On the good side:
(1) It's made of something called "extruded" aluminum, and is highly scratch-resistant.
(2) It's fairly quiet.
(3) The right side provides AMPLE room for stowing cable excess without much fuss (so opposite of most other cases, where one build's cable management can be an all-day ordeal).
(4) The motherboard tray (or just the CPU cooler together with its backplate) are easily removed.
(5) There are 8 PCI slots, allowing you to use that 7th PCI slot on your motherboard for a double-width GPU.
(6) It accommodates larger motherboards than are officially listed; it has no problem with an EVGA Classified 759/760, or the CEB form factor of my Asus P6T7.
On the bad side:
(1) There are no pre-cut holes for liquid-cooling tubing; you'll either have to drill them yourself (under the rear exhaust fan seems the ideal place) or use that 8th PCI slot to allow them out. Mounting a pump inside will require some ingenuity - such as placing it in the forward ceiling of the motherboard area's cover. Instead, one of those complete external liquid-cooling systems (pump, rad & reservoir all entirely outside the case) may need to be considered if you want to use liquid with this bit of eye candy.
(2) The PSU holder is too small for a lot of the top-level enthusiast PSUs (e.g. the SilverStone Strider 1500W or the Koolance 1300W). Contrary to what one reviewer reported at another site, the case is not able to accommodate PSUs of excess length (when I read that I thought I'd be able to simply have the excess sticking out of the back of the PSU holder, before I bought this case - but that isn't possible).
(3) The CPU cooler isn't supposed to be taller than 150mm (and therefore many of the top-level air coolers will be excluded, although my Prolimatech Megahalems seems to be OK, at 156mm). The motherboard cover should therefore be wider.
(4) Those neat red HDD LEDs don't light up if you're using 2.5" drives - they only work with 3.5" drives.
(5) The requirement that cables pass from the point of origin, to the right chamber, and then back out to their destination - means that some cables will be too short, and extensions or adapters are sometimes needed. ThermalTake should provide them in the box, at this price point.
(6) That band of red light on the top and front is actually only lit by LEDs at its ends. They don't light the entire strip, and it actually ends up looking like you have several areas where your LEDs must have burned out (but there were never supposed to be any in those places to begin with). Besides, this should be available in different colors, to order.
(7) As big and heavy as this case already is, it's still too small to accommodate that latest uber-motherboard from EVGA (the Classified 762, which requires 10 PCI slots). Therefore, the motherboard cover should be not only wider, but the whole thing should be taller - enough to have 10-11 PCI slots!
(8) The supplied two fans in the motherboard compartment are mid-quality at best; I'm replacing them straight away with quieter models that move more air.
BUT overall I'm pleased enough to keep it, and for now, every time I see this thing head-on in my office, I'm glad I bought it.
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
- Published on Amazon.com
I've not yet finished my build but I've been wrangling with this case for a couple of weeks now.
It looks fabulous. And, honestly, when I saw it on Tom's Hardware nearly a year ago, that was all I cared about. Function was definitely not a consideration in my purchase - even though the case is rather functional. It's a little too large to be considered easy to work with but it's too functional and accessible to be called cumbersome.
The upshot of a computer case is that, aside from upgrading later, most folks only build a machine once or twice and never have to really build it more than that. Once the core components are in place, you should be set for a matter of years. This case supports that approach because the normal builder won't be forced to deal with the frustrating quirks more than once.
Among the drawbacks, the case only comes with two hard drive fans. These fans are an odd, rare size 60mm x 15mm. You'll find few of these in the normal venues (Newegg, etc.). Conveniently enough, Thermaltake sells them though as of this writing they are out of stock; Thermaltake, perhaps sensing the target market for this case has priced these Chinese-made fans which are of no particular note, save their size, at $19.99 each. In my view, that's ridiculously expensive. Nonetheless, I purchased and installed them. So, if you plan on having fans in every hard drive bay and you want them to be OEM, you're looking at an additional $100. Installing these fans (a knowledgebase entry is available on Thermaltake's site) is extremely time-consuming but not all that difficult. One must be careful not to strip any of the screws as the metal is thin and soft. It's certainly doable for even a novice, just take your time and follow the instructions.
One of the reviewers here has indicated that the lights on the side of each hard drive bay will not illuminate with 2.5" drives and, while I believe that may be true, I have ascertained that the lights function on the bays with 2.5" drives. It's possible the other reviewers drives are a different shape that doesn't facilitate actuation of the internal button . I have noticed that the pressure applied by the SATA and power connectors (depending on their angle) may push the drive out enough so that the light (which is engaged by nothing more than a simple, internal button) does not illuminate. Ultimately, I will purchase the Thermaltake backplanes for each drive bay. Note that I managed to break the first unit (which has connections for the first two bays) by over-tightening the screws.
EDIT: I finally got around to buying the backplanes (three) for all six drive bays - they were not in stock on the Thermaltake site for about three months or so. The reason I over-tightened the screws on the original was because I had forgotten (when removing it) that it doesn't mount from the rear - if you try, the physical HDD interface will never touch the drive; you must put the actual backplane in the bay and run the cable through the back, installing the screws from the front of the machine. The original comes installed that way - this was just a reinstallation mistake on my part. The process of installing the backplanes can be extremely tedious on an already-built machine. Also, after installing them, it turns out the SSDs do not engage the lights, as another reviewer noted. When I purchased the case I also bought two ICY DOCK MB882SP-1S-1B 2.5" to 3.5" SSD & SATA Hard Drive Converters. Simply put, you mount the SSDs into those enclosures and the form factor becomes that of a traditional 3.5 HDD and they engage the lights. Note that if you use the backplanes, you have no problem with the cable pressure pushing the drives toward the front and turning the HDD lights (which are not activity lights, just solid lights for each mounted drive) off.
The case fans and the hard drive fans that come with the unit are acceptably quiet - even when you add the additional four hard drive fans, the noise level is acceptable. The sound of my HD5970 graphics card fans kicking on is far more noticeable than all of the case and hard drive fans combined.
The documentation for the case is slightly better than average Chinese translated to English. 90% of the direction is clear and the parts that are not clear are rather easily understood. All in all the documentation is adequate.
As you install parts onto the case, you get more and more familiar with what things to do first and last (routing cables) and things become easier. Take a step back, take your time. There is a series of Newegg Level 10 Case Build videos on You Tube that is quite helpful and I recommend watching them.
This case does what it was supposed to do - look like nothing you've ever seen before and be a sufficiently advanced modular case at the same time. It combines these effectively. It is truly something fascinating to look upon and - bonus - it's a reasonably well designed computer case.
11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
- Published on Amazon.com
The case looks very good and solid, but that's it.
Difficult to access to the component,
low performance case fan,
no space to extra fan,
If you buy this case for office use, it might be fine; but if you are planning to play games, forget it !!!
Difficult to add extra fan to cool down your components,
water cooling is almost impossible unless you modify the case,
so all your hardware will be in warm and hot condition,
I own the case for just over a month, is now regretting didn't return it earlier,
Problems start when I first get the case, the key lock stuck and I had to wait for Thermaltake to ship me a special key.
One month later, today, the HHD 60mm fan started to rattle, and it is so difficult to reach it, can't remove it or change it !!!
My suggestion is, if you want to look cool and show off, this is the case for you,
BUT if you are serious on gaming, get something else, spend that few hundreds on other hardware !!!
13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
Robert E Jones
- Published on Amazon.com
This is a premium product, and the price tag reflects its superb design and durability. It may be the last computer chassis I will ever buy. Again, given its initial astronomic price and difficulty with setup, I will do everything in my power to make it the last computer chassis I will ever buy. However, the execution of this product by its manufacturer--how that company treats the customer--is unforgiveable. A Pro/Con list may be the best way to illustrate the facts, and help you make the best possible purchasing decision for yourself. In the spirit of service, I will also include a list of the components I have put into my ThermalTake Level 10, since these all do fit.
Exquisite design. This case is beautiful to look at, pleasant to touch. Fit and finish are excellent, and the red diodes are very attractive. The case I purchased had no apparent manufacturing defects.
Cable management is excellent. There is a place for every cable to go--and if those cables are not placed through the appropriate access channels, the various module doors will not close. [I see this as a positive; that finicky nature ensures you will not have unappealing cables everywhere, exposed to view.]
The individual SATA drive bays are situated along an enormous vertical heat sink. This is a wonderful design, and fits in well with the rest of its concept. All of the discrete component "cages" similarly ensure no overheating will take place. There are fans throughout, and they are very quiet.
This unit is enormous. For years, I installed massive IBM microcomputer servers--195s, 295s, Mod 85 and Mod 95. This Thermaltake case is bigger than all of those. If you have the room for it, it makes a bold statement in your room.
The black coating on the anodized aluminum is a -matte- finish. This is a good touch; because of this, the case will be much more forgiving of fingerprints, dust, and pet hair than a shiny hard surface.
Aluminum--this all metal case is made of lots of it--is an excellent heat-dissipating material. It is much, much more durable than plastic. I have had no problems that other reviewers reported. To me, it's not chintzy or easily broken (including the key, locks, and access door). That said, aluminum is known for being extremely malleable, so I have approached it with great care. I expect no problems, given my knowledge of others' problems, and my cautious approach.
Dust buildup inside the chassis will likely not be a problem, since all the component "cages" with fans also have filtration in place at each entrance and exit. This is clearly a machine designed for the long haul.
The price at the time of this review is more than five times what I have ever spent on any other computer chassis. Amazon.Com is the best place to buy this unit--especially with their free shipping at present. For comparison, you can buy this on the manufacturer's website store for an added $100! The high price may have a silver lining: Perhaps it will encourage its purchaser to keep it forever, and not soon dispose of it in a landfill--as I have done with so many lesser, cheaper plastic cases over the years.
Documentation is poor, with each phase of installation missing at least one major written step. However, the design of the chassis is so good, the design makes it clear to the savvy computer tech, exactly what to do even absent good instructions. Buried in that installation documentation, at the tail end of chapter 2, is a notice that only the first two SATA hard drive bays have been cabled for power and data. If for some reason you want to use drive bays three, four, five, and six: You must disassemble the chassis and cable these bays and case yourself--and those parts are not included. Outrageous! $700 at a discount, and the chassis itself is not fully wired? It gets worse--much worse. I called customer support at ThermalTake. I learned that they will sell the cable kits so a consumer can finish wiring those four empty drive bays (it will take two such kits to do so). The kits, I was told, would be available starting on April 15 (more than a month from the time of my call) and will cost $20 each! I have no idea what people who purchased this case before now have done to overcome this problem.
Trying to find a less expensive solution, I found an in-line SATA data+power combination cable of sufficient length, and ordered four of them from Hong Kong (this approach would take four such kits, to finish the four empty drive bays). However, while these worked for a day or two, eventually the design of the chassis forced that third-party cable apart from the connector on each hard drive. There is no choice: I needed the manufacturer's proprietary in-line SATA data+power combination kits, which have special screws that hold it in place against the chassis. I bought the two kits--for a total of an additional $40--and found I still wasn't done paying through the nose. No, ThermalTake charged $10 for ground delivery in the US. That small, light packet sent from California up to Oregon--one state away--cost another $10 in shipping. By contrast, the same size and weight packet sent all the way from Hong Kong cost me $3. Yes, I feel absolutely robbed--coming and going--by this manufacturer. Of course there are alternatives to paying another $50 for two dollars' worth of cable. A person can, if he wants, buy the ThermalTake MAX-2533 backplane, and that way use three disk drives (leaving the four empty drive bays unusable). But that solution costs $70 itself on Amazon.Com, and obviates the benefit of that enormous vertical heat sink.
I found ThermalTake's customer service--my representative spoke excellent English--apathetic. When I complained about this case's price yet having no use of four of its six drive bays, the rep said, "I don't care about that." I believe he meant it, and fits in well at that company. The quest for profit has eclipsed all else, and my wallet is much thinner today as a result.
Finally, although having multiple separate "cages" for components is a good idea, the vast distance between them means that many cables are simply not long enough to work. I'm glad I live in a city where I can scavenge for extra-long floppy drive cables, extra-long USB connectors, an extra long CD/DVD drive to Sound-In cable. But even ThermalTake's own internal wiring, at times, is not long enough to accommodate its design. I had to take apart the case, and un-loop a number of cables just so they would reach all the way to my standard components, placed where the manufacturer directs them.
Motherboard: Gigabyte 890GPA UD3H (ATX size) (for AMD CPU)
Power Supply: Corsair 850HX Professional
CPU: AMD Phenom2 1090T 3.2 GHz Six Core
Memory: 4 ea 2 GB GSkill F3-12800
Hard Drives: 6 ea 1 TB Western Digital Caviar Blue
Optical Device: DVD/ROM ASUS E818A4 Black
Operating Environment: Ubuntu Server 10.10