Level 10 GT External Design
While I have already given my first impressions on the aesthetics of the Thermaltake Level 10 GT, I will take a closer look to see if I was too hasty with my initial comments.
Front on the Level 10 GT is an interesting blend of shapes that mix plastic and mesh together, and honestly I'm not entirely sure what to make of it. The right hand side of the case does resemble the original with the wall panel which houses all the I/O stuff. At the top of this panel is the power button followed by a reset button. Below that are four USB ports and a pair of audio jacks, this part of the case looks quite good.
To the left of the I/O panel is a rectangular box which houses four 5.25 external bays which are blocked until needed by mesh cover plates. These cover plates are removable from the outside using the tabs on either side.
Below them, in the middle of the façade is an external 3.5 bay which is also "hidden" by a removable mesh cover plate. Next to the external 3.5 bay is a lock which can be used to restrain access to the removable hot-swappable bays on the side of the case, which we will get to shortly.
The bottom half of the façade is what loses us a bit. Whereas the original design featured six modular hard drive bays, the GT just blends them all together in a rectangular box as a traditional case would. However to try and capture some of that Level 10 magic Thermaltake has tried to make it look like they are in separate modules by creating a plastic mold that bulges around each drive.
Personally I dont think the concept works, it just looks to ugly and the plastic makes it feel cheap, at least that is my opinion regarding this aspect of the Level 10 GT. They say (those that are fashion conscious, Google tells me) that horizontal stripes can make you appear fatter, particularly if you are already a little heavy.
Well I think this could be why the Level 10 GT looks like such a beef cake, front on the thing looks two cases wide and this could be because of the almost dozen strong lines that run across the front of the case. Or it could just be that the Level 10 GT is actually very wide as it measures 11.1" across making it almost as wide as a GeForce GTX 580 is long.
In perspective the Cooler Master HAF X measures 9.10" across making the Level 10 GT ~22% wider. Now, wider is not necessarily a bad thing, in fact we wish some case designs were wider to better accommodate things such as cable management. The problem with the Level 10 GT is that the design doesn't work on my eyes.
Moving around to the left hand side of the case things do improve, though there's still an overwhelmingly large amount of plastic. Virtually everything you see has been molded from plastic except for the case door which is steel, then covered in plastic for the most part.
In the top right hand corner is a small perspex window that measures 10.1 wide by 5.2 and gives onlookers a sneak peak at the motherboard and CPU cooler. Below that is a 9.9 by 9.9 plastic box which is covered by a large mesh grill. This box houses a 200mm intake fan which is protected by a large removable dust filter.
There is also a lever on the right side of the intake fan box which can be moved up or down. This moves a series of fins or blinds inside the case to direct the cool intake air towards the top or bottom of the case depending on where the user feels it is most needed. This is an interesting feature indeed.
The 3.5 drive bays which were largely responsible for why I did not like the front of the Level 10 GT look even more unusual from the side. There are five bays in total that hang out the side of the case, each with their own quick release button.
While I don't like the plastic look and feel of these bays I have to admit Thermaltake has done a great job with how they work. Each bay is hot-swappable and can be accessed in seconds without having to take apart anything, the feature works perfectly.
Finally above the 3.5 drive bays is another rectangular box with a large mesh grill, this however serves no real purpose and is here merely for aesthetic purposes. A small rubber insert towards the top of the box is labeled Hanger. Removing this insert reveals a hanger where you can clip in a set of headphones when not in use.
Looked from the right hand side, we like the design of the Level 10 GT. The steel case door features some nice lines while there is very little plastic in sight.
The top view of the GT is also quite good. Although the front half features a fake fan grill, we like how an additional I/O panel has been included providing eSATA and USB 3.0 connectivity. There are also high/low fan speed controls as well as an LED lighting control. Behind that is a massive honey comb grill which acts as an exhaust for another huge 200mm fan.
Around the back the Level 10 GT continues the matte black paint job which is to be expected for the price. At the very top there are three water cooling holes providing external access for radiators and below that is a 140mm exhaust fan and the I/O panel. Further down we have eight ventilated expansion slots which are accessible from outside the case. Below that is the power supply mounting bracket which means PSUs are installed into the bottom of the Level 10 GT.
Flipping the Level 10 GT onto its side reveals four large rubber padded feet that can swivel up to a 90 degree angle where they are sticking out the side of the case for better stability. There is also a large removable dust filter at the bottom of the case. A small button on the right side towards the front is used to release the case door. Although this button is on the underside of the case it's easy to access and use.