CES 2011: Thermaltake Makes Level 10 for the Masses
Subject: Cases and Cooling | January 7, 2011 - 10:20 PM | Josh Walrath
Thermaltake has been around a few years, and they have really polished up their products. Last year they introduced the Level 10 case, which was a joint effort between Thermaltake and BMW-USA. The case certainly is stunning to look at, and the $800 price is stunning as well. For that much money though, there were more than a few complaints about how hard it is to install components (and wire them) in the case. It seems that Thermaltake has addressed both of the negative issues with the Level 10.
The Level 10 GT is a new design from Thermaltake that borrows quite a few of the interesting features from the original, but puts it in a package that is much easier to work with, and much easier on the wallet. The MSRP of the case is $269, but it will certainly be cheaper once stock reaches retail shelves. The case is much roomier than the original, and it is a quite a bit more traditional. Still, it does feature the hot swappable bays, some compartmentalization of components, and the cable routing through the back of the case.
Note the wind vanes on the door panel, which can direct the airflow as needed.
The entire door can swing out and be removed easily. Note the connection between the case and the door that provides power to the fan.
It really looks like a nice case, and there are a few features that really stood out. The top part of the case can be removed so a large water cooling reservoir can be installed. The hot swappable bays are clean looking, and are identical to those of the original, and the one that really hit me as clever is the power cable to the larger 120 mm fan on the removable side of the case. Instead of potentially struggling with a cable to unplug either from the power supply or the motherboard, the case is wired so that the side can be removed easily without having to mess with the cable.
The blue LEDs might annoy some people, but the sound of the fans probably won't.
The Max 5 series of hard drive cases are a big improvement over previous generations. It features 2 x 80 mm fans, which are whisper quiet in use. It keeps the HD very cool, and it does not provide any kind of real distraction for the user. The hard drive case has two screws closing the case. Inside the HD has a clever retention mechanism which does not require any more screws. It seems very solid, and holds the drive well. It does not look like it can handle drives smaller than 3.5" though. The Max 5 supports e-SATA and USB 2.0. The Max 5G supports e-SATA and USB 3.0.
The whole, new family of power supplies. Bald guy not included.
One area that Thermaltake has really made an impression in has been power supplies. When they first came out all those years back, they provided a high quality product with features that had to that point been missing from most other manufacturers. Through the years other companies have caught up and Thermaltake has not shown the innovation we had previously seen of them. That now appears to have changed. The latest series of Toughpower supplies are looking very, very good. They have an impressive selection of parts, all of which fit different categories of 80 Plus, going up to Platinum (90 plus).
Nearly 1500 watts of power for you at 80+ Gold. If that isn't enough for a buyer, there must be something wrong with them.
Thermaltake is moving into the keyboard and mouse market. The Meka keyboard is somewhat interesting as it is a full mechanical keyboard, but attached to a USB port. The 9 button mouse is highly configurable and feature packed. The software bundled with it allows the user to change colors on the LEDs in the mouse, DPI settings up to 6500, and other little things like "time played" while gaming. Fun stuff.
Much like Corsair did last year, it looks as though Thermaltake is entering the gaming headphone market. The Spins headsets come in a couple of colors and larger 50 mm drivers.
Finally we saw the Frio OCK. This is a massive cooler with two fans, and a 6 heatsink tower design. This thing is supposed to be able to support CPUs up to "240 watts". While there are not any 240 watt TDP CPUs out there, when overclocking a CPU with a lot of extra volts applied, it could potentially get close to that number. Sorta.
The Level 10 GT is the big, new product from Thermaltake at the beginning of this year, and it will find more than a few buyers for it. Availability of that part is expected around March of 2011.
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