Intel Core i5-2500k 3.3 ghz
MSI P67A-GD65 Socket 1155
G.Skill 4gb (2x2gb) DDR3 1600
Raidmax 730w PSU
XFX Radeon HD 5770 1gb
OCZ Solid 2 Solid State Drive 60gb
1.0T (x2) SATA 3.5" drive
2.0T (x1) SATA 3.5” drive
Asus Wireless nic
I like to start a build by installing the optical drive. In a larger case like this I don’t have to worry about hitting the mainboard. The front plate popped out, the drive slid in, and I locked it down with the easy slider. The hot-swap trays were effective, but a little annoying to use. The pros balance out the cons here, so let’s start with the cons. I guess it depends on your definition of “hot-swappable,” but you need to screw drives into the trays. This means you can pull the drives out without having to open the case, but you aren’t going to just drop them into a HDD dock. Also, it was a little difficult to screw the 3.5” drives into the bays. This was due to the screw passing through a rubber washer.
That leads us straight into the pros. The rubber washer should be effective at vibration dampening. With the trays unlocked it is easy to pull the drives and get them outside of the case. While you might have to then unscrew them, it means you don’t have to mess with any cabling prior to doing this.
The standoffs are typical so I want to move on to the image after the mainboard was installed. Look at the space above the heatsink. This is the most room of any case I have worked with and it made it really easy to install the CPU power plugs. This should also mean that any water cooling setup will have plenty of available room.
The third image I want to draw attention to is the built-in SATA power wiring. Thermaltake has wired all of the SATA power connecters into a single connector, similar to what we saw on the Corsair 800D chassis. This makes it very clean when installing the drives and modular PSU cabling.
The USB 3.0 cables are passed through to the back of the case. Since USB 3.0 headers aren’t yet found on every mainboard this solution works. I did however run into an issue here. My MSI mainboard has one USB 2.0 header and one USB 3.0 header. The Level 10 GT has two internal USB 2.0 plugs and passes the two USB 3.0 to the back as mentioned above. This means that I was able to have all of the USB 3.0 ports live, but was only able to have half of the USB 2.0 ports active. Make sure to take this into consideration when selecting a board to place in this case.
The retention system on the expansion slots is on the overkill side of things, but well in line of keeping things secure. I like the thumbscrews on the card slots. I have yet to see a tool-less design that hold cards totally secure, and this is a nice compromise.
The holes and cable routing are well thought out in this case. If you spend just a little extra time on the case, you will be able to come up with a very clean install. I took the front panel off for a reason I will cover in the conclusion, but this allowed us to also see the 200mm front color changing LED fan. You can also see how much space is really available in the 5.25” device compartment. It screams water reservoir to me, though traditionally I stick to air-cooling.
Plugging the case in we can see the color shifting fan on the top, side, and front. The color shift option is cool, though it always defaults to blue when the power is reset.
Next we will cover the one real issue I had with this case and wrap up the review with some conclusions.