Thermaltake Level 10 Reviewccokeman - June 24, 2010
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Looking at the outside of the Level 10 gives you a good look at the design features and gets you ready to dive into the internals. To gain access, you have to remove the rear access panel that is held in place by the Smart-Lock Security System and captured screws. This reveals the back-side of the motherboard tray, hard drive bays and locking mechanisms. The locks each have a different cam on them to engage the release mechanisms. You can see how the drive locking mechanism engages the optical drive bay cover - simple, yet effective.
Under the back cover, all of the integral wiring is routed through several available channels. The front panel wiring runs down through the front channel and down into the bottom channel and then into the motherboard compartment. There are two power/data distribution blocks that fill the upper two drives. I guess the thought process may be that most users only use two drives. With a case of this stature, I would have thought that this base would have been covered. If you use more than two drives, you will need to supply the data and power cabling. Right next to the data and power connection points, are two wires that feed a switch that is engaged when a drive is inserted into the bay showing it is occupied.
The power supply cover swings open to the rear of the chassis and contains ventilation, but that's not enough to get the power supply installed. There a pair of screws that hold the cage onto the central tower and the cage then slides up and off the locating slats. The optical drive bay opens up similarly, but you cannot open it far enough to get a drive installed. The designers have addressed this problem by allowing the drive bay cover to be lifted up and off the tower. The hinge pins are mounted to the drive cage cover and the sockets are hard mounted to the tower. Swing the cage open, lift and remove and you have access to install your drives. The drive cage has three available 5.25 inch slots. The top one has a door that hides the front of your drive and opens when the drive opens to have a disc inserted.
Installing a hard drive into the Level 10 is pretty simple, actually. Once you unlock the drive bays, it's a matter of pulling out the aluminum enclosure, popping in the drive and slipping it back home. You would think that a lack of airflow would cause the drive to overheat but again, the designers have taken care of the thermal load on the drives. The whole drive cage is one large interconnected heavily-ribbed heat sink and each of these drive bays is able to house a 60mm fan to reduce the operating temperature of the installed hard drive. The drive bay enclosure supports both 3.5 and 2.5 inch drive specifications, meaning you can slap in both SSD's for performance and large mechanical drives for your storage needs. The internal view of the hard drive bays show the combined data and power connection, the switch that shows drive occupancy, and how the heat sink assembly interfaces with the chassis.
Last, but certainly not least, is the largest compartment of the Level 10. This area houses the motherboard and installed components such as the memory, CPU, video card and any other expansion cards in use. This compartment also has a swing-open door that allows access to the internals. On the front edge of the door is the the 140mm air intake fan for this compartment. On the outer side of the door, you can see the venting for this area and how this could impact the cooling of this chassis.There is a single vent above the CPU heat sink and one lower on the door, that sits above the video card. Once the door is wide open, you have a clear view of how well the motherboard tray and the airflow design is laid out.
The vents of the main compartment have filters built-in to help reduce the amount of dust build-up inside the Level 10. The front air intake and the CPU air intake both have a flat diffuser to slightly shift the airflow to catch the dust as it flows into the case, while the filter over the video card area is a more traditional open cell foam design.
Believe it or not, there is still more to show you about this chassis.