Thermaltake Level 10 And SilverStone Fortress 2: Contemporary Cases?

Practical Ostentatiousness?

While most users refuse to shell out hundreds of dollars for electronic bling, there are places where a little showiness can go a long way towards making a positive impression. Unlike artwork, these particular showpieces also serve a practical function, as both are capable of holding powerful hardware and keeping it cool.

The most practical of today’s premium cases is also the least spectacular and expensive. SilverStone’s Fortress 2 provides excellent cooling at an extremely low noise level, with an uncluttered back panel that could make it the perfect choice for stuffing it under a door-facing and open-backed desk. Able to hold all of the high-capacity components that go into most workstation-class PCs, it sells for only around $100 more than the “traditional” high-end cases it usually competes against.

Thermaltake’s approach to artful computing provides even more interior space and its eight-slot rear panel is perfect for holding four double-slot expansion cards. Anyone who wants to put “personal supercomputer” hardware in a housing design that looks far more substantial than any PC case on the market has to also contend with the high price. While it’s not as quiet as SilverStone’s Fortress 2, the Thermaltake Level 10 does a better job of isolating noise than a “typical” desktop case does.

Yet, while both of these cases have the look, feel, and performance of premium products, they also have a significant shortcoming with their configured hard drive support. That’s because while both cases have hot-swap drive capabilities, they also have four missing connectors on the backplane. A bigger problem in the minds of some premium-system builders will be that the included connectors aren’t compatible with SAS drives. Those who aren’t afraid to limit themselves to SATA will find additional SilverStone CP05 backplane cables for around $7 each at a variety of Internet retailers, while Thermaltake Level 10 buyers must contact the manufacturer directly to order these missing parts.

Keeping all of the above pros and cons in mind, one of these cases could be a stylish and functional addition to the “head geek’s” office, depending on his or her individual needs. As evidenced by our long-winded descriptions, we at least find these to be excellent conversation pieces that also serve a practical purpose.

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  • I like the Fortress 2, especially the 90 degree rotation from typical setup. The Level 10, on the other hand, is an ugly monstrosity. Anyone willing to pay $700 for something that ugly needs therapy.
    14
  • while i like the look of the level 10 case, i dont like the high price tag that comes with it.
    11
  • Am I the only one who finds the Lvl 10 Case pretty decent looking?
    11
  • Other Comments
  • I like the Fortress 2, especially the 90 degree rotation from typical setup. The Level 10, on the other hand, is an ugly monstrosity. Anyone willing to pay $700 for something that ugly needs therapy.
    14
  • The Fortress 2 is very likely the case for my first home-build. It's a bit more than I'd like to spend, but it satisfies my need for air-cooling performance and classic styling.
    5
  • burnley14I like the Fortress 2, especially the 90 degree rotation from typical setup. The Level 10, on the other hand, is an ugly monstrosity. Anyone willing to pay $700 for something that ugly needs therapy.


    I just saw a girl driving a rusted-out Mazda with a new set of 18" Enkeis, painted rotors on the front, and painted drums on the back. The rocker panels between that fine work...rusted away!

    So, I'm sure someone will spend $700 for the Thermaltake Level 10. In fact, I know someone who would.
    3
  • I recently bought à fortress case for my most recent build (i930 + hd5970) and this is by far THE best case i've ever had the pleasure of building a pc from/in. Yeah it's pricy and wether it's worth it, but personally, i really, really like it! It cools very wel, and the very large 5970 actually fits :)

    and irl it's quite a handsome case!
    7
  • The Level 10 deserves to be in MOMA next to the G4 cube for its innovation in design.
    7
  • i think level 10 is a amazing .... just replace some side windows with glass and uv got a rig that looks as good as crysis .....
    10
  • As amazing as it is, I'm sure there will be some people shelling out that kind of $$$ on a case - probably the same people who post in the forums that they have a budget upwards of $3500 and want someone to build it for them...
    1
  • while i like the look of the level 10 case, i dont like the high price tag that comes with it.
    11
  • Am I the only one who finds the Lvl 10 Case pretty decent looking?
    11
  • The cost savings made no sense, to me, in the Level 10, keeping it under $1000 is stupid, to someone spending $799 on a case, makes no difference if it cost $999 for a more quality product. In fact, people, who are willing to spend money like this care more about quality than cost. I decided not to get the case, because, in my mind $800 on a case alone better buy me perfection, and they tried to get cheap with it to save a couple of hundred bucks, as though the difference between $800 and $1000 really mattered that much to my wallet, Imean it's not like cases normally hover anywhere in this price range. With an expensive uber product you set themarket, period. And they dropped the ball on knowing the demographics here.
    -2
  • I like the Thermaltake very much. Am I willing to pay $700 for it? Nope.
    9
  • I like the level 10 but the comments you made regarding the fans needs to be addressed ... good pickup there crashman.
    0
  • The Level 10 case has been out for a while now and is completely modular and was designed primarily for the LAN party enthusiast.

    I'm just surprised that it has taken this long for Tom's to take notice of this particular case which first came out something like a year ago.
    0
  • It would be nice if they came out with a full tower version of the FT02 for those that like to do SLI/Xfire. Using 1 single 5970 requires you do take off the center fan grill and even a single 5870 is too cramped in this case. Using 2 of those would be crazy. Also I don't like it when things are that cramped considering there is more condensed heat as opposed to a more spacious case where heat isn't as concentrated in central areas. It can at least spread itself around without affecting the other components as much as a smaller case.

    Make the FT02 a full tower and you got my vote!
    2
  • The Fortress 2 looks awesome, but come on... that I/O front panel is severely lacking. They should have definitely added FireWire/eSATA (not like the case doesn't have room for it).
    1
  • Renegade_WarriorThe Level 10 case has been out for a while now and is completely modular and was designed primarily for the LAN party enthusiast.I'm just surprised that it has taken this long for Tom's to take notice of this particular case which first came out something like a year ago.

    I thought that was pretty humorous as well. There must be no apple products for steve's hardware to write about this morning, so an aging case design was just the recipe needed.

    IMO there's far better choices for cases when you get into this price range (such as mountain mods). Lots of places will make custom cases for $700.

    As for the level 10; personally it looks to me like they didn't give ANY consideration to aesthetics. It may cool well, but it's fuuuu gly.
    -3
  • Honestly, I love the look of the Level 10. It's nice to see something different just the normal rectangular case. The problem though is the price, I don't know anyone in their right mind who would pay $700 for a PC case. If it were more in the $260 range, then I might consider buying it.
    4
  • The Level 10 case wasn't designed with Aesthetics in mind.

    It was designed to be portable hence the large handle at the top, yet at the same time allow you to have a powerful computer system in the case to take with you to LAN parties.

    One of the biggest problems users are faced with LAN parties is taking their systems with them and carrying everything.

    The Level 10 just simplifies this.
    1
  • The Silverstone Fortress works for me. The Thermaltake Level 10 is too radical.
    1
  • bragging rights.

    "DUDE>... This case cost me $1000 5 years ago!" I can't bring myself to spend more than around 80-100 on a case.
    -2