Thermaltake Level 10
Based heavily on an award-winning design from BMW DesignworksUSA, Thermaltake’s Level 10 Gaming Station differs mostly in its lower-cost finish and production methods. Gone are the polished paint and die-stamped end caps, which are replaced with a flat finish and precision-cut aluminum plates. Remaining curved edges have been pressed in two dimensions rather than three, completely eliminating the need for expensive forming dies. These lower-cost design elements are probably reasonable compromises to keep this low-volume product under $1,000.
Now would be a good time to point out the Level 10’s potential as a high-end workstation housing, particularly in design studios where outward appearances can give one firm the leg-up over a competitor whose work might be just as good. Workstation-size hardware easily fits, while the design can support motherboards as large as the EATX form factor. It also has an eight-position slot panel that could easily hold four graphics cards for the ultimate in Tesla Personal Supercomputer number-crunching power.
This is also where we call into question the Game Station theme, since gamers typically put function over form. Though the case will hold four-way SLI and CrossFire solutions, it will not hold the large liquid-cooling systems that many less-expensive products eagerly accept. Overclockers are thus confined to the limits of air cooling, since the tiny all-in-one liquid coolers that do fit cannot match the cooling prowess of “big air.”
Twin locks on the back and a bolt-ready flange on the bottom make the Level 10 appear secure enough for placement in publicly accessible areas, but the lack of any front-panel access keys means that local data security can only be accomplished via software. Power and reset buttons and connections for eSATA, a headphone, a microphone, and four USB ports are within easy reach of the user.