Thermaltake Level 10 And SilverStone Fortress 2: Contemporary Cases?

Test System Configuration

Test System Configuration
CPUIntel Core i7-920 (2.66 GHz, 8MB Cache)
O/C to 3.80 GHz (19 x 200 MHz), 1.416V
MotherboardAsus P6T, X58 Express IOH
BIOS 0801 (09/30/2009)
RAMKingston KHX16000D3ULT1K3/6GX (6GB)
DDR3-2000 at DDR3-1600 CAS 8-8-8-24
GraphicsDiamond Radeon HD 5870 1GB
850 MHz GPU, GDDR5-4800
Hard DriveWestern Digital Velociraptor WD3000HLFS, 300GB
10,000 RPM, SATA 3 Gb/s, 16MB cache
SoundIntegrated HD Audio
NetworkIntegrated Gigabit Networking
PowerOCZ-Z1000 1,000W Modular
ATX12V v2.2, EPS12V, 80 PLUS Gold
OSMicrosoft Windows 7 Ultimate x64
GraphicsAMD Catalyst 10.2
ChipsetIntel INF

An older C0-stepping Core i7-920 processor produces a great amount of heat when overclocked, which is perfect for testing the ventilation of today’s cases.

Asus’ P6T keeps the processor stable at high temperatures and current loads.

Still on loan for our previous CrossFire scaling article, Diamond’s Radeon HD 5870 is the largest card in this particular lab for checking case fit and card ventilation.

Rosewill’s Fort 120 air cooler is large enough to expose any potential mounting-space issues, noisy enough at full speed to reveal a case’s noise-isolation capability, and powerful enough to keep our overclocked CPU well below its thermal limits.

An 80 PLUS Gold rating and modular design make OCZ’s Z1000, the most efficient 1,000W power supply we could find, the perfect unit for high-end case reviews.

Benchmark Configuration
Prime 95 v25.864-bit executable, Small FFTs, seven threads
FurMark 1.6.5Windowed Mode, 1280x1024, 8X AA, Stability Test
Minimum and maximum temperature
RealTemp 3.40Highest-core reading at full CPU load (60 minutes)
Highest core reading at 30 minutes idle
Galaxy CM-140 SPL MeterTested at 1/4m, corrected to 1m (-12db), dBA weighting

In order to create the maximum possible thermal load from our hardware, we dedicated a single CPU thread to FurMark and the remaining seven threads to Prime95 simultaneously, measuring the component temperatures after warming the system for one hour.

Galaxy’s low-cost CM-140 SPL meter takes care of our audio-testing needs, though its 32dB minimum rating forces us to check audio levels at a .25m reduced distance. All readings were taken at an industry-standard 1m distance (-12dB).

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  • burnley14
    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.
  • philologos
    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.
  • Crashman
    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.
  • 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!
  • mados123
    The Level 10 deserves to be in MOMA next to the G4 cube for its innovation in design.
  • micr0be
    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 .....
  • huron
    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...
  • warmon6
    while i like the look of the level 10 case, i dont like the high price tag that comes with it.
  • HKH
    Am I the only one who finds the Lvl 10 Case pretty decent looking?
  • acadia11
    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.
  • tim851
    I like the Thermaltake very much. Am I willing to pay $700 for it? Nope.
  • Reynod
    I like the level 10 but the comments you made regarding the fans needs to be addressed ... good pickup there crashman.
  • 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.
  • oblivionlord
    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!
  • Ryun
    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).
  • kelemvor4
    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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • JohnnyLucky
    The Silverstone Fortress works for me. The Thermaltake Level 10 is too radical.
  • itadakimasu
    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.
  • ta152h
    These cases are both ugly. The Level 10 should have been done with different colors on each little part (like each drive bay a different color, the power supply area a different color), making it some kind of trendy flower child case. They could make it in vibrant colors, and another in pastels. People like colors. Making it different than the typical rectangle helps, but they should have spent more time making it pretty, rather than just different. Colors would help a lot, paying more attention to each shape and making subtle modifications could as well. Efficiency? Who cares, it's not like you're going to drive this thing through wind at 100 mph. A little wasted space isn't going to have a materially negative effect on it, and in fact they waste a lot of material with the design as is, so cost isn't a big consideration already.

    The other is just a block. Who cares? No one is impressed with oversized cases, so I don't know where that comes in. If you see clients, you go with a laptop. You really are going to impress them lugging over a huge desktop. You'd look like an ass that couldn't afford a laptop, or strangely refused to buy.

    I'd pay more for the case than any other part. The reason is simple, you'll have it forever. It won't wear out, and it's not very likely to become obsolete anytime soon. ATX has been around for a really long time.
  • abhishekk89
    kinda lean towards the level 10.. Even though fortress 2 would be a logical choice to me...
  • Turas
    I am thinking of the level 10 case but I can't find anywhere if it would actually support the Dual XEON ASUS motherboard (Z8NA-D6C)? It is a normal ATX motherboard so that part is not the problem but I am thinking the coolers may not fit. It looks like there is one part that is raised to fit larger coolers but I can not tell if that would go over both coolers.
  • Sihastru
    The Fortress FT02 is the one that appeals to me. The way it looks with it's clean lines, and the way it's constructed with it's vertical air circulation system, that makes more sense then the actual ATX case standard does. Builders may find it difficult to install longer video cards without removing one or two of the bottom fans, which is one of it's biggest flaws.

    While I don't like one bit the way Level 10 looks, I do admire the fact that it's unique. As far as functionality goes, they do have something there because they took the compartmentalization to the next level. The thing I dislike most about Level 10 is it's price.