Thermaltake’s original Level 10 chassis was a remarkable collaboration with BMW DesignWorks in which the companies fundamentally restructured the PC chassis into a series of isolated compartments suspended from a central load-bearing wall. It was stunning, cost $800, and wasn’t actually that practical to use. With the Level 10 GT, Thermaltake has taken the basic look of the Level 10, slapped it onto a more standard full-tower frame, and slashed $500 from the asking price. The end result isn’t quite as sleek as its progenitor from an aesthetic perspective, but far outstrips the original in ease of use and practicality, and is not without a certain sci-fi flair of its own.
We don’t like to make recommendations right off the bat—part of the fun of reading these reviews (we’d imagine) comes from the buildup (ha!). But the Corsair 650D blew us away in pretty much every category.
The Silverstone Raven RV03 is a solid case, and gets points for ingenuity. It may look a little garish and feel a little plasticky, but it’s roomy, features a stunning amount of ports and slots, and offers a crazy-organized build and great cooling.
Our initial impression of the Cooler Master Storm Enforcer wasn’t great. Though the case is only $90, we can’t help but feel wary running our hands over a lightweight plastic front panel. It’s just instinct. But after spending some time with the Enforcer, we actually came away impressed—mostly.
NZXT’s H2 is a simple-looking case—in fact, simplicity seems to be the overall theme—and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. In the world of PC building, simple can be good.
The H2 is an ATX mid-tower, constructed of sturdy steel. The side panels (which lack windows or adornment of any kind) are lined with acoustic-dampening foam to keep your hardware quiet. It works well for the most part. We had the case running three fans, and the addition of the side and front panels made the case noticeably quieter.
From the outside, the Enermax Hoplite doesn’t really stand out. Its generic industrial look has been done before, and better—it owes a lot to Cooler Master’s HAF series, by way of example. What it lacks in the looks department, however, it makes up for with ease of use. Couple that with a $100 price tag and a pretty spiffy LED-enabled front fan, and you’ve got yourself a deal. Kind of.
We’ll admit it: When the Thermaltake V9 BlacX Edition mid-tower chassis showed up on our doorstep, we thought it was a joke. “Surely,” we said, “Thermaltake didn’t just slap one of its dual-bay BlacX hard drive docks onto a cheap mid-tower chassis and call it a day.” Well, Thermaltake did, and in a really confusing way. The V9 BlacX Edition is virtually identical to the plain ol’ V9, true, except the BlacX Edition has more features, better build quality, and a $60 dual-SATA dock slapped on the top. And it’s $30 cheaper than the plain ol’ V9. Er, what?