Since we reviewed the Thermaltake Element S (August 2009), Thermaltake has unleashed a dizzying deluge of Elements, from mid-towers G and T to the small-formfactor Q. The first full-tower, the Element V, feels like a bizarre mix of budget case and deluxe enclosure.
The Element V chassis comes with support for MicroATX, ATX, EATX, and various server motherboards, and its motherboard tray includes a CPU backplate cutout. At 21x21x8.7 inches, it’s a full three inches shorter and three inches shallower than the Corsair 800D, which is one of the biggest cases we’ve tested. Still, the Element V is roomy enough inside to accommodate a Radeon HD 5970, the longest PCI-E graphics card on the market, with an inch or so to spare.
Because the Element V is made of steel, not aluminum, it’s quite cumbersome, weighing 31 pounds empty. The side panels are similarly beefy, although we like the integrated 14cm fan in the left-side panel and the small plastic window above it. It’s good that the window is so small, because the inside of the case is unpainted, unlike the Element S.
At one time a niche market largely dominated by Razer and, to some extent, Logitech, gaming peripherals have become big sellers, prompting a crowded field of contestants all competing for your pieces of eight. It's about to get a little more crowded, as Thermaltake jumps into the fray with its upcoming Tt Esports line.
One of the first products in the Tt Esports line will be Thermaltake's Challenger Gaming Keyboard, a rugged looking plank with up to 18 macro keys, an anti-ghost key function, 32KB of onboard memory, integrated USB ports, gold-plated USB connector, and a handful of red caps in case you want to highlight the WASD and arrow keys. It's also the first keyboard to come with a cooling fan, which plugs into either side of the plank.
Thermaltake is also launching a mouse with adjustable weights. It looks attractive enough, but there are currently no other specs to share, such as laser sensitivity and the sort.
Fudzilla snapped a ton pics, which you can check out here.
Asetek is no stranger to boutique OEM builders, and the latest rendevous involves iBuyPower teaming up with Asetek to deliver the "first and only liquid cooling solution for [Thermaltake's] Level 10 tower."
"When iBuyPower decided to liquid cool the Level 10 chassis, Asetek's Total Solutions Team was quick to respond with the guidance on how to optimize liquid cooling performance in this unique chassis," said Steve Branton, Asetek's Director of Marketing. "This is our commitment to 'Thermal Management Done Right!'"
Marketing goofiness aside, it's no small feat integrating a liquid cooling solution into the Level 10. Individual compartments and an overall unique design makes mounting a standard liquid cooling apparatus nothing short of a challenge.
Stepping up to Asetek's liquid cooling solution runs $20, which for the time being is negated by a $20 mail-in-rebate offer.
iBuyPower this week announced it is the only system builder to offer Thermaltake's new and unique Level 10 enclosure, which was designed in partnership with the BMWGroup and scored an 8 verdict in our recent evaluation.
"We are constantly searching for the best components, cases, and peripherals to use in our systems," said Darren Su, Vice President of iBuyPower. "The Level 10 system is just another example of our drive to offer gaming rigs that can deliver the performance and aesthetics our customers demand."
iBuyPower decked out the Level 10 with a respectable assortment of components, including an Intel Core i7 920 processor, 6GB of DDR3 memory, a GeForce GTX 285 videocard, a 128GB SSD for the OS and 1TB hard drive for storage duties, and optional Killer Xeno Gaming Network Card, NZXT Sentry LCD, or Blu-ray drive.
When we first saw prototypes of Thermaltake’s Level 10 concept chassis back in May, we were intrigued by its unique design but skeptical as to whether Thermaltake would ever actually produce it—and if it did, whether it would be any good. The answer to the first question is yes—it should be shipping by the time you read this. But is the most inventive chassis we’ve laid hands on since the Antec Skeleton actually a good case?
The Level 10, which Thermaltake designed with BMW, is not your standard ATX full-tower. Instead of a simple box shape, the Level 10 hangs its components from a central wall—basically a reinforced version of a standard case’s right side and frame. From this central wall protrude individual hinged covers: one each for PSU, optical drives, and the main motherboard compartment, as well as six SATA drive bays connected to a vertical aluminum heatsink. All cables between compartments are routed through the central pillar, behind the motherboard and drive trays, just like a standard case, resulting in an incredibly clean look—at least when the covers are closed. Red LEDs light a strip running from the front panel (with its four USB ports, one eSATA port, and audio ports), along the top to the rear. The case is huge, too, weighing 47 pounds and measuring 12.5 inches wide by 2 feet deep by 26 inches high.
The newly launched V3 carries a suggested retail price of only $39, placing it squarely in budget territory. Even Ebenezer Scrooge would approve. But don't expect an ugly beige chassis. Instead, the V3 Black Edition lives up to its name with an all black coating, both inside and out. And so the interior view doesn't go unnoticed, it also boasts a left side panel window.
Thermaltake only includes a single 120mm exhaust fan, albeit with a blue LED. However, there are three additional 120mm fan mounts throughout the case (front intake, top exhaust, and side intake).
Thermaltake isn't boasting a tool-less design, which is curious considering a peak through the case's gallery reveals that both the hard drive cage and optical bays sport tool-less mechanisms.
Everyone and their CPU-cooler-manufacturing mother are jumping aboard the skyscraper-formfactor bandwagon, hoping to match the performance of Thermalright’s Ultra-120 eXtreme and Noctua’s NH-U12P air coolers. Last month we tested Zalman’s attempt, and this month we have Thermaltake’s answer, the ISGC-300, one of a series of four ISGC-branded air coolers recently released into the wild. Thermaltake’s creative relationship with the English language is responsible for the ISGC moniker, which stands for “Inspiration of Silent Gaming Cooling.”
The ISGC-300 consists of a copper heat exchanger with four heat pipes running into a tower of 33 saw-toothed fins. At 6.24 inches high by five inches wide by 2.8 inches deep, it’s slightly shorter and narrower than Thermalright’s Ultra-120, but about a quarter-inch deeper. A 12cm white Thermaltake hydrodynamic-bearing fan is held onto the front using metal clips in a manner reminiscent of the Noctua NH-U12P. The nine-bladed fan is quiet and includes a variable-speed switch in lieu of a four-pin PVM connector. At its quietest, it’s nearly silent; at its loudest, it’s still damned quiet.
Earlier this year, Thermaltake wowed us all with the announcement of the Level 10, a concept case designed in conjunction with BMW DesignWorks. Rather than a standard aluminum box, the Thermaltake Level 10 would incorporate a central pillar, with individual compartments hanging from it for the motherboard, PSU, optical drives, and hard drives. Here's a press shot of the Level 10.
The Level 10. It's high-concept! (click to embiggen)
We haven't heard much about the Level 10 since Computex in June; we were even a bit skeptical that such an outré case would ever come to market. But Friday morning we strolled into our secret lair to find an enormous box on our doorstep. Read on to find the first shots of the production Level 10, as well as features, pricing, and availability.
Say you’re a content creator—video, graphic design, whatever. You want a computer that’s quiet, functional, and hopefully doesn’t look like it was designed by a candy raver, or worse, Apple. That’s what Thermaltake is betting on with its Element S, an understated black midtower case with restrained red accents and plenty of drive space that’s marketed toward content creators.
The Element S is built from steel, painted black inside and out, and decked with black plastic trim on the top and a red-rimmed, black-plastic front-panel door. It weighs close to 18 pounds, and measures 21.3x9.1x20 inches. The model we tested included three fans: a 12cm, 1,300rpm front intake fan, a 14cm 1,000rpm rear output fan, and a 23cm 800rpm red LED fan on top. The case also includes rear mounts for two 6cm VGA exhaust fans, which is rare, but makes sense if you’re encoding video using a high-end graphics card. The Element S also has two holes for water-cooling tubes, but doesn’t include rubber grommets in them—they’re just bare metal punchouts in the case that could puncture the tubing over time.
At five inches high, 6.14 inches square at the top, and weighing a few ounces shy of two pounds, the Thermaltake BigTyp 14 Pro is among the biggest and heaviest coolers we’ve tested—although it’s not as big as Cooler Master’s V10, reviewed last month.
The BigTyp 14 Pro contains six heat pipes routed through aluminum fins mounted perpendicular to the motherboard and is topped with a plastic shroud and 14cm variable-speed fan, which blows hot air straight down instead of through the back of the case, like with most performance coolers. Two retention clips screw into the base and are fastened with nuts on the underside of the motherboard, just like with the Cooler Master V10. Installing the BigTyp 14 Pro is easier than the V10—it’s smaller and lighter, it won’t bump up against crucial components like RAM, and the nuts can be screwed in with a Phillips screwdriver as opposed to a hex wrench. But there’s no room for a 12cm rear fan with the BigTyp installed.