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Thermaltake Level 10: chassis porn at its finest

by Parm Mann on 6 October 2009, 09:12

Tags: Level 10, Thermaltake (3540.TWO)

Quick Link: HEXUS.net/qat7s

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Thermal performance

System specification

HEXUS chassis test equipment specification
Motherboard EVGA 780i SLI FTW
Processor Intel Core 2 Extreme QX6850 3.00GHz, 1,333MHz FSB
Memory 4GB (2 x 2GB) Corsair DDR2 PC8500
Memory timings and speed 5-5-5-18 2T @ 1,066MHz
Graphics card BFG GeForce GTX 260 OCX MaxCore
Power supply Dark Power PRO 850W / Thermaltake standard PSU
Hard drive Seagate Barracuda 7200.7 160GB
Optical drive Sony SATA DVD-RW

 

To get an all-round feel for a chassis' cooling ability, we record the chassis' ambient internal temperature, along with the temperatures of the CPU and GPU. To get an idea of how the Thermaltake Level 10 compares, we also housed our test equipment in a Corsair Obsidian Series 800D, a Cooler Master HAF 922 and a SilverStone Fortress - all of which underwent identical tests. The Thermaltake Level 10 was equipped with its two default fans set to run at 100 per cent, no additional cooling was installed.

Readers should be aware that ambient room temperature is susceptible to change, and was recorded for each chassis as follows prior to testing:

Thermaltake Level 10 - ambient room temperature 21.5°C
Corsair Obsidian Series 800D - ambient room temperature 25.3°C
Cooler Master HAF 922 - ambient room temperature 25.3°C
SilverStone Fortress - ambient room temperature 21.3°C

The Thermaltake Level 10 and SilverStone Fortress were tested on notably cooler days, please bear that in mind when looking at results.

Readers should also note that the SilverStone Fortress and Cooler Master HAF 922 are both mid-tower chassis, and consequently not immediately comparable to the full-tower Thermaltake Level 10 or Corsair Obsidian Series 800D.

Thermal results

To get started, we booted the systems and let them idle for 15 minutes before taking the following readings:

[graph 2675]

There's very little in it, but the Thermaltake Level 10 is slightly warmer than a SilverStone Fortress in a room with near-identical ambient temperature.

To make things a little more interesting, we stress the system by running three instances of Prime95 along with 3DMark06 at 1,920x1,200 4xAA 16xAF. After a minute, we observe the following readings:

[graph 2676]

After a short spell of activity, temperatures remain well within acceptable limits.

Making the systems beg for mercy, we continue to run Prime95 and 3DMark06 for an hour. Here's what we see after the stress test:

[graph 2677]

After an hour of stress-testing, temperatures rise dramatically. The mid-tower SilverStone Fortress offers better CPU cooling, but the Thermaltake Level 10 is the only chassis in our test able to keep the GPU - a GeForce GTX 260 - under 70°C.

Temperatures, generally, are in line with chassis that are already out there. The Thermaltake Level 10's compartmentalised design doesn't offer revolutionary cooling, and our readings aren't reflective of the $750 suggested price.

Let the system idle for a minute, and we see how well each chassis manages to cool down.

[graph 2678]

After returning to idle, the Thermaltake Level 10 does an average job of cooling components in the chassis' main compartment - GPU temperature remains a little warm, and the Level 10 clearly isn't the best chassis available in terms of high-end cooling.

A word on noise. We found the Thermaltake Level 10 to be fairly quiet both when idle and under load. Noise leakage that does occur appears to do so via the chassis' side air intake.