Thermaltake Level 10 And SilverStone Fortress 2: Contemporary Cases?

The sad fact of office hierarchy is that the boss usually gets the best stuff, but that’s not so bad when you’re in charge. If you happen to be a boss (either at work or at home) who is tech-savvy enough to read Tom’s Hardware, you’re probably not going to fall for any of the tech support high jinks of Dilbert comic strips, and will instead truly shop for the best gear. Finally, if you’re the head of a technology-based service firm, then you might even need the best stuff, at least when it comes to computing power.

One problem is that while technology isn’t always pretty, you must always project the most positive and professional image to your clients, proving to them that you’re at least as successful at your job as they are at theirs. But where do you start when your clients already have the classiest-available pre-built powerhouses? SilverStone and Thermaltake may have answers.

Don’t let the photos fool you—SilverStone’s seemingly ordinary-looking Fortress 2 is far more imposing and grandiose when viewed in person and words cannot describe the immense proportions of Thermaltake’s Level 10. Both provide artistic flair and are designed to hold oversized components. But appearance is but only one of the many things that separates these high-priced cases from their less-expensive counterparts, or even from each other.

Fortress 2 (FT02B)
Level 10
Space Above
Card Length12.0" w/o Radiator Brackets
11.68" w/Radiator Brackets
12.26" w/Intake Fan
13.26" w/o Intake Fan
Weight34.0 lbs.
48.0 lbs.
Front Fans3 x180 mm (on bottom)1 x 140 mm
Rear Fans1 x 120 mm (on top)1 x 120 mm
Top FansNoneNone
Side FansNoneNone
Drive Bays
5.25" ExternalFiveThree
3.5" ExternalNoneNone
3.5" InternalFiveSix (Shared with 2.5")
2.5" Internal1 x AdapterSix (Shared with 3.5")
Price$230 $700

Thermaltake’s specifications resemble those of an ordinary PC, in spite of its dramatic appearance, while SilverStone’s understated look partially hides an extraordinary layout. Why do we call the Fortress 2’s exhaust fan a rear fan even though it’s located on top? Questions like that can only be answered through further examination.

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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.