When people think about cases many different things come to mind. To some the best case is a simple black box (or beige) that they put their components into and that is that. Others want more style to the box that holds all of their expensive hardware. But that raises a question, what is style to one person might not be to another. We also have to consider that what I may think is a great feature is a useless add-on to someone else. It is with this in mind that we take a look at a rather unusual case. This is the V9 BlackX Edition. This mid tower enclosure has a very interesting feature in that it has dual SATA HDD docks on the top of the case. This is along with the usual features that you would expect to find in any PC case. So let’s see if the V9 BlackX is a great device, or is it just a giant drive dock.
In a market full of look-a-like products or flimsy gimmicks it is hard to find a truly interesting device. However, every now and then someone puts something together that is really out of the ordinary. This is what we found when we received a small package from Thermaltake in the mail the other day. Inside the slightly battered box was one of the most interesting gaming peripherals we have ever tested. We are talking about the Level 10 Mouse. This unusual aluminum creation was designed by BMW and using specifications from Thermaltake’s tteSports division. This $90+ dollar mouse comes in a variety of colors and has some impressive features to offer. So let’s see if this unusual design really brings something new to the gaming table or if it is all flash and show.
ThermalTake has launched some bold designs (and some rather gaudy ones too). Some of these have been successful while others have received ridicule from the online community and gamers (even coining the phrase “Friends don’t let Friends use ThermalTake” at one point. However, over the last few years they have moved forward with their products and are now putting out some solid work. One of the products that I have been very interested in is the Level 10 series. This new case line-up is less like a PC enclosure and more like a piece of art. Of course the original Level 10 enclosure will also set you back around $750. This price tag puts it out of the reach of most gamers and also off of our RADAR for now. Instead we are going to take a look at the much more reasonably priced Level 10 GT. This uniquely designed PC case comes in two colors (black and white) and will run you $255 and $290 respectively. As we have grown bored of shooting cases in our lab we also decided to move our initial coverage to a different location. With that said, let’s take a look at the Thermaltake Level 10 GT (VN10006W2N) Snow Edition shot on location in Bahia Honda State Park, Florida. Snow at the beach anyone?
As we expand our coverage from core computer products to peripherals (and in the end everything else) we are moving into gaming first. We have already tested out more than a few mechanical gaming keyboards (and have more to come). Now we are moving into gaming mice with an emphasis on mice that allow for more than just high-resolution lasers for optics. For our second product in this genre we are going to take a deep look at Thermaltake’s Tt eSports Saphira Gaming mouse. This mouse was designed by a professional Starcraft 2 gamer and packs in a solid list of features. Let’s check it out shall we?
Gaming keyboards have become popular over the past couple of years with multiple manufacturers working to outdo the other with their features and of course performance. The market has become big enough that we have even seen the return of the mechanical switch (something that many were glad to see go away). However, as with many high-end products the demand for these in the general market is not enough to overcome the higher prices. Manufacturers are looking to still offer compelling features and performance, but at a more reasonable price. One of the keyboards in this range is the Thermaltake Tt eSPORTS Challenger Pro Gaming Keyboard. It has many of the features that gamers are looking for (backlighting, multiple profiles, USB hub, replicable keys, etc.) without the high price. So let’s get this $66 gaming keyboard up on the bench and see how it performs.
Water cooling for high-performance cooling has been around for a very long time. It started (as many things do) with super computers and the need to maintain a specific temperature envelope. From there advanced cooling broke into the consumer market (over the course of a few years), in the form of heatsinks with larger fans and even TEC (Thermoelectric coolers) cooling. However, for the most part water was still avoided due to the potential for leakage and damage to components. However all of that changed very quickly once the 1GHz barrier was broken. Companies seemed to come out of the woodwork with pieces and parts for water cooling. Radiators, water blocks, tubing fans, pumps, you name it you could but it. Now that we are well into the 3-4GHz range for stock CPUs the water cooling industry is very strong with components in multiple places in the market. The concept of the self-contained cooling system has also caught on with products produced by multiple companies. Today we will be taking a look at one from Thermaltake called the Water 2.0 Performer. This $63 cooling system is supposed to be able to keep things cool for both AMD and Intel CPUs including the LGA 2011 Core i7. Let’s see how it does.
I’ve had the privilege of watching the PC industry change over the years, especially from an aesthetic standpoint. I’ve seen PC cases go from the beige and boring to the neon and gaudy to the sleek and subtle and back again. Personally I prefer the sleek and subtle, adding in “large” whenever possible. I recently got my hands on an excellent example with the Urban T81 full-tower case from Thermaltake.
As we demand more and more from our mobile devices manufacturers are forced to try and stuff higher power CPU and GPUs inside ever-shrinking laptop and tablet shells. This leaves them in tricky position; they have to either put in tons of fans or make the materials for their products. Some have tried to split the difference with a combination of fans, materials and also components that react to the demands of the user. However, (you knew there was a however didn’t you) there are times when these are not enough and where the ergonomics of modern laptops (to include thin and light). Due to this unfortunate fact cooling companies have managed to open up a market for coolers which are intended to keep your high-performance laptop cool. Many of these are ungainly (in terms of ergonomic) despite bringing better cooling to the table. They also tend to be bulky and difficult to transport making their use limited. Thermaltake has a novel design that aims to deal with both portability and ergonomics, the GOrb II. Let’s take a look at this interesting device and see if it really does help bring something new to the table.
In order to combat the growing popularity of console gaming (and also to support a growing population of gamers) many peripheral companies began to invest money into making real devices to support gaming on the PC. We have seen many of these products (usually mice of game controllers), but with the exception of a few of the mice we were not all that impressed with them. That is until we started to see the first mechanical switch based keyboards. As we spend a large amount of time behind the keyboard (and also still game) we had a serious interest in these devices. Most of them are centered on the Cherry MX switch. These mechanical switches come in different colors; each of these has different properties. We have shown you blue and brown and what they each bring to the table. Now we are going to take a look at the Thermaltake Tt eSports MEKA G1 Mechanical gaming keyboard. This product takes a little different tack on switches and has opted for Cherry MX Black. So let’s dive in and see if the MEKA G1 will be worth the $100 Thermaltake wants for it.
Thermaltake Technology has always had a full lineup of cases, from elegant to subdued to downright loud. I’ve had the chance to get my hands on several of their cases over the years in all different sizes and shapes, and I’m glad to say that I’ve received a sample of one of their newest mid-tower cases, the Commander G41.