NZXT Switch 810 IntroductionNZXT has been churning out a steady stream of cases and while some are a bit gimmicky others are focused on functional. Their latest case comes in a full tower format and is claimed to be great at switching around from air to water cooling and silence to extreme performance.
The NZXT Switch 810 is a big case like most full tower chassis and has a bit of heft but not nearly as heavy as the Cosmos II we reviewed a few weeks back (20lb vs 47.3lb). This case can handle up to 7 HDD's, has three 5.25" bays and NZXT says it has enough room for a 420mm radiator (140mm x 3) in the roof with another 140mm in the bottom. 560mm of radiator is a ton of cooling potential if you are looking to go under water. This case comes with 9 slots to handle your quad SLI / xFire and filters on all intakes to minimize dust bunnies.
This case has a long list of unique features that we are anxious to see if they fly or flop. NZXT also highlights all the features specifically geared toward water coolers such as the 90mm of clearance above the motherboard, removable bottom HDD cage for more radiators, and four extra large rear ports for external cooling that we will explore.
The NZXT Switch 810 chassis is available in either Black on Black or White on Black with an MSRP of $169.99 with a two year warranty. We found the NZXT Switch 810 in White for $169.99 plus $14.99 shipping at Newegg.
NZXT Switch 810 Specifications:
- MODEL: Switch 810
- CASE TYPE: Hybrid Full Tower
- FRONT PANEL MATERIAL: Plastic/Steel
- DIMENSIONS (W x H x D): 235 x 595 X 585 mm
- VGA Clearance Maximum: 375mm (w/out fan), 350 (installed), 285 (full pivot)
- COOLING SYSTEM:
- FRONT, 2 X 120/140mm (1x 140mm included)
- REAR, 1 X 120/140mm (1x 140mm included)
- TOP, 3 X 120/140mm (1x 140mm included)
- BOTTOM, 2x 120/140mm
- INTERIOR, 2x 120/140mm (1x 140mm included)
- 4 EXTERNAL 5.25" DRIVE BAYS
- 6 INTERNAL 3.5" DRIVE BAYS
- Screwless Rail Design
Unboxing the NZXT Switch 810
Our NZXT Switch 810 sample arrived in good shape from Hong Kong with only minor scuffs to the outside of the box.
The front of the box is just an image of the case.
The left side of the box has some marketing information and states which of the two colors are inside (white in our case).
Around back are multiple pictures of the NZXT Switch 810 with marketing text highlighting several of the key features.
Moving to the right side there is more marketing text in several languages calling out the key features of the Switch 810.
Pulling the NZXT Switch 810 out of the box like most cases today it has thick foam at the top and bottom and a plastic bag over the entire case. There are also sticky plastic sheets covering the plastic surfaces to minimize scratching.
Outside the NZXT Switch 810
After unwrapping the NZXT Switch 810 we could already see some of the features of this full tower case.
The front is a mix of shiny white plastic and black metal mesh. NZXT adds that angle cut on the front as a nod to the Phantom cases with their angular lines and we think it looks sharp. One interesting item is that the four bay covers are actually removed from the front not from inside making it much easier to work with. Also they include a optical drive cover plate and a vented cover over the removable hidden drive bay.
The left side of the case has a nice large window with another NZXT angle cut for a bit of flash. Since this case has several water cooling options it is nice that the window is large enough to show off your high end building skills.
Around back we start at the top with a very unique feature of the Switch 810 being an adjustable rear 140mm exhaust fan. This allows you to use the included 140mm fan or a 120mm fan and slide it up or down to better align with your CPU cooler exhaust and provide better airflow out of the case, very clever. Below this are nine ports to accommodate even XL-ATX motherboards. Next to those ports are no less than four large water cooling ports. These are a bit larger than the ones we typically see and appear to be geared toward those wanting to run 1/2" x 3/4" tube. Finally at the bottom is the reversible PSU port and just below that is a pop out rear filter tray.
One of our favorite features of the NZXT Switch 810 is the addition of LED's on the back of the case above the PCI ports and motherboard ports to help you see your cables in a dark room or under a desk, BRILLIANT!
The right side of the case is just a plain white steel panel.
Looking at the bottom you can see both the front and rear pop out filter plates to cover both the PSU and the optional front fan / radiator area. There are also four long rubber feet to keep this full tower stable on any surface.
Flipping the case over to the top side brings us to a very interesting feature of the case, the top ports. According to NZXT you can "shift" the 810 from silent to maximum cooling simply by sliding the plastic bar on the back of the top from open to close.
Here is an image of the top of the NZXT Switch 810 closed. Note that this entire unit is made of plastic so while it is a cool feature we probably wouldn't be 'switching' it from open to closed frequently as the long term durability is a bit suspect. It seems that there is still a bit of air passage around the sides of this top if it is closed but it would surely stop the majority of cooling and possibly a significant amount of sound when closed.
And if you press down on the back two dots on the top it pops up and pulls off. There is a 140mm fan installed at the rear with mounting holes for two more 140mm or 120mm fans. You can also mount a 360mm or 420mm radiator in the top of this case with no modding. IMPRESSIVE!
It might be hard to see but the power button is that little triangle piece cut out of the larger angle piece on the front top.
By sliding up the top most cover you reveal the I/O ports. The NZXT Switch 810 comes with two USB 2.0, two USB 3.0, headphone, mic. reset, card reader, and a power switch for those rear LED's from above rounding out the I/O block.
Moving down we pulled off the three bottom bay covers (that remove from the front) to reveal this semi hidden hard drive tray. It is a bit odd as it comes screwed in place but removing the two thumb screws allows it to slide in and out if you want to hot swap a drive. The cover plate is ventilated as we mentioned above and you can see it again in the below picture.
Below the bays the front also pops off with a simple press at the top corners to reveal a top mounted 140mm fan blowing across the top HDD cage and a spot below that for a second 140mm or 120mm fan to blow across the bottom HDD cage area.
If you flip over the NZXT Switch 810's front panel you find the filter material that sits between the outside and the fan. The only down side is that you have to take out all the screws to clean it if you want to do more than just blow it with an air duster can.
Below the front area is the front intake filter that is another press to pop item.
Inside the NZXT Switch 810
Inside the NZXT Switch 810 we expect a lot of room being this is a full tower and the Switch 810 delivers.
Starting in the upper left there are two 140mm included fans set up for exhaust above a large CPU back plate cut out. Then there are no less than 10 grommet pass through areas to make cable runs easy and clean. On the top right we have four 5.25" bays and three of them have arguably the best tool free mechanism we have seen on cases today. The fourth bay contains the hidden hard drive tray held in with the two thumb screws but could be swapped for another 5.25" device if you so choose. Below the 5.25" bays are the dual hard drive cages themselves which are accessed from the back of the case and are both removable to accommodate either a bottom 240 / 280mm radiator or long GPU's.
A closer look at the top fans and the nice large port to run your 8-pin ATX cable down to the motherboard.
Above these fans and under that vented cover is about 30mm of clearance to allow you to mount fans here and then a radiator below for pull cooling. NZXT says there is 90mm of space above the motherboard which would give you room for a large 60mm radiator, 25mm fans, and then another set of fans up here for push / pull cooling if you desire.
At the bottom is the PSU mounting area with six rubber feet to support even the longest PSU's. You can also see the 120 / 140mm optional fan / radiator mount to the right of the PSU area.
Both of the hard drive cages are removable after taking out four long thumb screws.
This is one of the trays from the HDD cages and like most cases today it has four rubber mounted pins that snap into 3.5" drive along with bottom mount holes spaced to handle a SSD.
At the top right we have the tool free latches which we love on the 5.25" bays but there is another subtle item to notice. Above and below the top bay are screws so that you can remove this bay and have room for your top 420mm radiator which would be wider than the bay. NZXT solved this by making the top area removable for you hard core water coolers which is another "switchable" feature in the NZXT Switch 810.
The inside of each of the HDD cages have a special NZXT mount we have seen in some of their other cases which allows you to angle a fan up to 30 degrees in order to direct cooling more precisely at the hottest components (CPU and GPU typically). The angling mounts come with a 140mm fan installed in the top but both can accommodate either 120mm or 140mm fans.
On the back side you can see all the trays for up to six 3.5" drives or SSD's. By sliding in from this side it keeps the look a bit cleaner and hides the power and SATA cables from the front. While there are tons of grommet holes the back tray is a bit light on zip tie mount points but there should still be enough for decent cable management.
A very interesting feature that is not listed in the marketing list is this little fan distribution block behind the motherboard tray. This allows you to plug in a standard molex connector and run up to 7 fans. Be aware this is simply a power distribution and provides no fan speed control which we feel is a miss given all the other nice features of this case. How hard would it have been to add basic three speed resistors and a switch to this PCB?
For cable management there is about 20mm of space behind the motherboard tray which should be enough for all your cables.
Inside the Switch 810 you get assorted screws of the M3 and 6/32 size as well as a few small black zip ties, four long fan to radiator screws. The one thing NZXT provides that other full tower case manufacturers could take a lesson from is one of their individually sleeved ATX 8-ping power extenders.
Installing in the NZXT Switch 810
Now that we have explored the case inside and out it comes time to build a rig inside this big full tower case.
Like most full tower cases the NZXT Switch 810 provided plenty of space to mount our common hardware build out but they were very thoughtful in how they positioned the standoffs to mount the motherboard. All the grommet holes made cable routing options easy that ATX power extension came in handy.
The grommet furthest back down in the PSU area would be covered by a 1000 watt or larger PSU it was plenty handy for our 700watt OCZ model with just enough room to get that fat 24 pin routed. If we were trying to make things a bit nicer we would have been more careful with the USB, HD Audio, and I/O lines.
For those of you thinking about water cooling NZXT claims 90mm of space above the motherboard but we measured 85mm before the actual edge and 90mm to the screws. Still 85mm is plenty for a 60mm thick radiator like the XSPC RX360 and 25mm thick 120mm fans as an example of massive 360mm radiator. With the 30mm in the space above you can do push / pull on a very thick radiator in this case with no problem.
This image just shows 60mm to installed 140mm fan that is 25mm thick. Tons of room above the motherboard unlike some full tower cases that slide the motherboard all the way to the top of the case.
Going around back the cables have plenty of room to be routed and even with us only spending a few minutes it already looks fairly clean back here.
With all this goodness everything wasn't clean and simple when it came to mounting our SSD in one of the HDD cages. The trays have the SSD holes at the back which means that cross bar cuts right in the way of cables and prevents you from using 90 degree SATA cables. Our SATA power cable was bowing that cross brace and we fear this might make it slip out over time. We would recommend using a different area to mount your SSD than one of these trays, or mount it with Velcro or something other than the holes in the tray.
That top bar is the one that interferes with the plugs on the SSD. We considered rotating the SSD 180 degrees but the cage is solid in the back so you cannot run cables out that way.
Final Thoughts on the NZXT Switch 810NZXT turned out another nice full tower case with their trade mark angled theme but forgoes the storm trooper bulges.
We were very impressed with several of the innovative features that NZXT put on the Switch 810, especially the consideration for pretty extreme water cooling setup with that 85mm of top clearance. The ability to drop a 420mm rad in the top and another 280mm rad in the bottom should be enough cooling for even a quad GPU setup. Placing easy to access filters on the intake fans is a real plus and should keep the dust bunnies to a minimum. The cable routing options are fantastic making it easy for anyone to have a clean build. An included card reader is great if you take a lot of photos. Finally, the addition of switchable LED lights over the rear ports is just ingenious and something that should be mandatory in all cases targeting gamers.
While the top is novel, it is all plastic including the pins that slide and seems a bit flimsy for something that you would open and close frequently. When we powered it on there was not really that big of a difference in sound either since the rest of the case is thin steel with no sound deadening. Angled fans and sliding rear fan are also novel additions but given how small a case is, even a full tower, we don't think these will make any significant temperature difference in the case as much as more fans moving air in and out of the case. We also did not see a ton of benefit in the hidden front mounted hard drive tray since it is screwed in place and you have to pull off a bay cover to access it.
The biggest area for improvement is the SSD options in the trays. The fact that the tray bar interferes with the ports of the SSD drive and blocks the use of 90 degree plugs is an issue. For a case that NZXT put so much thought into it is surprising that with the popularity of SSD drives they would overlook this. It's a design flaw that we feel is a large enough to keep this case from getting any awards.
The NZXT Switch 810 in white is available from Newegg for $169.99 plus $14.99 shipping and is backed by a two year warranty. For $184.98 delivered, we feel this case is a bit pricey against its competition and you might want to wait until the price comes down just a bit before you grab one.
Legit Bottom Line: Water coolers will be very happy with the NZXT Switch 810. While it has a lot of great features, it also has a lot of novelty ones making the price a bit hard to swallow.