Introducing the NZXT Switch 810

NZXT recently released the Switch 810, a new high-end full tower model they proudly had on display at CES at the same time they were seeding samples to reviewers. It's a looker to be sure, but NZXT's engineers also played a lot with the insides of the enclosure, and what they've put together is a chassis with a remarkable number of uncommon features designed to appeal to enthusiasts who want to maximize both the utility of their machines along with the control they have over that utility. It looks great on paper and great on display, but how does it work in practice?

NZXT seems to be developing a taste for angular designs, but it's something I don't particularly mind. This is definitely the biggest case of theirs we've tested so far; while the others have been gunning for the elusive and lucrative sub-$99 market, this bad boy is set to go to market at $169. So while less expensive enclosures can play the balancing act between acoustics and thermals, when you're playing in this price bracket you need to bring both. That's a tall order when you're competing with enclosures like Antec's P280 and Rosewill's Thor v2--both of which aren't just excellent performers, they're cheaper too. Here's the quick overview of the Switch 810 specs.

NZXT Switch 810 Specifications
Motherboard Form Factor E-ATX, XL-ATX, ATX, Micro ATX, Mini ITX
Drive Bays External 4x 5.25" (one occupied by 3.5" hotswap bay)
Internal 6x 3.5"/2.5"
Cooling Front 1x 140mm intake fan (additional 1x 120mm/140mm fan mount)
Rear 1x 140mm exhaust fan (height adjustable)
Top 1x 140mm exhaust fan (additional 2x 120mm/140mm fan mounts)
Inside 1x 140mm adjustable fan (additional 1x 120mm/140mm adjustable fan mount)
Bottom 2x 120mm/140mm fan mounts
Expansion Slots 9
Front I/O Port 2x USB 2.0, 2x USB 3.0, SD card reader, mic and headphone jacks
Top I/O Port -
Power Supply Size ATX
Clearance 14" (Expansion Cards), 190mm (CPU HSF), 220mm (PSU)
Weight 20 lbs (9.1 kg)
Dimensions 9.25" x 23.4" x 23" (235mm x 595mm x 585mm)
Price MSRP $169

In a statement worthy of a marketing department, the word "Switch" isn't just a name, it's a philosophy and a design style. NZXT's enclosure has a lot of bells and whistles and really is designed to be as customizable as possible. What isn't listed on the spec sheet is an included pin block that converts six 3-pin fan headers to a single 4-pin molex header, white LEDs around the I/O cluster and expansion backs on the back that can be toggled on and off, and a vent on the top that can be opened, closed, or removed entirely. There is a lot going on with the Switch 810, so let's get a little more comfortable with it.

In and Around the NZXT Switch 810
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  • erple2 - Wednesday, February 1, 2012 - link

    I have a bottom mounted PSU and really like that it cleans the interior of the case without cluttering a bunch of cables inside the case. Then again, I don't have a PSU with a bottom mounted fan - it's a rear mounted one instead.

    BTW, Bottom mounted freezers make more sense than a top mounted ones for at least 2 reasons:
    1. Cold air sinks - put the part of the device that's supposed to be colder on the bottom
    2. I use the Fridge part quite a bit more than the freezer part - so put that part more at my level.
  • The_Countess - Thursday, March 22, 2012 - link

    they do that so you have room at the top to install a 420mm radiator.

    besides, there is a (easily removable) dust filter in front of the intake fan, if you mount the PSU with the fan facing downwards, which you dont have too.
  • earthrace57 - Saturday, May 5, 2012 - link

    Actually, I put mine upside the fan is pointing up (corsair 400R)

    1. Usually cold air flows into that area because of the intake fans, with only the GPU and PSU to suck it up

    2. My PSU's fan very very very rarely turns on, so the natural process of heat rising is a good thing
  • adece - Wednesday, February 1, 2012 - link

    My question is this: If the fan directed to the GPU was not contributing to better cooling, did you tried the old horizontal airflow? If it was better that you could have just said that the feature looks nice but it is ultimately useless. That's my only concern with this review. Otherwise it's as good as any of the other ones.
  • Hella-D - Wednesday, February 1, 2012 - link

    Id Rather Have A Bunch Of Quiet But High CFM Fans Running At Full-Tilt. In My Opinion Fan Controllers And Just Fan Speed Adjustment In General is Pointless, At-Least I Know My Fans Are Alwayse Pushing High Amounts Of Air And Keeping My Hardware Cool, Even My Graphics Card I Have Set To A Constant 80% Fan Speed (Highest It Will Allow For Some Reason)

    And Noise, Eh, I Like To be Able To Hear My Fans As-Long As They Arent Too Loud And Especially Whiny That Way I Know They Are Indeed Working.
  • BlueReason - Thursday, February 2, 2012 - link

    1. Yes bottom mounting the PSU hurts cooling of every other component in the case by interfering with airflow coming from front and potentially bottom mounted intakes. However, top mounting the PSU with the intake on the inside of the case is just as stupid, because then it's getting both dust AND hot air (unless you think the other dust filters on your case are somehow magically better than a psu dust filter, or that dust can't fly?), and disrupting a fluid current of air to the cpu.

    That said, don't put your bottom mounted PSU-case on carpet, or on a dirt floor. Consider placement when choosing a case. Shouldn't have to tell you this.

    It astounds me that so few case designers have realized the least stupid answer to the PSU-placement question is just to put a damn psu intake vent ON TOP OF THE CASE. Some have done this. Not enough.

    2. Concerning our guest of the day, the Switch 810: Like every Anandtech case review, all it tells us is how their component setup performs in the case. If the In-Win Buc thermally matching the Silverstone FT-02 doesn't cause you to read the test results of every Anandtech case review with a giant vat of salt, I don't know what to tell ya.

    3. Golly what a surprise: slanting the fan so that it directed incoming air away from the place on the GPU that actually would utilize that air...ugh, folks.

    4. No surprise that an NZXT case is better in photos than it is in use. The same goes for Coolermaster and their chincey crap. NZXT is more disappointing because unlike Coolermaster their designs actually seem inspired, only to be sabotaged by weak engineering and cheap manufacturing.
  • cjs150 - Friday, February 3, 2012 - link

    What I dislike about case designers is how lazy they are. Stick a fancy front on and some tool-less drive cages and they think that is it.

    Not sure case design has moved forward in 5-10 years.

    I agree, pick a case where the PSU placing works for you. But is it about time case designers followed Lian Li and Silverstone lead and experimented with different PSU placements.

    But my pet hate at moment is graphic cards and the placement of the power connectors - absolutely no thought as to how that would work for decent cable management.

    here are a few thoughts for case designers:

    1. Hard drives placement and cable management. How about having a drive cage where all drive plug into a daughterboard (bit like some of the hot swap boards) so only one power connector needed, and all SATA Data goes through same board and out at a convenient point for connection to main computer motherboard.

    2. More room round back of motherboard (see Fractal Arc Midi) for cable management.

    3. Dampening around optical drive bay.

    4. All side panels to have rubberised strips where metal meets metal to stop any resonance

    5. Improved front panel cable management -every case I have ever had seems to either have cables that are too long or too short

    6. Makes cases wider (seeing this already) allows for larger fans.

    7. NEVER EVER release a case without all intake fans having washable dust covers

    8. Give up on stealth covers from optical drives - never works for long
  • zlandar - Friday, February 3, 2012 - link

    After owning a CM sniper and Corsair 500R I would never buy another gaming case without one. Especially at the price range of this case where it's something I would expect.

    Only quibble I have with the review is the use of a tower cooler instead of using a water-cooler. Mounting a water cooler at the top of the case with fans blowing out would lower the temps inside the case and improve GPU cooling. The reviewer commented one of the major benefits of the case is custom watercooling; why not check the temps and noise with that setup?
  • fluxtatic - Saturday, February 4, 2012 - link

    Maybe too many variables - Push-pull? or Push-only? What rad(s)? What blocks? As bit-tech (IIRC) pointed out, it's very difficult to have meaningful w/c results, as there are ridiculous variations in the hardware. In air-cooling, standardize on a well-performing (ie, tested on a bench) tower cooler and stock fan config, and away you go. You can cram a 360 in this case, but what if it will only take a 240? And on and on. Maybe if they did these rounds of testing, and one more using a H100 or so, replacing the rear fan mount with the stock rad/fan configuration from the H100...but that really only tells you how the H100 does. Which you already know, having seen the multitudes of reviews when it was released.

    Lateral mount PSUs don't make sense to me (never having seen one) - what about the rocker switch and cable jack? Well, whatever - next couple I build will be low-powered enough to use PicoPSUs, so no worries about any of this silliness :)

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