NZXT Switch 810: When Too Much Isn't Enoughby Dustin Sklavos on February 1, 2012 7:00 AM EST
Conclusion: Jack of All Trades, Master of None
NZXT's Switch 810 is, at least on paper, a pretty awesome enclosure. During assembly there were times when I seriously considered moving my personal desktop out of my SilverStone FT02 and into the Switch 810 just because of how much I appreciated both the look and the features. The FT02 is a fantastic case but even SilverStone will tell you it isn't exactly easy to service. Theoretically the directable internal fans should've been fantastic, and I wish more case designers would include an SD card reader as a standard feature (thus allowing them to dispense with 3.5" external bays entirely). I can also see the togglable LEDs for the I/O cluster and expansion slots in the back being incredibly useful. So what's the problem?
The problem is that the Switch 810 doesn't really perform. Thermally it definitely ranked at or below its chief competition when it came to the problem parts, the CPU and GPU. Those GPU temperatures were especially poor given a solution that really should've improved them, not made them worse. The adequate temperatures would've been excusable if the Switch 810 were at least silent, but it loses on that front as well, offering the highest idle noise I've ever tested in both our stock and overclocked configurations. There's no way around it: NZXT should've included a fan controller (and perhaps better/quieter fans as well). While I'm sure they would be happy to sell you one of their own fan controllers, the Switch 810 is already selling for an MSRP of $169.
I think there's ultimately a market for the Switch 810 for users that can take advantage of all of its customizability, as well as users who want to employ a tremendous amount of custom watercooling. For them it's going to be worth checking out. If you don't need to install a 360mm radiator, though, Rosewill's Thor v2 remains the superior buy. It performs better, costs less, and is quieter to boot. NZXT's case is a good one, but not great, and definitely not competitive at $169.