NZXT Switch 810 Full Tower Review

Over the past 3 years NZXT have created some very impressive products for the PC enthusiast market. The company started out with chassis designs and have expanded to include coolers and other peripherals such as fan controllers.
Today we are going to look at the Switch 810 which they refer to as a ‘hybrid chassis’ based on some of their new design implementations.


  • Unique hybrid full tower chassis optimized for extreme liquid cooling, airflow, or silence
  • Supports high-end water cooling solutions up to three fans for push and pull configuration
  • 90mm of internal top space with top 360/420mm and bottom 140/240mm radiator support for unmatched liquid cooling
  • Four watercooling cutouts for easy liquid cooling management on the rear panel
  • Spacious CPU cutout for mounting high-end CPU coolers without removing the motherboard
  • Removable top 5.25” plates to accommodate wide radiators
  • Clever hybrid fin design allows the user to choose between maximum airflow or sound reduction
  • Innovative right-mounted HDDs for easy hard drive replacement
  • Removable HDD pull-out cages and large storage capacity for 7 hard drives
  • Equipped with two 140mm pivot fan slots for directing airflow at 15⁰ to the VGA and CPU
  • Dual high-speed USB 3.0, hard drive dock along with a SD card reader for transfer and quick access to multimedia
  • 5.25″ hard drive hot swap with SATA III support
  • Nine expansion slots for installing EATX motherboards with Quad SLI or Triple Crossfire
  • Supreme cooling capacity with up to ten 140/120mm fans
  • Ten large specialized cutout holes for easy cable management for stress-free wire management
  • Large acrylic window with a view to show off the interior of your rig
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)
SIDE, Large acrylic window
DRIVE BAYS 4 EXTERNAL 5.25″ DRIVE BAYS 6 INTERNAL 3.5″ DRIVE BAYS
Screwless Rail Design
MATERIAL(S) Steel, Plastic
EXPANSION SLOTS 9
WEIGHT 9.1 kg
MOTHERBOARD SUPPORT E-ATX, XL-ATX, ATX, MICRO-ATX, Mini-ITX
Our sample of the Switch 810 seemed to have experienced rough handling during transit. Thankfully nothing inside was damaged.

The front of the box features an image of the white version of the Switch 810 while the opposite side displays several different images that describe some of the key features.

As the images above show, we were sent a black version of the case. This really is a huge case, the term ‘full tower’ is very fitting! NZXT have taken additional steps to protect the Switch 810 by covering the top, front and both sides of the window with an additional layer of plastic.

NZXT have provided a well stocked hardware kit to accommodate any type of installation.

The front panel of the Switch 810 is predominately crafted from high gloss black plastic. It looks great but it is almost impossible to keep clean of fingerprints if you handle the case at all. The front I/O panel is hidden behind a door which we manually open to gain access. The panel has two USB 3.0 and two USB 2.0 ports, as well as a built in card reader, 2 audio inputs, the reset button and a button to power on an led located near the rear I/O panel. Unfortunately the LED feature on our case didn’t function, probably a direct result of the way the package was handled during shipping. Having the memory card reader built in is a welcome addition to the front I/O panel.

The cover of the top 5.25″ slot serves as a hidden optical drive bay that is fully operational with a DVD drive installed behind it. NZXT have also added a hot swap drive bay to the mix. The hot swappable drive bay is capable of supporting either 3.5″ or 2.5″ drives.

The lower half of the front is covered by a removable black plastic panel. To remove it we simply press the top of the panel to release it. Behind the panel there is a 140mm intake fan and room to add a second should we feel the need.

The rear panel of the Switch 810 features a bottom mount for the power supply, 9 expansion bays, 4 liquid cooling cutouts, a 140mm exhaust fan and the cutout for the I/O shield. NZXT added a removable mesh grill over the exhaust fan which is another nice touch.

The top of the Switch 810 is where NZXT have introduced another new feature. The have added a black panel with hybrid fins that can function either open or closed. With the fins on the panel in the open position you will have maximum airflow while closing the fins reduces dust intake and provides a reduction in system noise. With the panel removed we can see that NZXT have made sure there is enough room to easily support a large radiator for liquid cooling or two additional exhaust fans for air cooling.

The bottom of the Switch 810 is also optimized for maximum airflow. NZXT have included 2 simple to remove dust filters that prevent dust from getting sucked inside our system. The filters just slide in and out so that they can be cleaned quickly and easily as required.

The all black interior of the Switch 810 makes a good initial impression. There are 10 cutouts for cable management which should allow even a novice to create a tidy build.

The area of the motherboard tray that is cutout should be large enough to eliminate the need to remove the board to change cooling solutions.
Just below this cutout NZXT list all the motherboard styles that the Switch 810 can accommodate. This list includes ATX, Micro ATX, Mini ATX, Flex ATX, SSI EEB and SSI CEB.

When we were examining the interior of the Switch 810 the first thing that jumped out and grabbed attention was the fan attached to the hard drive cage. NZXT have designed special brackets that allow the user to adjust the angle of the fan to direct more airflow at the graphics card and processor. The 5.25″ bays are designed to be tool free and NZXT have improved the locking mechanism to better secure the optical drives.

The power supply mount position is at the bottom of the Switch 810. NZXT have added 2 additional rubber mounts to accommodate extended length power supplies. As we mentioned earlier there is a removable dust filter that sits directly under the power supply.

NZXT have not decided this case to be ‘tool free’. Instead they supply a full compliment of thumbscrews to secure the add on cards.

The Switch 810 has two removable drive cages. The cages are secured by a few thumbscrews and are extremely convenient when it comes to accessing hard drives. All of the access is handled from the back side behind the motherboard tray which makes installing hard drives a breeze, and it also adds to the simplicity of cable routing.

Here we have a closeup shot of the small PCB that can support up to seven fans. There is no way to control the speed of the fans we connect so they will all run at their top rated speed. This is great for cooling but may lead to a noisy system depending on the number of fans used and their combined noise level.
One thing that is impossible to avoid are a large number of cables that need to be hidden behind the motherboard tray. The Switch 810 can handle up to ten fans, but be prepared to hide many cables in any available space!

To test the NZXT Switch 810 we will be using the AMD Phenom II X6 1090T CPU matched with the MSI 990FXA-GD80 motherboard. For today’s testing we are using the Akasa Venom Voodoo cooler with the smart fan option enabled in the system BIOS.
To begin we have a diagram that indicates the airflow patterns of the Switch 810 chassis.

Test System
Chassis: NZXT Switch 810 Full Tower
Processor: AMD Phenom II X6 1090T
Motherboard: MSI 990FXA-GD80
Cooler: Akasa Venom Voodoo
Memory: 16GB DDRIII 1333 MHz
Storage: OCZ Vertex II 60GB SSD boot dive, WD Caviar Black 500GB SATA II
Power Supply: Corsair HX850
Graphics Card: Sapphire HD 6950 2GB

Windows 7 Professional (64-bit)
Everest Ultimate Edition
Prime 95
Digital Sound Level Noise Decibel Meter Style 2
For the temperature tests, we used Prime95 to load the system for 15 minutes and then recorded the results. We then let the system remain idle at the desktop for 15 minutes before recording the results. The fans in the Switch 810 and the CPU fan are running at full speed for this test. The ambient room temperature was 18c for the duration of the tests.

Our temperature results were very good considering this is the factory configuration which only uses 3 out of a possible 10 fans. The potential of the Switch 810 looks extremely positive, especially for an overclocked high end system build.
We take the issue of noise very seriously at KitGuru and this is why we have built our test system to be as quiet as possible. We can eliminate secondary noise pollution in the test room and concentrate specifically on the individual components we are testing. It also brings us slightly closer to industry standards, such as DIN 45635.
Today to test the chassis we have taken it into our acoustics room and have set our Digital Sound Level Noise Decibel Meter Style 2 one meter away from the case. This represents a real world situation and gives us an accurate reading of the noise level produced by the fans in the NZXT Switch 810 Full Tower. During this series of tests the processor fan will be controlled by the Smart Fan feature in the BIOS. We have this enabled to keep the noise generated by the cooler to a minimum so there will be less chance of distorting results.
As this can be a little confusing for people, here are various dBa ratings in with real world situations to help describe the various levels.
KitGuru noise guide
10dBA - Normal Breathing/Rustling Leaves
20-25dBA – Whisper
30dBA – High Quality Computer fan
40dBA – A Bubbling Brook, or a Refrigerator
50dBA - Normal Conversation
60dBA - Laughter
70dBA - Vacuum Cleaner or Hairdryer
80dBA - City Traffic or a Garbage Disposal
90dBA - Motorcycle or Lawnmower
100dBA - MP3 player at maximum output
110dBA - Orchestra
120dBA - Front row rock concert/Jet Engine
130dBA - Threshold of Pain
140dBA - Military Jet takeoff/Gunshot (close range)
160dBA - Instant Perforation of eardrum

The system is far from quiet, but considering it is targeting the performance audience, it is acceptable. Closing the top vent cuts the noise level to 38.5 dBA, not a large reduction but noticeable.
Our time spent with the Switch 810 has been thoroughly enjoyable as NZXT have not opted to cut corners with this new full tower case. There are a list of features too long to mention on the closing page of this review, however it is clear they have attempted to cover as many bases as possible during the research and development phase of the design.
It helps that the Switch 810 is also attractive to look at, unlike some enthusiast grade cases we have reviewed in the last year.
When discussing performance, the Switch 810 impressed us in all key areas. The airflow is excellent straight out of the box, and the case has basically unlimited cooling potential available. There is support for up to ten fans and it will also handle a high end watercooling configuration if you don’t want to deal with excessive fan noise.
If we were to level a complaint at the company it would be the inordinate amount of glossy black plastic adopted and the fact the case is heavy. We do like the appearance of the glossy finish but it is impossible to keep clean. White cotton gloves would need to be worn at all times to keep it in pristine condition, not ideal!
The case retails in the United Kingdom for £149.99 inc vat.
Pros:
  • Great build quality.
  • Excellent cable management.
  • Unlimited potential cooling configurations.
  • Price point is competitive.
Cons:
  • Too much glossy plastic.
  • It is no lightweight.
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