NZXT was established in 2004 as a PC hardware company built on the dreams of gamers. Their unique lineup of hardware is completely inspired by the gaming culture with product designs driven by the worldwide community of PC enthusiasts. One of their most popular pieces of hardware among enthusiasts has to be the Phantom case. Today, NZXT has released their new flagship full tower case, the Switch 810. We’re going to have a thorough look into this beast to see if it has what it takes to become NZXT’s new most popular product.
Specifications & Features
(Courtesy of NZXT)
|NZXT Switch 810 Specifications|
|Material||Steel & Plastic|
|Dimensions||235 x 595 x 585 mm (W x H x D)|
|Weight||9.1 kg (20 lbs)|
|Motherboard Support||E-ATX, XL-ATX, ATX, Micro-ATX, Mini-ITX|
|3.5″/2.5″ Bays||6 Internal and 1 Hot-Swap|
|Front Panel I/O||2x USB 3.0, 2x USB 2.0, 3.5 mm Audio I/O, SD Card Reader|
|Front||2x 120/140 mm (1x 140 mm Included)|
|Top||3x 120/140 mm (1x 140 mm Included)|
|Rear||1x 120/140 mm (1x 140 mm Included)|
|Bottom||2x 120/140 mm|
|Interior||2x 120/140 mm (1x 140 mm Included)|
|GPU Length||375/350/285 mm (no fan/fan/full pivot)|
|Heatsink Height||195 mm|
|Wiring Space||23 mm|
- Unique Hybrid Full Tower – Optimized for liquid cooling, airflow, or silence
- Supports High End Water Cooling Solutions – 90 mm of internal top space for a top 360/420 radiator, and room for a bottom 240/140 radiator for unmatched liquid cooling
- Clever Hybrid Fin Design – Allows users to choose between airflow and sound reduction
- Large Storage Capacity – Dual removable HDD cages for up 6 hard drives, plus a hot-swap 5.25″ bay for a 7th hard drive
- Rear White Light – Toggled on the front panel for visibility in dark environments
- Connectivity – Dual USB 3.0, dual USB 2.0, hot-swap hard drive, SD card reader, and audio I/O
- Nine Expansion Slots – For installing E-ATX motherboards with quad-GPU configurations
- Supreme Cooling Capacity – Allows up to 10 120/140 mm fans
- Stress-free Wire Management – 23 mm of clearance behind the motherboard tray
- Removable Filters – Front, bottom-front, and bottom-rear filters
- Tool-less Drive Bays – Easy 5.25″ ans 3.5″ drive installation
Packaging & Accessories
NZXT’s packaging was typical of case manufacturers. The Switch 810 was wrapped in plastic, to prevent scratches. The Switch 810 also had molded Styrofoam on two ends of the case to isolate it from the sides of the box in case the box were to get roughed up during shipping.
The box of accessories includes a 4+4 pin CPU power extension, a bag of small zip ties, and a large bag full of smaller bags of screws. The CPU power extension is a nice touch considering the size of the Switch 810, and it allows anyone to route their CPU power cord behind the motherboard tray for uncluttered cable management. A small detail to note is that every small bag of screws has the thread type and screw length printed on the bag to help us easily find the screws we’re looking for and attempts to help us stay organized. If you’re like me, the screws will probably end up all mixed together anyways…
The exterior of the case is very sleek without any obscure angles. The case isn’t quite just a rectangular box, the front and top edges angle inward slightly to soften the edges, while the front and top panels look to be floating, disconnected from the rest of the case. The Switch 810’s finish on the sides and panels is mostly glossy. Underneath the panels and between the panels and the Switch 180’s edges, the finish is matte and has a somewhat rubberized texture. While the back of the Switch 810 is just a matte black finish. With a glossy finish on a black case comes easily noticeable finger prints and dust. There’s nothing we can do to fight the appearance of dust on the black Switch 810 other than wipe it down every now and then, but I don’t believe there will be as many noticeable finger prints as I initially thought.
To access the front panel I/O, the cover has to be pushed back by pressing the top edge of the cover. Once the cover is back, we can see the assortment of connectivity the front panel has to offer. There are four USB ports, two of which are USB 3.0. The typical 3.5 mm audio I/O is there for headphones and microphones. What I like most about the front panel connectivity is the addition of a SD card reader, something not seen on the majority of cases out there, and in my opinion, the SD card reader is much more useful than a FireWire connector seen on many cases. Lastly, we have the reset switch, denoted by an “R” in the center of it, and a LED switch. The LED switch is for the rear lights of the case that illuminate the back panel I/O.
The 5.25″ bays are pretty streamlined, so even with a lot going on the front stays sleek. Taking a close look at the four 5.25″ bays, it’s easy to see that the top and bottom bay covers are different than the middle two. The top one looks like the front of an ODD, and bottom one covers the hot-swap 3.5/2.5″ drive tray.
Taking a closer look at the top 5.25″ bay cover, we can see it is actually a functional cover for an Optical Disk Drive (ODD). This cover goes in front of the ODD while allowing you to still press the eject button and use the ODD as if there wasn’t a cover. This cover is really nice to hide the front of an ODD since most face plates have writing and the color and surface usually doesn’t match the rest of the case.
The front intake is hidden behind a panel that makes up the lower half of the front of the case. This panel has an air filter and is easily removed by pushing on the top corners of the panel, which activate the push clips holding the panel in place. As you can see, there is one 140 mm fan installed out-of-the-box, but there’s also a spot for an additional 120/140 mm intake fans just beneath the installed 140 mm fan.
The last detail of the front of the case is access to another air filter. This filter is accessed by pushing on the front of it to activate another push clip which releases the filter. Then, the filter can be pulled completely out for cleaning. This feature lets us know there is at least one spot for an intake fan on the bottom of the case, but we’ll be checking that out a little later.
There’s a few noteworthy features on the back of the Switch 810. First, my favorite of the features, the rear fan mounting system. Either a 120 mm or 140 mm fan can be installed here, but that’s not the cool part. What’s so neat about this mounting is the fan can be moved up or down to the user’s liking, based on the internal components. For example, the fan can be moved all the way down so that interference with anything installed in the top of the case can be avoided.
The next feature is the latches for the side panels. Only one is pictured here, but both sides have a latch for the panels. After the thumbscrews are removed from the top and bottom of the side panels, the latch thumbscrews need to be loosened so that they can be slid downward to allow the side panels to be removed. Also in that picture, you can see two of the four grommets used to route tubes or cabling from the inside of the case to the outside.
In the last couple of pictures, the PSU mount is shown along with how to access the PSU’s fan filter (which is the same as the front filter from earlier). From looking at the PSU mount, the PSU can be mounted in either orientation. This is good for people who will be putting the case on think carpet or something else that would block the bottom intake.
On to the top, we have a rather large vent that covers almost the entire length of the case. This vent can be opened and closed with a switch to the left. A couple reason why you might want the top vent closed are to reduce noise coming from inside the case and to prevent dust or other debris from falling into the case.
Let’s have a closer look at the ends of the top. The front end has the power switch, the power LED, and HDD LED. The power switch is matte portion of the glossy front panel which wraps around to the top. One good thing about this power switch is that it’s matte finish, which means you won’t leave finger prints on the button. A possible down side of the switch is that it’s on the top of the case, and it could become inaccessible if the case were to be placed into a desk’s spot for a PC. If you haven’t figured it out yet, the power LED is wrapping around the corner of the top vent. This is a very unique design for the power LED, and it’s something I really like.
On the back end of the top, we can see the switch for opening and closing the top vent. This switch also has that matte finish to prevent finger prints from showing up. also notice the two small indentions on either side of the vent switch. Those indentions show where to push to make the push clips release the top vent for removal; you may have noticed those indentions on the bottom-front and bottom-rear fan filters as well.
With the top vent removed, we can see quite a bit of space and the pre-installed 140 mm exhaust fan. There are mounting spots for a total of three 120/140 mm fans, and this looks to be a great candidate for water cooling as the specifications described. The pre-installed fan is mounted on the inside of the case, but there looks to be quite a bit of room between the vent and the fan mounting for possible fan installation on the outside of the case.
I had to break out the ol’ ruler to see just how much space was up there. To me, it looks like ~25 mm of space after taking into account the underside of the vent takes up some room. So, I put three 120 x 25 mm fans up there while being able to close and lock the top vent. This is a definite plus for saving room on the interior of the case.
There isn’t much to the bottom details. We can see the two bottom air filters which were pulled out earlier. There are also two spots for bottom intake fans to be mounted in the interior of the case. Last, the case stands on four rubber strips to lift it from the ground a little and to keep the case from sliding and scratching the floor.
Alright, we finally made it to the interior. Looking into the case for the first time, it’s easily to get overwhelmed. There’s no less than ten grommeted holes for cable management, and the grommets are secured with adhesive. So, the grommets won’t be popping out of their holes when feeding cables through them. We can also see a massive cutout in the motherboard tray for easy access to backplates.
Even the HDD cages aren’t just typical HDD cages. Both HDD cages have a fan mount for a 120/140 mm fan which can be pivoted to direct intake air to whatever component the user would like. However, the pivot is limited to about about 40° from vertical, but this should be plenty of movement to direct air towards GPUs, RAM, and CPU heatsinks.
Next, we have the 5.25″ bays. On the side of the bays, you’ll notice a vertical row of thumbscrews. These screws aren’t actually holding anything in place, the 5.25″ bay just serves as a place to store all the thumbscrews so they won’t get lost. The top three bays have tool-less installation by using bendable, locking clamps to secure 5.25″ devices. There’s a switch on each clamp which locks and unlocks the clamp. When the switch is pushed towards the right, the clamp is unlocked and then the clamp can be pushed inward the release the clamp (see the bottom clamp in the picture below). Once a 5.25″ device is inserted, the clamp is pushed closed matching the “teeth” with the mounting holes on the device, and then the switch is pushed to the left to lock the clamp. The bottom bay is meant to be the hard drive hot-swap bay as you see from the PCB with power and SATA connections. However, the PCB can be removed to make room for an additional 5.25″ device while making use of the traditional mounting with screws.
Now we have the top of the case, which is one of the major features of the Switch 810. Up top, there is room for a 360 or 420 radiator with push/pull 25 mm fans as long as three of the fans are installed between the top vent and fan mount as mentioned in the exterior section. According to the specs, there’s 90 mm of space up top to allow for a radiator and fans, which will be plenty even for thick radiators. Also, don’t forget the rear fan can be adjusted to make room for the radiator and fans in the top.
On the back, we have four grommets and nine expansion slots. Having nine expansion slots allows the Switch 810 to hold some of the biggest motherboards out there without sacrificing any lower slots. If a board with fewer than nine PCIe slots is used, then the extra expansion slots on the case can be used for brackets which don’t need direct connection to the motherboard’s slots. So something like an eSATA bracket or fan controller could be used without blocking any motherboard slots.
The spot for the PSU is raised by six posts that have rubber ends to isolate any vibrations from the case, and the intake is filtered as mentioned earlier. There are spots for two 120/140 mm intake fans to the right of the PSU spot, both of which are filtered.
Finally, we have the internal connectors included with the Switch 810. These connectors are a the front panel USB 3.0 connector for current motherboards, a USB 2.0 connector for the two front panel ports, single USB 2.0 for the SD card reader, audio connector, power/reset switches, power/HDD LEDs, and a SATA power connector that powers the rear I/O lights. Something really nice that included with the Switch is the 7-port fan power PCB that is stuck to the back side of the motherboard tray with Velcro. This was very thoughtful of NZXT since the Switch 810 has room for up to ten fans and I’m not sure there is even a motherboard out there with 10+ fan headers. So, no need to worry about needing a fan controller or splicing fan cables together just to power all the fans.
Hard drive installation is fairly straight forward. The first couple of pictures show how to remove the HDD cage, which is as simple as removing four thumbscrews and pulling it out. However, this is not required to install 3.5/2.5″ drives. The drive trays can be accessed from the right side of the case after the side panel is removed. Once the drive tray is removed by pinching and pulling, it wraps around a 3.5″ drive and stays in place without the use of screws. If a 2.5″ drive is going to be mounted, then it will have to be screwed to the drive tray by holes in the tray’s crossbars.
Motherboard & PSU
The motherboard and power supply installation went smoothly and the procedure isn’t different than with any other case. One small detail when installing the motherboard is that included with the stand offs there is also an adapter allowing you to use a screwdriver to easily install the standoffs securely. Also note that the motherboard used is an E-ATX board, and even it looks small inside the Switch 810. There is plenty of room between the board’s edge and the HDD cages for even bigger boards to be installed, and there’s also a lot of room between the top of the case and the board for radiator installation.
I don’t have a 360/420 radiator to try in the top, but I do have a 240 radiator to try in the bottom. To install a radiator in the bottom of the Switch 810, the lower HDD cage an its rail must be removed. The HDD cage requires four thumbscrews to be removed and the rail requires four Philip head screws to be removed. Once those are out of the case, a 240 radiator and two Gentle Typhoon AP-15 fans fit nicely at the bottom of the Switch 810, and I could even do a push/pull setup with room to spare.
If the other HDD cage is removed, it looks like another small 120/140 radiator could be installed at the location of the top-front intake fan. Of course, any HDDs or SSDs would need to be installed in the 5.25″ bays if both HDD cages were to be removed.
After installing the GPU and plugging everything up, it was time to close it back up and turn it on. We can get a decent view of the interior components by looking through the side window, and I like how the shape of the window hides most of the drive bays and cages. I’m thinking some interior white LEDs or cathodes would work well in this case to really show off the components.
Remember way back in the exterior section when I mentioned a LED switch for the rear lights? Well, here are those rear lights. There’s one for the motherboard’s back panel I/O and one for the expansion slots, which makes is much easier to see in low light situations. In the second photo, you can see the large power and small HDD LEDs. I took the picture in a completely dark room to be sure color representation would be accurate.
NZXT has done a tremendous job on the Switch 810. There are so many features and small details throughout this case. It’s a dream for water cooling with room for 5x 120/140 mm of radiator easily, with possibly up to 7x 120/140 mm of radiator if using a couple of small single radiators. The Switch 810 supports a wide range of motherboard form factors, and has enough expansion slots for quad-GPU setups. Dust inside the Switch 810 shouldn’t be a problem with all intake fans being filtered and a top vent that can be closed to keep out dust and debris.
Not only does the Switch 810 have major features, but it also packs quite a few small details that really push the case over-the-top. Starting with the front panel, we have a SD card reader and a sleek ODD faceplate cover. On the rear of the case, there are lights to brighten the I/O areas, latches to hold the side panel on, and an adjustable rear fan to allow top-mounted radiators of varying thickness. Finally, on the interior of the case, there are a couple pivoting fans for directing airflow, a convenient thumbscrew holder on the 5.25″ bays, all grommets are glued in placed, and a power hub for up to seven fans.
There’s only one downside to the Switch 810 that comes to mind, and it only affects the black version of the case. This down side is the appearance of dust and finger prints on the glossy surface. However, once a build is complete and the case is put in its place, there shouldn’t be many times where you’ll touch the case on a glossy surface. The power button is matte and the front panel I/O cover folds backwards to hide finger prints. The hot-swap cover is removed and held be the edges, so finger prints shouldn’t show up. The ODD cover’s eject button is the only glossy surface that would be touched on a frequent basis, and even that may not be too frequent since even ODD are becoming less used.
Overall, NZXT has a real winner on its hands with the Switch 810. There are loads of features big and small, with any down side being minor at most. According to NZXT, the MSRP is $169.99, which is a great price for all the Switch 810 has to offer. Without a doubt, the Switch 810 gets the Overclockers stamp of approval! Thanks goes out to NZXT for giving Overclockers.com the opportunity to review their new flagship case.
– Matt T. Green (MattNo5ss)