While I was at CES, I was scheduled to already have had this review ready to go live, but things changed in the schedule and I had to wait until after I got home to play with one of my own. I had seen them used in displays at the NZXT suite when I went there for my meeting with them.
At that time I saw a white version of this chassis with all sorts of liquid cooling in it and it seemed somehow empty still. Then on the other side of the room there was another of these chassis modded with a futuristic LAPD backdrop. With all kinds of sick airbrushing and modifications done to the chassis, I could see NZXT was really on to something big with this new chassis design.
Now I don't mean to leave out the buyer who just wants to run air cooling, that is where this chassis gets its Hybrid Full Tower status. For those who want to go with water cooling there are two places inside the chassis for radiators and there is always the option to add externally. For those who want to air cool, the chassis is shipped with three 120mm fans and offers ten total locations for 120mm fans to be installed into this chassis, so you have all the opportunities you need if you are an air cooling sort of person. Then there is the third phase of this concept. You can use the chassis as it is shipped to your house and have the comfort of silence; I mean this case even has louvers that shut on the top to kill even more of the noise that can emanate from the chassis' interior.
In case you missed the title of this review, we are looking at the newest full tower from NZXT, the Switch 810. NZXT had a plan and that plan was to offer everything they could pack neatly into this chassis design and deliver it a very respectable price point. For those of you who are, or were fans of the Phantom or the Phantom 410 chassis concepts, you are going to love the exterior styling of this new chassis as well. I don't want to give too much away too early, but plan for a lot of dark, shiny, black exterior components with just as many tricks to be found on or around the outside of the chassis as there is on the inside.
Specifications, Availability and Pricing
Going down the list, it says that the NZXT Switch 810 is a mainly steel chassis that uses ABS plastic for the shape and design of the exterior as well as a couple of tool-free mechanisms on the inside. Dimensionally, let me make this simple, the case it tall! Inside of these dimensions the chassis can hold cards up to 285mm minimum, as the case is shipped. Since the hard drives are removable and the largest spec is at 375mm with them still in the chassis, you can add a few inches onto that dimension if you remove them.
One thing the chart doesn't mention is the set of dust filters found in the Switch 810. There is a pair in the front on the fan bays behind a removable panel and yet another one under the chassis that removes from the front. Then there is also one under the PSU and removes out the back keeping all of the holes well filtered that will be attracting dust.
Inside the chassis you will find four 140mm fans have been included in various locations like one in the front, one in the top, one in the rear and one to blow on your GPU's that is strapped to the hard drive rack and they are all 140mm in size. Each fan hole will allow for either a 120mm or 140mm fan in all ten locations. Part of that Hybrid Full Tower thing allows the chassis to fully accept radiators on the inside. You can hang a triple radiator in the roof, a dual on the floor and you can hang a single radiator on the back of the chassis as well. For the equipment you want to install, the motherboard tray accepts a variety of form factors from Mini-ITX on up to E-ATX or XL-ATX boards. The drive bays offer room for four 5.25" devices with a cool little HDD tray in the bottom one with a back plane. Under those you will have room for six 3.5" drives in the slide out trays. Each of the trays also has holes to mount a 2.5" drive as well.
Had I written this prior to CES I would have had to tell you that you had to wait a week or two for the case to arrive at e-tailers near you. Well, that isn't the case and this Switch 810 has indeed made it to market now. I mentioned before that the goal was to deliver all of this without making you have to break the old piggy bank or rob the couch of change to make it happen. Alas the only place right at this moment you can locate this chassis is directly from NZXT for $169.99 and we should expect them to hit Newegg and others soon. Not that that price is going to get any better, but hey some of us are still loyal to our favorite e-tailers.
Even though the box was pretty roughed up during shipping, we are still able to see the white version of the Switch 810 on the black panel much easier. At the top of the panel is the Switch 810 name and chassis size, while at the bottom this chassis is floating on a rainbow!
Here are seven various languages listing the features of the Switch 810 with another look at the chassis at the bottom.
The back offers a brief statement to start things off and then moves right into the interior of the chassis and all of its features. Eight smaller windows around the chassis show in closer detail the more important features to be found.
This side offers the specifications for the bays, the cooling that is included and that which is optional, the maximum lengths of cards and coolers and the general specs at the bottom. Lastly you see a pair of boxes, one of which has a blue sticker on it denoting the color of the included chassis.
The packaging on the Swift 810 is top notch! Even by using simple products like the Styrofoam end caps and the plastic liner everyone else does, NZXT went even further. Since the chassis is so shiny, there is an additional foam liner added under the plastic as a just in case measure of protection.
As if the packaging we seen up to now wasn't enough! NZXT again takes that extra step and not only covers all of that shiny plastic on the case with another layer of plastic protection; it's actually taped into place to be darn certain it won't get scratched.
NZXT Switch 810 Hybrid Full Tower Chassis
Our first glance at the front of the Switch shows off four 5.25" bay covers, a super long expanse of shiny black plastic and a bit of ventilation at the bottom. There is much more here than meets the eye.
Behind a flip down panel at the top you will find your front I/O panel with the pair each of USB 2.0 and 3.0 connections. There is an SD card reader along with the 3.5mm jacks and the reset button and LED button to turn on a light in the back of the case above the expansion slots. You will also notice the top bay cover is a stealth cover to allow the drive to open through it.
Here I removed all of the bay covers and also removed the cover panel on the bottom of the bezel. The Switch 810 gives you no real reason to fully remove the front bezel. That being said I never did, as there is no need.
At the very bottom of the front there is the access for part of the under the case filtering. These filters lock into place with a latch and you simply have to push on them to release it and then push it in until it clicks to lock it back in place.
The top of the chassis offers the option to leave the vents closed as they are now. They will also open to allow for ventilation with the use of the large slider handle in the back.
Pressing down on the back of the louvered panel allows it to come off so we can look down into the trench for radiators. It has all the holes to allow for fittings as well as mounts for 140mm and 120mm fans.
The paint applied to the Switch is the same treatment the Phantom cases receive with the very shiny finish. Since I haven't opened the chassis the covering is still on the inside of the window, but I got an image later of the view, so don't worry, I will get to it.
In the back I found that the fan is adjustable and will move up or down as needed. Along with the rear I/O and the nine ventilated slot covers, you get four large holes for water lines to pass through as well.
The back of my case should be very shiny, but it seems someone cleaned it before shipping with some WD-40 or something. Not a big deal really. I'm sure some soapy warm water and a soft towel can make this go away.
The chassis gets supported by rails on either side that have long, skinny, rubber pads on them. In between is the pair of dust filters that cover the entire bottom of the Switch, one out the front and one out the back.
Inside the NZXT Switch 810
Looking inside the Switch there is a lot to take in all at once. First I need to dig into the wiring and get that out of the way and try to locate the hardware and then we can get into a bit more detail.
The top three of the four 5.25" bays use tool-less latches to lock in the devices while the lowest one uses thumbscrews to hold a tray in front of the pack plane that will take either a 3.5" or a 2.5" storage drive.
The six bays of the hard drive rack are contained in this pair of modular cages. There are six longer thumbscrews that hold them all into place, once they are removed they can both come out, or either of them put back in.
See, just like this! Now if you want the middle open, just swap out the racks and add a pair of thumbscrews back to the holes to keep them in place. Also notice both drives have a swivel rack for fans to allow you to set the angle of airflow. Oh and there is that hardware box!
Looking up at the top of the chassis shows that NZXT puts the fans on the inside. You will see in the build that there is also plenty of room to hang a radiator here and move the fans on top if you wish as well.
The motherboard tray looks a little insane to be honest. Thirteen wire management holes that surround all form factors of applicable motherboards. There are fifteen places to tie wires to and a very large CPU cooler back plate access hole.
There are six rests for the PSU to sit on to accommodate longer PSUs as well. In front of that you are seeing half of the dual fan holes in the floor for both 120mm or 140mm fans and radiators.
Since the rear 140mm fan sits about even with the rear I/O top, you can get an idea of just how thick of a radiator you can install in here. If you are using thinner radiators, there is no reason the top can't be set up as a push/pull configuration.
Behind the tray NZXT does somewhat of a job on tying the wiring back and pre-routing all of the fans for power to that central hub seen in the middle, just under the CPU cooler access hole.
Getting in a little closer we can see that there are seven total 3-pin fan headers to connect to, four of which are already used by the included fans. The PCB receives power via a 4-pin Molex adapter that is bent toward the bottom of the chassis.
The included wiring contains the SD card reader, both USB 3.0 in native form and USB 2.0 jacks, as there are two of those. There is the power, reset, HDD LED and activity LED connections along with the HD Audio cable.
Accessories and Documentation
The hardware box contained a few things, one of which was a larger bag containing these smaller labeled bags of all the screws, risers and riser socket.
Included in this taller Switch chassis is a black, individually sleeved, 8-pin EPS extension cable to be sure you can reach the top of the case and look good doing it. There is also another bag containing six zip ties to help manage your wiring.
The manual is more of a fold out set of instructions that will not only give you a parts check list and a wiring diagram for all the connections, it does a thorough job of helping you through the chassis build as well.
There is a fully labeled exploded diagram of the Switch 810 so anyone can see, in just one location, how to gain access to the inside components and hidden areas without breaking anything.
Until I had looked at this image, I was unaware that the lower section of the front even came off. I thought it was a bit funny not seeing screw heads for the fan on the inside and I was sure the whole bezel shouldn't have to come off. All I had to do was push in and the top on both sides and the clips released allowing me to remove the panel.
This is just to prove in concept what I have been saying about fully water cooling ready! You can see that NZXT planned the chassis to be fully equipped to cool even the most aggressive systems with water.
The Build and Finished Product
Putting the DVD drive in was simple enough and the stealth cover went right on and functioned perfectly. To install my SSD I pulled this tray out and screwed down the drive. Then I just slid it in and allowed the connections to be made here for me.
The means to get started all I needed to do was pull off two of these covers, work a tool-less latch and use a couple thumbscrews and the front is done and the drives are in place. It looks exactly like when we started this review and I love that my drive doesn't break up all of the shiny!
Since the case was so large it swallows my build for breakfast and demands more. Look above the board at all of that room to house a radiator and fans. Since they provided the black adapter, I figured I would use my red 24-pin connection to match the RAM and CPU fan color.
Nothing to complain about back here either! The cards went in smooth and lined up well and the rear I/O plate went right in as well. The PSU is a bit tricky to get on that back corner support post, but once there, it also aligned perfectly.
I can't really believe the thickness of wiring I am going to try to close the door over in this build. I have the 24-pin lying on top of the I/O wiring and then I have the GPU leads over the top of both of those. This will be a real good test for this case, or any case for that matter.
I added the panels with ease since they clip in a rail at the front and then you just gently press them into place and add the screws. Here is the Switch 810 in its last image before we add some power to it.
With the chassis powered up, there is a white glow around the front of the top cover and the slightest flicker of white LED just behind the power button located at the top, the dull piece in the shiny rolled over edge. Other than that there is no LED lighting unless you add it.
A case with a window, in my opinion should really highlight the hardware behind it. Although the plastic used is sort of distorted to the view, you can see your entire motherboard and everything added to it pretty nicely and makes hiding all of those wires well worth the effort.
What is there left to say about the Switch 810 Hybrid full tower chassis? I mean the case has everything.
It's large and in charge, it has that shiny piano black finish, has a ton of features, room for all sorts of water cooling and sells at a really great price! There is really nothing I can fault this design for. While the exterior isn't for everyone, the Phantom chassis proved in sales that enough people do like this look to take it to the next level. With the Switch 810, NZXT is going to have a tough time doing better than this design in the future. The Switch 810 is really just that good!
The cooling in the chassis as it was shipped to me was sufficient enough to deliver slightly above average results in my round of abuse. I did have the top louvers open during this testing and also gauged my audio levels with them open. While the Switch 810 does hum a bit even at like four to five feet away, it is much quieter than many other offerings. Having the included trick fan on the inside really helps to force that cool air up to the CPU and GPUs before it gets removed with the top and rear fans and this did help in the results. I tried it flat against the cage and in the 20ᵒ extended position as well and I found a slight angle to full angle is better than leaving it flat against the cage. Don't forget, you can still add another five fans to give even better cooling results.
For a company who I was slightly upset with, the last two submissions in cases have really sort of made me forget all about it. The Switch 810 is the new "it" case and you are going to be seeing a ton of mods done in it and likely will be seeing it at some of the upcoming LAN events. While the chassis is a fingerprint and dust magnet and will require some additional cleaning than most other cases, I still think that is worth the effort to have this sleek and sexy chassis holding your next build.
If you just can't wait and must have the Switch 810 right now, feel free to grab one directly from NZXT. No matter how you look at it, even if the exterior isn't "your thing" for $169.99 and everything you get, it is likely enough to even change your mind.
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