Author: Adam Wilson
First impressions are important, and the NZXT Switch 810 SE gives off a classy, refined vibe. The exterior is very visually appealing, with a toned-down look compared to some of NZXT’s previous cases. I am not a big fan of “extreme styling,” so the NZXT Switch 810 SE was right up my street.
Starting with the packaging, NZXT have taken a lot of care to make sure that your case won’t be damaged by over-enthusiastic couriers, with ample spacing between the box itself and its contents. Two huge styrofoam brackets hold the front and rear of the case, protecting it from drops and bangs. When I received my Switch, it was in excellent condition, and I’m sure with the amount of protection in the box, most, if not all others will be too.
Externally, the Switch 810 SE manages to both look understated and blend with many room types, but also manages to draw you in by using accent details that force you to take a closer look. The front panel has plentiful connectivity; two USB 2.0, two USB 3.0, an SD Card Reader, and of course headset/microphone inputs. This will be sufficient for almost anyone; I know that I can be using plenty of USB devices or memory drives at any time, and I find my needs covered with this case. Four external 5.25” drive bays provide ample room to install reservoirs, fan controllers, CDRom drives or anything else you may need to toss in there. The bottom 5.25” bay being a hard disk hot swap bay was a nice touch; useful for people who have need to transfer their data between locations without an abundance of fiddling.
Every care has been taken to ensure that anywhere you could place a fan that will draw from the exterior of the case will be dust filtered. Not only are they in excellent locations, but they are easily removed for cleaning. On some other cases I have used, the dust filters (if there are any at all) can slide around and can make for a very irritating experience when moving your case. The click-lock mechanism is effective without being at all complicated. Too much dust can cause performance degradation, fan lockups, and ultimately hardware failure. Dust filters, though simple, are an excellent solution to this problem.
NZXT knows that people buying full-tower cases are most likely water coolers or enthusiasts. Typically, this demographic spend time making their internal components looking neat and tidy, so of course NZXT have provided an absolutely HUGE side panel window. The window is locked into place with small steel tabs, is of a thickness that doesn’t bend under pressure, and looks absolutely fantastic. It will show off almost every component inside your case, whilst leaving room to hide the things you may not want seen.
9 expansion slots on the rear of the case provide enough room to install anything you could need. SLI or CrossFire? Check. Tri-SLI or CrossFire? Check. QUAD SLI or CrossFire? You bet! Wanna throw a sound card in there too? No problem. This much room should be sufficient for almost everyone, except maybe those running all of the above and then some more. Without a doubt one of the best details on the NZXT Switch 810 SE is the rear I/O light. Next to your plethora of inputs on the front panel is a small button. Push this button and two LEDs turn on at the rear of the case. One is above your motherboards I/O, and the other is above the 9 expansion slots. This takes the guesswork out of connecting all your peripherals to your computer, and makes it extremely easy to locate any port you may need at any given time. It’s an absolutely fantastic idea and one that, now that I think of it, I’m surprised no one has done it before.
The top closable vents are a really cool idea, but in practice I’ve found I’ve little use for them. I have a 120mm radiator at the top of my case with two fans in a push/pull configuration. If I close the vents, I can still hear the fans, albeit less. I find myself using this feature to keep dust out of the case when the power is off, rather than its intended noise-reduction function. Overall the exterior of the case is excellent; I love that NZXT have created angular gunmetal panels against the flat black accents of the case. It all comes together seamlessly and looks excellent next to my desk. When paint is applied to metal and plastic, frequently you’re left with a slightly different shade when compared against the other material. NZXT have managed to match the panels to the chassis excellently. The top and lower-front plastic panels use a push-lock system that makes removing the panels extremely easy should you need to clean, add or remove your fans.
Internally, my first thoughts were “Space!” The Switch 810 SE utilizes every millimeter to its advantage and provides you with a huge amount space to work with. You can give yourself even more space if you decide to ditch one or both of the 3.5” drive bays, and removal is easily done just by unscrewing some thumb screws – no tools required. The motherboard tray is offset slightly so as to accommodate large radiators mounted in the roof, in push/pull configuration, without hitting any of the VRMs on your motherboard or your RAM. This is great if you’re water cooling, however I did find myself wishing there was another cable routing hole in this free space, as my CPU cooler uses multiple cables I’d like to be able to have as little showing as possible.
On that point, the cable routing positions are excellent. If you’re as obsessed about internal tidiness as I am, then you’re likely going to be extremely satisfied by the amount you can hide the very vast majority of your cables. Another small yet excellent feature is the ability to place your rear exhaust fan in slightly offset positions. This enables you to mount rear fans (and radiators) in optimal positions to either help with airflow from your air cooler, or to accommodate that large radiator in the roof that we mentioned before. I love that there are fan holes drilled in positions that aren’t exactly typical – for example, on the floor of the case. This allows the option to install a bottom intake fan or bottom-mounted radiator, something many cases neglect.
The two tilt-mount fan locations are yet another detail that doesn’t come standard on any case I’ve seen prior to the Switch 810 SE, but now that I’ve seen it I can’t think why. It’s extremely useful for directing airflow at your graphics card(s) and CPU socket, keeping everything just that little bit cooler. The inclusion of a 7-fan hub is extremely useful for those of us who use a multitude of fans in our cases to keep our expensive components cool, but I would have loved to have this hub have a way to control the fan speed – if connected to the hub, they all run at 100% speed, 100% of the time.
Installation of every component was fast and easy. NZXT have taken every care to make the entire process as trouble free to their customers as is possible. Installing your standoffs is helped by a small tool that allows the use of a screwdriver on your standoffs, ensuring a tight fit. Motherboard cut-outs are typically “just right” allowing you to mount your CPU cooler in-case, but sometimes this can be a difficulty as motherboard CPU sockets tend to move around slightly with each new chipset. NZXT have future proofed themselves, whilst retaining legacy compatibility, by making the CPU cutout extra large. I had no issue installing my closed-loop water cooling product in the case, whereas I have struggled in the past with other cases. Installation of 3.5” drives is easy and trouble-free, and 2.5” drives are equally easy. I like that NZXT listened to its customers the first time around and fixed the hard drive tray problem for its latest revision. Tool-free designs for 5.25” bay devices are designed with ease-of-use in mind, but the NZXT Switch 810 SE’s tool-less system is definitely one of the easiest I’ve seen. Simply slide the drive in and it’ll click into place, and then you can slide the lock tab on the mounting clip and it will remain secured until you decide you want to remove it.
Rubber feet at the PSU mounting point ensure that no vibration noise will come from your power supplies fan ramping up. I intentionally used a non-modular power supply when installing my power supply so I could measure just how much room is provided to you for cable routing and management. I managed to put every single cable behind the motherboard tray, using those I needed, and hiding those I didn’t. In doing so, I expected some bowing of the side panel – but didn’t get any! The side panel closes completely flat. There is so much room back there!
Finally, NZXT have provided you every single screw type you could possibly need when building inside the Switch 810 SE. This is a common occurrence in cases, yet it is not something that should be overlooked. NZXT have even provided a sleeved cable extension from their Premium Cables line for your 8-Pin CPU header; this is something that every single manufacturer of full tower cases should do, yet do not. Cables from power supplies are often not long enough for larger chassis, and NZXT have you covered here.
An overall impression shows you a case that is built solid, that looks fantastic, with excellent features, and with incredible attention to detail. The rear light, tiltable internal fan mounts, hotswap bay, space utilization and small details like the standoff tool combine to create what I would describe to be an absolute stroke of genius. The attention to detail on the Switch 810 SE is second-to-none, and the case is now taking pride-of-place in my workspace.
Overall ThinkComputers.org would like to award the NZXT Switch 810 Special Edition Gunmetal Case a 10 out of 10 score and our Editors Choice Award!
- Very attractive
- Huge case window
- A lot of room to work in
- Extensive water cooling support
- Excellent air cooling support, with 4 fans included
- Rear I/O light is genius
- Substantial cable management options
- Tool free system is excellent
- 3.5” bays are removable without substantial modding
- I would have loved just one more cable routing hole above the motherboard mounting location
- Fan hub would be better if it was a controller
- SOME 140/280/420mm radiators won’t fit without light modding