NZXT Switch 810 Reviewairman - May 10, 2012
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As usual, the first thing you check out when opening a case is looking at what's on and around the motherboard tray. The biggest thing standing out to me while looking at the inside is of course the full-coverage black paint job, and the ten wire-management grommets along the perimeter of where the motherboard will be attached. The only thing that I'm wary of is the CPU mounting access hole, which is oddly shaped (as opposed to a simple square or rectangle) in comparison to what I'm used to and I hope that it is compatible with this new X68 board of mine. We will find out shortly! Moving on, what I mentioned previously about the hard drive areas being very tidy can be seen in the bottom right. The hard drives will be completely hidden from sight and are accessed and wired through the opposite side panel. Many of us have been running our SATA power and signal cables out the back this way for wire management reasons, and now NZXT has now made that much easier! Also, if you look close enough, I've found the fourth 140mm fan — it's a pretty neat mechanism! I'll be showing that soon.
The other side of the case with the side panel removed, though just like most other cases, is a soothing vision because of several things. Obviously we get a better look at the wire management grommets in the motherboard tray, but of the wiring itself and what to expect. I will most likely pass these wires through other grommets, but its good to see that I won't have to deal with a huge harness out of the box. Mounted to the rear of the motherboard tray is a central fan hookup board, to which all of the included fans are connected. Two more fans can be used with this included splitter, though with more fans it might be more advantageous to get a dedicated fan controller like the NZXT Sentry Mesh controller (5x30w channels).
The 5.25" toolless bay locks are simple to use. Instead of sliding them one way or another, they simply bend outwards and remain there until the user pushes them back. A security tab on each of the three device bays can be clicked over to lock the toolless arm in place, though I can't imagine that any of them would "pop out" on their own. The toolless arm on the top drive bay is shifted back slightly because this location places an optical drive further away from the front in order for it to be able to clear the integrated, stealth drive bay cover.
Looking at a different angle (no pun intended), we can observe the pivoting fan mechanisms (and included 140mm fan) that allow one or two fans to be directed at specific areas in the case for optimum cooling based specifically on the component configuration. Each fan bracket has a swing path from about 0°~25°, which will easily cover single and dual GPU setups or even just direct air towards the CPU and/or pull warmer air away from the hard drive areas. The brackets are easily repositioned by loosening the thumb-screw clamp, selecting a new angle, and tightening the thumb-screw clamp. Both 120mm and 140mm fans can be used on these brackets. The brackets can also be removed entirely in order to allow more video card clearance with ease.
Just above these two pivoting fan mounts are the back-end goods of the hot swappable SATA hard drive bay (found in the bottom 5.25" device bay). It is powered by a simple 4-pin molex plug. I like that it doesn't have permanent wires for power and signal hanging off of it like some cases do on their hard drive bays, but without some pretty right-angle connectors, it may be hard to make it look clean if the cables are plugged into it. Luckily I'm not a hot-swap user so I need not worry, but others certainly would. It accepts 3.5" and 2.5" drives with no problem, so rest assured that your drives will be compatible. On the back side of the case is a distribution area through which all of the fans in the case can be powered from a single 4-pin molex connection for a total of seven fans. Only four are used out of the box, so up to three more can be added to satisfy the user's desire — maxing out the usable fan locations in the case. As far as wire management goes, inside of the rear of the motherboard tray is a decent amount of room to stash wires. It's not anything to run home and tell mom about, but it's enough to not have to force the side panel closed as long as the wires aren't stacked up on each other in a huge bundle.
Behind the pivoting fan brackets are the six 3.5" hard drive slots. As shown briefly earlier, hard drives / SSDs are loaded from the opposite side so that all of the trays and wiring can be hidden from view. With multiple hard drives, it can be difficult to keep 6+ plugs (plus triple or more of that in individual wires) tidy and hidden. The trays themselves are nothing special and are standard in comparison to other hard drive trays from other cases and manufacturers. Constructed from black plastic, the tray clips onto the hard drive and holds it securely. 2.5" hard drives can also be used with these trays, though mounting screws are required. The entire hard drive cage can be removed as a whole from inside of the case by folding the two black handles into each other and sliding them out. Removing one or both of these cages may be necessary when using extra long video cards and/or making room for water cooling components such as reservoirs or pumps. Replacement is simply the reverse of their removal.
Getting the computer together in the case was no problem and took very little time. Even though they are available, I have never been able to determine a need for so many wiring pass-throughs in the motherboard tray. Other than front panel I/O, SATA, maybe a molex or two, and video card power, I can't imagine using more than three or four out of the ten that are present. I guess it's nice to have the comfort of having all of them available. With everything installed, it is evident that there is a lot of real estate inside of the NZXT Switch 810. There are several inches between the angled fan and an XFX HD 7970, and the motherboard looks dwarfed once mounted inside albeit the Gigabyte motherboard isn't quite as wide as a full ATX board (short by a little over an inch). I have no complaints as to the level of effort required to get the computer together. Once powered on, the NZXT Switch 810 is rather subtle when it comes to lighting. Without any LED fans, there aren't any glowy bits — so for those who are going to want some eye candy, be prepared to pick up a couple of LED fans for the front and the top.