NZXT Switch 810 Reviewairman - May 10, 2012
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As we just saw in the Testing & Results section, the performance of the NZXT Switch 810 really seems to take control of the other cases and put up some impressive numbers for being as quiet as it is. The interior pivoting fan appears to have been a very worthwhile addition to the case as it dropped the GPU and hard drive temperatures by several degrees from where I had unplugged the fan to see the difference out of curiosity. The system temperature did hit 1° lower with the fan on than it did without it a couple of times, but since it was unsteady I'll write it off as a less significant fact. On the size and shape of the case, I like it. There is an extraordinary amount of room on the inside of it for just about anything we would want to put in a case, especially when it comes to video card real estate. Removing one (or even both) of the hard drive cages almost doubles the amount of usable room inside of the case for water cooling or other components, and you'll still have the space for a hard drive inside of the 5.25" hot swap bay.
As far as the feature list goes, it's quite exciting as well. The built-in memory card reader is huge for me and I use it all the time. Pulling the card out of the camera and putting it in the card slot sure beats having to lug a big SLR to the computer, plug it in, turn it on to realize the battery is out of it to charge, worry about yanking it off the desk if someone trips on the cable, etc. On top of that, even though I probably haven't actually used an optical drive for over three years, having the stealthed drive bay cover to hide a potentially ugly beige drive and offer an OEM-style integration is a cool thought. I remember years ago modding my cases' drive bay covers where I trimmed and fastened them to the optical drive trays for a really cool flush, hidden look when the drive is closed. Users can have something similar with an NZXT Switch 810 without the extra work and trial and error. Also, the LEDs in the back of the case illuminate your motherboard's I/O panel nicely in the dark, making any wiring changes much less frustrating when you may not be near an immediate light source.
On the negative side of my thoughts on the case, I really, really don't prefer high gloss finishes on cases especially in plastic. A high gloss and reflective powder coat is okay, but when it comes to plastic I really don't like it. On the NZXT Switch 810, gloss is everywhere. On 95% of the case's surfaces, you can find a high gloss surface finish. It makes cases look cheap in my opinion. It is no doubt a solid, well-performing chassis with a great feature set, but I think NZXT missed it in the aesthetics department for a $150+ dollar case. Look at low-end case manufacturers (yeah, the $25-40 dollar cases on Newegg) and you will see the obvious love and overuse of glossy plastic. There is some rubberized matte finish on the top and front trim of the case, but it offers very little contrast between the large amount of glossiness. Again, it's just my opinion, though I have seen a lot of cases in my experiences.
Opinions aside, the closeable vents on the top of the case are unique and I'm sure some people will be thrilled with having that ability. However, it's a lot of (flimsy) moving plastic parts that if fully closed or open, can be difficult to actuate without having to coax the mechanism by pushing down on it through the vents. If you never open or close the vents fully, it operates smoothly. But since it "locks" at both ends thanks to its design, a little 3/8" deep, 1.5" wide handle does not provide a large enough moment to make it move well. If it wasn't made out of what feels like Rubbermaid plastic (it's really, really flexible) or didn't snap open or closed, I think it would work a lot better.
To conclude, I want to say that if I ignore my distaste for glossy plastic and the mediocre design of the vent/louver mechanism at the top, I like the NZXT Switch 810 and I don't mean that sarcastically. It has a lot of features that other cases just haven't offered and aren't really available in any other models. The fan layout works great, it has an atrocious amount of room for components like water cooling goods and fans, plus it performs very well compared to many other cases out there. I really hope NZXT keeps the Switch series in its lineup, as long as the "cheapy" factor goes down and some of the high gloss finish goes away!
- Fantastic temperatures across the board
- Built-in multi-memory card reader
- Selectable LED illumination in the rear for ease of use in dark areas
- Dedicated pivot fan support for keeping GPUs cool
- Built-in OEM-style optical drive stealthing
- Hidden hot-swappable 3.5/2.5" SATA drive bay
- High-gloss surfaces highlight fingerprints very easily
- Vent/louver system at the top flexes during opening and closing making it difficult to use