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Tuesday, 13 March 2012 17:10

NZXT Switch 810 Full Tower Chassis reviewed - Inside and testing - part 2

Written by Sanjin Rados

thumbrecommended08 75

Review: Big and beautiful

Switch 810 has four 5.25’’ bays. Bottommost 5.25“ bay  is an HDD docking bay that acts as a hot-swap unit. Unfortunately, we cannot show you this since our test sample lacks a hot-swap connector and it seems as if someone simply forgot to include it in the package.

Again unfortunately, this is not the only thing that's missing on our Switch 810. Namely, the topmost bay should come with a bezel that covers the optical drive. The first picture below shows how the optical drive bezel looks on the reference Switch 810 case. The picture after that one shows that our Switch 810 only comes with standard covers on 5.25'' bays. The cover over the HDD docking bay comes with air inlets.

switch810-optical-drive-bezel

front-bay-cover

There’s no need to take the entire panel off just to mount a DVD drive – all you need to do is remove the bay covers and you’re good to go. The front panel 5.25”  drive bay covers can be removed by grabbing them from the sides, pushing inwards and pulling. The plastic is tough but bends just enough to ensure easy handling.

switch-inside-2

removable-bay2

Installing 5.25” devices is easy. The toolles mechanism works well. You'll find spare thumb screws screwed into the HDD cage, which is something we saw in Alienware's cases some five or six years ago. We're glad that NZXT left spare screws here because they'll always be within reach and you won't lose them. There are some cables hanging from the I/O panel, but there is enough room for them not to get in the way of mounting drives in topmost 5.25'' bay.

drive-bay

There are two removable HDD cages, each with three bays for 3.5” or 2.5” drives. HDD cage on the front comes with a cage handle for easier removal. Note that you'll first need to unscrew four screws that hold the cage.

hdd-cage-1

Once the lower HDD cage is removed, there is room for 140 or 240mm radiators on the bottom panel.

hdd-cage-2

The drives are mounted in the HDD cage from the back.

hdd-cage-3

You’ll find anti-vibration grommets in every bay. While the plastic brackets are quite tough, I personally didn't like the mounting system since the grommets move and are hard to set in the right position. Still, they performed their main task well, which is preventing vibration.

hdd-cage-4

The HDD cage has a pivot fan that can be angled to blow air onto graphics cards and CPU coolers. This is definitely a nice way to improve airflow inside the case.

fan-hdd

We had some problems while angling this fan since it is set a bit too low and leans on the bottom HDD cage. The picture below shows that the fan stretches outside of its frame on the HDD cage. NZTX said that the sample we received is a pre-production one and that this will not be the case with retail versions.

fan-hdd-1

hdd-cage-fan

All cables that come from the I/O panel, as well as fan cables, are sleeved for better looks and easier cable management. Switch 810 comes with internal USB 3.0 connectors. We liked the fact that the e-SATA connector on the front I/O panel uses SATA power rather than Molex.

esata-power

We have about 17mm free space to work with in the back. There are ten wide holes for cable management. You'll find plenty of clips and notches on the back of the motherboard tray for tying cables.

back-side

Internal fan extension PCB (power hub) will come in handy when installing additional fans, but it would be nice to see some fan controllers here as well. The power hub is on the picture below and, as you can see, it's mounted on the back of the motherboard.

power-hub

Just like the other three fans in Switch 810, the fan on the front panel uses a standard three-pin fan power connector. The power hub enables for powering the fans via a single peripheral Molex power connector from the PSU. The power hub will take a total of seven fans.

The PSU is on the bottom of the case. It has six stands for shorter and longer PSUs. The stands come with quality rubber grommets that don't seem to come off lightly, which wasn't the case in some other cases we tested, like Gelid's Dark Force for instance.

psu-1

The PSU filter can be taken off from the back without opening the case. All the other intake spots also come with easily removable filters, that won't require you to open the case.

psu-2

psu-3

LEDs are cheap to install and tend to be quite a nice feature, especially when putting them in the right place, which is exactly what NZXT did. The LEDs on the rear panel can be turned off but come in quite handy when you need to connect devices to the rear USB ports in a dark room.

test-switch-810-led-back

We were pleased with Switch 810's cooling. Perhaps the only flaw we found would be the fan noise. Closing the air slits on the top panel will knock a few dBs but we couldn't make them inaudible. If you want maximum silence, you'll need a fan regulator.

We tried to angle the pivot-fan to blow towards the graphics and CPU cooler, which resulted in 1.5°C less on the CPU and 1°C less on the graphics card. Although it doesn't seem that impressive, we often have to buy better thermal paste or even new CPU coolers in order to get such results. This time around, it only took a bit of angling.

(Page 7 of 8)
Last modified on Tuesday, 13 March 2012 17:17
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