Testing Methodology

For testing ATX cases, we use the following standardized testbed in stock and overclocked configurations to get a feel for how well the case handles heat and noise.

Full ATX Test Configuration
CPU Intel Core i7-875K
(95W TDP, tested at stock speed and overclocked to 3.8GHz @ 1.38V)
Motherboard ASUS P7P55D-E Pro
Graphics Card Zotac NVIDIA GeForce GTX 580 (244W TDP)
Memory 2x2GB Crucial Ballistix Smart Tracer DDR3-1600
Drives Kingston SSDNow V+ 100 64GB SSD
Western Digital Caviar Black 1TB SATA 6Gbps
Samsung 5.25" BD-ROM/DVDRW Drive
CPU Cooler Zalman CNPS9900 MAX with Cooler Master ThermalFusion 400
Power Supply SilverStone Strider Gold 750W 80 Plus Gold

A refresher on how we test:

Acoustic testing is standardized on a foot from the front of the case, using the Extech SL10 with an ambient noise floor of ~32dB. For reference, that's what my silent apartment measures with nothing running, testing acoustics in the dead of night (usually between 1am and 3am). A lot of us sit about a foot away from our computers, so this should be a fairly accurate representation of the kind of noise the case generates, and it's close enough to get noise levels that should register above ambient.

Thermal testing is run with the computer having idled at the desktop for fifteen minutes, and again with the computer running both Furmark (where applicable) and Prime95 (less one thread when a GPU is being used) for fifteen minutes. I've found that leaving one thread open in Prime95 allows the processor to heat up enough while making sure Furmark isn't CPU-limited. We're using the thermal diodes included with the hardware to keep everything standardized, and ambient testing temperature is always between 71F and 74F. Processor temperatures reported are the average of the CPU cores.

For more details on how we arrived at this testbed, you can check out our introductory passage in the review for the IN-WIN BUC.

Last but not least, we'd also like to thank the vendors who made our testbed possible:

Thank You!

We have some thanks in order before we press on:

  • Thank you to Crucial for providing us with the Ballistix Smart Tracer memory we used to add memory thermals to our testing.
  • Thank you to Zalman for providing us with the CNPS9900 MAX heatsink and fan unit we used.
  • Thank you to Kingston for providing us with the SSDNow V+ 100 SSD.
  • Thank you to CyberPower for providing us with the Western Digital Caviar Black hard drive, Intel Core i7-875K processor, ASUS P7P55D-E Pro motherboard, and Samsung BD-ROM/DVD+/-RW drive.
  • And thank you to SilverStone for providing us with the power supply.
Assembling the NZXT Switch 810 Noise and Thermal Testing, Stock
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  • Zstream - Wednesday, February 1, 2012 - link

    That has better noise control? Reply
  • TerdFerguson - Wednesday, February 1, 2012 - link

    Looking at the construction materials, design, etc, I just don't understand how this needs to be selling at $170. Is the price set merely to differentiate from other products? Can't some researcher actually find out what it costs to manufacture such a case? THAT is what I'd like to read. Ditto for motherboards. Reply
  • Morg. - Wednesday, February 1, 2012 - link

    Speaking about the price tag ... Why not get a HAF X instead ? I mean there's a bunch of more interesting features, better cooling ... I think NZXT missed the point with this one.

    And on the other hand .. you can get so much quieter with other cases/. meh.
    Reply
  • domezone - Saturday, February 4, 2012 - link

    Attempting to justify price tags on logical points such as material costs as well as labor costs is illogical. Any amount of overhead or other middle men taking a cut will raise the price. Beyond a middle man and direct from the manufacture still leaves an overly inflated price point. This is not just for this product unfortunately, I wouldn't assume there are many products or services that actually cost what it costs the company + small amounts of profit.

    Though if you had questioned a company *any amount of questioning before breaking an arm off in court* the costs would be directly based on employee wages and materials with very modest markups. Guess the research and development costs need to be offset so a computer case set the company back $170 per unit....

    no grammar hawks please I know I make errors
    Reply
  • cjs150 - Wednesday, February 1, 2012 - link

    This is a case designed for watercooling rigs. Massive room up top, and only a little bit of changing allows for a radiator in bottom.

    The lack of fan control is not a major issue. Lots of motherboards have built in fan control and if all else fails buy a separate controller - not exactly expensive.

    My problem with this is simply that it is overpriced and nothing original. Simply example. If case is 235mm wide, would it be better to instal the PSU at tight angles (Lian Li have tried this) rather than conventionally? Makes for neating wiring.

    I wonder if NZXT will follow with a smaller case (Switch 610 maybe)
    Reply
  • danchen - Wednesday, February 1, 2012 - link

    storm trooper ! Reply
  • Iketh - Tuesday, February 7, 2012 - link

    +1 Reply
  • danacee - Wednesday, February 1, 2012 - link

    I do not know why they insist upon mounting the PSU on the bottom sucking off the ground, but like bottom mounted freezers on trendy fridges and flat keyboards; it is moronic.

    Obviously just another cheap ploy to rip off Apple's Powermac and Mac Pro, who unlike these stupid asinine idiot me too PSU case makers; keep the PSU from sucking dirt off the ground and blowing up.
    Reply
  • Impulses - Wednesday, February 1, 2012 - link

    I believe the idea is to keep it away from the hotter areas (CPU/mem), since hot air rises anyway... Most cases have bottom filters and many users simply don't plant their cases on the floor.

    I'm not saying I agree with that logic, on a gamer's case the bottom location is bound to be as warm as anywhere else due to the GPU(s), although GPU are under load less often than the CPU (unless the system's used strictly for gaming).

    It does seem odd to me that bottom PSU placement is almost universally favored now considering its sometimes a wash as far as temps and it can complicate wiring, but maybe I'm just rationalizing.
    Reply
  • Impulses - Wednesday, February 1, 2012 - link

    Personally I really dig Silverstone's 90 degree designs, but I haven't gotten around to trying one of them first hand. They're not the most flexible, since they complicate cable management even more and they're not really efficient if you're not using high powered or back vented GPUs, but for a gaming case it seems like the ideal solution... Kind of what BTX should've been. Reply

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