Nyko Intercooler

Review

posted 2/13/2009 by Dan Keener
other articles by Dan Keener
Platforms: PS3
Since the introduction of the Xbox 360, Playstation 3 and Wii, NYKO has shown that they are not afraid to think outside the box and move faster than the big three themselves when it comes to creating solutions to accessory voids. One of NYKO’s most successful (and controversial) products to do this was the Intercooler for the Xbox 360, and later the PlayStation 3 and Wii. The device was designed to add additional cooling capacity via fan power and airflow through the cases of these next-gen consoles to help reduce or eliminate excessive heat. After utilizing the original Intercooler for the Xbox 360 on my Pro, I was able to get my hands on the latest incarnation (Gen 2) of the device for the PlayStation 3 called the Intercooler TS.

Out of the box it comes with an AC power cord, the Intercooler and an instruction manual. The great thing about a new and improved product is you can go back and see what is different, and of course, new and improved. In the case of the TS Intercooler for the Playstation 3, the first that jumps out is the size of the unit. The original Intercooler was a two-piece behemoth that wrapped around both the back and side of the PS3 making the whole console bugger by almost 15%. The TS is a much smaller single piece unit that snaps seamlessly to only the back of the PS3.

Before and After

In addition to the one-piece design and overall reduced size of the unit, the features include AC power with a 10’ power cord, variable speed fan and TempSmart technology that runs the Intercooler TS independent of the PlayStation 3 until the PS3 reaches the desired temperature. In addition, the four fans are of equal size, unlike the previous version that had two small and two larger sized fans.

Hooking up the Intercooler TS to the PS3 is extremely easy compared to the older version, as clips hold it to the vent on the back of the PlayStation 3 and then you simply plug in the ac power. With the previous version, you had to line up both pieces to not only the PS3 chassis, but to each other, so this is a huge improvement.

Setting up the unit is actually easier than connecting it to the PS3. Once the power is connected, simply adjust the large silver dial that controls the fans. The variable speed controller is a nice touch, as the Intercooler TS can get pretty loud if the fans are turned all the way up. However, during my testing, I determined that it never really needs to be turned up to more than half speed, as it draws lots of air out even at that speed. While I personally haven’t had many marathon gaming sessions on my PS3 that could create lots of heat, I have put it through several six+ hours movie madness events before. However, I know that many hardcore users will have it on for many hours, even days that could keep it warm and toast on the inside.

There were a couple of things I noticed during testing that I felt should be shared. The first is that similar to other versions of the Intercooler line, the unit will also stay on a few moments after the PS3 is turned off in order to vent any lingering heat to get it to the desired setting. So don’t get concerned if the fans are still running for a bit after powering off your PS3. The second concerns the coloring of the Intercooler. I hadn’t noticed it during normal handling, but when I attached it to the PS3 for photos there is a distinct difference in the color shade. Despite NYKO doing a pretty good job of matching the color of the Intercooler TS to the PlayStation 3, it is off ever so slightly. Under direct light, the Intercooler has more of a brown pigment to it than the pure piano black that the PS3 sports. This is more than likely only a minor thing, as the Intercooler will be out of sight behind or underneath the PS3 99% of the time anyways.

Difference

The biggest detriment to the Intercooler TS is that it can be extremely loud even on the lowest setting. In fact, when the fan is cranked all the way up, the sounds coming from my cabinet are more like first generation Xbox 360 DVD drive instead of the ultra-quiet PS3. You know it is on and working, but once the audio on the game is up and running, it will generally fades into the background. And frankly, the longer I have had it attached to my PS3 the less I hear it unless there is virtually no noise in the room when it kicks on. I just became used to the noise and it fades into the background.

One of the most ironic (and hilarious) moments I encountered during testing of the PlayStation 3 Intercooler TS came courtesy of my Xbox 360 Elite. To paint the scene, both my 360 and PS3 are located next to each other on the same shelf in my A/V cabinet. So after playing Rock Band 2 on the Xbox 360 for an extended period (about 2 hours), I decided to immediately stream a movie via Netflix through the 360. While starting the movie, I heard an unfamiliar noise from the cabinet that turned out to be the PS3 Intercooler TS firing up. It had kicked itself on trying to cool down the PS3 (which hadn’t been turned on in a couple days) because the cabinet was getting hot due to the Xbox 360 having been on for a lengthy period of time. I still get a smile on my face about that one.

Overall, the Intercooler TS for PlayStation 3 is a much improved product over its first generation sibling, especially with the addition of AC power and a slim one-piece design. These two changes alone would be worth updating for those that swear by the product. However, the reality it that it is really just a “nice to have” add-on to your system. It does what it is designed to do very well, but it may not be necessary as the PlayStation 3 has shown no tendencies to overheat, even in the most confined settings. Regardless, many gamers have been burned by faulty equipment (i.e. Xbox 360) and may want to consider this as a great way to be more safe than sorry. The Intercooler TS for PlayStation 3 can be found for $29.99 at most major retailers and a little less online.


B
The NYKO Intercooler TS for the PlayStation 3 is a vast improvement from the original version. However, it still doesn’t make the case as a must-have accessory. It does its job nicely (venting heat from the unit), but there really hasn’t been a case for the PS3 needing additional cooling. Yet, it doesn’t hurt to be err on the side of caution…


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