My hotplate can play Gears! – Nyko Intercooler STS Review
The Nyko Intercooler STS for the Xbox 360 has one purpose: beat the heat. Heat management is a key concern for electronics. Without it, your valuable digital entertainment device could malfunction, cease working altogether, or combust in spectacular fashion. Nobody is going to forget the minor hardware issue experienced by an isolated handful of XBox users a few years back. However, as people are wont to do, they are unusually fearful of this particular topic well after the point of resolution. And as other people are inclined to do when fear exists, is to exploit it and make money hand over fist. As such, hardware was delivered to retailer shelves to cash in on consumer fears. Now, in fairness, I have a slight case of OCD where thermal dissipation is concerned and have purchased the item we’re about to review for personal use. The question is, did I get my money’s worth or just an aesthetically pleasing dose of snake oil? Let’s find out.
Nyko, whose original heat-dissipation solution for the 360, the Intercooler, had the unfortunate habit of supposedly voiding warranties and causing short circuits due to flaws in its pass-through power source (for the record, this was rectified with the EX and TS models, which were designed and released after Microsoft stated that ANY evidence of Intercooler use would render the warranty void) designed and released the STS for those not quite willing to accept Microsoft’s claims about the Slim. Attaching to the grille located above the heat sink, USB powered, and looking quite like a sexy supercharger for your 360, the STS pulls the hot air from the console’s internal fans and blows it towards the front of the console, vs. straight out from the top/side (depending on orientation). The forward-facing exhaust makes use in a cramped entertainment center a bit more palatable, but really, if you’re willingly shoving a console into a space with that little airflow so as to be a legitimate concern then you’re richly deserving of your soon-to-be-bricked box.
But to determine if it is in fact doing what it’s supposed to do, which if you haven’t figured out by now is help keep the operating temperature of the 360 Slim at a non-catastrophic level, a more targeted observation than “it blows hot air so it must be working” is required. That the STS blows hot air is unsurprising. It is a fan, after all, and there is already hot air being blown directly into its intake by the console heatsink. Logic insists on a connection. So we will take MY Xbox 360 Slim and offer it up to you, my lovely sycophants, as the guinea pig.
As the Intercooler STS covers the entirety of the vent, I am using a constant location for temperature readings. After testing several potential hot spots, I settled on an area located on the front-right of the case, to the right of the power button and roughly 1″ above the USB ports, at a 1″ distance. My resulting measurements are as follows:
So for $20, the Intercooler STS does provide peace of mind, and apparently makes good on its promise to help the system heatsink prevent your console from transforming into a Microsoft-branded hibachi. As to whether it is truly a necessary piece of hardware, I’ll let you come to your own decision. Unless you’re that paranoid about the issue, or rather taken with an urge to make the top of your 360 look like the hood of a car with a supercharged engine…
Wanderson75.net gives the Intercooler STS 4/5
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