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Score: 95%
Developer: Nyko
Device Type: Multi


"High-Efficiency Snap-On Cooling Device" - Printed on the Intercooler box

While I personally have had more heat problems with my 360 than I've ever had with my PS3, I readily admit that this could be attributed to how each is set up in my entertainment system; the 360 has a lot of ventilation, but the PS3 is on top of my entertainment system, open to the air. Regardless, it's highly unlikely that I would run either one of them continuously, for fear of them melting down. My wife was even hesitant to pause a game on either system long enough for us to go to a restaurant and return. I would feel for the amount of heat coming off of the system and then, typically, would suggest that it would be fine to leave running for an additional hour or so, but her fears were not unfounded, as many gamers would readily admit.


So, that having been said, could you imagine running your PS3 continuously? All day long... and then straight through the night? How about if it wasn't just sitting with a game on pause, but was instead seriously putting the Cell processor through its paces?

I found out about Folding@Home for the PS3 the day before I received the Intercooler for review. After folding a protein for eight hours, the PS3 was pushing out a good bit of heat. It occurred to me that this would be a good test for the Intercooler, so I hooked it up and went back to folding proteins. I checked the temperature by hand several times and found that, while it was warm, it was much cooler than it had been before I attached the Intercooler. Later, a thermometer would support this. I found that after hours of running the Cell-intensive and GPU-intensive Folding@Home client, the air coming out of the side (or top, if vertical) was only 98.1 degrees Fahrenheit and the air coming out of the back was only 105.3 degrees Fahrenheit. The same readings without the Intercooler resulted in a 103.1 degree temperature reading at the side vent and a reading in excess of 108 degrees in the back. (The thermometer I was using in the test was a digital thermometer whose range topped out at 108 degrees Fahrenheit.) Even if we simply assume 108 degrees in the back, this gives us a difference of 5 degrees at the side and 3 degrees in the back. Based on the rate that the speed was climbing when it passed up the 108 degree mark, however, I'd expect that it was at least 5 degrees in the back.

With temperature being a main enemy of electronics and next gen games using performing more elaborate calculations, a drop of 5 degrees is not to be taken lightly.

The other thing that I hadn't noticed before was that the PS3 has almost no airflow coming out of it; it was difficult to find a good place to take a temperature reading, because the PS3's vents have small hot spots and other areas that have almost no flow. The Intercooler greatly increases this flow, and the more flow, the more cooling effect.

  • 5 Powerful Fans to Move Hot Air Out of the PS3
  • Variable Fan Speed (Manual Control)
  • Cools Both of PS3s Primary Vents (Back and Side/Top)
  • Patented Pass-Thru Power - No Additional Power Cords
  • Relocates Power Switch to Front of PS3
  • Design Matches PS3
  • Works in Horizontal And Vertical Positions
  • Quick and Easy Assembly

Drawbacks & Problems::

While the design of the Intercooler is a very simple two-piece design, with no additional cords to deal with, it is important to install it slowly and carefully. The half of the unit that has the adjustment knob "snaps" into place on the right side (or top, if standing vertical) of the PS3. The design makes use of existing square holes in the venting area and it will take some patience to ensure that you line up the Intercooler with the correct squares. The instructions warn that you shouldn't force the piece into place, as you could break the tabs on the Intercooler or, perhaps, damage the PS3 itself. With a little bit of cautious fiddling and test-fitting, I found that it went on in about 3-5 minutes. Once I got the Intercooler installed, it seemed to be ever-so-slightly misaligned, but I am sure that it is installed in the best location available. It might be possible to apply some pressure to the unit and twist a bit and correct this slight alignment issue, but you'd really have to be looking for it to notice it and I'm not fond of the idea of "forcing" anything onto my PS3 against the advice of the device's instructions. It's only a slight misalignment, but bear in mind that your mileage may vary.

With great power comes, well, loud noise. If you want the fans to really move air as strongly as they can, then they're going to be loud. If you don't need as much airflow, then they could operate slower and, therefore, more quietly. The adjustable fan control lets you decide when you need more power or more quiet and adjust the fan motors to suit your needs. If you're playing an arcade game or playing for a short period of time, the slower settings might be fine. If you're planning on running "Folding@Home" for hours on end, where the Cell processor is constantly working on scientific protein folding simulation calculations and the GPU is updating the view of the protein model constantly, as well, then you might want to dial the fans to their maximum speed - and volume.

One interesting design feature of the Intercooler is that it "relocates" the power toggle switch by adding a second switch that interrupts the "pass-thru" power. This new switch is located on the front of the PS3, right next to the disc slot and the fan adjustment control. I have large hands and fingers and I have never accidentally flipped the PS3 off, but it is worth mentioning that this switch is much easier to get to than the original PS3 power switch - whether you want to or not. Again, not something I ever had a problem with, but just intended as something to note.

Although the "Drawbacks" section has more text that the rest of the review, this is for the sake of sharing my observations - not to discourage anyone from picking one of these up. The above could have been summed up with a simple, "Install with care, mind the new power switch and the harder your fans work, the more noise they'll make", but I wanted to explain each a bit. Obviously, your PS3 still needs to be located in a place that it can breathe, but for PS3s located with reasonable room for air to flow, the Intercooler can help get the hot air out of your case. It does its job well and blends in well with the appearance of the PS3, without adding the additional complexity of more cords.

All things considered, I would recommend the Intercooler to anyone who is afraid of their PS3 overheating.

-Geck0, GameVortex Communications
AKA Robert Perkins

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