Nyko Intercooler 360
Microsoft caught a lot of flack when, out of the gate, some of its initial batch of Xbox 360 consoles turned out to be defective. Chief among the complaints was that the console ran extremely hot and was prone to overheating. After message boards filled with solutions such as increasing the amount of ventilation and keeping your power source elevated, the furor--and the problem--subsided, and most Xbox 360 owners were simply left with hot-running systems that worked fine. Whether this heat is an issue over the long term is unclear, but one company has released a product specifically designed to chill out your console. The Nyko Intercooler 360 ($20) is a device consisting of three small fans that snap onto the back of the Xbox 360; it gets its juice from the console's power source.
Measuring 7 inches tall and 1.75 inches thick, the Nyko Intercooler 360 is a bit smaller than the Xbox 360's power brick; cosmetically, it matches the system. While the Intercooler is slightly bulky and ugly, it's not something you have to worry about because the device stays hidden behind the console.
The Nyko Intercooler 360 was a bit difficult to attach and remove; you have to match up the catches on the cooler to the ventilation notches on the 360. We also had some difficulty initially getting a connection between the Xbox 360's power source and input and the Intercooler's pass-though. Speaking of power, the Nyko Intercooler has its own tiny, dedicated power switch so that you don't have to remove the device when your Xbox 360 is in a location that's already ventilated enough--such as a meat locker.
Jokes aside, the Nyko Intercooler 360 did exactly what it promises. Our Xbox 360 felt decidedly cooler after a gaming session with the Intercooler strapped on. Furthermore, discs that usually came out warm felt roughly the same as they did entering the console. All of that comes at a price, though. As if the Xbox 360 console isn't loud enough, the Nyko Intercooler 360 renders the system even more displeasing to the ears. Movie playback in particular was affected by the increased volume, as the more system-intensive operation had both the internal and external fans humming at full throttle.
The Nyko Intercooler 360 is difficult to recommend or dismiss. While it does indeed cool down the Xbox 360, it's hard to tell whether it has any effect on making the system run more smoothly. We never noticed better gameplay with the Intercooler powered on, but then again, our Xbox 360 has never had overheating problems. That said, the Intercooler might be worth a shot as a last-ditch effort to revive a chronically overheating system or if you think a cooler-running system might help preserve the life of your Xbox 360, especially if you're prone to marathon gaming sessions.