Nyko’s InterCooler technology has been around for many years now. After some issues with the original Xbox 360 version actually trapping heat in and making red rings of death more prevalent, the brand was retired for a bit. Now, it’s back with a PlayStation 4 incarnation that fits snugly on the back of the unit. The idea behind the device is to move hot air away from the system — so if you’ve grown accustomed to using it as a hand warmer in the winter months, this device aims to eliminate that.
Installing the Intercooler is a simple process thanks to the use of a power cable pass-through. You can instantly tell where things need to be, and the little nubs on the outer part of the device can be moved in line with the PS4’s grooves. It might take a few seconds to get them both aligned, but it’s an easy process that was never frustrating. One benefit to the design of the device is that it makes hooking up the HDMI cable much easier since it basically acts as a guide for you. The Intercooler ends right below the HDMI port area, and while I normally struggle to insert the HDMI cable due to the weirdly-shaped back end of the device, the Intercooler made inserting the cable much easier since I now have a barricade that limits just where the cord can go — the days of fumbling around the back of the console and hoping to install the cord properly are over.
While that’s well and good, it isn’t the main reason people are going to buy it. If you’re interested in this device, you’ve probably got a PS4 that runs a bit hot and are concerned by it. As a gamer for 25 years now, I’ve had many consoles over the years and only a few of them ever reached heat levels that concerned me. My original white Xbox 360 got fairly hot, while my two year-old Xbox 360 slim gets very hot — to the point of being a bit worrisome even with all of the vents unobstructed. The Xbox One doesn’t get very hot, and it’s not an issue that concerns me with the PS4 since in my ten months of owning it; the system just gets warm and that heat will pass on to a controller if I leave it on the system to download a game or step away for a break.
To test this device out, I decided to do several marathon gaming sessions, and take a break with the DualShock 4 still on top of the console — specifically, the matte portion that tends to get hotter than the piano black area. This may not be the most scientific test in the world, but it’s fairly practical and does put the device through its paces. After several hours of being turned on and used for a lot of EA Sports UFC and Destiny gaming, I noticed that the system was in fact cooler to the touch than it usually was. The controller also didn’t get very warm when left on top of the system. Normally, the entire length of the hand grips would be toasty, but after the Intercooler, only the bottom of the handles were lukewarm.
The Intercooler definitely does its job, although its fan noise can be a bit distracting at first. When you start it up, things are a bit loud. After a few hours, the noise died down and it wasn’t something I ever noticed during a game. Still, if you’ve got the system on a lot, it’s easy to see this helping it out in the long run. It should help the system run cooler and greatly reduce heat over the long haul. While it’s a bit too soon to tell how things will pan out over the years with this, right now, it works just fine. The back of the Intercooler gets a bit hot, but since it’s detachable from the system at any time, it shouldn’t cause any damage to the system (it’s also easy to remove, so if you need space to put the system in a suitcase, you’ll have it.)
The Intercooler does indeed work as advertised. If you want a cooler system and have concerns about the PS4’s heating setup, then this will allow you to keep the system on for a longer period of time without heat becoming an issue. It isn’t a necessary device, but it works for what it is. Anyone in the market for something to help cool off their PS4 during long play sessions will get their money’s worth out of it. It’s a little noisy, but worth its fairly low asking price to help preserve a $400 system purchase.