Thursday, August 23, 2007

Everything is cool now.

All is not well in the land of new receivers. The Onkyo 605 I got a few weeks back suffers from audio popping/cracking. It appears to be a problem that plagues the entire line of recent Onkyo receivers. The tragedy of this is that the 605 is the most affordable option for next gen audio playback on the market today. The list of features makes it as future proof as possible and the sound quality is awesome.

So, I had the option of shipping it back and hoping the replacement was better (owners who have done so have reported mixed results) or explore an alternative solution. A message board post on the AVS forums recommended using PC cooling fans. Normally I would not pay my own money to fix something the manufacturer messed up, but I have several items that could use cooling. My DVR runs really hot (the last DVR literally burned out last summer), the PS3 runs also quite hot at times and the 360 is an ever worrisome overheating bomb.

I decided to take the plunge and order the power supply and three fans. One for the receiver, one for the DVR, and one for the PS3/360. WOW. The impact was immediate. It completely solves the popping problem. The DVR is running smoothly and I’m not as worried about the long term health of my consoles. Plus the fans are SUPER quiet. Despite being fairly large, you can’t hear them at all unless you put them next to your ear. You’ll want to follow the advice of the poster and get the rubber feet for maximum noise cancelling once you place the fans.

The biggest side benefit was for my PC. Yes, that same desktop I thought was dying just a few months ago. I cracked it open for a cleaning and was shocked to discover the fans in there are quite small. The fan I was going to use exclusively for the PS3/360 (I just move the DVR fan to the console in use) now sits inside my PC. It no longer crashes and now starts reliably.

In any case, I can’t recommend enough turning to outside cooling to improve the mileage of your gear. The life of the fans is listed at 150,000 hours, which is roughly 17 years of continuous use. That’s certainly a better investment than any warranty.

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