This is probably a more advanced discussion of top mount intercoolers.
For anyone who's read the Newbie FAQ's, we know there's two types of intercooler designs. Tube/fin and bar/plate.
The large bar/plate designs offer the bigger pressure drops while the tube fin designs have been argued to be more efficient.
I had a nice discussion with Dan at Prodrive and Phil at Element Tuning about this subject. Dan felt the tube/fin design was much more efficient in terms of cooling. He liked the factory STI intercooler much more than most aftermarkets for this reason. Phil didn't disagree, but he pointed to the pressure drop of the large bar/plate designs as a way to increase power over stock.
I came to the conclusion that if you want a large turbo, you either choose better cooling (stock sti ic or ARC) or more power but the chance to heatsoak more (any large bar/plate).
There are many ways to improve the efficiency of the cooling of your TMIC. I've done almost all of them. I'm still curious to why tube/fin designs are more efficient.
Also, do tube/fin design ic's provide pressure drop if their larger? The bar/plate designs shoot for the largest size where the tube/fin ones do not. If a large tube/fin design also provided pressure drops similar to the large bar/plate ones, wouldn't this design be the best?
I don't know enough about ic's to know, but from what I've heard, tube/fin's are the best for cooling and efficiency.
If someone designed a big tube/fin design similar to the ARC or a big STI TMIC, would it provide the efficiency of a tube/fin and the pressure drop of a large bar/plate?