The intermix chamber was really cool, though.
I'll say. My favourite warp core. I was glad they did something similar in Voyager.
Yeah, I think for me the swirling gases core thing always evoked what I imagined it would be like going in super-close to the TOS nacelles caps, that inside those spokes of light you'd probably see gases like that.
Plus the cores where it was just rings of like (DEFIANT, E-E, E-D) just made me think 'physical lighting effect' without evoking the idea of it being a spaceship (sort of like when you see chase lights on old TV.)