Overheating i7 860 on Dell XPS8100?


I have a Dell XPS8100 with a core i7 860. The rig is a factory build from Dell and is about 15 months old now. So far it has been a great system and has done everything I have required of it.

Recently I have noticed that the CPU temperature is getting a little high for comfort: 50C when idling and between 75C and 80C when stressed. There is also up to a 5C difference between hottest and coolest cores when the system is stressed (3C when idle). I use my machine for numerical simulations so the processor and GPU can be at 100% capcacity for days (and weeks) on end. The temperature does not seem to be affected by switching hyperthreading off.

Aside from the potential of dust gathering inside the system, I am guessing that the stock CPU cooler and fan unit are not up to the job and therefore may need upgrading. However the room inside the case is a little tight and I have not manually upgraded anything before (and therefore a 'rookie' at this sort of thing).

Does anybody have experience/ recommendations for a CPU cooling unit and fan that would fit within an XPS8100? Unfortunately I am on a budget so I am looking for the 'best compromise' rather than a 'money-no-object' solution. Any ideas of what kind of core temperatures should I be looking for when the CPU is idling and working hard? Although Tj max is 99C, my impression is that the CPU should in general remain below 70C.


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  1. it sounds like it is getting pretty hot, you aren't the only one that has had this issue. if it is under warranty i would contact dell. i belive they updated the heatsink assembly with a bracket to adress heating issues.

    if it isn't under warranty, here is a link to the service manual so you can see how to remove the stock fan/heat sink. go slow, because some of the coolers require installation of a backplate and it might be tricky to take your dell apart:


    tip on removing -- its easier to yank the heatsink off if the system has been running as the thermal paste will be more maleable. just be careful touching the cpu slug!

    clean the cpu with 100% acetone (you can get it at walmart)

    suggestions on replacement coolers (make sure that it will fit in your case/motherboard!)

    Thermalright Ultra-120 eXtreme-1366 RT Rev. C CPU Heatsink (Socket LGA 1366)

    Coolermaster V8

    COOLER MASTER Hyper 212 Plus RR-B10-212P-G1 "Heatpipe Direct Contact" Long Life Sleeve 120mm CPU Cooler Compatible Intel Core i5 & Intel Core i7

    this link has an install video but its not on a dell pc: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16835103065

    i suggest you check the dimensions to make sure it will fit!

    don't forget to buy thermal paste with your heatsink, arctic silver or something
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