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Suggestions on fixing noisy Dell XPS desktop

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January 12, 2013 1:14:15 PM

My Dell XPS8100 desktop is incredibly loud/noisy. I've used compressed air to clean out any dust, but that didn't make a difference. The fan on the heatsink/cpu is noisy as well as the fan at the back of the case. I'm not sure how much noise is being added by the video card fan or the power supply fan. I think there might be a fifth fan, but I forgot to look for it. Replacing the fan at the back of the case looks easy enough, but replacing the heatsink/CPU fan looks more complicated (I'm not much of a DIY'er, though I have swapped out cards, a simple CPU swap years ago on a different computer, etc.). I think it makes sense to start with those two fans before tackling (and paying for) a new power supply.

The cpu is at desk level on a table next to my desk. Putting it on a stand a few inches off of the floor should help with the noise, though I'll have to be hyper-vigilant about dust.

I believe there is software that one can use to regulate fan usage based upon temp settings. Any suggestions? FYI, temps listed below are after system running for about an hour.

Any suggestions on replacement fans, software and other fixes? Also, how difficult is it to replace the fan that sits on top of the heatskink?

TIA!!!!!

Some System Info:
Dell XPS 8100
Intel(R) Core(TM) i7 CPU 860 @ 2.80GHz
Clock Speed
2.9GHz
L2 Cahce Size
1024
System Board
Manufacturer Dell Inc.
Product 0T568R
Chipset Intel PCH H57

Processors
Name Intel(R) Core(TM) i7 CPU 860 @ 2.80GHz
Cores 4
Threads 8
Signature 106E5h
Family 6h
Model 1Eh
Revision B1
Technology 45 nm
Performance
Max Qualified Speed 2.80 GHz
Max Turbo Boost Speed 3.46 GHz
Current Speed 1.20 GHz
Multiplier x 9.0 (9 - 21)
Max Turbo Boost Ratio x 26
Bus Speed 133.00 MHz

Features MMX, PSE36, EM64T, SSE, SSE2, SSE3, SSSE3, SSE4.1, SSE4.2, IDA, XD, VMX
Cache Summary
L1 Instruction Cache 4 x 32.00 kB
L1 Data Cache 4 x 32.00 kB
L2 Cache 4 x 256.00 kB
L3 Cache 8.00 MB


Core : 0
Temperature 57 C
Threads 2
Core : 1
Temperature 56 C
Threads 2
Core : 2
Temperature 56 C
Threads 2
Core : 3
Temperature 58 C
Threads 2
a b ) Power supply
January 12, 2013 1:24:24 PM

56c degrees at idle is pretty hot, would explain why the stock cooler would be so loud when your actually using the system.

You can replace the stock fan with another 80mm fan, though there isn't much point doing this over an entirely new heatsink. Something like a 212 EVO will cool much better than stock and will be a lot quieter.
Coolermaster Hyper 212 EVO. $30 ($5 rebate)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

You could control the CPU fan through software means to lower the noise, but from the looks of those temps it running hard for a reason. You wouldnt want to lower the fan RPM.
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January 12, 2013 1:52:00 PM

manofchalk said:
56c degrees at idle is pretty hot, would explain why the stock cooler would be so loud when your actually using the system.

You can replace the stock fan with another 80mm fan, though there isn't much point doing this over an entirely new heatsink. Something like a 212 EVO will cool much better than stock and will be a lot quieter.
Coolermaster Hyper 212 EVO. $30 ($5 rebate)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

You could control the CPU fan through software means to lower the noise, but from the looks of those temps it running hard for a reason. You wouldnt want to lower the fan RPM.


So I would be replacing the heatsink/fan all at once, correct? Is that a 'simple' procedure?

Thanks!

PS...Have been looking at the Fan roundup and threads....would like to replace the fan at the back of the case as well.
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a b ) Power supply
January 12, 2013 1:57:06 PM

How simple it will be comes down to the case. Some have cutouts in the mobo tray to make installing the mounting plate easy. Given that yours is a pre-built, I dont think it will. So that will require you taking the mobo out of the case to install.

The 212 EVO's mounting mechanism is relatively simple. Just a matter of lining up screw holes mostly.

Guessing since your after a quiet fan, so advise a Corsair Quiet SP120 fan. Though whether you can mount that on the back will depend on the mounting holes there. Often on pre-builts its only 80mm, not 120mm like usual.
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January 12, 2013 4:17:18 PM

Opened the case back up and took the fan off of the heatsink and then took the heatsink off. It was connected to the mobo by four plastic pins that you can twist to release the heatsink. Thus, depending upon the mounting system, I might not have to remove the motherboard.

HOWEVER, now that I have turned the system back on, the temps are higher and the fan is cycling. When I open up the Dell Support Center and run "System Info" the fans really ramp up. Also, temps are now 77 and 80 degrees c. Did I put the fan in 'backwards'? As it is now, if you put a piece of paper up against the heatsink fan, the fan pushes the paper away from the heatsink, thus it is drawing air away from the cpu/heatsink. Should the fan be pulling air into the heatsink instead?

One other question: When I removed the heatsink, there was a thin gray film on the round section that contacts the cpu, and on the cpu there was the same 'film'. I scraped it off with my fingernail; it was similar to if a gray spray paint had dried on something but had not adhered very well.

The fan (i.e., the outer housing) at the back of the back of the case measured 3 5/8" x 3 5/8". It is a FoxConn Model PVA 092G12M.

Thanks so much!!

PS...Don't know how to attach photos...asking for urls rather than location of saved file to upload.
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a b ) Power supply
January 12, 2013 4:26:47 PM

The stock cooler can mount by plastic pins since its quite light, but a proper heatsink needs a backplate for adequate support.

That thin gray film is called the Thermal Paste, it helps the transfer of heat from the CPU to the heatsink. Metal on metal doesnt convey heat that well, so paste is used to seal the gap and help thermal transfer.
You scraping it off is probably why you have worse temps than before.

The 212 EVO will come with some, but considering it might take 2 weeks to deliver it might be worth buying some to re-mount your stock cooler back on.

Then its probably an 80mm fan.
Computers have a strange measuring of lengths. Fan sizes are in the Metric System, things relating to drives are measured in Imperial units. Though for the most part everything is measure in the Metric System.

You cant upload images to Toms. You have to host them on a 3rd party website like Photobucket and then link them in the forum.
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January 12, 2013 5:21:20 PM

manofchalk said:
The stock cooler can mount by plastic pins since its quite light, but a proper heatsink needs a backplate for adequate support.

That thin gray film is called the Thermal Paste, it helps the transfer of heat from the CPU to the heatsink. Metal on metal doesnt convey heat that well, so paste is used to seal the gap and help thermal transfer.
You scraping it off is probably why you have worse temps than before.

The 212 EVO will come with some, but considering it might take 2 weeks to deliver it might be worth buying some to re-mount your stock cooler back on.

Then its probably an 80mm fan.
Computers have a strange measuring of lengths. Fan sizes are in the Metric System, things relating to drives are measured in Imperial units. Though for the most part everything is measure in the Metric System.

You cant upload images to Toms. You have to host them on a 3rd party website like Photobucket and then link them in the forum.


Yes...after I started to think about it, I figured I made a misktake.

Regarding the fan, it should be pulling air out of the heatsink (i.e., blows paper away from heatsink), correct?

Where can I grab some thermal paste? Home Depot, Napa or will I have to order online?

Thanks again!
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a b ) Power supply
January 13, 2013 12:16:09 AM

Not sure, as you can understand I completely skipped using the stock heatsink. But you cant exactly put it on upside down, so I imagine thats how its supposed to run.

If there are any local computer stores near you they will probably have some Thermal Paste on hand. Arctic Silver 5 and Arctic Cooling MX-4 are the most recommended.
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January 13, 2013 1:04:52 AM

Thanks...I think I'll just use my laptop (doing that now, w/ hdmi to monitor) and order new heatsink. Really appreciate your help..
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