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 Post subject: Dell pc's quiet
PostPosted: Thu Apr 12, 2007 3:47 am 
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I've noticed at my office where we have Dell pc's that they are really quiet. Is there anything Dell uses specifically to come to these quiet pc's?

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PostPosted: Thu Apr 12, 2007 4:01 am 
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I've taken a few apart. In my estimation, their secret is that they try. Choosing layouts that allow more cooling with less airflow, specifying just the right fan speed, plus larger heatsinks, is all it takes. Of course, Dell doesn't sell anything that's SPCR-quiet.

Lots of Dells use the BTX form factor, which may enable more cooling with less airflow.


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 12, 2007 4:04 am 
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A common Dell layout is to duct the case fan to the CPU H/S, this eliminates (often noisy) CPU fan.


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 12, 2007 5:19 am 
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My dad's dell, used to have a big Radeon 9800XT in it, and then the whole PC was hot as hell and it sounded like a vacume cleaner. Not long ago, something in it died, and the entire motherboard and with that the video card (the new motherboard didn't have an AGP slot) were replaced, the new videocard is the much smaller 9200, and now all of a sudden, the whole PC is like 5 times quieter. I'm guessing the 9800XT generated a LOT of heat, as well as creating something of a compartment of hot air in the lower part of the case. The airflow in that case wasn't too great, one 80mm exhaust fan, and another 80mm in the PSU, but no proper place for the air to come in through. I kinda hated Dell for that for a while, but I guess Dell just isn't the place to go if you want a high-end machine that's quiet. They're great at office PC, though.

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PostPosted: Thu Apr 12, 2007 6:42 am 
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jaganath wrote:
A common Dell layout is to duct the case fan to the CPU H/S, this eliminates (often noisy) CPU fan.

A dell that I have also uses this technique, but in combination with a temperature controlled fan. It's not silent, (probably because of the PSU I added), but it's pretty quiet.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue May 15, 2007 11:49 am 
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A lot of office pcs sound very quiet, because of background noise. Offices tend to have ‘supple’ amounts of background noise, so you naturally blend it away. The end result is that you think the computer is quiet, when it’s actually not.

I’ve experienced this phenomenon on at least one occasion, and with the computers my work builds/sells. It had me so fooled, that a commented to my customer [a regular] about how quiet the computer was from 1 foot away and was so impressed, that I actually took one of my newest system builds [with the same config] home to run a noise test. Boy was that a let down, what was quiet in an office environment screamed at home.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue May 15, 2007 12:06 pm 
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Their laptops are reasonable as well. Not SPCR-quiet, but their fans rarely have to kick into high gear, even under load. The one's I've used can't exactly be run passive, but close to it. If you had the guts to DIY and void the warranty, they could be real sleepers.

Let's not forget that they use the 220W (!) external power brick on some systems, and as someone else mentioned, BTX layouts.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue May 15, 2007 1:59 pm 
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Dell actually has a section where all of the "environmental" specs of their systems are provided. Inexplicably hidden, from my POV:
http://www.dell.com/content/topics/glob ... =en&s=corp

To find it, you have to go... dell - about dell - commitment - design for environment - product data sheets ---- not exactly intuitive.

Anyway, these data sheets include BEL (sound power) and dBA @ operator position SPL measurement. The latter corresponds to a distance of about 0.6m. Compared to the SPL at 1m in a normal (quiet room), these will be 1~2 dBA higher. Noise is measured at idle, and with various drive activities -- but not at full load.

If you look through all the desktop data sheets, you'll find that most average ~30 dBA at idle. This means about 28~29 dBA as SPCR measures it (@ 1m). A handful are at 28~29. A couple are as low as 25 dBA. Now those 25 dBA ones should sound pretty quiet in any environment unless the noise quality is terrible.

No comments about what they'll do under load.

I suspect the Dells would ramp up and down more in noise level and quality than PCs made by quiet obsessives like so much of the SPCR crowd (or SIs like End PC Noise). Would probably depend partly on what options are chosen for the particular model. IE -- if you choose the most powerful CPU and vidcard, then you can expect great ramp up/down, and perhaps a higher base noise level that spec'd -- because the specs are usually for a base option model.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue May 15, 2007 11:22 pm 
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I think I have been spoiled by Dell's quiet pc's. I was actually gonna buy a core 2 computer from Dell, but I could not find a good deal so I did a custom build. Custom build = loud computer = must find solution = good thing for SPCR 8)

Derek


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu May 17, 2007 6:30 pm 
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Location: Australia
Im working on a Dell Dimension E520, and i cant even hear it. My latop is here too, which is a Inspiron 6400, and the only time you hear it is ever now and then when the fan kicks in for a few seconds.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu May 17, 2007 9:05 pm 
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I find with my inspiron 6400, the temps get almost too hot. At full 100% load, it gets up to 70C! But this is safe because the centrinos are designed to run hotter. Unlike Core 2 PC processors which have a throttle temp of 85C, the laptop core 2's have a throttle temp of 100C.

It does have a nice heatpipe heatsink! Take a look inside.

Derek


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu May 17, 2007 10:26 pm 
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I have found Dells to be the quietest of all the brands. Many of my HPs have not been quiet, and you can check out the design and they use standard heatsinks. Dell uses ducts to eliminate the cpu fan and exhast the heat outside. Actually now they are BTX so they pump the hot air inside from the front and it is supposed to exit the back. I prefer not to pump hot air in. They are not SPCR quiet, but in my office they are inaudible for the most part. Of course, my office PC is SPCR quiet :D

There is a requirement that PCs be under 35db at idle for them to be approved for office work. This is because of studies that show prolonged exposure to noises about 40db or so can damage hearing. I don't know the exact law, maybe someone can enlighten us.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Jul 07, 2007 11:15 am 
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I've got a Dell E251 with an X2 5600+ and an ATI X1300 Pro. On the X1300 Pro there's a big heatsink, but not with expensive things like heatpipes. On the CPU there's a big tower cooler, nearly as big as a Scythe Ninja, but because of the costs also without heatpipes. In the power supply there's a slow running 80mm fan... but the really important thing is the really good placed slow running 120mm fan, which keeps the cpu, the chipset and the grafic card cool. The HDD isn't very loud. So, the computer is extremly quiet (if you undervolt the cpu it's also very silent under full load), also in a silent environment. This system was the most silent OEM PC I've ever heard. I think the most users of this forum would be satisfied with the noise level of this pc. Only people who think that the quietest 3,5 HDDs are still too loud wouldn't be pleased...


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Sep 24, 2007 5:30 am 
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Location: New Orleans, LA
All the Dells I used at the office for the past 3 years have been quiet. We now have HPs, and I have an XW400 with a core2duo 6600, and it is very quiet, even with the big Firegl v72000 inside. The front panel is ver well vented, the stock cooler has big heatpipes and the Delta (!) fans are very quiet, even if I close my office door. I actually took one of the replacement PSUs for these XW4400 and use it in my home built PC, that's how quiet it is (and it is made by Delta, which I always thought sounded like vacuum cleaners)
temperature never gets higher than 35 degrees C.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Oct 01, 2007 4:05 am 
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I read in the german magazine c't that Dell now sells ATX Systems again and these Dell-non-BTX-Systems aren't really quiet.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat May 03, 2008 1:04 pm 
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To resurrect an old topic ...

I had an older, 1.4GHz-ish P4 Dell desktop. It was very quiet. Plastic (desktop) case, ducted CPU fan. Onboard video; used it for a headless Linux server.

I recently did an update of that system, finding an Inspiron 530 for a decent price. Reviews called it very quiet; I'd take "quiet" cautiously, but the other Dell I have was nice and quiet, so I figured they continued paying attention to noise.

Well, they don't ...

The case is typical cheap thin metal, letting every sound through; the CPU fan isn't ducted at all, and is very audible at idle. The HDD is a Barracuda, which is the noisiest drive I've ever heard, making random clicks and high-pitched noises all the time--this alone makes it clear that they don't care about noise at all, at least for this line.

So, it's become a bit of a cleanup job--the reason I bought it was because I didn't want to spend much time on it, just paying a bit extra for someone else to make it reasonably quiet. Oh well.

I'll probably need to replace the case, since I doubt any tower HSF will fit in this. I have an old Sonata and Ninja sitting around that I'll try once some fans come in. (The Sonata is not a quiet case, but it's better than this one.) The HDD needs to be replaced. I'll see where the noise level is from there. (The Sonata's PSU is old and noisy, too, but that probably just needs a fan swap.) At least this motherboard looks like standard ATX; the older one was some proprietary thing with a PCI riser.

The CPU is a Q6600; if I had built it myself I'd have gone with a Q9300, but replacing the CPU is too expensive, and hopefully with the Ninja it should be good enough. Onboard video helps.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri May 23, 2008 12:44 pm 
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Location: Hessle
Those new ATX Inspiron systems look pretty standard, which is a shame. The previous BTX generation of Dimensions and Optiplexes were very good in terms of layout and build quality.


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