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 Post subject: Dell 6400 w/ duo core: no thanks
PostPosted: Sat Apr 01, 2006 7:40 pm 
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I just bought a Dell 6400 with duo core centrino and I have to say I hopes were dashed within 20 minutes of turning it on. The fans came on when I was uninstalling Aol. And they were much louder than I had hoped.

I am not a technical person but I have to assume that the duo core is the main problem here. Although it's a centrino, it's likely not as cool running as the pentium M chipsets.

I will be returning it. I may be exchaning it for a laptop that runs on an M chip. Or I may give up owning a laptop entirely.

Since this is my first post here, I just want to say what a great forum and site this is. Too bad I had to find it the hard way!


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PostPosted: Sun Apr 02, 2006 7:36 pm 
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Hello & welcome to SPCR!

Thanks for the heads up; it's too bad is isn't as quiet as an iMac!

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PostPosted: Sun Apr 02, 2006 9:50 pm 
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Interesting; I just read an article on Anandtech claiming that the Duo Core has battery life comparable to the previous Pentium M chips. So I was optimistic that it might be just as quiet.

There is also a Core Solo chip, which uses the newer technology of the Due Core, but with just a single core, it may be promising for low power applications.


Last edited by echoes on Thu Apr 06, 2006 5:26 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Apr 03, 2006 9:23 am 
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Quote:
I am not a technical person but I have to assume that the duo core is the main problem here. Although it's a centrino, it's likely not as cool running as the pentium M


Core Duo (the chip itself, rather than its chipset) has a similar heat output to the Pentium M, clock for clock. I think the problem here is the implementation, rather than any fundamental problem with the chip.

Quote:
There is also a Core Solo chip, which uses the newer technology of the Due Core, but with just a single core, it may be promising for low power applications.


Surprisingly, the full-speed Core Solo actually has a higher TDP than the Core Duos.

All CPU's-electrical specs


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Apr 05, 2006 7:08 pm 
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Location: Toronto
thanks for your input.

Yes, maybe it isn't the duo core chip itself but Dell's engineering that is the problem here. They aren't really known for making quiet machines.

Just to give you some comparison here, the fan is running all the time but it
isn't loud. Just a constant blowing. But when pushed by intensive tasks, then the computer sounds loud, like the way a non-centrino chip would. Maybe most people could live with it, but I'm not most people! The presence of 2 vents on the top of the machine were a dead giveaway of the heat issues with this machine. I only wish I had noticed them before I bought.

I compared the sound to my sister's HP ze2000 with a Sempron mobile 3000 (about 1.6 ghz) and the HP was barely audible when doing low stress tasks. It revved up pretty loud occasionally too, although not as loud as the Dell 6400.

I've been asking around a few shops and the consensus is that the mac notebooks are the quietest and on the pc side, ibm. From my limited experience, I have to agree. A friends Thinkpad t40 with a 1.5 ghz M chip ran incredibly quiet although it did have the higher fan speed kick in occasionally. Still it didn't sound like a typical fan. It is the least offensive fan sound I've come across so far.

I appreciate any opinions you might have on the quietest laptop.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Apr 05, 2006 7:12 pm 
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jaganath wrote:
Quote:
I am not a technical person but I have to assume that the duo core is the main problem here. Although it's a centrino, it's likely not as cool running as the pentium M


Core Duo (the chip itself, rather than its chipset) has a similar heat output to the Pentium M, clock for clock. I think the problem here is the implementation, rather than any fundamental problem with the chip.


Just to follow up on this point, what do you make of this Dell spec on heat dissipation for the 6400

http://www.dell.com/downloads/global/corporate/environ/Insp_6000.pdf

If you compare it to the M chip machine like the 1300, the heat and wattage figures are much higher. In some cases almost double. I don't know much about this stuff, but isn't this describing a hotter machine?


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Apr 06, 2006 2:45 am 
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Quote:
the consensus is that the mac notebooks are the quietest


I would be careful about buying one; there have been problems with certain PowerBooks creating excessive heat (as in hot enough to burn yourself), probably due to the minimal cooling.

Quote:
I appreciate any opinions you might have on the quietest laptop.


The Asus V6VA has has pretty good reviews in this forum:

Asus V6VA- User Review

Quote:
isn't this describing a hotter machine?


Yes. The PDF you linked to gives energy consumption and noise emission for this system configuration (page 1):

Quote:
The Energy Consumption and Declared Noise Emissions Data is based on a configuration including an Intel Pentium 4 2.1Ghz Processor, 2GB memory, 80GB hard drive and a CDRW.


The reason the power consumption is so high is because they have put a desktop P4 in there. I don't think this PDF is pertaining to Core Duo system power consumption.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Apr 06, 2006 3:29 am 
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Did you get the ATI MOBILITY video or just the onboard video? That right there could add a good amount of extra heat to the system.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Apr 06, 2006 6:10 am 
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jaganath wrote:
Quote:
the consensus is that the mac notebooks are the quietest


I would be careful about buying one; there have been problems with certain PowerBooks creating excessive heat (as in hot enough to burn yourself), probably due to the minimal cooling.

Quote:
I appreciate any opinions you might have on the quietest laptop.


The Asus V6VA has has pretty good reviews in this forum:

Asus V6VA- User Review

Quote:
isn't this describing a hotter machine?


Yes. The PDF you linked to gives energy consumption and noise emission for this system configuration (page 1):

Quote:
The Energy Consumption and Declared Noise Emissions Data is based on a configuration including an Intel Pentium 4 2.1Ghz Processor, 2GB memory, 80GB hard drive and a CDRW.


The reason the power consumption is so high is because they have put a desktop P4 in there. I don't think this PDF is pertaining to Core Duo system power consumption.



Yes, I've heard the Powerbooks can be a problem Ibooks perhaps are better.

And thanks for the correction on the P4 used in the 6000. That would be a significant difference.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Apr 06, 2006 6:12 am 
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BillyBuerger wrote:
Did you get the ATI MOBILITY video or just the onboard video? That right there could add a good amount of extra heat to the system.


It has the Intel 950 acceleator which isn't integrated video (unlike some lower end Dells) so that may be the source of some extra heat. ATI causes more heat?


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Apr 20, 2006 9:19 am 
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If you want a quiet laptop, start looking at ones with ULV single core CPUs and an integrated graphics chip.

Some of those can be relatively quiet.

None of the ones with active cooled CPUs are anywhere near quiet, once you blast them at full load for 2 hours straight.

1.1GHz is plenty enough for almost anything except gaming and ULV can be had in that configuration.

If you want a gamer's notebook, there's really no hope of a quiet one that I know of.

Most reviewers who claim that the notebook is dead silent wouldn't notice a jet taking off 10 meters from them :)

The physics are simple: if it puts out near 40W for just the CPU, then another 50+W for the GPU and additional temp for the RAM and HD + dvd, there is no way on earth that can be cooled quietly in the tiny space a laptop allows.

Sure for light web browsing at maximum power savings (gpu/cpu/pci/fsb clocked down) the heats and thus the noise can remain tolerable.

But for doing something intensive, nope - it's not going to happen.

No amount of liquid cooling or heatpipes is going to make a lot of difference either. The heat has to go somewhere. It can't be just moved around and dissipated like that.

Maybe if somebody made the whole chassis of a notebook (including the lid) to be a gian heatsink, maybe then it could be done.

You'd probably still have to point an external fan at the chassis though :)


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Apr 20, 2006 9:42 am 
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blue123 wrote:
It has the Intel 950 acceleator which isn't integrated video (unlike some lower end Dells) so that may be the source of some extra heat. ATI causes more heat?

Ah, Intel GMA 950 is the slowest of the DirectX9 compatible integrated video chipsets. It is comparable in heat to ATI's integrated video chipsets, but with a whole lot less acceleration. :)


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon May 08, 2006 9:28 am 
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There are ways to control laptop fan noise, at least for some models.
First off, try looking in the BIOS for any fan speed control settings; a long shot but worth a try.
Secondly, there is software that allows you to tweak the relationship between fan speed and temperature. A lot of Dell models support this particular software:
http://www.diefer.de/i8kfan/index.html
Thirdly, reduce the amount of heat that the CPU generates. You can do this in a number of ways:
Make sure that Speedstep is enabled even when using A/C power. To do this you will either need to change a BIOS setting or use a software utility such as RMClock http://cpu.rightmark.org/products/rmclock.shtml
Use software such as RMClock to reduce the voltage of the CPU at various clock speeds. You may also be able to use this to reduce the maximum clock speed of your system. E.g. If you reduce it from 1.66 to 1.5, it could just be enough to keep the temps at a comfortable level so that the fan doesn’t need to go into overdrive.

A laptop that supports all these utilities may be able to work much more quietly, provided that it has a well designed cooling system in the first place. Sometimes it’s just a matter of manufacturers’ setting their fan speeds very aggressively out of caution.
Please let us know if any of this helps and what’s the screen like on the 6400?


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Aug 23, 2006 1:47 am 
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Posting this on a 15.4" 6400 with Core 2 Duo T2250 and Radeon X1300 =) I can tell you that it's actually not noisy at all, its much quieter than my older Sony Vaio (13.3" Dothan core). Then again, I've just been browsing the web and stuff, nothing too intensive. In response to the previous post, the screen is very nice, sharp and nice contrast, though I prefer the X-black glossy screen on my Vaio.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Aug 30, 2006 12:23 pm 
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The thing I find frustrating with Dell laptops is that even though you can very often control the CPU fan speed settings using this utility, these days they often have a second fan which is permanently running which means they aren’t silent even at idle. I’m using this utility with my D520 and I’m happy with the noise levels at load, but disappointed with the idle noise level. Go figure!

Annoyingly, you don’t even seem to be able to determine in advance which system has this second fan by looking at Dell’s excellent online documentation. They give very detailed instructions online on how to disassemble and reassemble their laptops, which is useful when upgrading a laptop CPU which isn’t straightforward otherwise.

I’d hate to buy the Dell X1 which uses an ULV Pentium M and no CPU fan and find that it uses a system fan. That would be a bummer.


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