Anyone have a loud Dell XPS gaming rig they want silenced?

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MikeC
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Anyone have a loud Dell XPS gaming rig they want silenced?

Post by MikeC » Fri Mar 11, 2005 12:49 pm

Someone just gave me this idea for an article: About quieting a loud Dell XPS gaming rig. I am looking for a volunteer who will give up his rig for us to examine and mod -- in relatively simple and repeatable ways -- so that it is below the 30 dBA/1m level we consider to be the threshold of noisy. This is at no cost to you except the loss of your machine for a week -- perhaps less.

Ideally, the subject machine should be LOUD, & in Vancouver. The farther away from Vancouver, BC, Canada it is, the less practical this exercise becomes.

So any takers??
Last edited by MikeC on Thu Oct 08, 2009 10:27 am, edited 1 time in total.

wooglin
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Post by wooglin » Fri Mar 11, 2005 12:59 pm

ooooo... if only I lived out west, I'd go out and buy a machine... just to have it modded by the master of silence himself. :wink:

JanW
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Post by JanW » Sat Mar 12, 2005 4:33 am

:D Are you trying to get on slashdot? Serious, though: this sounds like a great idea for an article to reach a large community outside of SPCR. The recent MADSHRIMPS silencing article reminded me how disappointing coverage of PC silencing is on mainstream sites. Someone has to show them the light, and no one could do it better than SPCR!

MikeC
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Post by MikeC » Sat Mar 12, 2005 4:57 am

JanW wrote::D Are you trying to get on slashdot? Serious, though: this sounds like a great idea for an article to reach a large community outside of SPCR. The recent MADSHRIMPS silencing article reminded me how disappointing coverage of PC silencing is on mainstream sites. Someone has to show them the light, and no one could do it better than SPCR!
Evey time there's talk of quieting / slicencing and PCs at /., SPCR traffic goes through the roof -- like it did yesterday -- because someone invariably mentions SPCR as the better place for such info... :lol:

So, to reach to reach a large community outside of SPCR, yes, but not slashdot linking per se. Just that this has not been done before. We've had quiet Dell articles before but none with this approach on a loud gaming rig.

nici
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Post by nici » Sat Mar 12, 2005 5:00 am

From the dell site, Dimension XPS Gen 4,
Brand New Look: The new Dimension XPS Gen4 features an Arctic Silver chassis with black accents. The chassis was designed to provide style, convenience and efficiency with an airflow design providing excellent cooling. In addition it has 2 fans dedicated to power supply, 1 fan for PCI cards, and 2 fans for the processor and heat sink on the motherboard. Each fan is independently monitored and thermally controlled.


Now that´s a real challenge for Mike :lol: It does look pretty nice though, on the outside at least. The case design looks pretty interesting too... Not from a silencing pont of view though, wich kaes this even more interesting :)

Image

Image

MikeC
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Post by MikeC » Sat Mar 12, 2005 5:29 am

Dell's noise spec on this series (usually for the quietest model):

Hard Drive Accessing -- 4.6 Bel sound power, 35 dBA/~0.6 meter (seated operator position)

The idle spec is the same.

andyb
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Post by andyb » Tue Apr 12, 2005 3:58 pm

Dont even consider me for a candidate, I live 3,500ish miles East of you.

I was just posting to say, that machine looks nasty on the inside, they are using that old "Swing Door" design again, ewwww, and little "real" front ventilation.

To be fair, the average Dell is relativley quiet, but the XPS is going to get very very HOT.

I hope you get your test machine Mike, and I look forward to your results.


Regards Andy

PS: Anyone anywhere who mentions PC noise, fans, drives, vibration etc, gets pointed straight here, SPCR has helped me, I will help SPCR.

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Post by Talz » Tue Apr 12, 2005 8:01 pm

That's gonna be a bear if the stock power supply is noisy.

stretch
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Caught me a couple months too late

Post by stretch » Wed Jun 15, 2005 10:29 am

I got so fed up with my XPS that I salvaged a few components (CPU, memory, SATA drives) and threw the entire rest of the machine in the garbage.

It would be a terrific project, but what a challenge. I've had dual-processor server systems that made significantly less noise than the XPS. One of my co-workers with an identical system even swapped out two of the chassis fans, which helped a little, but, his went in the trash heap as well.

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Post by BrianE » Wed Jun 15, 2005 12:26 pm

Woah, you don't say? :shock:

I'll ask my friend... he just bought a new Dell late last year (IIRC) and all I remember about it spec-wise is that it's not "quiet" and it's fully loaded... I think it's got more than one HD too.

I'll send him the link and see what he says.

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Post by DryiceX » Wed Jun 15, 2005 1:03 pm

Ya.. I did buy the XPS last christmas..
Not sure how picky you people are.. but i dont find it noisy at all..

LoL.. tho i might just be comparing it to the noise level of my previous computer.. an 8 hd behemoth with 5-7 fans.

MikeC
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Post by MikeC » Wed Jun 15, 2005 4:38 pm

DryiceX wrote:Ya.. I did buy the XPS last christmas..
Not sure how picky you people are.. but i dont find it noisy at all..

LoL.. tho i might just be comparing it to the noise level of my previous computer.. an 8 hd behemoth with 5-7 fans.
Well, I can tell you exactly how loud it is. If you're in Richmond, I am only a few km north of you in Vancouver. Bring it over and have a listen to it against SPCR reference machines, and have it measured / recorded. Maybe you'll want to take up my offer above of having it modded for lower noise.

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Post by NeilBlanchard » Wed Jun 15, 2005 5:17 pm

Hello:

If that is the PS there on the bottom with the two 60mm fans, then quieting it will be a bit of a challenge!? :shock: :? Yikes.

stretch
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Post by stretch » Fri Jun 17, 2005 8:07 am

NeilBlanchard wrote:Hello:

If that is the PS there on the bottom with the two 60mm fans, then quieting it will be a bit of a challenge!? :shock: :? Yikes.
The PS (480w?) is on the bottom of the case, and has (last I looked) two smallish fans at the back. In a carpeted room it is actually fairly quiet. The case/PS design is shared with Dell's precision workstations. I have a 530 with dual 15k U320 scsi drives, and dual Xeon's which is dead silent by comparison.

The XPS that I had presented a couple of challenges:

1. Two of the loudest 90mm chassis fans I have ever heard in my life, fitted with a proprietary connector. Replace the fans, and you have to get past the "Fan error" on boot-up every time.

2. Problematic thermal management: Once the temperature (and fan speed) cranked up, it would never go back down, even if the CPU load was zeroed out.

3. No CPU fan. A largish heat sink combined with a shroud allows the chassis fans to cool the CPU, but the trade-off is a pair of howling fans. (note: this was the case in the last-gen (blue) model. I am not sure if they still have the same *cough* innovation)

The XPS case *IS* capable of being quiet. My 530, even with dual xeons and a pair of the fastest SCSI drives on the market, is nearly silent by comparison.

ddrueding1
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Post by ddrueding1 » Sun Aug 14, 2005 8:18 pm

I have a few of the Precision Desktops; Dual Xeon, RAID of 15k drives, the works. They aren't that quiet, but they are much quieter than the XPS.

christopher3393
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Post by christopher3393 » Fri Sep 23, 2005 10:07 pm

I would be very interested in volunteering my XPS Gen 4 if there is still interest. I am trying to use voice-to-text program and I think the noise is lowering the accuracy. The story of my attempts with Dell support to deal with this problem might at least be informative as well. I live in Bloomington, Minnesota,but I'm willing to try to get my PC wherever it needs to go.

heliotrope
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XPS 600 jet airplane

Post by heliotrope » Thu Nov 10, 2005 7:17 pm

A funny story: I bought an XPS 600 to use as an audio recording device!. (I had been using a Dell Dimension 2400 and it worked just fine, nice and quiet, but it wasn't mine...) Obviously I didn't know that faster=hotter=louder. When I opened the box was the first shock--it was HUGE. Then when I fired it up it sounded like a jet plane. Anyways, I sent it back today. I found this sight while trying to figure out if the XPS 400 is actually quieter, as Dell claims. Just how quiet they won't tell me. If anyone hears one please let me know! In return I'll let you know, if I'm stupid enough to get one. (The reason I'm limiting my choice to Dell XPS systems is because of a no-interest financing offer)

k2tsai
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I may volunteer

Post by k2tsai » Sun May 07, 2006 9:37 am

Mike,

I just picked up an XPS 200 (should be arriving this week). I live in Seattle, WA, just a couple hours south of you.

I was planning on doing the modding myself as a challenge, and I intend on documenting the entire process.

If you really want to give it the full treatment in your lab, I could probably wait until after you give it the once over before I do some extreme tinkering.

Then again, with the work that you do, I may not need to touch it at all after you're done with it. :D

- Ken

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Post by jon67 » Sun Oct 29, 2006 3:38 pm

Did anything come out of this initiative?

Got an "old" XPS Gen4 that was very noisy as-delivered. I removed a baffle in the CPU shroud and reversed one of the rear fans servicing the CPU heatsink, so that both rear 90mm fans blow out of the case (recommended at DellTalk). The noise became bearable with two instances of F@H running, but pretty far from 30dB.

Since the rear fans are difficult to replace, I've been thinking about intercepting their wiring with a FanMate2 to reduce fanspeed. Of course the fan control would crank up the speed as the CPU temp (which I of course cannot monitor) would increase, but it would still be limited by the FanMate. Anybody else done something similar with a PWM fan?

The mid/high-pitch noise from the 60mm PSU fans is annoying at close range but doesn't really bother me at working distance, and I guess it will be difficult to do something about them.

There is a grill/blowhole on the top of the case above the CPU area which could easily fit a 120/140mm fan, but I don't know what I could gain from adding a new fan before I've made the old ones more silent.

The noise from the original cooler on the ATI vidcard was insane, replaced it with a AC Silencer, which runs at 50% speed and can't be heard over the other fans.

The machine should be good for a couple more years (P4 3.8GHz, 2GB DDR2, 800 GB RAID 0, X850XT-PE), so if there's something else I can do to reduce noise without spending too much time and money I'll be happy to hear about it.

musicinmybrain
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Post by musicinmybrain » Sun Jul 01, 2007 2:41 pm

I have an XPS R400 (like this), but I don't think that's what you're looking for. :wink:

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