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 Post subject: Dell Computers
PostPosted: Wed May 23, 2007 9:43 pm 
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About two years ago, I bought twin computers for my almost twin duaghters. Both are:

Dimension 3000. Intel(r) Pentium(r) 4 Processor w/ HT Technology (3GHz, 800 FSB),

Though I had bought (cheap) Dell computers in the past, I had never noticed the noise level that I immediately noticed with these two. Since both seem to have exhibited the same amount of loud noise right out of the factory. and since Dell is probably the most popular computer seller, I am hoping that someone here knows the biggest source of their noise and, I hope, how to eliminate it.

I have looked around on this site and haven't seen much about Dell computers. Perhaps that is becasue anyone with half a brain, or preference for quiet computers, knows better than to buy a Dell computer. If there is a whole separate section on Dell's, kindly point me in that direction and I will do my homework!

Thank you very much!
Dean


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PostPosted: Thu May 24, 2007 4:43 am 
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Hello,

Dells are PCs like any other - so open 'em up, find the noise sources, and quiet away! :)

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 Post subject: Noisy Dell 3000 computer
PostPosted: Thu May 24, 2007 7:30 am 
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Surely there is enough knowledge here on a Dell 3000 computer to identify the main culprit?

If it something that involves a soldering iron to fix, I think I'm in over my head.

Thanks!
Dean


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu May 24, 2007 8:10 am 
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Location: Baton Rouge, Louisiana
Maybe not. Most of us avoid post-Northwood Pentium 4's like the plague. These inefficient CPUs generate lots of heat requiring more airflow to operate--as well as causing the PSU to draw more power so they require more airflow also. All that extra airflow translates into more fan noise.

Nothing personal against Dell; there's not going to be much knowledge here on SPCR about ANY post-Northwood P4 computers.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu May 24, 2007 9:01 am 
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Location: UK
I used to have a Dimension 2400 which is basically identical to the 3000; the main noisemakers will be the PSU and CPU fan. difficult to know if you can replace the psu, as Dell had a nasty habit of using proprietary parts. I cut out the stamped grill and changed the fan on the PSU, but it was still a rubbish PSU. For the CPU fan, you can change it (it should be in one of those green duct-type housings) but the BIOS may throw a tantrum about the fan not spinning fast enough. no soldering iron required :wink:


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu May 24, 2007 5:02 pm 
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A couple of things are not clear enough for a newbie like me. Isaac, not that I know what Northwood is, but I guess it was something good, right? Are you saying that all Pentium 4's are post Northwood - therefore don't buy any more P4's - or just that Dell P4's are? If I can digress for a moment, I am also thinking of getting my dad a new computer since i can't deal with his 5+-year old ME machine any longer, which won't even handle AOL's RAM rqmts. He is the most minimal user, accessing e-mail five minutes a day, surfing to 2 sites in his lifetime, and using EXCEL once a month. Therefore it is foolish to get him anything but a cheap computer. However, the computer is in a small family room and I don't want to saddle him with the kind of noise I get on my newer Dell's. Is there a simialrly low end priced machine other than Dell's that you folks can recommend that is just as easy to assmeble?

Jaganath, regarding the PSU, it seeems that you are saying you replaced the PSU fan, but the PSU is junk. If so, i don't know why the latter statement is material to the quietness discusssion. Is it just an editorial comment on the PSU? Or are you saying that a new PSU FAN was junky and didn't help? By cutting out the grill, are you saying the new fan wouldn't fit in the case? Regarding the CPU fan, are you saying that the only way to quiet it down is to get a slower fan (and risk a BIOS problem); that you can't just buy a quiter fan that is just as fast?

Thanks all!
Dean


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri May 25, 2007 12:54 am 
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Quote:
Are you saying that all Pentium 4's are post Northwood - therefore don't buy any more P4's


It's kind of moot because they are no longer in production, but yes the P4 has been superceded by newer chips (Core Duo and Core 2 Duo). Beware, there is a new version of the Core 2 Duo that they are calling "Pentium", but this is not the same as the Pentium 4.

Quote:
it is foolish to get him anything but a cheap computer. However, the computer is in a small family room and I don't want to saddle him with the kind of noise I get on my newer Dell's. Is there a simialrly low end priced machine other than Dell's that you folks can recommend that is just as easy to assmeble?


with the advice of this forum I guarantee you can build a virtually silent PC for your dad with zero modification required, just stock parts.

Quote:
If so, i don't know why the latter statement is material to the quietness discusssion.


It's material because it's very easy to modify a good (read: high efficiency) power supply to be quiet; just stick a quiet fan in there. But if the PSU is poor (ie low efficiency) then it will put out a lot of heat, which will require a lot of airflow, which will be noisy.

Quote:
are you saying that a new PSU FAN was junky and didn't help?


No.

Quote:
By cutting out the grill, are you saying the new fan wouldn't fit in the case?


No. the grill was restricting airflow, so I cut it out.

Quote:
Regarding the CPU fan, are you saying that the only way to quiet it down is to get a slower fan


Basically, yes. The noise that a fan produces is directly related to its speed; however the best quiet fans only need a little reduction in speed to be nearly inaudible while still producing decent airflow.


In my honest opinion, for someone with no experience of modifying computers it's easier to build a new,quiet computer from scratch than to modify this Dell to be quiet .


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri May 25, 2007 3:08 pm 
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Location: Western Mass.
Although I'm inclined to think that jaganath knows more than I (because he actually had the same computer (and knows more about PCs, period), it might be possible for you to use a non-Dell PSU in the unit with the aid of a special adapter. EndPCNoise.com used to carry them, and may still. My experience with EPCN is that they're very helpful with answering questions.


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 Post subject: Silent PC question by newbie
PostPosted: Sat Jun 02, 2007 8:11 am 
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I may not have been completely clear, but I have two goals. One would be to quiet down two noisy bottom-of-the-line Dell computers, but let's set that one aside for now. the more pressing one is buying one for my dad, THE MOST MINIMAL USER (wants enough to handle the later version of AOL, occasional small EXCEL, and surfing to about 5 sites a year), but still it needs to be one that isn't noisy since it sits in his small family room.

Jaganath, you are saying it is easy to build a virtually silent PC, It doesn't need to be virtually silent but quiet or "not noisy" would be good enough! In any event, the task of building my own computer scares me a bit, even though I'm a reasonably handy fellow. Can I buy such a computer for, say, $500 or less, somewhere, off the shelf? If not, can you send me a link to building your own computers, please, hopefully something elementary?

Thanks much!
Dean


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Jun 02, 2007 11:58 am 
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Location: UK
Quote:
can you send me a link to building your own computers, please, hopefully something elementary?


http://www.buildyourown.org.uk/pc-building/

Here is an example of a build that I think would suit your dad's requirements:

Case: Antec NSK4400 (with PSU included)
CPU: AMD Sempron 3400 AM2
RAM: 1GB DDR2
HDD: Samsung Spinpoint T 320GB (HD321KJ)
M'board: MSI K9MM-V AM2 motherboard

this should run to about $300 including shipping.


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 Post subject: Build your own
PostPosted: Fri Jun 15, 2007 6:07 pm 
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Well, I certainly love the price but after checking out the guide, I am too intimidated to try to build it myself. Is this something a local computer store would build for me, for a reasonable price?

Dean


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Jun 15, 2007 8:39 pm 
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Location: Rochester, MN
Yes, a local computer store (henceforth referred to as "mom and pop" store) should be able to build it for you without a problem. As for the price, in my experience the M&P stores have to make a profit and the amount of money that you spend might very well be similar to the amount of money that is spent with a Dell or similar brand. But, you get components that are quiet and that's important to a lot of us around here.

If you just want strictly "off the shelf" components with a minimum of hassle, I came across a very slick-looking HP last week in Staples. It was an X2 3600 or similar processor with 1 Gb of ram and a DVD multi drive. It was in one of those really swell mini-cases. Seemed quiet on the showroom floor. IF you don't want to go through the hassle of building (or having one built for you) your own computer, then that might be the way to go. Caveat emptor, though, because I didn't have a chance to stress it out to see what the overall noise factor was like.

(side note--i looked online to see if i could spot it for you, but I didn't come across it. If I happen to find it I will post it here, but please don't depend on it.)

HTH,
--KK


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Jun 15, 2007 11:32 pm 
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Location: USA
Dell actually has one of the best reputations (second only to Apple) for big name off-the-shelf quiet PCs. I think maybe they, like almost everyone else, hit a rough patch with those nasty high clock speed P4s. I had a dimension 8200 that had a 2 GHz P4 (either Willamete or Northwood) and that thing was dead silent from more than 1m away. Given that the current low end Dells can be had with low speed AMD CPUs like X2 3600+ or Sempron 3400, I'd expect them to be very quiet. The C521 is the model I'd go for (Sempron or X2 with on-board NVidia 6150) -- nice and compact too and easily had for < $500. I have a friend with one and he likes it. The only bad thing is you're stuck with preloaded Vista at this point and that is still at least one service pack away from being a good thing.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Jun 15, 2007 11:37 pm 
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Thanks. I'll stop by to check it out. I wonder how well one can measure noise when inside a big store. Doe anyone else know about this machine?

Dean


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Jun 16, 2007 7:36 am 
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My thank you post was to KansaKilla. I had not yet seen Jesse's post. Regarding the former, I didn't realize until just now that he was suggesting that Mom & Pop stores are no more expensive than Dell. I had bought into the mass merchandiser providing the lowest cost units. In any event, if the price is the same, what do I give up by not using Dell? A warranty? Other than that, I've found their customer service to be pretty useless.

Then again, the post by Jesse, makes it sound like the noise problem with Dell's was just a passing thing. When I got my noisy machine, I called them and they basically said, if you want a quieter one, we'll sell you a more expensive model. Perhaps, I should have pressed harder, if only I'd known it was a fault they were planning to fix! Now, I'm stuck with two very noisy Dell's that are a few years old, but otherwise fine. In any event, your model number is pretty high, which I equate with a higher end Dell machine. Can anyone else verify that low end Dell's are quiet now, although if VISTA is so bad I guess I should not go there.

Thanks all,
Dean


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 Post subject: Chapter 2
PostPosted: Wed Jul 11, 2007 10:10 pm 
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Well, my wife advised me that my dad used his computer so seldom that I shouldn't consider buying him a new one and when I just visited him, I realized she was right. Actually, for the first time, his old computer was working just as well as it was when I left it a year earlier, suggesting he was using it almost never.

So, I am returning the issue to the other problem I raised. I have these two 2- yr old (see my initial post) Dell Dimensions PCs and they have grown ridiculously noisy over about 2 years I think. I have never vacuumed them out so I will do that tomorrow, and it may help considerably. Still, these machines were too noisy even when they were new. When I called Dell, they basically said, we'll be happy to sell you a more expensive computer and that should help!

I saw a link about noise on Dell computers and while many complained about noisy Dell PCs there seemed to be no such consensus on whether it was due to bottom-the-line models only, or the P4s (as suggested above), and for the Dimension 3000, there were mentions of a shroud, a vibrating case, the fan, and many things more - but no consensus. I guess I will also call endPCnoise as you folks have recommended them. perhaps they are intimiately familiar with this machine.

Thanks!
Dean


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 Post subject: Re: Chapter 2
PostPosted: Wed Jul 11, 2007 11:14 pm 
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Location: Pennsylvania, USA
dean wrote:
I have never vacuumed them out so I will do that tomorrow, and it may help considerably.


DO NOT use a vacuum to clean your computer! You take a chance on generating a lot of static electricity and destroying it. Use cans of compressed air (that you can find at any office store).

http://www.computerhope.com/cleaning.htm


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Jul 12, 2007 3:03 am 
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personally I think if your vacuum has plastic(not metal) attachments you'll be alright,but better safe than sorry I guess.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Jul 12, 2007 4:42 am 
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jaganath wrote:
personally I think if your vacuum has plastic(not metal) attachments you'll be alright,but better safe than sorry I guess.
I second that. I have vacuumed my computers several times (10+) and nothing has died on me.

But as said, better safe then sorry.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Jul 17, 2007 11:43 pm 
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in the military working with computers, we have very strict guidlines we have to follow to make sure we dont damage anything, and we only ever use vacume cleaners to clean out all of our PC's. now granted the systems are always grounded to earth ground, and we are always grounded to the system when we do this, but still. It can be done safely.

If all your going to do is check email and websurf, you could get one of these:

http://www.linutop.com/

it will definately be silent, and very small/portable.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Jul 18, 2007 12:40 am 
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Those thin clients are RIDICULOUS. By that I mean they're horrendously over-priced.

Scan eBay and Craigslist for a cheap used PC. If he doesn't need to print or use a modem, then Linux isn't a terrible idea (it's free) but Windows is still a better option.

But yeah, don't vacuum a computer; vacuum cleaners use high-static parts that can actually arc across the motherboard and other circuit boards inside the computer (I have seen it happen). There's almost no coming back from firing electricity like a gun into a computer.

If it's an old steel-guts vacuum, you can get away with it, though. There used to be a beautiful old hand-held vacuum in the shop (that was older than me by almost half my age) that reversed when you jammed the hose into the other end. It was perfect for blowing shit out of computers.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Jul 18, 2007 1:22 am 
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never seen static arc off of plastic before. I use a small canister wet/dry to vacume out my pc. Its all plastic.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Jul 18, 2007 6:22 am 
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Hi Dean. The folks at End PC Noise are great and very helpful. But they won't be intimately familiar with Dell PCs. I own 2 : a Dimension 8400 and an XPS Gen 4. Both are 2 years old. The XPS has more serious noise problems due to CPU fans on back of case (XPS has 2, 8400 has one). As has been mentioned, Dell often has proprietary versions of equipment. The fans are hard to replace. Thet are temperature sensitive and their particular levels of temp sensitivity and speed increase are tied into the system BIOS. Very tricky. There are a few fans you can find on the internet that were used by Dell and are quieter than most of the fans Dell uses, but you have to check what Dell models they can be used in (some of the sites have a list). Sorry I don't have a link --looked into this months ago.

I haven't had problems with PSU noise but I have with my 6800 graphics card which is easily modifiable/replaceable.

Dell's forums might address this issue and offer you some very specific help. They have helped me several times.

One cheap method I've used is taping a piece of cardboard to the top of the PC, allowing enough size to fold over the sides covering the top 20% of the case. The card board needs to hang over the back about 1'. This dampens the fan noise by roughly 50%. You just have to watch for heat build-up which is indicated by the fan(s) becoming louder.

PS: the newer Dells are generally much quieter. I've tried out 3 or 4 different models and was pleasantly surprised.


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 Post subject: Update
PostPosted: Wed Nov 07, 2007 5:37 pm 
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Sorry I didn't post back until now, I found that, by moving the machines out of a corenr, they were markedly quiter, though still not quiet. For now, that will do.

I seems to recall that somewhere in this thread, someone advixed against getting a new Dell computer becasue it would have Vista. I now am about to buy a laptop and I wonder if it still makes sense to avoid Vista?

One guy said he loves it, though he admits it's more like a MAC and he was a MAC guy. Will XP be obsolete soon? Will Vista require me to get new application software?

Comments anyone (please)?

Thanks!
Dean


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Nov 07, 2007 5:58 pm 
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As I post this my XPS is droning away quite audibly! Dell continues to offer XP as an option and Microsoft has extended XP sales through June '08. I intend to install Vista Home Premium on a new pc in Dec. So much depends on what apps. you use, but generally I think the momentum is beginning to shift toward Vista. It seems to me that it is a pretty even choice right now for mainstream usage. BTW, the new Dell Vostros are pretty quiet.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Nov 12, 2007 2:31 pm 
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I dont have any experience with DELL pcs -- other than whats on my desk at work, and they seem ok.

However if you want a PC built to YOUR specs and your not comfortable with doing the assembly yourself - or in my case you want a 3yr warranty - check this site out: www.mbx.com

They dont list pre-build systems, and yes you can find cheaper stuff elsewhere. but they will build exactly what you want, their stuff is tested before shipping, it comes with a 3 year warranty and lifetime tech support -- and not support by a non-english speaking person attemtping to follow a script, the folks who answer the phone actually have a clue.

As for Vista vs XP. best I can say is go spend some time in your local Best buy (or other computer store) and see what you think of vista thats running on the PCs they have.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Dec 26, 2007 1:02 am 
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Quote:
I dont have any experience with DELL pcs -- other than whats on my desk at work, and they seem ok.

However if you want a PC built to YOUR specs and your not comfortable with doing the assembly yourself - or in my case you want a 3yr warranty - check this site out:

They dont list pre-build systems, and yes you can find cheaper stuff elsewhere. but they will build exactly what you want, their stuff is tested before shipping, it comes with a 3 year warranty and lifetime tech support -- and not support by a non-english speaking person attemtping to follow a script, the folks who answer the phone actually have a clue.

As for Vista vs XP. best I can say is go spend some time in your local Best buy (or other computer store) and see what you think of vista thats running on the PCs they have.



I have expirence with dell computer from 5 years there performance is so well both in vista and xp i use both of these Vista is best for business mens but for home use i always Prefers Xp its good.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Dec 26, 2007 8:39 pm 
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BTW, Dean

if power supplies are the culprit, you could probably replace PSUs in those dells:

http://www.pcpower.com/products/power_supplies/dell/

pcp&c are not the quietest and these won't be as silent as the sprc-recommended psu's but they are ok if you are looking to improve over stock.

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