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How loud is the Dell XPS?

Posted: Thu Jul 03, 2003 7:28 am
by lunar_battousai
Hi all,
I am planning on buying a new PC, my freind and I were considering a Dell XPS. He already bought and recieved his but said it is extremly noisy. We had heard good reviews about it'd noise levels he fells that maybe his computer wasnt :o built right and this is the reason for the excessive noise. I was just wandering if any of you have a Dell XPS or have seen and heard one). Do you find the noise to be excessive or do you think my friesnd recieved a bad one. I would really appreciate your help since if you found the noise to be good I willpurchase the XPS. Thanks again.

Posted: Thu Jul 03, 2003 7:44 am
by miker
I'd have your friend call Dell and bitch to high heaven about the noise. See what they do. I'd be very curious.

Posted: Thu Jul 03, 2003 9:48 am
by miker
BTW, why did you post this exact post in two forums? Just wondering.


Posted: Thu Jul 03, 2003 10:40 am
by lunar_battousai
:( Sorry bout that but I wasn't sure which forum this question was best suited for so I did both.

Posted: Thu Jul 03, 2003 1:38 pm
by Rory B.
It's because the Dell XPS has freaking 5 fans (or was it 6?) while the Dell Dimension and OptiPlex towers have two. Also, two of the XPS's fans are in that low-profile power supply, so they have to be 60mm. Those are going to get loud real quick.

FWIW it's probably quieter than my PC used to be before I started seeking silence (with Enermax "Whisper" dual-fan power supply, 4 Vantec Stealths, the Volcano 9, and the A7V NB and TNT2 VGA fans all at once. That's 9 fans, yo.) I couldn't live with the thing.

Have you ever heard the XPS in action Rory

Posted: Thu Jul 03, 2003 4:00 pm
by lunar_battousai
Rory have you heard it or are you guessing because the reviews say its a quiet PC and in all the consumer reviews I read no one even mentioned the noise level. I am just hoping that my freind got a bad install because I cant imagine them marketing a comp that loud.

Posted: Fri Jul 04, 2003 12:29 am
by madlee
Just to let you know, Michael Dell funds John Ashcroft.

Posted: Fri Jul 04, 2003 7:06 am
by Rory B.
"Quiet" is relative.

Relative to just about every other gaming PC out there (which usually incorporate numerous case fans, a power supply with a fast fan, a video card with a dustbuster on it, and a screaming howler monkey CPU fan), the Dell XPS probably IS quieter than the other models to be found in the aforementioned gaming PC genre. After hours running benchmarks on a machine that is filled with Thermaltake Dragon Orbs and Vantec Tornado exhaust fans and a 4-fan power supply, the Dell's lower noise level would certainly be welcome. The fact of the matter is, the Dell XPS has two 92mm exhaust fans, another 92mm in front of the PCI cards (to blow air on what I would imagine is a passively-cooled ATi Radeon 9800), and a pair of 60mm fans in the power supply. There is no way that, even with thermal control, all of these fans in the Dell XPS are going to be just as quiet as a Dell Dimension with a single 92mm fan handling the chassis exhaust and CPU cooling, and a single 80mm thermally-controlled fan in the power supply.

At any rate, I don't see what you're getting mad at ME for. Common sense says that three fans running at a certain speed should be louder than a single one of those fans, running at that same speed because there are more blade surfaces slicing the air. Common sense also says that 60mm fans cannot be quiet and spin fast enough to be effective. A gaming PC needs to be kept cool. This is just the reality that your friend has bought into. If your friend demands quiet, tell him to return the XPS and get a Dimension, or stop complaining.

What the hell is your problem

Posted: Fri Jul 04, 2003 8:38 am
by lunar_battousai
I think you need to relax hot head. Nobody was mad at you. I was just asking if you ever heard the fan since his is extremly noisey Mr common sense. No need to be a jack@ss about it. Of course other computers are quiter than the XPS I was just asking a general question to see if anyone could confirm how loud it really was and this was not a bad model. I have heard many computers and this was far and away the loudest. there is no need to come to my thread with a condesending attitude when onbiously you never even heard the XPS your just assuming. It could be louder fine, but that was not what I was asking about. I wanted to know if anybody else found the XPS to produce an ungodly amount of noise. All of the people who have posted on my threads except you have been kind and understanding. If they dont know about something they say it and give an alternative solution. They dont act like an enraged idiot and say well what did you expect. I truly thank everyone except Rory who was kind enough to answer my questions with common sense and kindness.

Posted: Fri Jul 04, 2003 1:27 pm
by Rory B.
Rory have you heard it or are you guessing because the reviews say its a quiet PC and in all the consumer reviews I read no one even mentioned the noise level. I am just hoping that my freind got a bad install because I cant imagine them marketing a comp that loud.
Let me try to rephrase this so I won't sound too much like a jack@ss.

"Quiet" is a relative term. Many computers that are classified by their manufacturers as "gaming" PCs are a lot louder than the Dell XPS probably is, so Dell calls it "Quiet." At any rate, the best way for your friend to know he's getting a quiet PC is for him to contact Dell and see if he can exchange the XPS for a similarly-equipped Dimension, which has fewer fans. Sure, there will be a performance hit, but it is a tradeoff between smoking performance and quiet.

As for ways to make the XPS quieter, your options are fairly limited. The power supply may not be replaced with a quiet model because the XPS uses a low-profile proprietary design. The thermally-controlled fans would be a difficult modification to make because the Dell fans use a proprietary 4-pin connector to the motherboard. Some snipping and splicing of wires would be required, or the machine will not start up, because since the rear fans are responsible for CPU cooling, if the motherboard can't tell any fans are there, it will display an error message. Even if you were motivated to try and change out the fans for Panflos or Papsts, it might not be very worth your while. The Dells use Nippon Micro Bearing (NMB)-branded fans made by a company called Minebea. They are already very, very quiet fans when used with thermal control like Dell does, and switching them for Panaflo or Papst will probably not result in any significant improvement. Also, snipping the wires to splice a 3-pin fan into the Dell 4-pin connector will almost surely void your friend's warranty. Same goes for any modifications made to the power supply, which features 60mm fans. 60mm fans are too small to spin slow and be effective, so they will always be moderately loud.

That is why I say the best option for your friend as far as changing the actual hardware goes is to try and get Dell to replace the XPS with a Dimension. The alternatives do not look very attractive. Some things your friend might be able to do are:

-Set the computer on the ground. If the floor is not carpeted, get a scrap of carpet and set the machine on that.
-Make sure there is proper front-to-back airflow so the machine can breathe.
- Do not enclose the PC where it cannot breathe. The fans will quickly spin up to full speed.

Beyond that, there isn't a whole lot you can do except send back the Dell and, using suggestions from this forum, building your own silent PC. The reason I had short patience with you before is that it seemed to me like you were very bothered by me telling you something you didn't want to hear (that there isn't a whole lot you can do for a closely-integrated system like the Dell XPS.) And hence your earlier reply, questioning whether I actually knew what I was talking about.
Rory have you heard it or are you guessing
FYI, it's called an educated guess. I have not heard the Dell XPS but what I know about fans and cooling tells me not to have very high expectations for the Dell. Clearly, significant steps have been taken to make sure the system is not super loud even with the hot 3.06GHz processors, but the system shoud not be expected to meet the same standard of quietness that the Dimension and OptiPlex towers have set. DELL says the machine is quiet. As of yet, the reviewers are silent on the matter. You can't always trust the word of the manufacturers, but you should give Dell tech support a buzz and see if they can offer any explanation for the loudness of your Dell XPS.

There. Maybe that won't sound like I'm an "enraged idiot". That wasn't my intention in the first place. I hope you will understand, after my more thorough explanation above, why I didn't offer much advice of what you could do on your own to quiet the XPS.


Posted: Fri Jul 04, 2003 1:50 pm
by lunar_battousai
Thanks for the advice Rory. Just so we are clear I wasnt upset because you were saying things I didnt want to hear. I just wanted to know if you or anyone else actually heard the XPS before my freind called up like a madman and started complaining. We just wanted to get a feeling for other people ideas. He already told me if that how loud it is fine but he wasnt sure since none of the reviews have even mentioned noise as an issue. I do appreciate you repling to my post to clear your true intentions. BTW he was considering putting his pc in an enclosue with noise reduction foam, but he was going to ensure that the storage was large enough to not infring on airflow, would you reccomend this since the computer desk has holes for airflow. Again thanks for clearing things up.

Posted: Fri Jul 04, 2003 1:56 pm
by lunar_battousai
BTW we were not saying that Dell said it was a quiet PC it was independant reviews that said it and when we said loud we meant even when you put headphones on at full blast you could still here the damn things

Posted: Fri Jul 04, 2003 2:00 pm
by GamingGod
Okay everyone lets keep it civil, this has been a friendly forum so far and hopefully it can stay that way. I agree with rory that sending it back is the best solution, it would be too much trouble to mod the xps. A dell dimension should be quieter, but it still wont be near as quiet as a computer that you build yourself, but if your have to build a premade machine dell isnt too bad of a choice.

Posted: Sat Jul 05, 2003 11:12 am
by DryFire
yeah don't try to mod a dell it will be the biggest headache you ever had unles you purchased the parts from dell. I've tried it.

Posted: Mon Jul 07, 2003 6:15 am
by Rory B.
If the computer desk has a place to stick the tower, don't stick it there. That space just offers vibration coupling to the desk, which will amplify the vibrations.

Have your friend first call Dell tech support to see what they have to say BEFORE sending the thing back, and then send it back. Once you've done that, come back and we'll help you build a silent computer.

Posted: Mon Jul 07, 2003 8:54 am
by khayyam
just my 2 cents:

i was considering an XPS vs an 8300 vs homebuilt. noise was, obviously, a major issue. i got a chance to listen to an XPS a few weeks ago, and decided to build my own. the XPS isn't loud, but it's not as quiet as most dells i've heard, and it's certainly not as quiet as the new pc i just built with the help of SPCR. :)


Posted: Mon Jul 07, 2003 3:21 pm
by lunar_battousai
Thanks but could you answer this how loud was the fan If you were across the hall with your door closed in another room could you still hear it. I'm just asking cause my friens was that loud but we heard to was pretty quite. Thanks for your post.

Posted: Mon Jul 07, 2003 3:43 pm
by khayyam
no, that would _definitely_ qualify as loud in my book.

Posted: Wed Jul 09, 2003 5:42 am
by rpc180
its possible that the system temps are so high due to those high end components they're triggering full speed from the thermal controlled fans? You could always try disconnecting some fans :) Don't mess with that proprietary PSU though!