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Dell Dimension 4600 CPU Fan Issue

Posted on 2004-10-30
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Last Modified: 2008-01-09
Hi everybody!

I recently bought a Dell Dimension 4600 Desktop with a P4 HT 3GHz and one thing drives me crazy: a horrible high-pitched noise coming from the CPU fan. It doesn't depend on the CPU load, even when my system is nearly idle the sound level is unbearable. It get's a bit worse when I start a graphics demanding application (read: games).

I checked if the CPU fan is damaged, but it isn't. Other Dell customers have the same problem. I compared my system to those from different vendors and it's disproportionally louder. I already searched the web (e.g. replacing the built-in CPU fan) but couldn't find a solution.

Did anyone solve this problem or has "good" suggestions ? I don't wanna get through the hassle of Dell's support or return the computer because I need it every day.

PS: My ears have an average sensitivity, so loud means loud :)
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Question by:weznme
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17 Comments
 
LVL 1

Expert Comment

by:turbo76542
ID: 12453011
Actually it would be a good idea to call Dell because if there is a fix, Dell probably knows about it.  I would suggest you try updating the bios to the latest revision if one exists.  That usually fixes alot of problems with things like that.  Try it out and see if it works for you.
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Author Comment

by:weznme
ID: 12453040
I had to call Dell's support line various times before at work and it's a waste of time. Thus, I wanna avoid that for now.

I already updated the BIOS - no difference.
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LVL 1

Expert Comment

by:turbo76542
ID: 12453062
More of a reason to call Dell.  They may know something that no one else knows.  If I was at work, I would probably be able to find this info.  Let me see what I can come up with.
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Expert Comment

by:turbo76542
ID: 12453135
Looks like you will need to call Dell.  They may have to replace hardware and if you don't call, you could still have the same problem no matter what you do.  One other thing you may want to check, is that you did not disable hyperthreading.  That may cause the fan to make so much noise believe it or not.  Go back in and enable hyperthreading if it is disabled.
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LVL 31

Expert Comment

by:rid
ID: 12453226
No healthy fan (or other component, for that matter) should make a seriously disturbing high-pitched noise.

1) Verify that it is indeed the CPU fan (stop it for a second or something). It might be something else.
2) Make a complaint to the vendor or Dell. Ask for a replacement unit.

Or, alternatively, jump directly to 2). The situation cannot be normal.
/RID
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LVL 31

Assisted Solution

by:rid
rid earned 300 total points
ID: 12453248
Additional:
Going for your own solution may void any warranty, but if you are determined to go that way, you need to make certain you know which component is making the noise. If you have determined that it is actually the CPU fan, you could try to attach a custom heatsink/fan assembly or exchanging the fan for a new one with the same specs (Dell don't make fans themselves).

Did the machine ever run silent?
/RID
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LVL 1

Author Comment

by:weznme
ID: 12453321
turbo76542: Hyperthreading was enabled, for testing purpose I disabled it - no difference.

rid: Yes, the noise definately comes from the CPU fan. I have little knowledge of what different fans are available, so I have no idea what fan to buy. I only know that there are numerous different sizes:

The machine never ran silently but it was no big deal in the past because of various circumstances. It doesn't sound like anything is broken, the fan nearly runs at full speed all the time which causes the noise.

And again: I really really want to avoid calling Dell. If you ever call their helpline you will know why :-O
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Expert Comment

by:btmanmeh
ID: 12453385
I've dealt with Dell's support line, and yes I agree it's not fun. However, if there is a hardware recall, or they are made aware of a particular problem about a certain model line,  I agree with everyone else in here. For one, because if they know there's a problem with some certain fans(maybe it's not just yours) then you probably wouldn't have to pay to have it fixed. No one enjoys tech lines. However, when you have a machine under warranty that you just bought, it should function right!
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LVL 6

Assisted Solution

by:tapkep
tapkep earned 600 total points
ID: 12453393
If your 3 GHz P4 had 1 MB cache (and it likely has), the problem is with default Intel fan (unless Dell uses anther heatsink and fan; i haven't seen Dimension 4600). Solution would be to replace it with another, not so loud, cooler. Default Intel coolers are quite noisy.

Solution 1:
Call Dell and require them to replace CPU cooler with quieter one.

Solution 2:
Return Dell computer to store and buy more silent one made by different manufacturer.

Solution 3:
Buy another cooler, like CoolerMaster Hyper 6 (http://www.coolermaster.com/index.php?LT=english&Language_s=2&url_place=product&p_serial=KHC-V81&other_title=KHC-V81Hyper%206)
, replace default cooler with it, probably void warranty.

Solution 4:
See at bios, whether there is option to control CPU fan speed (so it rotates slower, then CPU is idle).
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LVL 10

Expert Comment

by:tfjeff
ID: 12454939
Installing a fan that is not specifically desinged for the system and from dell WILL void your warranty, you should contact the support line like the other say, this is your best bet...if you let them know all of this stuff you have tried, and that you have isolated the problem to the CPU fan, they sould replace it pretty easily.
jeff
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LVL 1

Expert Comment

by:turbo76542
ID: 12457715
For one thing, Dell does not have a store.  And like tfjeff said, you will not be covered if you try another 3rd party fan on your computer.  Call Dell and have them get you fixed up.  I know you are trying to avoid calling them but if you would do that, then you would have had this issue fixed or at least be waiting on a replacement part by now.  Do not go to the store and buy a fan for the computer or you may not be covered if something else breaks.  Usually though, Dell is pretty good about replacing components when they are faulty.
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LVL 1

Accepted Solution

by:
turbo76542 earned 600 total points
ID: 12457737
One other thing to add:
You actually paid extra for the parts replacement warranty on your system so why not take advantage of that since you have already paid for the support.  I know that sometimes it is a pain to wait on hold for someone to help you but overall, Dell has the highest customer satisfaction rating of all computer manufacturers and I'm not just saying that.  It is a well known fact that some people don't believe because of their bad experiences.  You make up about 6 to 8% of the people that are not satisfied.  The rest are.  So do yourself a favor and call them or you will be sorry in the long run.
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LVL 6

Expert Comment

by:tapkep
ID: 12458106
The main problem might be, that Dell's used CPU cooler is standard one made by Intel. They may claim, that 40-50 dBA is way below pain threshold and there is no need to replace it.
Can anyone clarify, what cooler is used in Dell Dimension 4600?
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LVL 34

Expert Comment

by:jamietoner
ID: 12458239
sounds like you have a fan going out,dell uses a proprietary fan and heatsink, and like jeff said any 3rd party fan or heatsink will void the warrenty, the only way i see of getting it fixed is call dell and get it replaced the high pitched sqeal isnt normal they shouldnt have any problems getting it replaced, yah it may not be fun to call tech support but its that or a loud fan and if it goes out a fried computer.
jamie
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LVL 1

Author Comment

by:weznme
ID: 12466306
Thanks for all your help. First I pinpointed the problem to really make sure it's the CPU fan. Then I called Dell and after LOADS of fun on the phone they assured me that I'll get a new one.  Probably they will send the same one again, but I won't give up and call them again :]

Is it possible to split up the points for the answer ?
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LVL 1

Author Comment

by:weznme
ID: 12466381
And yes, I'm a bit blind ;-)

C'ya!
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LVL 6

Expert Comment

by:tapkep
ID: 12466462
;)
Don't forget to post your experience with new fan :)
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