Reoccuring loud fan noise on HP Proliant ML350 G4

Posted on 2011-10-06
Last Modified: 2012-05-12

I have a client who has a ML350 G4 I believe which seems to be making a loud noise which can only be described by the client like an aircraft taking off. When we turned up on site it seems to at random intervals get louder as though the server is doing a self fan test when you first boot up a server and then it goes quiet, at times the client has said it can be very loud for a good 10-15 minutes. It does seem the fan revs up to a very high RPM for a set period and then lowers again to normal operation.

Is this normal and what could the problem be?


Tahir Ahmed
Question by:Tahir2008
    LVL 89

    Expert Comment

    by:John Hurst
    A certain amount of such noise is normal. 10 minutes seems long.

    Check the hardware for dust accumulation and overall temperature. Check the BIOS for an upgrade as BIOS can cause this.

    Finally check with HP Support. ... Thinkpads_User
    LVL 22

    Expert Comment

    by:Dr. Klahn
    Variable speed fans are standard are new PCs.  The system speeds up the fan as required to cool the CPU when the CPU temperature starts rising.  The BIOS does a high-speed fan test when the system is first booted.

    During operation (if the BIOS settings for the fan are defaulted) the fan runs at the lowest available speed, and ramps up when the CPU gets hot.  During CPU intensive operations such as playing games, the fan may go to top speed and stay there.  There's not much that can be done about this other than to buy a quieter fan with a larger heat sink.  
    LVL 1

    Author Comment

    I am aware of the variable speeds on both PC's and servers however the client is not doing anything which would be considered intensive on the server for it to ramp to such high RPM for 10 minutes. I even asked if it repeated the process at the same time every day in case it was due to a backup job running but they clearly stated it happens at totally random times throughout the day.
    LVL 1

    Expert Comment

    I have had this problem during a long time; and,in my case, the solution was easy: general recommendations suggest that temperature in a server room should not go below 10º C or above 28º C.

    It is important to note that there are many more factors to consider in a server room that only temparture, airflow and humitidy for example, are also major concerns.

    But in my case, lowering the temperature to 20 º C was sufficient, and now.....only the fans make noise when starting the computer (for a couple of minutes)

    LVL 6

    Expert Comment

    I suppect that j meca has hit the nail on the head. If the customer is complaining about the noise, it would seem that this server is in the general environment and not a cooled room for the server. Room temperature is adequate for a server although it can shorten the lifespan. The trade-off for operating at a higher than recommended temp, however, is the fans will run harder.
    LVL 1

    Accepted Solution

    This could be the issue as the server is not in a cooled location. The server is just sitting under the counter in reception.
    LVL 1

    Author Closing Comment

    Could not locate any issues with the internal fans, the server was working fine so have assumed this is related to the fact that it is stored under a small table. Have recommended client to move to a more ventilated area and then re-asses

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