I own four Dell computers as follows: a Dell Dimension XPS B8664; a Dell Inspiron Model 220--2926; a Dell Dimension XPS Gen 3; and a Dell XPS 410.
Over the years, I have learned how to fix most problems by reading the manuals that came with these computers. However, there is a problem I have been unable to solve, and I am hoping someone who has had similar experiences can help me. The problem is excessive fan noise; once it starts it will not stop until I shut off the computer. When I turn it on again, it runs quietly for a brief time until for some unknown the fan starts racing very loudly.
I used Dell Diagnostics and my Dell Dimension XPS Gen 3 computer passed all of the tests without any problems being identified. This computer has 4.0 GB of memory (DDRS SDRAM) installed, and the rated speed is 533 MHz. I have made sure the interior of the CPU is clean (no dust). What can I do to keep the fans from racing at top speed?
If it's the CPU fan, the thermal compound between the CPU and the heatsink assembly may be compromised and needs replacing - this could cause the CPU to overheat and the fan run constantly. Most Dell's have a proprietary CPU cooling fan with a sensor on it and if the sensor has failed on the fan that is another issue that could cause it run full speed and if that is the case, a new Dell fan will be needed.
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I had a similar problem with my XPS435/900 desktop. Some of it was a problem I may have caused. I needed a new motherboard as I broke a HD connector and got the replacement motherboard from Dell, last year some time. When moving the CPU and CPU fan cooler to the new motherboard, I guess I should have cleaned the old grease off the CPU and CPU fan cooler, which I did not know at the time. Over the past several months, one of the fans has been fine sometimes, other times it is running full blast, which is very noisy.
So, today I removed the CPU cooler fan and looked at the grease on the CPU and the fan cooler plate which sits on top of the CPU and it was all hard and very spotty. So I cleaned it off with isopropyl alcohol (top of CPU and CPU fan cooler plate) and put some new grease on. Just did it today, so will have to wait awhile to see if that was the issue.
Other times, the fan speed issue is simply caused by excessive dust in the various breathing vents in the front, sides and back of the unit. Mine seems to just inhale tons of dust and that will greatly minimize airflow, causing high fan speeds. So, take the cover off and inspect all of the areas where air flows, especially the screens front and rear (your model may be different).
I download a free app to monitor the CPU temp. Should have done it before I added the grease just to see what the temp was when the fans were running high.
It is very quiet right now, best it has been in a long time. Will see if it continues to behave.
Also, plenty of videos on YouTube about cleaning and adding the grease, etc. Grease available many places online, Amazon and others.