Poweredge 2970, fan speed (noise) control??? - PowerEdge General HW Forum - Servers - Dell Community

Poweredge 2970, fan speed (noise) control???


Information and ideas on Dell PowerEdge rack, tower and blade server solutions.

Poweredge 2970, fan speed (noise) control???

This question is not answered

Hi all,

I have Poweredge 2970 running ESXi4 server.

It have DRAC5, PERC6, 2x Quad port NICs installed.

It's located in a ventilated environment, where temperature wont never go higher than 25 celsius degrees.

Problem is it's fan noise, it's too high now, after I attached two NICs.

I did some testing and find this:

Only DRAC5 attached. Fans: 4350 rpm.

DRAC5 + PERC6 attached. Fans: 5700 rpm.

DRAC5 + PERC6 + 1 NIC attached. Fans: 6300 rpm.

DRAC5 + PERC6 + 2 NIC attached. Fans: 8700 rpm.

When I run this tests, system board probe temperature was 21 celsius degrees.

Is there anything to turn fans down, (I'm sure, 4350 rpm will keep it cool and happy)?

Please let me know.






All Replies
  • I think it's the BMC that controls this.

    I just looked at mine...   under 5K


    We have similar boxes..    12 cores, 24gb ram, Perc 6, only 2 dual port nics..  I think the Perc 6 is a Perc 6/i though.


  • As John said, it is indeed the BMC that monitors the system for airflow/pressure, temperature, and installed devices ... it is not just a function of the internal temperature.  As you have seen, it is programmed to up the speed when cards in general are inserted - some are specific cards.

    There is no way to "control" the fan speed, but often, updating the BIOS and BMC/ESM will add code to make sure that it is cooling as efficiently as possible - sometimes resulting in lower fan speeds.

  • Hi All,

    I also have similar issue with BMC that results in high fan speed.

    I also have this issue with my PowerEdge 2970 fan spinning very fast and the noise very high. There is always an error that show at boot that indicate BMC is bad. The server is deployed in an air conditioned environment so the temperature is always low.

    My question is can I use the server with the fan rpm so high (given that I am sure it is not due to high temperature but probably due to the malfunctioning BMC)? or will using the server at the this high fan rpm crash it or lead to other issue.



  • Yes, you can use it ... the server only shuts down once it reaches critical status, so as long as there is not actually a cooling issue, it should never reach critical.

    Try the following:

    • Clear the NVRAM using the jumpers on the motherboard
    • Reseat the riser cards and expansion cards
    • Reseat each of the fans
    • Check OMSA to make sure all fans are actually working - if one is not, the others will speed up to compensate
    • Update your system firmware (BIOS, ESM/BMC, RAID, NIC)
    • Make sure the cover is on securely - check the hardware log or LCD panel for entries about intrusion detection
    • If getting an intrusion, make sure cover is on securely, check that intrusion switch is working

    What expansion cards do you have installed?  How many drives?  Which RAID controller?  How much RAM?

  • The fan strategy embedded within the BMC likely has a rather coarse cooling strategy. And from my very limited experience with a T610, it seems this strategy is rather pessimistic in that it can't accurately correlate input air temp and device heat output to the required airflow speeds thus choosing a overly fast and thus ridiculous noisy fan speed. It may not be so relevant in dedicated server rooms (though OHS may have a different view) but it is completely unacceptable for those of us that use a pedestal server located in an office.

    Though the issue may have been resolved in the latest and greatest gen12 servers, Dell still needs to pull it's finger out and rethink the cooling algorithm embedded within BMC and release a firmware fix for the older gen servers (especially for pedestal servers). Such a fix is way overdue.

  • sky ... he clearly has a hardware problem.  I think your comments are lost on this one.

  • At boot I usually get  a message "Baseboard Management Controller Communication failure" and on checking the event viewer log one of system logs is

    "The IPMI device driver attempted to communicate with the

    IPMI BMC device during device creation.

    However the communication failed due to a timeout.

    Either the configured timeouts are too small and the

    IPMI BMC device responses take longer than the timeouts

    or the BMC has a technical fault.

    You can increase the timeouts associated with the

    IPMI device driver or seek assistance from the BMC device manufacturer."

    I believe that all these are contributory to the high fan speed and the front panel display not showing. Any idea how the BMC can be replaced or updated?


  • No doubt the error message is related to your fan noise, but have you tried any of the steps I gave you?

  • theflash,

    from my understanding, as part of the standards applied to motherboard design, to start the fan, speed is initially ramped up to get the device spinning, then quickly slowed down to the required rpm based on the cooling strategy. Since the fan/current/rpm characteristics are known, there should be an fan warning/error indication if a fan is clogged up with dust/fluff and and thus performing out of bounds. Logic can also be used to indicate a warning or error should temperature sensors indicate the system is hotter than the intake air temp and airflow dictate it should be (though this later part is not clearly defined in docs i have read).

    The problem with lots of differing systems (not just Dell) is that some warning and error indications are a little abstract and at times less than clear as to where the problem may reside. There is always room for improvement.

    petteri's complaints that the fans are spinning too fast for the conditions (and presumably it's annoying). There has not been any indication of h/w issues here.

    tohalete has a similar fan noise complaint but he also has a BMC problem (and wants to know if he should be concerned about the server).

    We know that in Dell servers, the MOBO/BMC combo controls the fan speed using logic defined and held in secret by Dell. An owner can take no actions to modify the cooling strategies via BIOS, etc. At times the fans run much faster than actually needed.

    As such, petteri's problem can only be fixed by Dell exposing more of the cooling strategy via BIOS so the owners of the equipement can adjust appropriately for their conditions of use.

    tohalete's problem may be resolved via correcting the underlying BMC isues errors using your (thefalsh's) suggestions but any underlying noise concerns he may have will likely remain. Again, Dell needs to expose a little more of the cooling strategy via BIOS and allow us to tweek.

    BUT, having had issues with Dell and HP products and  considering resolution has been handled via component swap out rather than true h/w root analysis, one can only conclude that the HW must be way overpriced to cater for this support strategy and that the designers are too shielded from reality. So to expect Dell to release a firmware fix for what is a poor cooling strategy for pedestal is a BIG ask (of their support structure) and one likely not to materialize.

    So yes, my comments are clearly lost on this one...  But they shouldn't be...

  • sky ... the bottom line is he is getting an error on the device that monitors and controls cooling and fans.  Assuming he knows the difference between "normal" fan noise and the fan noise he is experiencing now, it is pointless to talk about configuration or design reasons for higher fan speeds (keep in mind that he has appended his question to an existing question where the OP was questioning configuration-caused fan "noise" - how often are irrelevant or mildly relevant questions appended to old posts?).  Until we know that the device that controls fans is working, we can't trust that the system is even operating with "normal" or designed fan noise - even for a "normally-noisy" 2U rack server (have you ever used a 1U or 2U rack server to know the difference in sound from a tower?).  I'm sorry, but all your post does is confuse the poster, making him think that it is "extra" noisy by design and not because he has faulty hardware.  There is a time and a place for your "standards" campaign, but please don't use it to confuse users where is doesn't apply or is only an aside to the actual issue.

    Can he use his system if the BMC is malfunctioning?  The system seems to otherwise be functional and the system is in a cooled room where there is little chance of actual overheating, so yes, he can use it in this state.  His biggest risk is in something else failing.  BMC errors might be resolvable by trying why I posted, but if not, then not replacing the faulty hardware may only lead to increased downtime later if he is not prepared.

  • theflash,

    my first post was directed to petteri's noise concerns though i could have been more specific on this point. I was clear about my limited server experience and my focus on the T610 but the bottom line for petteri was fan noise. There was no 'aside to the actual issue'. The problem is Dell's BIOS/BMC does not allow finer control of cooling strategy and a firmware 'fix' is needed, more so on pedestal servers than rack servers (though a fix wouldn't go astray in the later considering how much noise they usually make).

    No doubt that tohalete has a h/w issue. I hope he will look at your (theflash's) suggestions and post back whether this has resolved his BMC errors and whether he is still concerned about his long term hardware reliability (and/or noise).

    As for creating any confusion, peteri and tohalete are free to comment but my intent was not to confuse. If one better understands some technical aspects of their system, and anyone with inhouse knowledge can feel free to enlighten us all, then that can only be a good thing. People are free to take from it what they want. I do hope that petteri and tohalete post back their outcomes.

    That's what is great about these forums - the information and knowledge people make available, and compared to the HP forums, the speed of reply Smile

    If my subjective measure of what is unacceptable noise results in someone being unhappy about their servers noise level, so be it. Such subjective dissatisfaction can be resolved by Dell releasing objective technical documentation about their servers cooling strategy and fan noise levels - not the marketing fluff i have seen and all manufacturers are eager to push out.

    And i am not on any 'standards campaign'. I do feel that we should be able to make our view on improvements known. This should ideally be via some support channel web page (that is acted upon in some way) but as this does not seem to exist, the only option is this forum.

    Bottem line is when someone asks about reducing fan speed and the reply is you can't - there is nothing confusing about stating Dell can fix this via firmware update if they choose.

  • It would make more sense if you were addressing the original author of this thread, but that was 3 years ago ... this can cause confusion.  Then it just appears as though you are planting the seeds of your "campaign" on any old thread to which it might remotely apply.  

    Sorry if you didn't like that I called it a campaign, but I disagree - it seems a lot like a campaign promoting standardization and openness of OEM technologies, which may be to the advantage of a very few users and the overall disadvantage of Dell in that they now have to try to support not just regular users who depend on a pure, reliable out-of-box solution, but then they'd also have to support those unwitting users who think they need to tweak the heck out of everything, needlessly in most cases.  I would much rather have a reliable product - buying for my needs and goals - than a versatile one ... if I had to choose.  Let me also say that there is nothing wrong with it, nor do I disagree with your ideals.  Dell has a team for collecting and promoting new ideas and changes within Dell's organization ... Dell's IdeaStorm?


    It might be more constructive and productive than creating resentment and hatred towards Dell and its policies by inciting the ire of those with common problems and telling them that it is Dell's fault that they are having the issues they are.  If you need an invite, let me know and I'll see what I can do.

  • I didn't call you an "unwitting user", but if the option is available, "unwitting users" WILL get themselves into trouble.

  • I'll backup the Flash by stating once again.   Rack servers are noisy,  complaints should probably fall on deaf ears.

    Hard to say if thereis an issue or not.   In a 2970?  Put in more ram and the fan speeds up a lot,  I am pretty sure that at least is as designed.