Solving The Dell Studio XPS 435mt’s Noise Issue

February 15, 2009 at 1:46 pm 45 comments

As of February 17 2008 we have not heard any official or unofficial reply from Dell regarding the Dell Studio XPS.


I have been using Dell hardware since 2002 with Windows XP and have been very happy with the quality and manufacture support (my first Pent4 laptop from Dell has had over $500 in repairs at no cost to me, the second laptop bought in 2007 from Dell has never needed repairs at the time of writing).

Back in November 2008 I ordered a Dell Studio XPS 435mt for HD video editing although due to backorder I received it in December.

Overall the Studio XPS 435mt is well worth the price receiving some of the best benchmarks, but ever since first startup though it has been *very loud*.

What I Did:

1st Round:

About 2 weeks after a call to Dell about this issue, a “computer service person” from Dell came to my house to replace 2 fans which did not help at all. After this attempt from Dell and being told that the noise is in a “normal range”, I checked online for ANYTHING that could solve my problem. At the time (now in early January) I found 2 sites. One was Desktop Review which reported thatonce it [the fans] happened with such suddenness and ferocity that I almost jumped”. The other site was VOIDWARE contributor “hugh” which said that the old case fan is audible” and “wanted to improve the case cooling and noise reduction”. The solution hugh used was to replace the case fan with a Xilence 92mm fan from QuietPC. After hugh’s mods (see WOIDWARE for everything he/she did) they reported that “at 25% fan, it’s pretty much inaudible and the GPU runs at under 50 degrees running the desktop”. After a 4 week backorder on the new fans from QuietPC, and replacing the case fan with the same fan hugh used, my GPU runs at 73C idle (about 30C degrees higher than before the fan replacement) this is not an acceptable temperature.

2nd Round:

Today (Sunday, February 15), being the day after the case fan replacement I’m not entirely sure what I will do as a next step. Some helpful information includes the Dell Community who’s member “oc1” said that “The fan that I took out of my 435MT is rated 70 CFM”, while 70 CFM may be a little high of a number, the Xinence 92mm fan is rated at only 27.45 CFM. oc1 also said that they “got the Nexus fan from in Vancouver, Washington”, after a week of usage oc1 said that with the Nexus the CPU was “running from 39 to 44 degrees Celsius” although at the same time admitted “I haven’t really done anything like video rendering that really puts a load on the processors”.

Fixes that I am considering is the Nexus fan, Anti-Vibration Feet (like furniture pads), Anti-Vibration Fan Mount, and Fan Gaskets I may also try Acoustic Materials.

Please comment if you have any tips, or are having the same issue!


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45 Comments Add your own

  • 1. automaton26  |  February 25, 2009 at 4:08 am

    The case fan on my “Studio XPS 435MT” was permanently droning, and using Dell support from the UK (via India) was a waste of time.

    To fix it myself, the first thing I did was replace the noisy case fan (rated 70 CFM) with a “Noctua NF-B9 92mm” (rated 37 CFM).

    However, using the “CPUID HW Monitor” application (x64 version), I could see that the motherboard temperature was getting way too high even during idle.

    So next I added an “Antec VCool VGA cooler” PCI card exhaust fan. This uses up the two slots above the graphics card, but the location is right next to the motherboard heatsink. The card has an external speed switch – luckily the “Low” setting is quiet enough, and moves enough air through. I also needed a “SATA to Molex adapter” to connect the power (15-pin male to 4-pin female).

    Now, after working for an hour, I get the following temperatures so hopefully it’ll be OK:

    TMPIN0 (MB) 50
    TMPIN1 (CPU) 33
    GPU 45
    HDD 27

    And of course, I’m no longer a “fan” of Dell.

  • 2. boilr  |  February 28, 2009 at 8:55 pm

    ive got the same machine with the same “drone” sound. did a review a little while back –

    in any case, i had the chassis fan replaced (dell mailed me a new one) and it didn’t make any difference. although I put some tiny spacers between the case and the chassis fan which cut down on some minor vibrations…

    nonetheless, it appears this is a physical reality of the setup we’ve got. lots of power, not so much room. if it is any consolation, my friend’s DIY rig is about twice as loud (running similar high powered processor, but dual video cards…).

    if you figure something out, please be sure to post it, i’ll do the same.

  • 3. Scott C - San Jose  |  March 1, 2009 at 1:21 pm

    These are disturbing comments in that my 435 is being built! I will not be ‘attached to it’ until I get it quiet – and may return it if it’s noisy. I do have an idea that will work for me – perhaps – I will have my chassis located on a pull-out shelf, that will push back underneath my desk area – and in this location, perhaps I can remove the outer case – letting more air in – and lowering the fan speed. This is not a great work around, but maybe it will work? Time will tell.. but I also see the new Studio XPS 435 out – and maybe this will be less noisy – in which case I will return mine.


  • 4. 1st Time Dell Buyer!  |  March 2, 2009 at 6:38 am

    What amazes me is that, “we” the generally-dumb-public(in Dell’s eyes) should have to spend any of our own time and money coming up with a fix to a brand new computer!!!

    I would love to return mine. But unfortunately I was moving when I received it and didn’t have a lot of quiet time to sit and carefully listen to the drone, now it’s to late.

    I called Dell tech-support last week and their agent acted like he never heard of the issue. Duh!!! Bottom-line he was no help.

    Buyers… beware! My first-time Dell purchase was a huge let down.

  • 5. 1st Time Dell Buyer!  |  March 2, 2009 at 6:41 am

    If it’s quieter, I wish Dell would offer a Trade-Up-Plan to their new Studio XPS 435.

    I’d pay the difference!!!

  • 6. Scott  |  March 3, 2009 at 9:19 pm

    What’s up with Dell ? I have purchase 3 Dell Laptops for my kids without any problems. I am now ready to buy a new system for me.. got the Studio XPS – the day when the new one came out – but I got the Studio 435MT – then started reading all these posts. (I posted above also). The day my monitor arrived Dell had a sale on it for $20 less.. this was a few days back. Dell gave me the $20 credit – today, a 10% coupon – which was another $50 off. I called in – got the hassle of my life – 1 hour on the phone, 4-5-6 different transfers.. they could not credit me the $50, -said I had to return the monitor and buy the one on-line. This made no sense. AND THEY WANTED TO CHARGE ME A 15% restocking fee.. did not sit well with me. After an hour, I got another $25 off the monitor and ended up canceling my 435MT – partly due to the fan issues stated here – mainly because dell customer service has fallen apart. Yes, some will have great success.. I did not. Not sure I’ll buy from Dell again.. but we’ll have to see after I settle down and dell offers another 20% off then new 435 studio.

    Just beware – dell is changing! – not for the better.


  • 7. Scott B  |  March 6, 2009 at 12:33 pm

    I just ordered one of these machines – and I am a bit scared to see how loud this is going to be when I get it.

    I like the suggestions though and wonder – if the fan that comes with it is 70cfm – did anyone try to just use the silicone gasket, and the silicone fan mounts on the fan that came with the system?

    I am wondering is that enough to cut down the noise and keep up the 70 cfm cooling?


  • 8. automaton26  |  March 8, 2009 at 9:19 am

    The droning/whining noise is not from vibration or air flow, but from the fan’s internal motor.

    After my previous post (#1) I’ve changed my case fan again, to a CoolerMaster TF9-25IM-74 that I found in a scrap PC. This does 50CFM and is very quiet despite being specified as 35dB. I’ve found that many fans’ dB ratings can vary in reality – you might be lucky or not.

    I’m also using a silicone fan gasket and mounts.

    Now I just need to find a quieter PCI exhaust blower than my existing Antec VCool VGA. I’ve ordered a ThermalTake A2426 to try that out…

  • 9. 1st Time Dell Buyer!  |  March 8, 2009 at 4:56 pm

    And the saga continues. Still no response from Dell on this issue!

    Dell better watch their back, they may end up like GM or Chrysler!

  • 10. boilr  |  March 13, 2009 at 3:04 pm

    new bios update –

    im curious if any of you hear less noise, please leave a comment!

  • 11. Rich Ettenhuber  |  March 17, 2009 at 4:21 pm

    Dell has released a BIOS update which fixes the fan noise problem. 435MT owners can download the new BIOS from Dell’s Download Center.

  • 12. 1st Time Dell Buyer!  |  March 20, 2009 at 11:58 pm

    The BIOS update has had no effect on my 435MT fan noise !

  • 13. Rich Ettenhuber  |  March 21, 2009 at 5:43 am

    1st Time Dell Buyer,

    According to several post here , the new BIOS has completely fixed their loud fan ramp up noise. Because the 435MT has a compact case and because the 4850 graphics card is known to produces quite a bit of heat, this unit requires a very powerful fan that pushes 70CFM. A fan with that output will be noiser than most. Some owners have found that antivibration fan mounts or an antivibration fan gasket which costs about $4 helps reduce the fan “drone”. If you are still expereincing the proble, I suggest you contact Dell Support and have them look into your unit.

  • 14. 1st Time Dell Buyer!  |  March 21, 2009 at 6:45 am


    Ahhh…I have contacted Dell, twice. They don’t even acknowledge there’s a problem. But then again it’s rather difficult dealing with someone in India when it comes to technicial maters.

    Sure the case is smaller, but Dell make smaller case, and, is this the only computer with a ATI 4850 video card? Perhaps the only noisy one! And since I don’t game, my 4850 rarely gets a work-out or a chance to generate heat.

    With all the issues you mentioned Dell should look into using higher grade fans that are quieter from companies like Noctua, or Nexus. It’s Dells job to come up with the correct components(fans) no mater what the cost. And quiet fans are relatively cheap.

  • 15. ScottB  |  March 24, 2009 at 9:27 pm

    I got my 435MT tonight (yipee!) and of course, wouldn’t you know it – the darn thing sounded like a leaf blower, just like everyone said.

    It wasn’t all the time, but for no apparent reason it would randomly ramp up and go nuts for 3-5 seconds and then back to the droning noise (great description for whoever came up with how to describe it).

    So – before taking extreme measures – I went to the Dell site and downloaded the new BIOS – and……… IT WORKED

    The droning sound isn’t 100% gone and the thing isn’t silent – but – it is quiet enough for me to not have to do anything else to fix it. In 5 hrs since BIOS update – no leaf blower. The only time it ramps up just a bit is when it shuts down but only for a second and not nearly as hard as it was before.

    I must give Dell credit for stepping up and at least trying to fix the issue.

    Thanks to everyone on this board for guiding me to a fix that would be driving me nuts if I hadn’t listened to the suggestion to try the updated BIOS.


  • 16. Boilr  |  March 27, 2009 at 11:55 am

    Attn Studio XPS 435MT owners: Please take a moment to fill out my poll on fan noise, here –

    im very curious to see how everyone’s machines have handled the latest BIOS update –

    and i greatly appreciate all the traffic ive received for my review –


  • 17. Jeff  |  April 3, 2009 at 7:43 am

    I have also struggled with a noisy Studio XPS for some time now,after BIOS upgrade, the key issue being the random ramp ups under light load. Read a post that there is an issue with the ethernet card driver and the system comming out of sleep mode that causes the RAID drives to rebuild.

    About a week ago I disabled sleep mode and have been much happer with the performance of the system, less ramp ups so quieter, and less freezes.

    There were a couple of suggested fixes to resolve the sleep mode issue that I will now try that the system is stable, will post with results…..

  • 18. Mike  |  April 8, 2009 at 1:45 pm

    Mine is on the way, I’ll add feedback once it arrives. Dell had the 23″ as part of he package, I hope it looks good.

  • 19. Richard  |  April 16, 2009 at 7:36 am

    I just modded my 435MT with a new case and power supply Voidware is correct you can change the power supply. Some people were questioning wheather is was possible or not; I bought a Antec server 550 case ,it comes with a 550watt truepower trio psu.The Studio 435MT mother board is standerd mATX, so any aftermarket case can be used. The antec 550 case comes with one 120mm rear exaust fan and options for two 92mm fans in front plus one 80mm on the side panel, The only thing that was different that i had to mod was the IO plate on the back. Dell does not have a removable IO plate. You have to cut the dell IO plate from the case and install it in the new case. This can be a little bit of a hassle but can be done. Mine came out fine. As for the temps well they droped dramatically, I have a Readon 4850 which blows hot air into the case. I was running the 4850 fan at 75% in the Dell case, I now run the fan at 65% with the new case and the temp is at 53C. That is quite an emprovement. So for all you out there that like your Studio XPS 435MT and want to improve on it there is a way. I play Call of Duty World at War With no more heat problems.

    • 20. Kyle  |  June 17, 2009 at 11:31 pm

      Hey Richard I just bought a Thermaltake Armor case for my 435 mt and am having a problem getting the power led, power sw. hdd led, and reset sw hooked up. On the dell case it has one 10 pin connector but on the Thermaltake case it has 4 different connectors and I don’t know which one is which. Was you Antec like that? If you can help in any way email me at kokoweather [at] Thanks

  • 21. CB  |  April 23, 2009 at 12:26 pm

    My Studio 435MT (ATi 4850 Video) is NOISY & HEAT is a
    problem.. Constant ROARING sound that increases as you put
    more USE on the CPU.. Power supply is OVERWORKED..

  • […] I think you are fine with any PSU.…s-noise-issue/ […]

  • 23. Steve  |  May 4, 2009 at 8:46 pm

    Thanks to this and other forums out there, I am satisfied with the steps I took to reduce (if not totally eliminate) the dreaded drone sound. I too researched using other fans, but did not want to chance reducing the required airflow to properly cool the i7. For a mere $4.99 at Fry’s, I purchased an 8 pack of Antec’s Silicon Fan Grommets. About 10 minutes to install and I think most users that are bothered by the idle fan drone will be very satisfied with the results.

    • 24. DAn M  |  February 14, 2011 at 12:06 pm

      I’m having problems with fan noise on Dell 435T and I bought the silicon fan grommets you suggest. I’m not sure where to install them. If you’re still around, could you let me know. Thanks.
      The fan itself seems to have snap on and click to lock in place.

  • 25. Volkan  |  May 19, 2009 at 3:06 pm

    I have a studio xps, it sounds like a storm, have the latest bios, still no improvement, my pc sounds all the time,

    plz mail me if any of you have a solution

  • 26. LisaB  |  May 22, 2009 at 9:47 pm

    After months of listening to the vacuum cleaner/hair dryer/leaf blower in my office, the IT guy finally got around to the BIOS update this morning and it is MUCH quieter. Hope it lasts!

  • 27. Harry  |  May 30, 2009 at 2:00 pm

    You guys who are complaining are just anal little sissies who like to complain about everything. Although not silent the 435 MT is a relatively quiet computer. My wifes Gateway DX42 on the other hand sounds like a 747 taking off but I never hear owners complain. Why can’t you just be happy with the tremendous bang for the buck the 435 MT offers? Go ahead and return it, you’ll be hard pressed to find a better computer for the price.

  • 28. Kakes  |  May 31, 2009 at 6:01 pm

    The BIOS update (to 1.1.0) reduces the jet like take off sound when the PC powers up. If your’e into gaming and push the PC, it’ll get warm and the fans will kick in and the PC will be noisy until it cools down again.

    More of a problem, still unresolved for me, is the issue of the display driver – the screen blanks out and you get the message:

    “Display driver atikmdag stopped responding and has successfully recovered.”

    This can be reduced (not entirely eliminated – the issue seems somewhat intermittent) if Vista Ultimate’s Dreamscene background is turned off… it still happens even with the latest ATI drivers.

  • 29. Silence  |  June 5, 2009 at 5:31 pm

    I found a solution for the sound issue: replace the 92 mm dell fan by a Noctua NF-P12 120mm. You just need an universal fan adapter from 80/90mm to 120 mm (see Xilence power) to adapt the new fan with the small PC case. You can also add a Noctua fan (I get one 92 mm but you can try another 120mm) on the bottom of the case, if you have enough space under the hard disk (only 1 hard disk), it will send some fresh air on the motherboard and on the video card. you can fix it with some sticky velcro (velcro one side, sticky the other side). Finaly, if you bought some PCI fan slot adapter, don’t use them, because they are too noisy, but keep just the metal pci slot and take off the plastic fan. I played some video games and monitored the temperatures with hardware monitor, and they seem corrects no excessive heat and the PC become very quiet now 🙂

    • 30. Rod  |  July 11, 2009 at 12:05 am

      This is the only fan adapter, Nexus Fan Adapter 80mm/92mm to 120mm CFA-300 , that I can find that fits your description. Is this the fan adapter that you’re using? From the measurement of the 120mm fan, it doesn’t seem it will fit in the case since there’s no room when you put the side cover back. Did you have to make any modification?

      Provide the link where you bought your adapter. Thanks for your input.

      • 31. Silence  |  July 15, 2009 at 6:18 pm

        Hi Rod, here is the link you requested. For the Xilence Fan adapter. Don’t worry, It will just perfectly fit when you put the side cover back, just push a little. It will stop the vibe generated by the Fan case. I use this computer like a server, and it is working 24 hours a day without a noise. No problem with the heat, no reboot. But I am planing to try improve the Airflow in adding another Noctua NOCTUA 120 mm fan case (NF-S12 FLX ) in front of PC. I will report if there is progress with the temps.

  • 32. hv  |  June 13, 2009 at 6:23 am

    I just had my motherboard changed on my 435MT because one of the dimm slots kept on crashing my computer. I know the PC is loud but I didn’t mind but after the motherboard switch the PC is making another noise. It’s more louder. You can’t hear it when the system starts up, it starts about 10minutes into using the computer. Then it comes and goes. Dell told me to update bios but that did not work. Then they want me to check the temperatures and error messages on bios by pressing F2 but there is no option of System Event Log in F2.CPUID hardware monitor teps:

    TEMPIN0: 72c
    TEMPIN1: 38c

    GPU Core: 58c
    HDD : 34c

    Is the temp too high?

    • 33. MT  |  July 2, 2009 at 4:49 pm

      I just received mine a few days ago and my temperature is the same as yours for both TEMPIN0 and TEMPIN1. I hope I will be ok.

      I have applied the bios update 1.1.2. It helps but it is not the quietest machine around.

  • 34. boilr  |  June 20, 2009 at 12:48 am

    1.1.2 has made a huge difference for me –

  • 35. Chewing Wax  |  June 23, 2009 at 11:34 am

    My new XPS 435mt arrived two days ago. It’s remarkably quiet. one of the quietest PC’s I’ve ever owned. Dell has fixed whatever was causing all that noise. It’s purring like a kitten now.

    • 36. MT  |  July 2, 2009 at 4:47 pm

      Mine too arrived a few days ago. It’s not super loud but it is definitely NOT quiet. I applied the new 1.1.2 bios update which helped quite a bit, but it is still louder than my previous HP m8100y.

      Also, my motherboard temperature runs at 72 C. (tmpin0). I hope this is not a cause for concern.

    • 37. co2112  |  August 12, 2009 at 11:26 am

      Sounds like mine exactly. Although I just purchased on July 29th (scratch and dent) received on August 5th. I have been having random shutdowns/reboots, bsod, freezes. This occurred at random times during boot (bios screen), sometimes during windows startup or after 5 to 10 minutes in an idle state, browsing the web, during windows update.

      I installed Speed fan 4.39 and the temp is 72-77 degrees Celsius. I was suspecting the heat is causing the system to become unstable so I removed the side cover and pointed a desk fan on it only dropped it down to 48-50 but the system was stable with no reboots, bsod, or freezes so far. I was able to successfully update the bios, my chipsets, rom drivers, and video driver, all were out of date. Turned the fan off and closed the case back up. Rebooted and added speed fan as a startup item. The temp shot back up and it continued to freeze.

      Speed Fan listed the Stock fans at 1368 rpm for CPU and 1260 rpm for case and they are running at 100%. Will I have to swap the fans to keep this case cool or could this be an entirely different problem. On the BSOD it says something about clock or timing error but it reboots after a couple seconds and the system restarts.

  • 38. Dellhere  |  June 26, 2009 at 11:47 am

    Greetings from Dell.
    Just a simple suggestion we recommend you try. An updated BIOS edition has been posted, which has made changes in the fan control. You may want to update your system to resolve fan noise issues and thermal issues. We can be reached on 800-232-8544 for XPS Technical Support for home customers.

    XPS Tech Support

  • 39. Kevin  |  July 12, 2009 at 9:50 pm

    Thanks.. The updated Bios fixed it. Just so you know, I had the box ready – you know why – I was going to return it tomorrow. I think I will keep it.

  • 40. DigiDragon  |  November 1, 2009 at 8:16 pm

    You guys could always try stepping up to liquid cooling.
    The Domino A.L.C. is the coolest CPU thermal option out there.
    Check it out!

  • 41. Ferret  |  January 21, 2010 at 11:20 pm

    Does anyone know how to remove the stock Dell CPU back plate that is located on the back of the motherboard? Can it just be pulled loose with the help of a screwdriver, or is there something more that needs to be done in order for it to be removed? Most CPU heatsinks use their own screws or bolts that will not fit into the stock Dell CPU back plate’s holes. Thanks!

  • 42. testing2  |  July 20, 2011 at 5:00 am

    Sounds exactly like my story. My Dell Studio XPS 9000 was making too much noise. Dell sent out a technician to replace two fans.

    Now it makes slightly MORE noise!

  • 43. Blue1  |  August 16, 2011 at 2:17 pm

    The Studio 435MT will be my first-n-last Dell… Horrible noise!

  • 44. Xavier Carter  |  December 19, 2015 at 12:31 am

    I bought my 435 MT way back in 2009. At started up and under heavy load when the CPU temps climbed above 55c the CPU fan would whine loudly, but only for few seconds. I read all the threads on this and thought everyone was a little cracked, the noise wasn’t that bad and quieted down rather quickly.

    Since that time I have upgraded my CPU and Video card. The CPU temps went up at idle and the GPU temps were very high. Fan noise didn’t increase. By this time I was thinking of getting a new case…bigger with more room and more fans.

    Instead I took the left side of the case off. Temps went down across the board and the fans stopped reving up as everything now ran cooler. All temps in the case dropped to below 40c, except Northbridge, which really needs a fan cooling system on it instead of that finned aluminum heat sink – it runs at 65c all of he time, rising a more load it placed on it.

    Right now, my system is running quietly to my left on a rack shelf at ear level…no bothersome noises come from it. I do however have to dust it more often, but that’s a small price to pay for such a great system.

    • 45. Mike...  |  December 23, 2015 at 1:16 pm

      Still have my 435 MT, runs great but noisy. Shame customers have to stoop to removing covers off their cases to get peace-n-quiet.

      Also bought a refurbished 15″ XPS laptop directly from Dell, it was a piece of crap, sent it back, they charged me $178 restocking fee for returning a computer that was already built and returned by someone else!!!

      Since then I’m done with Dell. Switched to Apple and haven’t looked back. Got a 13″ MacBook Pro & a 27″ desktop, couldn’t be happier.


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February 2009

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