I have two issues with my brand new M17xR2, and I'm wondering if others are experiencing the same:
1) Fan grinding noise on startup/resume.
The bottom middle fan (kind of under the J key if you were looking from the top) has an awful grinding noise whenever I start up or resume the computer. It seems to be rubbing against the bottom of the case - in fact, if I set the laptop on its side and use a fingernail to lightly pull up on one of the metal vents on the bottom, the grinding stops. However, once the machine warms up, this noise goes away - perhaps when hot, the components expand in some way so the rubbing is no longer there. Is anyone else having this issue?
2) Microphone array is next to useless due to major buzzing noise.
I've read that the microphone array can pick up the buzzing from the LCD. (I have a CCFL 1920x1200 display.) I don't know if that is my issue or not, but the built in mic is next to useless for me. If I don't turn on any microphone enhancements, the background noise makes it hard to hear my voice. If I turn on Aggressive Beam forming, the background noise largely goes away, but then I sound like I'm at the bottom of a deep well (unfortunately, the background noise is at a similar frequency to my voice, and the filtering seems knock out both the noise and me). My best alternative has been using Light Beam Forming, which doesn't drown out all the background noise, but at least makes me semi-understandable. My guild mates describe my voice on vent as sounding like I'm talking through a tin can on a string, in a submarine. <sigh>
I'm not expecting greatness out of the Microphone, but clear speech doesn't seem to much to ask. Are others having this issue?
On issue #1, I've looked at the service manual for the M17x, and I think I can describe my fan noise problem better:
The problem is with the "processor thermal fan" - its basically right against (touching) the "compartment door" on the bottom. On start up, the noise can be heard even when I hold the laptop on its side, so it isn't downward pressure on to the desk. If I use a fingernail to gentlely pry up on the "compartment door" the noise stops. As the computer heats up, this problem seems to fade away, however too much downward pressure on the wrist area can cause the door and fan to meet each other again. Actually, it looks like the fan is enclosed in its own sort of metal housing, so the compartment door is putting pressure on that, which is then touching the fan blades themselves and making the grinding noise. If the fan had a less bendable outer housing, or if there was more space between the housing and the fan blades, or the fan and the compartment door, I don't think this would be a problem. As it is, I'm grinding down my processor fan every time I power or wake the laptop up, and it makes me less than happy. Any suggestions? Any alienware reps out there?
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