I've been given a really nice Alienware machine for my son but it comes with a few problems. If I can fix them, I get a really nice machine, if I can't I get parts.
The first one I want to address here is an 'Is this normal?' question.
When booting from a cold start, the computer's liquid cooling system sounds like someone put a few marbles in a blender for about 5 minutes. It is really loud, but listening carefully, it sounds more like a pump that is cavitating: i.e. trying to pump air, than there is something wrong with the fan itself. It settles down after that and behaves normally - the CPU stays cool just fine for as long as I've left it running.
Has anyone with one of these ever had this issue? Is this a sign I need a new cooling system? Or is this just what they do? Thanks in advance for your help.
It would help if we knew model.
On my Aurora-R1, fans spin-up to max RPM (~ 4000) at boot but settle down after about 5 seconds. They just sound like loud fans. Can't hear pump and it only has one speed, BTW.
I suggest you open it and find out where the noise is coming from ... exactly.
Oh, sorry! I thought Alienware Area 51 was the model. On my list it says 'Alienware Area 51 (Late 2009)' and on the back of the machine the model is D01X if that is any help.
The noise is clearly coming from the CPU cooling system, no question about it. It sounds like it's coming mainly from the rectangular box the hoses are attached to rather than the little octagonal fan-like structure sitting on the chip itself. I've spoken to Dell since writing this and the cooling unit is available for sale. If this is abnormal or a sign of a problem, I should probably get it.
Another thing I've learned from the previous owner is that the computer sat for a long while after it started acting up. I am not sure if that might have caused problems for the liquid cooled system too.
1. I thought Alienware Area 51 was the model. On my list it says 'Alienware Area 51 (Late 2009)' and on the back of the machine the model is D01X if that is any help.
2. It sounds like it's coming mainly from the rectangular box the hoses are attached to rather than the little octagonal fan-like structure sitting on the chip itself.
1. My mistake, it was late.
2. The radiator itself has no moving parts. All that's left (in that section of the whole Asetek cooler assembly) is a simple fan. I suppose you could replace just the fan, but it has to be exact replacement (size, mount, rpm, voltage, etc.).
After 4 years, those Asetek coolers have been known to fail, so your idea to replace the whole thing before complete failure is good. Search Google/YouTube to learn how to properly install heat-sink/pump and apply thermal compound.