Oh goodie. This thread is filling me with great anticipation...of doom.
My 730 H2C, received in December, seemed to run fine for a month or two - aside from an inordinate number of crashes to the BSOD.
A few days ago, I started noticing a lot of fan noise, even when the system's idle. No CPU hogs reported by TaskManager. No applications running (besides whatever gets kicked of at login). After a couple days of that, it stopped booting at all - the system would just power itself off while the BIOS initialization screen is showing.
Actually, I found that if I tried to power the system on while my monitor was off, it would sometimes get to the Starting Windows progress bar, but would be stuck (discovered when I turn the monitor on) - and then power off. This made me suspect there might be power issues (seems like the 1Kw supply should be enough - my UPS shows only 250-350w drawn at this stage).
But then, if I try to power on again within a minute or two of the last failure, it shuts itself down almost imediately. If I wait a few minutes or more, it gets a little farther. This made me suspect overheating. Well, that and the fans running like mad.
I finally succeeded in booting after going into BIOS and reducing the CPU multiplier from its factory setting of 9.5 (for 3.8GHz) to 6.0 (for 2.4GHz).
Anyhow, I just fired off my support request email. Let the fun begin!
Good Morning errohrer,
Well, do not allow anticipation of doom set in, lets just look at what is going on.
My first question is what CPU does you XPS 730 H2C have? Mine has the QX9650, and came with a factory BIOS of 11.5X, yours came with a 9.5X? and you have reset it down to 6.0X? Does that keep your system stable? Are you monitoring your CPU temps? What about your CPU voltage? And did you check to make sure your RAM was locked into their slots and had not come ajar? What a lot of questions!
Did you install the AlienWare Light FX? or are you using the nVidia ESA controls? Did you install the Dell Thermal Monitor? or are you using the nVidia ESA controls? If you installed the Alienware Light FX/Dell Thermal Monitor from the Dell Support Center/Downloads & Drivers did you uninstall the nVidia control BEFORE you installed Alienware?
Thanks for the reply, Darrell.
That is a lot of questions - but here goes:
Q: My first question is what CPU does you XPS 730 H2C have?
A: Here are some of my system particulars:
Intel Core2 Extreme QX9770 (12MB,3.2GHz Factory O/C'd to 3.8GHz),
4GB Dual Channel DDR3 SDRAM at 1333MHz - 4 DIMMs,
Dual nVidia GeForce GTX 280 – 1024MB,
1TB - 7200RPM, SATA 3.0Gb/s, 32MB Cache,
1 kilowatt Power Supply,
Dell CPU Liquid/TEC Cooling ATX Unit.
Q: Mine has the QX9650, and came with a factory BIOS of 11.5X, yours came with a 9.5X?
A: The factory default CPU multiplier was 9.5, which resulted in the 3.8GHz speed. I'll have to set it back to see what voltage it chose to go with that. I thought it was higher at that speed than it is now (see below).
I currently am trying a CPU multiplier of 7.0X (2.8GHz).
The fans are definitely kicking in more often than they did at 6.0X (2.4GHz), but not nearly as bad as they do at 8.0x (3.2 GHz - native speed) or 9.5x (factory overclock).
Q: and you have reset it down to 6.0X? Does that keep your system stable?
A: Well, this hasn't been going on for a long time, so I'm hesitant to use the word stable.
But, yes, I believe I've been able to boot each time I've tried a multiplier of 6 or 7. I believe it has blue-screened on me, even with the lower multiplier, but this system has blue-screened a lot since purchase (typically IRQ_NOT_LESS_OR_EQUAL) - the fans/failure to boot is a recent development.
Q: Are you monitoring your CPU temps?
A: Haven't been. Only after I started seeing these problems did I even try to start the nVidia System Monitor. I'll have to try a few boots to see what the temps are with different CPU multipliers. Current temps (I thought I was at 7x, but it is reporting 6x - maybe I've been SpeedStep'd down to a lower speed?):
cpu1: 85C, cpu2: 84, cpu3: 83, cpu4: 80,
ESA board: 23C, rear: 25, front: 24, internal: 23, ambient: 19
Q: What about your CPU voltage?
A: CPU voltage, according to BIOS, and to the nVidia System Monitor, is currently 1.0 (with the multiplier at 7x, and pretty sure it was the same at 6x). For some reason, I thought the number was higher (1.25) with the 9.5x multiplier - but I'd have to try again to be sure. Actually, the number reported by nvidia System Monitor seems to fluctuate - I've also seen 1.008 and 1.096 during this same session.
Q: And did you check to make sure your RAM was locked into their slots and had not come ajar?
A: I hadn't, before - but have now. The cooling system makes it a little tight to reach back there (glad I'm not adding/removing any) - I just gave a push to each corner of each of the 4 sticks: each seemed to be firmly seated already.
Q: Did you install the AlienWare Light FX?
A: I don't believe I have anything from Alienware on this system.
Q: or are you using the nVidia ESA controls?
A: I didn't know it by that name, but I did find a utility called nVidia System Monitor.
Q: Did you install the Dell Thermal Monitor?
Q: or are you using the nVidia ESA controls?
A: Probably (see above)
Q: If you installed the Alienware Light FX/Dell Thermal Monitor from the Dell Support Center/Downloads & Drivers did you uninstall the nVidia control BEFORE you installed Alienware?
A: Haven't installed either. I don't see anything that matches in the Programs and Features from Control Panel - only a set of nVidia utilities.
Thank you for your quick reply. The nVidia control system is what I am using right now to control the heat issues. Your QX9770 will produce a little more heat than my QX9650, but should respond in a similar manner.
I established a "Profile" in the nVidia control (also known as the ESA) which has two launch protocols, 1. when Windows loads and 2. when game *** loads. Saving and loading the profile is a multi stage process that starts with "Control Panel" - Performance - Device Settings; here you will see Create Profiles/Edit Profiles: #1. CPU/Cooling slider = 40%, GPU/Cooling = 50%, Chasis/Cooling = Automatic fan control OFF, Front CPU Fan slider = 100%, Rear CPU Fan = 50%, PCI Fan = 50%, HDD Fan = 50% APPLY (choose a profile name) then go to Performance/Profile Policies: check Load this Profile, choose one of the "When the following" click on arrow to "Take these actions" and then click "Accept".
This will set the cooling system to functioning at a higher level, might sound mildly like a 747 full throtle taking off in the room with you (not really just a little loud). This will really cool off your system quickly. You can play with these settings until you are satisfied with the coolness of your rig.
Yes, those RAM sticks are really in there tight with minimum hand space. I groaned when Tech Support told me to take each stick out and test each stick in the slot closest to the CPU, what a real pain (my fingers are not really slim), but did it to test the memory. I did add a fan, facing the MOBO in front of the RAM sticks, that I used Velcro to hold in place, went to RadioShack and got their Hi Temp/Hi Strength Superlock Fasteners (velcro) and placed on bottom of the fan and top of the H2C CPU housing. Cools the RAM and the MOBO.
Upping the Front CPU and the extra internal fan got rid of my heat. Now my CPU Temp is 18-20C idle and 25-30 load stess test (OCCT and heavy gaming) with the following at idle Core 1-4 34-38C and load stress test (OCCT and heavy gaming Core 1-4 40-50C. The system is stable with OCCT for an hour wide open all cores at 98-100% and RAM maxed. My GTX 260's in SLI run 40C idle and 50-55C maxed. My ambient runs 18-20C.
Try this and see if you system is cooler. If your CPU temps stay in the range you posted, the CPU will wear out and burn up quickly. I would check the Intel web site and you will see that high of a temp is NOT where your CPU should be running. I know that the Dell Tech Support staff will tell you it is okay, but I do not personally agree, but I am not a computer engineer either, just another forum user.
Hope all this has made some sort of logical sense.
Thanks for the info, Darrell.
I've got most of the fans running at 70% or higher (maybe a little excessive - certainly loud) - the CPU fans are at 100%. The cpus are still 41, 42, 42, and 47C - with nothing going on beside an IE window to type this post in. Much better than 80C - so thanks for pointing me in the right direction, there.
I think my goal, now, is to use the system as little as possible until Dell Tech Support can resolve the problem - because there does seem to be a problem. Of course, I wasn't monitoring temperatures before the problem became obvious - but I'm wagering that they're a bit higher now than they were, before.
The first thing they told me to check was the voltage selector on the power supply - I can't even find a voltage selector on my power supply. I've seen a picture of another Dell system which has a selector switch right next to the power socket on the back of the supply, but no such thing on mine. Nothing obvious inside the case, either. Of course, I don't expect I'd find that the switch automatically switched itself - but if I could find it, I could at least jump through the tech support scripted hoops and hurdles.
I'm starting to feel like quite the n00b. (also a bit nervous about poking at the internals of the most expensive computer I've ever bought...those RAM chips put up quite a fight when I tried to push them back into their slots...).
Thanks again for your help!
Just thought I'd close this epic. The new machine arrived - it has a faulty graphics card and you have to jiggle it to get it to scroll through the colour cycles until you get one that your eyes can resolve...Epic quality control fail, firing it up once on the bench would have shown that this wasn't working 😞 Unfortunately I can't take any more time off work to meet with an engineer so I think I'll try and patch it with some blue-tack until I can persuade somebody to travel up and house-sit for me.
Just to wrap up my part of this chain of XPS 730 H2C misery...
After having the motherboard, then the motherboard (again), I/O board, power supply, and CPU replaced, and accusations from Dell that I voided the warranty by overclocking the system (seems most of them Dell folks don't even know that Dell sells "factory" overclocked systems...), they finally agreed to send a replacement system.
Today, I received an XPS 730X H2C - roughly equivalent to the XPS 730 H2C it is replacing (now a intel 765 oc'd to 3.73, 6 gb ram, sli gtx 280, ...), plus here and minus there. I'm still on shaky terms with it, but it hasn't acted up, yet. I'm having trouble convincing myself that the SLI is really enabling given that the crysis benchmarks are reporting negligable change in FPS before and after enabling SLI (on the old 730, the FPS improved by nearly 100% at 1600x1200, 4xAA).
The temperatures on the new 730X, at least, look better: around 80 F instead of 80 C. Think I'll be keeping a journal with periodic readings - I am now paranoid.
So, anyway - thanks for the help, folks. Here's to hoping I don't need to come back to the forums on the similar 730X topics that are floating around here...
the last thing anyone should try before sending back a problematic PC is to do a full format and reinstallation of the OS, i'd bet $ it'd take care of a whooole lot of PC Gremlins that come about after installing bad programs or going to harmful websites that try and trash anybodys PC, spyware/malware/activeX can bring on problems like what I am reading here. maybe it should be the first thing instead of the last thing.
Hello Hoosier Girl,
A very good suggestion, however, having done that with my system in the begining, I can tell you that does not always work. I reformatted and reinstalled the OS when my system started this, but it really did not make a difference. I am still running my original XPS 730 H2C rig, but am on my 3rd MOBO, second H2C, second QX9650, new HD, new RAM etc. Do I love this rig, you bet, the 730 series is the best rig for the buck out there, and yes it does have a few issues, but I still would not trade it for some other brand.
And despite what I read here in the forums about Tech Support, I would have to say the people there are working hard and truly do care about helping everyone. You have to hand it to them, because they are working in a call center some customers do treat them a little less than nice and that would make their jobs just that much harder. My personal take on Tech Support is they are generally good and overall helpful.
My last call over there was one of the best, he was familiar with the issue and fixed it by remote and I am very pleased. So I continue to advise anyone, "Call Tech Support FIRST, before you do anything else, they really do want to make your Dell work for you."
I can also confirm that a reformat and reinstall of Windows did not resolve the problems my XPS 730 H2C was having, but I also have to admit that I didn't even bother to try until Dell had agreed to send a replacement system. I realized at the time that I should have tried it sooner.
I do have to admit, though, that the new system (now a 730X rather than the former 730) is still running strong - though it is only one week old. My 730 was prone to many BSODs (usually IRQ_NOT_LESS_OR_EQUAL), even in its first week - but not a single BSOD from the 730X, so far. Of course, my 730 didn't start refusing to boot until few weeks later, so I'm still a little paranoid - but so far, so good.