2 Iron

XPS 8900 CPU cooler upgrade - much quieter and cooler operation

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I upgraded my GPU recently and noticed that my CPU fan was making more noise than I remembered - sort of a droning noise.  I checked my CPU temps and discovered that, at idle, the CPU was hitting 38-42C.

I decided to upgrade my cooling.  The main limitation (besides the fact that Dell has a non-standard CPU backplate setup) is the somewhat narrow case on the XPS 8900 doesn't allow installation of most of the inexpensive high-performance coolers because they are too tall by 1/2" - 3/4".  Then I found the Cyrorig H7, which has three heat pipes, a huge heatsink, and 120mm fan all in a package that is "only" 145mm high - just short enough to fit in the case.  I installed it yesterday and it works GREAT.  Very happy with it, initially at least.

I also swapped out the stock Sunon case fan for a Cooler Master Blade Master 92mm fan, which is quieter but similar CFM specs.

Overall the computer is now quieter at 100% load than it was at idle before.  And my CPU temps have dropped by 15 degrees C.  Great upgrade.  I made a video on how I did it here:

...and here are a couple of pics:

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3 Silver

RE: XPS 8900 CPU cooler upgrade - much quieter and cooler operation

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@JarrodSmith

You can always power the intake fan using a molex to 3 pin adaptor or similar. Do not use a 3 pin Y-splitter with the stock exhaust fan unless you do not want the intake fan not to run at 100%. What I did is relocated the stock exhaust and made it as a intake while still connected to the motherboard fan pin then placed a 88 cfm exhaust fan which is controlled by a fan controller and powered by a molex to 3 pin adaptor coming from the PSU. I also have another intake fan running at 100% which is also powered directly by the PSU. This way the board is being tricked to believe that it still have control over the exhaust which it does not as the stock exhaust is now a intake fan and since I placed a higher cfm fan at the back the minimum setting of the new fan is more than the maximum output of the stock fan plus I have the ability to crank it up to 88 cfm if I wish when the ambient temperature of the room is on the hot side depending on the weather.

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4 Beryllium

RE: XPS 8900 CPU cooler upgrade - much quieter and cooler operation

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Nice !

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3 Silver

RE: XPS 8900 CPU cooler upgrade - much quieter and cooler operation

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What is the stock cooler you have on your 8900? My stock cooler looks similar to your new cooler.

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2 Iron

RE: XPS 8900 CPU cooler upgrade - much quieter and cooler operation

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That's interesting. Which CPU did you get and when? I have the i7 6700 and got mine last September.

Look at the video, my stock cooler is shown at the 1 minute mark and again at 3:45..

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3 Silver

RE: XPS 8900 CPU cooler upgrade - much quieter and cooler operation

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I got the 6700k on my machine and got it last February this year. Although smaller than your new cooler it has the same design not like the old fashion cooler you got from the XPS. The fan is sandwiched between the grilles on mine. You can see how it looks like in here:

en.community.dell.com/.../19678733

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2 Iron

RE: XPS 8900 CPU cooler upgrade - much quieter and cooler operation

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I wonder if all the newer 8900s are getting your cooler or if it only goes on the Core i7 6700k CPU.  Your cooler looks similar to the one Dell put on my old Core i7 920.  It's pretty decent.  The one that came on my Core i7 6700 is wimpy and IMO inadequate, causing thermal throttling of the clock rate.  

Interestingly enough I just looked in the service manual and your cooler is what they have pictured there.

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4 Tellurium

RE: XPS 8900 CPU cooler upgrade - much quieter and cooler operation

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Great video and creative install!!

Those are nice temps and I wouldn't worry about temps even into the mid 70's under load, that CPU can handle that without breaking a sweat.  How is the physical stability of that cooler since it's on its side when the machine is upright?  Does it move side to side much?

What display are u running with the GTX 1070?

I tried a similar upright cooler in an XPS 8500 with a GTX 1080 using a 34" display, but that cooler had a 92mm fan.  Nice to see you can run a 120mm fan cooler in that space that's limited by height of the case and the location of the RAM sticks.   When I installed the Zalman cooler it did great at idle and moderate loads, but under heavy loads at higher resolutions (The Witcher 3 at 3440 x 1440 ultra settings) the cooler wasn't able to keep up with the heat and the CPU would hit 80+ degrees.  The stability of that cooler worried me as well as the mounting system wasn't that secure given the height of the cooler.  It did "wiggle" a little when I moved it from side to side....

 At 1920 x 1080 on a 28" display, CPU temps were never a problem playing the same game with a GTX 660ti and never went above 55 degrees with the stock cooler.  Once I changed to the 34" display and the GTX 1080 started pushing higher frame rates, the CPU temps got really out of hand under heavy loads because of the lack of ventilation in the case design and the conservative fan curves of the motherboard fan headers. That was even with a 120mm front intake fan..

4 Tellurium

RE: XPS 8900 CPU cooler upgrade - much quieter and cooler operation

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@creampie

That pix is of the stock cooler that came with the 6700?   Never knew Dell used anything other than the stock aluminum CPU coolers in these XPS machines.  That's a nice setup with the 980ti Strix and the additional fans, how's it do at keeping CPU temps manageable?

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3 Silver

RE: XPS 8900 CPU cooler upgrade - much quieter and cooler operation

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@HanoverB

Yes that is the stock cooler that came with my machine. I do however have a 6700k processor so maybe that is the reason why dell changed it. The extra fans are wonderful as my processor temps hover at 70-73° at full load while the GPU is running at full steam with temperature at a constant 70°. My SSD and HDD are at constant 33° after a few minutes of the GPU running at full speed. I think changing the stock exhaust to a higher CFM fan really helps a lot in getting rid of the heat and the 2 intakes I have at the front is just icing in the cake. If I put my hand behind the PC I can really feel the a lot of heat coming out were as from the stock setup I only feel little heat being pulled out of the case.

One thing I changed on my setup is took out the pci fan and just placed a more robust fan controller and I did not see any temperature change.

I think even if the 1070 or 1080 puts out less heat than the 980ti the stock exhaust fans of the XPS needs to be changed and at least 1 intake fan needs to be added in then it will not make you change the stock processor cooler at all.

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2 Iron

RE: XPS 8900 CPU cooler upgrade - much quieter and cooler operation

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@HanoverB

The H7 doesn't weigh a whole lot. Plus I'm reusing the sturdy, stock, STEEL backplate that is fastened not only by the 4 cooler mounting screws but also the three CPU retention bracket screws.  That combined with the lower profile cooler (relatively smaller lever moment vs. other 120mm solutions) provides a very sturdy physical connection with no wobble at all and in fact when I was reinstalling the motherboard I picked it up using the heatsink as a "handle" because I felt that was the most secure way to maneuver it around in the case.  I have no worries about it sagging or stressing the motherboard when hanging sideways under its own weight.

I run a 24" 1080p Acer GN246HL 144Hz screen with 3D vision which is also new.  The 1070 should allow me to get close to 60Hz per eye (120Hz total frame rate) in a lot of titles, at the native 1080p.  Looking forward to playing with it - I don't get much gaming time these days but the upgrades (and an 850 EVO that I put in on day 1) have made the machine a dream to use when I do.

Next up is a new PSU and maybe an intake fan.  It probably doesn't need either but I came this far so what the heck, right?  I'm thinking about the EVGA GQ series, either 650 or 750 watts.  They are about the same price (and size) and the 750 watt unit would future proof me if I ever swap case/mobo and do SLI in the future.  Total overkill for this box, I realize...

I took the front off the case last night and it seems there are two diagonally-positioned mounting flanges with holes that look to be spaced for a 92mm intake fan.  The only question is how to power it...

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