I received my XPS 15 (L521x) today and love the specs and looks.
However, as soon as I turned it on the unbearable noise begun. I was hoping it would stop, but it didn't. I couldn't believe my ears, so I went on a mission to try and understand if this is normal.
I found a few topics in this forum and so I went on to ensure I had the latest BIOS version. The laptop arrived with version A13 and I upgraded to the most recent A14. This didn't change anything, the noise level was still the same. I also made sure I followed the troubleshooting fan noise guidelines, no change.
I read a review (that led to my decision of purchasing this laptop) where they measured the noise levels of the L521X (http://www.notebookcheck.net/Review-Dell-XPS-15-L521X-Notebook.80033.0.html). The maximum noise level they recorded was 45 dB.
I carried out similar tests and at the same recording distance (of 15 cm) I get 45 dB when the laptop is idle. During high processing I get 65 dB.
My old laptop (3 year old, not a dell) has an idle noise level of 41 dB and 49 dB during high processing.
I decided to carry a 14 minute long recording: just logging in, wait in idle, running windows performance index task, wait in idle, turn computer off (sleep), then back on and wait in idle again.
The results are in the figure below. X-axis is time and Y-axis is noise in dB. The horizontal red line shows normal room noise (~39 dB), the blue dots represent the noise measurements (10 per second). The black boxes show my actions (turning the laptop ON/OFF), the orange boxes on top show the processors temperature measured at certain time points with the SpeedFan software, and the green rectangle shows the windows experience index processing task. No other tasks were run on this computer other than the windows performance test. The laptop is brand new, only installed speedfan to measure CPUs temperature.
I was hoping to see if there was a correlation between the processors temperature and the fan noise, and there is, but the baseline noise level is still to too high for the temperature.
I think I am coming to the conclusion that my laptop has a defect, especially since the noise is considerably higher than the review.
Does anyone have any idea how to reduce the noise level to something a little more acceptable for a working environment?? Is this normal? Has anyone registered similar noise levels?
I'm thinking of returning the laptop... I can't work with a laptop that produces this much noise as I need to spend several hours on the computer for work and just today's experience has been terrible.
Any help is appreciated!
I installed GTA IV (the only 3d game I have around to check the laptop's performance) and it is impossible to hear and play the game because of the noise of the fans (65+ dB). After 5 minutes of playing I had to turn it off as it was disturbing the whole family in the living room. Even when the computer is in idle (46 dB) it bothers others around me. The laptop is also very hot, but that was to be expected.
After a night's sleep, the CPUs temperature after logging in is 55 degrees and the noise level still 46 dB.
Thanks for your message.
I contacted Dell support over the phone and an engineer came to replace the motherboard/fan but this didn't make a difference (it was still as loud) so I decided to return the laptop and get a refund.