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Last reply by 06-01-2020 Solved
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2 Bronze
2 Bronze
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New Kaby Lake XPS 13: coil whine

Hi everybody,

After I was so happy to have found a Linux supported laptop with very good specifications, I had to return the brand new 9350 QHD+ because of the coil whine noise. It was a real pity because I was in love with the rest, but it was simply too loud.

Now I am thinking again what to buy.

Is the design of the new XPS 13 Kaby Lake (9360) solving the coil whine problem?

If yes, I would prefer to wait and support Dell buying the DE.

I know this is not a hardware forum, but I hope that someone from Dell can give me an asnwer here. Thank you very much in advance!

Replies (304)
Dell Technologies
1375

@vwbkn0 I apologize for your experience.  We have our team call today and ill bring it up.  Stay tuned

Barton George

2 Bronze
2 Bronze
1375

As promised, I am back with feedback! Unfortunately, it is not all good news.

My motherboard was changed according to ''SLN305206''. Unfortunately, the coil whine was not reduced. It is loud enough to hear while listening to low volume music. While it is mostly ''acceptable'', meaning that I can forget about it, sometimes it reaches another level. I'm not clear to when it happens & why. The last time I was playing videogames (Eve Online).

Sorry for the late feedback. There are floods in my regions. A lot of roads are closed. I talked to the technician and we agreed to fix my computer once the highway re-opened. As indicated above, the swap was done.

Should I document the coil whine? If it is helpful, I'll attempt to record it.

2 Bronze
2 Bronze
1375

This is embarrassing for Dell. I love this laptop, and so does everyone else, except for the coil whine.

As soon as I start editing videos in premiere pro, it's an embarrassingly loud squeal that I have to deal with.

All in all it's a perfect laptop, except this.

Why Dell isn't all over this, I do not know. They are such a big company and sell so many systems to businesses that they are beyond giving a *** about consumers. We are clearly just pests.

Good on ya Dell. Won't buy another. Nothing has changed over the last 10 years clearly.

3 Argentum
1378

I don't think they are annoying the issue. It's just very hard to solve. When you deal with laptops and packing a million things in such a small space, things get quite complicated.

3 Zinc
1378

I don't think they are annoying the issue. It's just very hard to solve. When you deal with laptops and packing a million things in such a small space, things get quite complicated.

Indeed. :) There is work going on behind the scenes, some of which might come as firmware updates.

From what I can share, some of the noise is from third party chips and some is noise inherent to the capacitors we use. From our investigations, we believe the A02 boards to be within our noise tolerances, but we are continuing testing of customer capture boards.

I'm told by the system architect for the XPS 13 that we consciously choose a type of capacitor less commonly used by major OEMs that shows better durability over time versus the alternatives. However, that type is more prone to coil whine. The gain is better assurance that the capacitors we use won't fail over the extended lifetime expected of a business notebook. Our hardware folks are looking at how to reduce coil whine while still meeting our targets for system lifetime. To be honest, speaking personally, I expect that this type of change would be more extensive than a board spin.

--
Project Sputnik development lead
Software Principal Engineer
Linux OS Architecture
Dell | Client Product Group

3 Argentum
1538

Thanks so much for the details, Jared! It is really great that you were able to share all of that information. Keep up the great work!

2 Bronze
2 Bronze
1538

Sometimes I wish I could loan you guys my XPS-13 Developer Edition that I bought in January. It has absolutely NO whine, is now triple booted with Ubuntu, Antergos, and Kali, and is the best laptop I've owned in a long time.  It shares that distinction with my 2006 MacBook Pro (which still runs!). Anyway, whatever was done with my laptop (Kaby Lake 7000, 512 GB SSD, 16 GB memory) worked!

2 Bronze
2 Bronze
1537

That's great to hear curtvaughan2. Have you put the GPU under load?

2 Bronze
2 Bronze
1537

I have not specifically tested its graphics capabilities, but you've tickled my curiosity and I will do that this next week. Good idea. If that somehow induces whine noise, I'll certainly post it. I sympathize with those who have spent around 2K for some l emons versions of this machine. I suspect that there are a lot of people like me who don't post much, since we have no complaints.  Anyway, I'll push the GPU a bit and report back.

2 Bronze
2 Bronze
1537

Thanks. I have a Windows 10 XPS13 which is quiet except for playing Minecraft or using Adobe Premiere Elements. But even that is intermittent. Stressing the CPU by encoding video with ffmpeg doesn't so far cause any noise. So I'm presuming the GPU.

Interestingly, if the noise comes from capacitors and other components oscillating, I wonder if the engineers have considered experimenting with encasing the components in something like epoxy, etc. LOL. I'm *not* recommending anyone try that. :-)

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