Alexei Y
1 Copper

Precision 3530 fan control

Hello all,

I've been using my new 6-core Precision 3530 for about a month now and I'm satisfied with it except one thing: the fan speed vs. processor load vs. temperature. I have HWiNFO64 running almost all the time and I've been watching it for a few weeks now so I'm pretty sure there is something wrong with the fan control. Switching the thermal setting in the thermal management tab in Dell Power Manager (DPM) does not solve all problems. 

The hardware configuration: the laptop is connected to TB16 docking station, there is a Dell U2713HM monitor connected to the TB16's DP and USB ports and the USB keyboard and mouse are connected to the monitor's USB ports. The power supply is connected to the TB16 so the laptop is powered via its TB/USB-C connector. The networking is going via WiFi and there is no other hardware connected to the laptop.

The DPM thermal setting is initially on "Quiet".

So here's what happens (all the numbers are coming from HWiNFO64): the CPU package power stays around 3-5 Watt, the NVidia GPU is completely shut down, the CPU temperature stays around 45 degrees Celsius and the fan spins at about 3000-3700 rpm. This is not quiet by any means. If I disconnect the TB16 from the laptop, the CPU power drops by about 1-2 Watt but the fan speed does not change much. If I now switch to DPM "Optimized" setting then the fan speed drops to 2700 RPM. If I then switch it back to Quiet the fan slows down even further (below 2400 RPM) and now it becomes really quiet. The temperature does not change much, if at all. Quite often changing the thermal setting from Quiet to Optimized slows down the fan even when connected to the docking station, which does not make much sense to me. It almost looks like any change to the thermal setting kind of shakes the system and makes it "rethink" the fan speed, while, I believe, it should be a continuous process. 

If I leave the machine completely idle for an extended period of time then the fan may eventually slow down but this usually takes hours and seems to happen only if the CPU temperature gets down to 40-something degrees. 

So the first problem is that (even on the Quiet setting) the fan does not stay quiet (2200 RPM or lower) even if the machine is running idle and the CPU temperature is very much acceptable (45-50 degrees). And the second problem is that on the Optimized setting the fan does not slow down fast enough after the machine goes to idle (after running under load) and the CPU temperature falls to 45-50 degrees (which usually happens quite quickly). 

I'd really would like to see this problem solved because the fan noise works on the nerves of everyone in the vicinity of the laptop. I'm not sure if the fan control is something that needs to be fixed in the BIOS or in the DPM software but I'd be willing to volunteer as a beta tester. 

Kind regards and sorry for the long post,

Alexei

27 Replies
Alexei Y
1 Copper

Re: Precision 3530 fan control

An update: it seems that the problem exists only when there is a docking station (tested with TB16 and DA300) connected to the laptop's USB-C port, with or without a monitor connected to the dock's DP port.

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Souperstar
1 Copper

Re: Precision 3530 fan control

I started searching for exactly this issue and your post is the first result.  I've done nothing to try and resolve the issue, yet.  I just wanted you to know the issue is not isolated to you or myself, our whole department now has 3530's with TB16's and the noise from the fan is enough to get picked up by microphones on the machines as well as on desk phones.  If we find a way to resolve it, I'll be sure to post here.  If you've found any way to resolve or tame it, let all of us who are suffering know!

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Souperstar
1 Copper

Re: Precision 3530 fan control

Well, I've tried propping the laptop to increase airflow from the bottom but that doesn't seem to change anything - which makes me think this isn't a thermal issue but something else (software?).  I've checked the Power Plan settings, Processor power management > System cooling policy > set everything to "Passive", but this was already the setting and changing the values here doesn't seem to do anything at all.

Last night, while working from my living room I did not notice the fan spinning up at all.

Today, docked at my work desk, it's back to the dull roar.  I've installed the Dell Command Power Manager and set its Thermal Management option to "Quiet", which appears to be the lowest setting.  This reduces fan speed and noise, but the noise is still very noticeable and beyond the norm of a laptop.

I checked the BIOS, and didn't see any option for controlling fan speed.

HWiNFO64 is reporting my fan speed to be a constant 3,600+ RPM.  After a restart, if I open Dell Command Power Manager and change my "Quiet" setting to "Optimized", speed drops to 3,300 RPM.  If I change back to quiet, I drop again - this time to 3,000 RPM.  I think we've got some sort of software issue at this point, my thinking is it may be firmware related.

Alexei Y
1 Copper

Re: Precision 3530 fan control

Thank you for your posts Superstar. I too noticed that the fan spins down relatively quickly only when the USB-C port is not occupied by a docking station (TB16 or DA300). It might be related to the chipset temperature (assuming that connecting anything to the port increases the chipset power draw and thus the temperature). I did not try using the port for DP port only, which presumably should leave the USB or TB lanes free and hopefully reduce the load on the chipset. By the way, speaking of the chipset temperature, I noticed that HWiNFO64 loses the chipset sensor after laptop comes from standby. To get that reading again I need to reboot the machine.

hkeidesen
1 Copper

Re: Precision 3530 fan control

I have the same issue, and I also believe that the USB Type-C connector is the culprit of the fan going nuts. I changed the connection to the dock to USB 3.0, and the problem disappeared. I am currenctly using the D6000 dock.

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Dan-is-here
1 Copper

Re: Precision 3530 fan control

I have the same issue but I didn't dock it by Type-C, I sent it back to the franchiser who told me it's the problem of the fan and they will replace it in 2 days, I will update then.

Meanwhile, the Dell Service said the fan is not a KEY element of the computer so can't withdraw it, I told them the problem the day I bought it, very very disappointing.

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Souperstar
1 Copper

Re: Precision 3530 fan control

I just updated my system's BIOS to v1.3.8 (released Aug. 14, 2018; available here: https://www.dell.com/support/home/us/en/19/drivers/driversdetails?driverId=65X65) and noticed the fan did not spin down in Windows after the update.  I've opened Power Manager again and adjusted Thermal Management to "Optimized."  This seems to definitely give me the lowest fan speed I've had since this system was purchased.  Oddly, the "Quiet" setting is now louder than "Optimized."  We'll see if this setting is persistent (I hope) and if Dell is continuing to work on the issue (I really hope).

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Alexei Y
1 Copper

Re: Precision 3530 fan control - kinda solved by BIOS update

I too updated the BIOS to the 1.3.8 and noticed that the problem is a lot less pronounced now. It still does not spin down as fast as I'd like it too (the CPU cools down as fast as before and the fan usually follows a few minutes later) but at least the docking stations do not cause the fan to spin at high speed all the time (tested with TB-16 and DA300). And I don't have to switch to the Quiet setting any more (though I tried a few times and it does make it silent).

Souperstar
1 Copper

Re: Precision 3530 fan control - kinda solved by BIOS update

Agreed, though I'm not sure if the quieter fan is completely consistent for me just yet.  It seems I have to open Power Manager and select a different radio button in the Thermal Management section every few days in order to keep it quiet.  This morning, it's been perfectly quiet all by itself.  We'll see.  Thanks for posting the original and updates.

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