HanoverB
3 Cadmium

Re: XPS 8930, CPU Liquid Cooler, GTX 1080 Hybrid GPU, Upgrad

 

Bios settings I used from Speedstep post for non-Dell GPU upgrades for the XPS 8930.   

Boot into your machine using your existing Dell GPU or the onboard HDMI connected to your display and change the BIOS settings to be able to recognize the non-Dell GPU.  Once you restart the machine with the new GPU connected to your display, you can load the new drivers from Nvidia or AMD.

 

IMG_5974.jpg

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546insp
3 Cadmium

Re: XPS 8930, CPU Liquid Cooler, GTX 1080 Hybrid GPU, Upgrad

As an update; After the installation of the 120mm fan in my 8920 with the air blocked off everywhere except for the 1/4" slot in the front and mounted with weather stripping; It runs 5 to 10* F cooler and it's quiet. Plus the top fan never flares up anymore like a jet taking off.

Dell XPS 8920 silver edition
7th gen i7 Intel CPU
Samsung 850 evo SSD for boot
Added front fan
16gb of memory
AMD video/graphic card
I buy a new Dell every 4 years for the last 25 years

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HanoverB
3 Cadmium

Re: XPS 8930, CPU Liquid Cooler, GTX 1080 Hybrid GPU, Upgrad

Finally.

Solved the issue with the Sea Hawk GPU temps.  Getting consistent GPU temps at load in the mid to high 50 C’s.  I was about to kick this machine and GPU to the curb. 

 IMG_6133.jpg

 

Anyone wishing to put a MSI or EVGA hybrid GPU in the XPS 8930 or Alienware R7, it’s possible to get optimal temps in the 50 C’s with just a little more effort.  The underlying issue was the radiator and fan not being coupled efficiently for cooling.  The sheet metal present between the radiator and the fan restricted airflow enough to prevent proper cooling.  A few more cuts and all is well.

Picture of shrapnel.

IMG_6139.jpg

Given the temperature problems with the hybrid GPU in this case, I did some testing of the hybrid GPU with the radiator outside of the XPS 8930 case. This was to see what were the best possible temperatures that one could achieve with the GPU cooler.  I did the testing with the stock Corsair SP120 fan that came with the unit and then with the Noctua 15mm thin fan used with the installation.  The results were surprising..

You can also see the Phoyba 10mm compressible foam fan gasket used for installation in these pictures

First with the Corsair SP 120 Fan.  OEM fan with the MSI Sea Hawk and is 120 x 120 x 25mm 3-pin white LED static pressure fan rated to 1650 RPM and 57.24 CFM at 26.4 dBa.  

 IMG_6073.jpg

I ran the fan at maximum fixed speed of 1650 RPM.  Running Firestrike Benchmark I got a max temp of 54 C with the onboard fan max ~1450 RPM.  Considering that the GTX 1080 is meant to run at its upper limit of 83 C under load with the onboard fan screaming at 80-100% fan speed, the hybrid GPU setup is really amazing how it can control temperatures and accordingly fan speed and noise.  I can see why they paired this fan with the GPU. It is a little noisy at full throttle at 26.4 dBa.  I ran the test four times, twice in a push position and twice in a pull position.  Temps were the same.  Fan is a little more quiet in a pull position when slightly muted by the radiator.

=====

I then ran the test with the Noctua 15mm slim fan, expecting to be disappointed.  It’s a newer fan in their line and answered the need for a slim fan to be used in mini ATX case and ITX configurations at 120 x 120 x 15mm . 

Specs: Noctua NF-A12x15 FLX  1850 RPM  23.9 dBA  55.44 CFM / 1400 RPM 16.8 dBA  41.67 CFM).

IMG_6043.jpg

I ran the fan at a fixed speed of 1400 RPM, which is what I would use installed outside the XPS 8930 front chassis area.  It’s similar to the same fan used on the CPU cooler radiator, which continues to manage temps and noise really well in the XPS 8930.   Running Firestrike Benchmark I got a max temp of 56 C with the onboard fan max ~1540 RPM.   Considering the 15mm thickness and the reduced noise levels of the fan at 1400 RPM I was still able to get within 2 C degrees of the Corsair fan.  That’s really great.   I ran this test twice in the push position and was pleasantly surprised by how well this fan works given its dimensions. 

Results:

Corsair SP120: max 54 C, onboard fan max ~1450 RPM
Noctua NF-A12x15: max 56 C, onboard fan max ~1540 RPM

At least I knew the fan size wasn’t the factor in the high temps I was getting with the GPU which have been inconsistent and would vary from 62C to 72C depending on ambient temps.  Those 62-66 C temps were with the AC running with the vent right over my desk.  In the evening gaming, I was still seeing temps up to 72C consistently and the onboard fan running at 70% @ 2300 RPM.   

From the testing, at least I saw with the slim Noctua fan properly coupled to the radiator, it's possible to get temps in the mid 50 C’s with onboard GPU  fan speeds ~1500 RPM even with warm ambient room temps. That would be the benchmark for desired GPU temps.

 

IMG_5340.jpg

So I had a choice to cut another 120mm hole at this location or just remove the fine grill work which would be easier.  I taped off the case and got to work with some tin snips which got me 50 % of the way there and with a Dremel cutting wheel and some patience it wasn’t that difficult to get a nice clean opening and get rid of all the grill work which restricted the airflow between the fan and the radiator. I left the metal steps at the edges of the grillwork untouched and just took away the grill work and that ugly round thing. 

I do wish I had removed the pesky 1" wide flange inside the chassis when I did the initial cuts. 

Pesky.JPG

That's the piece that the Alienware intake fan bracket rests against when installed.  It does get in the way of the radiator installing flush against the front chassis and I would not have had to use the foam gasket to clear that obstruction as pictured in the initial post of this thread.   Two more small cuts with the reinforced dremel cutting wheel and that would have been gone.

Pic after grillwork removed, "steps" still present.  Double stick tape still there from front fan install.  Small rectangular opening at very bottom is where I should have made a couple more cuts to remove the 1" long flange at that location.

IMG_7501.JPG

 

Pic of GPU radiator fan mounted on left with sheet metal grill work still present: (that’s the black Phanteks Halos RGB fan frame on the fan, dust filter in place on the CPU cooler fan on the right, wiring now run under the chassis through bottom of case, I also painted the grill work black when I cut the 120mm hole.)

IMG_5902.jpg

Fan mounted with grill work gone (you can see one of the metal steps inside the fan on the upper left still there):

IMG_6112.jpg

So with the sheet metal out of the way, I ran Firestrike again.  With the front bezel off I was able to see 56 C and the onboard fan max at ~1520 RPM.  Similar to temps earlier with the radiator and fan outside the case.   Looking good!

I then put the front bezel back on.  With the bezel in place and fan filter present behind the scarab front grill I ran Firestrike and am seeing 58 C at load with the onboard fan running at ~1670 RPM.  Yay!

So getting rid of the sheet metal grill work is essential if you want to get optimal temps with these hybrid GPU’s if you are putting the fan in front of the chassis.   The 15mm slim fan works great and is able to manage GPU temps if coupled correctly to the radiator.

A hybrid GPU in the Alienware R7 with optimal temps should be achievable as there are intake vents in the front bezel so no further cutting should be required once you get rid of the sheet metal grillwork.  A 25mm fan looks like it might just fit under that front bezel as well.

Done.

 

Sheet metal grill present:

IMG_5957.jpg

Grill gone:

IMG_6149.jpg

Phanteks Halos RGB at upper exhaust fan mounted on top of grill under cover, will fit mounted on fan inside case if you use one of the slim 15mm fans as an exhaust fan.

IMG_5954.jpg

 

 140mm dust fan filter inside bezel.   Trimming some of the plastic inside the bezel as needed, fit under plastic tabs on right side where I cut slits, trimmed some of the fan filter frame at bottom and attached on 4 sides with double stick moulding tape.   Just vacuum the dust occasionally from the front of the machine.

IMG_5913.jpg

 

Notes for XPS 8930 and Alienware Aurora cases:

It is a tight fit under the XPS 8930 front bezel with the 15mm fan, Halo RGB fan frame and the 140mm fan filter.  There is just enough room under the bezel and it does fit and lock into place okay.   

The Aurora R7/R8 cases have a deeper front bezel and a 25mm fan just might fit there.  Also the Alienware front bezels have an airflow friendly grill on the front of the case.

In attaching the fan to the case, notice that in the last picture of the bare fan on the case there are no screws holding the fan in place.   I used the two way moulding tape on the corners with the rubber corners removed on that side of the fan to attach the fan to the chassis.  It is VERY secure and isn't going anywhere.  The screws you see on that fan in another picture are to hold the Phanteks Halo Fan Frame in place, they do not go through to the chassis.

I found that you needed only two or three screws to hold the radiator in place, so if you can't get all 4 holes lined up, it's okay.  And don't forget to cut out that pesky 1' long metal flange that holds the Alienware fan bracket out when you cut away the grill.  The radiator will fit flush against the chassis if you do so and you will not have to use any type of radiator gasket as a filler for that space!

I wish I would have tried cutting away the sheet metal first and tested temps with the bezel in place before cutting a blowhole in the front bezel.  Cutting the sheet metal and coupling the fan/radiator properly had a big impact on lowering temps.  Differences in liquid cooled CPU temps with the front bezel in place was +3C.  For the GPU it was +8 to 10C without the grill work cut away.  With the grill work cut away, the airflow with the bezel in place should not have such a profound effect.

I thinks it's worth repeating to check to make sure the side of the radiator is clear of the swinging arm of the PSU bracket before deciding on the final mounting location.  Worst thing that could happen is to mount the radiator only to find out that the arm comes down onto one of the rivets on the side of the radiator....sigh.

The limiting factors for installing a GPU cooling radiator would be the length of the GPU and the height of the radiator so it can slide in sideways under the length of the lock flange used for the Alienware intake fan bracket.  

Close up Sea Hawk.JPG

The MSI Sea Hawk GPU in this install is 10.6"  (270mm)

The height of the radiator is 151mm and does fit under that flange with about a 1/8" to spare.   (151mm H x 120mm wide x 27mm thickness.)   It is possible to totally cut away the lip under the flange or the flange entirely if the height of the newer models of the hybrid GPU radiator is an issue.  Similar to what was done with the CPU radiator here.

The space in this install between the GPU and the radiator inside the case is approx. 11mm.

IMG_5300.jpg

 

So in theory if you have a liquid cooled GPU that gets closer to 10" long (15mm shorter) then you should be able to mount the radiator and slim 15mm fan inside the case.   It would be really tight installing and uninstalling the GPU out of the machine as you need some clearance to do so.  You risk damaging the back side of the fan in the process.  A simple workaround could be to not install the fan in the pull position behind the radiator until you install the GPU and use just the two accessible two screws to install the fan to the radiator after the GPU Is in place. That should be enough to couple the fan/radiator properly.   Removing that pesky 1" long flange should get you 3-4 mm more as well as the radiator should fit flush against the chassis. 

The end of the GPU will block some of the airflow from the rear of the radiator but that shouldn't matter much with cold intake air coming through the radiator.  With this shorter card install there is a high likelihood that cutting the front grillwork would NOT be required to get those desired temps. 

 

 

 

 

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546insp
3 Cadmium

Re: XPS 8930, CPU Liquid Cooler, GTX 1080 Hybrid GPU, Upgrad

I would block all venting around the fans with tape like I did in my front fan installation on my 8920 post. (direct all air from/to the outside.)
Dell XPS 8920 silver edition
7th gen i7 Intel CPU
Samsung 850 evo SSD for boot
Added front fan
16gb of memory
AMD video/graphic card
I buy a new Dell every 4 years for the last 25 years

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tucktheduck333
1 Copper

Re: XPS 8930, CPU Liquid Cooler, GTX 1080 Hybrid GPU, Upgrad

Thank you all for your great posts and photos.  I am starting to mod my 8930.  I am starting by cooling the GPU with an Corsair H60 on the upper front vent which seems like the best option based on your posts.

First a question:  Have you found a way to adjust the fan speed curve via the bios or software?  I can monitor the speeds via Intel extreme tuning but not adjust them.

Second something I noted that may help with temps:

The space from the front cover  is contagious with the space between the the bottom cover and chassis.  There are venting holes in the bottom of the chassis.  With the exhaust fans  located at the front you may be getting a partial recalculation of the hot exhaust air from the radiators.  I plan to block off the space at the front of the bottom cover or place ducting tape over the vent holes in the bottom of the chassis.  Possible tape off the vent holes in the bottom of the chassis, leave the space front and bottom cover open while drilling some holes in the back of the bottom cover to increase the area for exhaust to escape.

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546insp
3 Cadmium

Re: XPS 8930, CPU Liquid Cooler, GTX 1080 Hybrid GPU, Upgrad

Good idea, I did a post on installing a front fan that shows blocking ALL vents other than those coming from outside. It's the only way you can prevent recirculating inside air.

Dell XPS 8920 silver edition
7th gen i7 Intel CPU
Samsung 850 evo SSD for boot
Added front fan
16gb of memory
AMD video/graphic card
I buy a new Dell every 4 years for the last 25 years

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HanoverB
3 Cadmium

Re: XPS 8930, CPU Liquid Cooler, GTX 1080 Hybrid GPU, Upgrad


@tucktheduck333 wrote:

Thank you all for your great posts and photos.  I am starting to mod my 8930.  I am starting by cooling the GPU with an Corsair H60 on the upper front vent which seems like the best option based on your posts.

First a question:  Have you found a way to adjust the fan speed curve via the bios or software?  I can monitor the speeds via Intel extreme tuning but not adjust them.

Second something I noted that may help with temps:

The space from the front cover  is contagious with the space between the the bottom cover and chassis.  There are venting holes in the bottom of the chassis.  With the exhaust fans  located at the front you may be getting a partial recalculation of the hot exhaust air from the radiators.  I plan to block off the space at the front of the bottom cover or place ducting tape over the vent holes in the bottom of the chassis.  Possible tape off the vent holes in the bottom of the chassis, leave the space front and bottom cover open while drilling some holes in the back of the bottom cover to increase the area for exhaust to escape.


The fan curve is not adjustable from either the BIOS or any software.  I found that the stock fan curve was okay in cooling the CPU as the CPU radiator fans ranged from 400-500 at idle to 1000-1100 RPM at test loads.   Day to day use fan speeds never exceed 700 RPM. Noise level were acceptable as well.  

As far as the airspace under the front bezel being contiguous with the bottom of the chassis, yes that it true.  But I am reading that you are using the exhaust fans in the front?  I used intake fans for both radiators.   So you must be talking about the exhaust from back side of the GPU radiator going back into the space under the GPU and being pulled back under the case through the chassis openings there.  I guess that is possible and sealing those off could help.   

I also removed the rear slot tabs at the back of the case (DanH recommendation) to help with air flow out of the back of the lower half of the case.

 

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HanoverB
3 Cadmium

Re: XPS 8930, CPU Liquid Cooler, GTX 1080 Hybrid GPU, Upgrad

 

For balance of noise vs airflow I changed to the Noctua NF-S12A FLX 3 pin fan in the upper exhaust position.  Low RPM, quiet case fan that moves a lot of air.   Fixed at 1200 RPM to molex adapter from  PSU.  Will constantly move air out of case to prevent any heat build up.  Would also make a nice intake fan as well in the lower intake position.  1200 RPM, 63.27 cfm, 17.8 dBA / 900 RPM, 48.97 cfm, 10.7 dbA

https://noctua.at/en/products/fan/nf-s12a-flx

 

Final connections:

Corsair H60 CPU cooler pump power to SATA connector from PSU, 3 pin tach cable to TOP FAN Header

CPU cooler radiator fan:  (2) Noctua NF-A12x15 PWM, 4 pin PWM fan both to Y adapter and connected to CPU FAN header on motherboard  (note: single fan is fine here and can be a 3 pin fan connected to the CPU FAN header running at a fixed speed to noise tolerance)

GPU cooler radiator fan: Noctua NF-A12x15 FLX, 3 pin fan at fixed speed 1400 RPM using LNA to molex adapter from PSU

Upper Exhaust fan:  Noctua NF-S12A FLX 3 pin fan at fixed speed 1200 RPM to molex adapter from PSU

For any of the fixed speed fans, instead of direct connect to the PSU with molex adapters, both the TOP FAN and CPU FAN headers can be used with these 3 pin fans.  They will run at 100% of the rated top RPM of the fan but speeds can be controlled with low noise adapters to noise tolerance.  3 pin Y or multi fan adapters can also be connected to these headers with as many legs as necessary to run the number of fans desired..  Just depends on whether you choose to utilize the PWM functions of either header.

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546insp
3 Cadmium

Re: XPS 8930, CPU Liquid Cooler, GTX 1080 Hybrid GPU, Upgrad

I used an Arctic PWM 120mm fan for the front intake fan and tied it in with the top fan wiring . I mounted it on the bottom front vent and completely blocked out all other venting around it which forced all the outside air to come from the 1/4" slots behind the front faceplate. It is mounted with thick weather stripping and no screws which made it vibration free and it completely cured my noisy top fan problem, plus it's totally quiet.

Dell XPS 8920 silver edition
7th gen i7 Intel CPU
Samsung 850 evo SSD for boot
Added front fan
16gb of memory
AMD video/graphic card
I buy a new Dell every 4 years for the last 25 years

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NicolasLDN
1 Copper

Re: XPS 8930, CPU Liquid Cooler, GTX 1080 Hybrid GPU, Upgrad

Hi all,

Great set up Hanover ! and I love the front panel, well done !

Just a question, for the fan speed and cable management, did you ever tried to use a fan hub ? as the deeepcool FH-10 for example (or another one, there is so many)

Just plug the 4pin connector from the CPU header (or fan header depending which one needs to drive the speed) as entry to the hub, connect the hub via sata cable => then you have 4 to 8 fan space where the speed will be adjusted all the time depending on the load - only 4 pins fan then (some of those fan hub are really small, so you might be able to squeeze them somewhere in the case)

Nico

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