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Re: XPS 8930 Corsair CPU Liquid Cooler, GTX 1080 Hybrid, upg


@mr_archer wrote:

Awesome stuff guys!  We need to get these mods to pin this one!


I agree. 

AlienBlaster's case swap is a well written post with great pictures.  Really deserves a thread of its own.  Problem is there are several case swap threads out there, not a single main one.  Zeus has a thread covering all three models with the NZXT case and a personal thread with MrLAX. 

https://www.dell.com/community/XPS-Desktops/XPS-8910-8920-8920-SE-8930-case-upgrade-NZXT-H500/m-p/72...

Another one here specific to the XPS 8910 where I did link AlienBlaster's post.

https://www.dell.com/community/XPS-Desktops/XPS-8910-move-components-to-retail-case/m-p/6110680

 

Suggestions on title of his own thread or does he just add on to another already present?

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Re: XPS 8930 Corsair CPU Liquid Cooler, GTX 1080 Hybrid, upg


@HanoverB wrote:

@mr_archer wrote:

Awesome stuff guys!  We need to get these mods to pin this one!


I agree. 

AlienBlaster's case swap is a well written post with great pictures.  Really deserves a thread of its own.  Problem is there are several case swap threads out there, not a single main one.  Zeus has a thread covering all three models with the NZXT case and a personal thread with MrLAX. 

https://www.dell.com/community/XPS-Desktops/XPS-8910-8920-8920-SE-8930-case-upgrade-NZXT-H500/m-p/72...

Another one here specific to the XPS 8910 where I did link AlienBlaster's post.

https://www.dell.com/community/XPS-Desktops/XPS-8910-move-components-to-retail-case/m-p/6110680

 

Suggestions on title of his own thread or does he just add on to another already present?


Wow, a lot of work just to keep a PC cool. At least readers know what they are up against if they want to run heavy duty programs. The most I run is YouTube and a virus scan at the same time which made my fans take off but I cured all that with a well thought out bottom front fan installation.

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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Re: XPS 8930 Corsair CPU Liquid Cooler, GTX 1080 Hybrid, upg


@AlienBlaster wrote:

You are very welcome. I will try to answer your questions and provide some more information that I believe can benefit many here with cooling and noise issues with XPS and other Dell cases. I used Inspirons and Alienwares before and they all follow the same design philosophy. 

1. First, about pins on Meshify C Mini. XPS 8910 has an integrated jumper that covers the whole block. Yes, I used Pins 5 and 7 to connect reset switch and it's fully functional. It has become a very useful addition for me when I tested overclocking GPU. No more pushing the power button for 10 seconds. However, I couldn't get the HDD LED to work with Pins 1 and 3 even after trying both directions. I didn't try anything else further as it is not that important to me. This is probably the only problem I didn't solve with the swap. It's likely just different pin layout than what you drew on my 8910. I am sure someone can figure it out later.

2.  The CPU cooler I am using is Enermax ETS-N31-02 which is a low-end model. I was aware of the backplate issue but still wanted to try my luck without paying much. This thing was on sale for $10 so I just grabbed it. No surprise and it did not work out of the box. The mounting bracket requires the included clippers to go through the motherboard holes which are blocked by the AIO backplate. Luckily I could use the screws that came with C Mini to hold the bracket in place and eventually installed it. From my experience, this means many CPU cooler may not be directly installed with the included backplate but if the mounting part can be held on top with screws, then they should work.

3. Now, the most tricky part is about fans. XPS 8910 motherboard has two 4-pin PWM fan headers, one for the case fan and one for the CPU fan. The manual shows a 3-pin header for the case fan which is wrong (or vague at best). The CPU fan uses the CPU temp senor, while the case fan senor I suspect is also very close to CPU (the old north bridge area) or maybe is just the CPU temp senor (this way they can save some production cost). 

There is no way to access their fan curves but I have tried to reverse engineer them by testing with my Noctua NF-A14 PWM fan (with all other fans unplugged). Monitoring the fan rpm while running Prime95, I can see that as a case fan it stays at very low rpm (300 is the min rpm for NF-A14 PWM) and shoot up quickly around 80c. When connecting it as the CPU fan it stays low and shoot up quickly around 90c. This means that the Dell Bios fan curves are extremely passive with steep increases at those high temps. The case fan is the first-step fail safe (at 80c) while the CPU fan is the second-step fail safe (at 90c). These kind of fan curves are very bad for gaming and heavy computation but may suit a quiet office environment or most everyday usage, so I understand why they do it this way.

As we have no way to change the fan curves, this means the PWM is not only useless, but is also an obstacle to ideal cooling. You can see in other posts that people change to PWM fans and coolers but still don't get good outcomes because the fans are mostly idle until it's overheated. Certainly an aftermarket radiator is still better than stock but that's about it.

One way to overcome this is to manually fix fan speed without taking the PWM signal. I personally connect three fans (two front for intake and one back for exhaust) at 1200 rpm. To control noise, they are all quiet fans at less than 20 dB running full speed. I still leave the original case fan and the CPU fan plugged in the motherboard headers but they both run at minimum speed and contribute very little to both cooling and noise. You will get startup error if you leave those headers open, and they can also serve as fail safes in very extreme scenarios.

Another advantage of fixing case fan speed is that it always helps GPU to circulate air.  I may even look into connecting one of them to the GPU sensor later.

This is my experience with 8910 SE only and other editions may have some subtle differences. Hope this helps. 


Good stuff. 

Appreciate the reply and the additional insight on the pin configuration and CPU cooler install particulars.  Glad you found a workaround in getting that cooler installed onto the backplate.  Seems to be doing fine at controlling those CPU temps.

Thanks for confirming the XPS 8910 case swaps has no startup errors and for the pin information, that the reset does work (at least on the XPS 8910). It wouldn’t surprise me that the HDD LED pins are not active. 

The fan curve issues you report pretty much are found on every XPS machine I have worked with going back to the XPS 8300.  Non-adjustable fan speeds, conservative fan curves, both of which don’t do mix in high load situations as they don’t manage temps well and allow the temps get out of control.  Temps rise to the point that the fans become ineffective and just get noisy as they attempt to control the runaway temps.

I also try use 3 pin fixed speed fans in both intake and exhaust positions to keep noise levels down and a steady stream of airflow in the case.   Like you, I try to use the 4 pin PWM headers where they would do the least harm as the headers can’t be left open.  They seem to do okay in managing temps on an AIO CPU cooler on the radiator fan and fortunately some of the recent AIO liquid coolers have a tach cable that can be put on one of the PWM headers  to monitor pump RPM.

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Re: XPS 8930 Corsair CPU Liquid Cooler, GTX 1080 Hybrid, upg

Case swap looks promising.

I still have lingering questions about the 5 to 9 jumper on the front panel connector and the firmware/BIOS checks causing startup errors with the XPS 8930.   A case swap can help answer this, but it can be accomplished by removing the jumper wire in my working machine and testing what happens.

Jumper.JPG

Does the XPS 8930 have unique firmware requirements on posting related to the jumper?

With the XPS 8930 case swap:

-Without the jumper, all the front panel error problems go away, computer works fine. (wishful thinking)

-Without the jumper, still get the front panel errors, but computer works fine.  Workaround for the errors solved with the top IO Panel brought into the machine. (likely)

-Without the jumper, it creates another front panel error aside from the USB and card reader error, which then would require a 5 to 9 jumper being present with the new case.

.As long as you have the 5 and 9 pins exposed a jumper is possible and you won’t hit a wall with your case swap with the last scenario.

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Re: XPS 8930 Corsair CPU Liquid Cooler, GTX 1080 Hybrid, upg

Took a look at the Fractal Design Define Mini C TG today, as the brick and mortar store I went to didn't have the Meshify C Mini Dark TG in stock.  They did have the regular Meshify C TG in stock, didn't see the Dark TG version with the tinted glass.  The NZXT H500 was also in stock.  What I saw I liked.

Define Mini C shares the same chassis as the Meshify C Mini, more soundproofing at the cost of giving up some airflow.  Other minor design difference, sleek front like the NZXT H500 with no logo vs mesh, also has clear tempered glass only.

Define Mini C is a nice case......put that on my list as well.

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Re: XPS 8930 Corsair CPU Liquid Cooler, GTX 1080 Hybrid, upg

Did you give up on trying to keep it quiet and move to a new case?
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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Re: XPS 8930 Corsair CPU Liquid Cooler, GTX 1080 Hybrid, upg


@546insp wrote:
Did you give up on trying to keep it quiet and move to a new case?

Hi 546insp

That’s a good question and thanks for asking.

The XPS 8930 I am using with the liquid cooled CPU and GPU is working well.   Temps and noise levels where I want them.  Rock solid so far.  So we know that it is possible to achieve this.

You are fine with your machine as you have it setup exactly the way you want for what you do.  But there are others who want to go a step further.   More often out of necessity if you buy the machine for gaming or video rendering.

But it’s the amount of effort that a user has to go through to realize the potential of this machine which is the issue.

Simple mods, adding a fan here and there, even liquid cooling mods are not that difficult in a typical case.  But this Dell case presents a set of challenges that are beyond reasonable.   Cutting and drilling into a case just to get the CPU liquid cooled?   

I alluded to some problems on the Alienware side with the R7 because that machine is built to be a gaming machine with its liquid cooled chassis and fully adjustable fan curves and RAM speeds.  But overclocking the i7 8700K to 5.0 Ghz using Dells own settings causes the CPU to reach temp limits because the 120mm liquid cooler is unable to handle the overclock. There is no option to add a 240mm or 280mm liquid cooler so you have hit the ceiling with that Alienware chassis.

So not only is the effort to liquid cool the CPU on the XPS 8930 difficult, it won’t be sufficient cooling if you buy this machine with a K processor and you decide to overclock.  Even the Alienware R7 case can't quite pull that off.  Only a case swap can achieve this as it opens the door to countless cooling options.

My buddy DanH started a good thread on the XPS 8700 and GPU upgrades.  Lot of fan and modding tips there.  50 pages worth.   If you read the last post, he came out and said that re-casing the machine was a better idea than adding fans and coolers .   I had already done a post on liquid cooling both the CPU and GPU on an XPS 8500 so I could relate to this.  The only barrier to this was figuring out the pinouts on the front panel. 

https://www.dell.com/community/Desktops-General-Read-Only/XPS-8700-nVidia-GTX-video-card-upgrades/m-...

So that’s kind of where we are at again.  Where we weigh the effort needed to add the CPU cooler versus moving to a new case.   If the case swap is easy enough and the information is available on how to do it, then it is a viable option. 

So to answer your question, about whether I have given up on trying to keep it quiet and move to a new case? 

I think we figured how to keep things quiet collectively. That’s the beauty of this community.  Now just trying to see if there is a better way to do this than the route we took for others wanting to do the same.  If I personally moved to a new case it would be for the ease of getting into my machine, adding more drives, and seeing if it can be done. 

I am hoping someone beats me to it. emoticon.Wink.title

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Re: XPS 8930 Corsair CPU Liquid Cooler, GTX 1080 Hybrid, upg

Update on XPS 8930 Case Swap.  Not good news.

Friend and I did a case swap into a Meshify C Mini on my XPS 8930 last night.    

IMG_7408.jpgNice case, very easy to work with, little details well thought out.  Plenty of options for cooling.up front and top of the case.  Front mesh panel for airflow. Nice compartment below and behind back panel just like the NZXT.  

We then did a swap into a NZXT H500 case today.

IMG_7464.jpg

Nice case as well.  I can see why it is so popular.  Other than the hard drive cage, it's easy to work with. Airflow through one side of front bezel and can accommodate liquid cooling in the front intake as well but not as flexible with fan placement up top..  You can get a radiator or fan behind the front bezel.  Huge lower compartment. Great bang for the buck if you don't need extreme OC cooling.

What we found out:

The case swaps went fine.  It's a working machine so there are not compatibility issues, so not that hard to swap components.  We had already watched a couple of videos to familiarize ourselves with the particulars of each case.  About 45 min to disassemble the machine, about 90 minutes to swap components into each new case with both of us taking our time and chatting about spring fishing.  Used stock fans that came with the Fractal and NZXT case so nothing fancy. H60 CPU liquid Cooler up front as intake and the Seahawk GPU cooler as exhaust.  Same components from a known working setup. We could really could appreciate how much room there is in these cases to work compared to the stock case.  

The concern was always how this particular XPS model behaves with connectors to the motherboard from a new case.

The end result was we could not get the machine to work with these particular cases without getting similar startup errors.

With a basic front panel connection using the FP LED, Power switch, HDD LED, (and RESET on the Meshify)  on the motherboard, the machine would boot but we got a POWER BUTTON CABLE FAILURE ERROR.

IMG_7404.jpg

We double checked all connections, still got the same error.  I always wondered what happened on startup without the jumper wire so that answered that question.

We then jumped pins 5 to 9, the yellow wire which is found on the connector from the Dell power switch to the motherboard.

Machine started up, we did not get a power button error as hoped.  However, we were greeted with the anticipated FRONT I/O CABLE FAILURE ERROR.  

IMG_0644.jpg

No surprise there as we knew about this..  Got the IO panel off the Dell chassis and connected both the SD Card header and the USB header that was open and to our surprise still got the same error.

So something else was amiss that we did not anticipate.  BUMMER.

We tried different things from updating to a couple of different BIOS versions, trying different front panel connection combinations with and without the jumper.  Even tried  the power switch off the XPS 8930 (which works when plugged into the header) while we changed connectors around.  Front I/O error still persisted.  We could recreate the problem so finally figured out what was causing it.

Turns out the USB headers are real picky or there is something about the XPS 8930 that the firmware is looking for that is only there when both USB cables are connected.  We got the same result on both of case swaps we tried.  The only way to get the machine working without an error was with the jumper in place, SD card header connected and using the original XPS 8930 USB connectors from top IO panel in both of the motherboard USB headers .

With the USB 3.0/3.1 connector on either of the new cases connected, we could not get past the IO cable failure even using the original connector in the second USB header.

Both USB ports on the Fractal and the NXZT case front panel actually are functional when connected but we couldn't get rid of the startup error despite trying different connector combinations.  Writing this with the NZXT case swapped machine.

Will update later if we are able to troubleshoot any further.  Not looking good at this point. You could certainly try to add a PCIE USB 3.0 card with an internal 20 pin header to connect to the two USB ports on the new case and get them working and bypass the motherboard USB headers.  That could be a possible workaround.

 

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Re: XPS 8930 Corsair CPU Liquid Cooler, GTX 1080 Hybrid, upg

HanoverB, thanks for taking the big plunge on this one. I've had a Fractal Design Arc midi sitting in my garage for 3 weeks , not being ready to jump in! The Fractal has 2 external 5.25" bays and I've considered modding a front panel adapter to accept the entire usb/sd card reader and would keep it functional. Aesthetics has held me back on that approuch, planning on having this system for 5-8 years I don't want to look at something cheesy every day. Have considered  a new motherboard but not there yet. So my XPS 8930 is running cool and well(thanks to your aio upgrade and fan additions) but some where down the road I'm sure I'll take the plunge on this. Thanks again for all your efforts on these projects and documenting them so well.

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Re: XPS 8930 Corsair CPU Liquid Cooler, GTX 1080 Hybrid, upg


@HanoverB wrote:

Update on XPS 8930 Case Swap.  Not good news.

Friend and I did a case swap into a Meshify C Mini on my XPS 8930 last night.    

IMG_7408.jpgNice case, very easy to work with, little details well thought out.  Plenty of options for cooling.up front and top of the case.  Front mesh panel for airflow. Nice compartment below and behind back panel just like the NZXT.  

We then did a swap into a NZXT H500 case today.

IMG_7464.jpg

Nice case as well.  I can see why it is so popular.  Other than the hard drive cage, it's easy to work with. Airflow through one side of front bezel and can accommodate liquid cooling in the front intake as well but not as flexible with fan placement up top..  You can get a radiator or fan behind the front bezel.  Huge lower compartment. Great bang for the buck if you don't need extreme OC cooling.

What we found out:

The case swaps went fine.  It's a working machine so there are not compatibility issues, so not that hard to swap components.  We had already watched a couple of videos to familiarize ourselves with the particulars of each case.  About 45 min to disassemble the machine, about 90 minutes to swap components into each new case with both of us taking our time and chatting about spring fishing.  Used stock fans that came with the Fractal and NZXT case so nothing fancy. H60 CPU liquid Cooler up front as intake and the Seahawk GPU cooler as exhaust.  Same components from a known working setup. We could really could appreciate how much room there is in these cases to work compared to the stock case.  

The concern was always how this particular XPS model behaves with connectors to the motherboard from a new case.

The end result was we could not get the machine to work with these particular cases without getting similar startup errors.

With a basic front panel connection using the FP LED, Power switch, HDD LED, (and RESET on the Meshify)  on the motherboard, the machine would boot but we got a POWER BUTTON CABLE FAILURE ERROR.

IMG_7404.jpg

We double checked all connections, still got the same error.  I always wondered what happened on startup without the jumper wire so that answered that question.

We then jumped pins 5 to 9, the yellow wire which is found on the connector from the Dell power switch to the motherboard.

Machine started up, we did not get a power button error as hoped.  However, we were greeted with the anticipated FRONT I/O CABLE FAILURE ERROR.  

IMG_0644.jpg

No surprise there as we knew about this..  Got the IO panel off the Dell chassis and connected both the SD Card header and the USB header that was open and to our surprise still got the same error.

So something else was amiss that we did not anticipate.  BUMMER.

We tried different things from updating to a couple of different BIOS versions, trying different front panel connection combinations with and without the jumper.  Even tried  the power switch off the XPS 8930 (which works when plugged into the header) while we changed connectors around.  Front I/O error still persisted.  We could recreate the problem so finally figured out what was causing it.

Turns out the USB headers are real picky or there is something about the XPS 8930 that the firmware is looking for that is only there when both USB cables are connected.  We got the same result on both of case swaps we tried.  The only way to get the machine working without an error was with the jumper in place, SD card header connected and using the original XPS 8930 USB connectors from top IO panel in both of the motherboard USB headers .

With the USB 3.0/3.1 connector on either of the new cases connected, we could not get past the IO cable failure even using the original connector in the second USB header.

Both USB ports on the Fractal and the NXZT case front panel actually are functional when connected but we couldn't get rid of the startup error despite trying different connector combinations.  Writing this with the NZXT case swapped machine.

Will update later if we are able to troubleshoot any further.  Not looking good at this point. You could certainly try to add a PCIE USB 3.0 card with an internal 20 pin header to connect to the two USB ports on the new case and get them working and bypass the motherboard USB headers.  That could be a possible workaround.

 


There is one thing you can try.

One thing that your XPS 8930 has but none of XPS 8910/8920, NZXT H500 and Meshify C Mini has is a front panel Type-C port. It could be the source of your startup error that's specific to 8930. 

Since 8930 has only one Type-C port in the FP, I am guessing only one of the USB 3.1 headers on your motherboard is needed to scan that. You may think you need both but chances are you happened to plug that in as the second one.

Well, it's possible that both headers are needed for some reason, but it is worth a try at least.

 

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