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Last reply by 07-21-2021 Solved
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2 Iron
2 Iron

XPS 8940, Better 3rd party cooler

Hello there

I would greatly appreciate any help to find a new/better 3rd party cooler for my XPS 8940. It came with the thin and small stock cooler and is overheating the whole time. I got a i9-10900 processor with 128 GB of RAM and I need this computer to generate some GIS layers. These jobs take 2-4 hrs every time and I can see that the processor is throttling or C° 97+ all the time.

I tried the Noctua 15S but the problem is there is no space for the bracket under the motherboard. The stock fan screws directly into the chassis from above.

Thank you very much

Replies (929)

I have done some very rough testing on a few fan configurations on the XPS 8940 for anyone looking at ordering/modding things. The XPS 8940 I have is the i7-10700 (non K) and the RTX 3070.

I used Cinebench R20 for CPU testing and Furmark for GPU testing but did not run them simultaneously. Each test was only a few minutes long as I did not loop cinebench and I only ran furmark until the temp plot basically levelled out. Case side panel obviously installed, and ambient was around 20-21°C. 

XPS Temps.png

Worst score I saw in CB20 was 4182 at stock, with the best score being 4421 for test 5. Definitely take all results with a grain of salt on accuracy and validity - I'm no Gamers Nexus lol.

My conclusions in no particular order:

  • CPU cooler upgrade is by far the most substantial improvement - if you can only do one thing, this is it.
  • Rear fan upgrade is helpful but probably moreso for noise.
  • Front fan seems to be a minor upgrade - either due to restricted intake, not enough RPM due to whatever fan curve/logic is applied, or a combination of the two. Sidenote, I tried swapping the Y connector so that the PWM signal was going to the front fan and this didn't do anything I could measure.
  • Nothing seemed to really improve GPU temps - I think the variance shown in these results is well within error. The intake of the GPU just cannot be fed cool air without a fan at the lower front so I will be looking to tackle this still with some sort of 3D printed bracket.

Anyway, fun experiments. I'm also presently working on temps for an Alienware R11 w/ RTX 3090 which is much more finnicky for fan selection and chassis options, but hey I've got another front fan bracket done for it! lol

Well done.  This is good empirical evidence.  Your tests are helpful confirmation of the key conclusions regarding the need for owners to seriously consider an upgrade to the stock CPU heatsink in a non-K 8940.

Awesome work @purpledrillmonkey !! Not sure how much space is at the bottom  of the XPS, but in my G5 case (which seems to be about the same size), I managed to install one of the stock Dell fans under the GPU bracket. It's not much, but it blows some cold air towards the fans of my RTX3070. (pic).

If you want to bring temps even further down, you can apply a slight undervolt to the GPU and CPU. The GPU is super easy, you can do it from MSI Afterburner. I've set mine to 950mV at 1900MHz (a slight underclock too). This has brought temps into the 65-70 range in games. For the CPU it's not as easy, as you'd have to edit the BIOS to unlock undervolting. I've done that and applied a -100mV undervolt on CPU core and -20 on CPU cache (afer much trial & error), which has brought temps down quite a bit. Idle under 25, browsing under 30, gaming under 65.

Hey guys. I ended up going with the XPS because I decided I needed a dedicated rig with an RTX card for design stuff (photoshop, unreal engine, VR sketching & modeling), and it was pretty much the only prebuilt available with an RTX (mine has the 2060 super) for a reasonable price. Since it will be rendering through the night sometimes, I referred to this thread when installing my cooling solution, and I wanted to show what I did and ask a few questions. I used the Noctua NH-U9S as well as 5 NF-A9 fans, 2 for intake, 2 on the U9S, and one replacing the exhaust fan.

-The first thing I did was move the 3.5 HDD to the top slot so I could fit the intake fans. I decided to test it with just one intake fan (SATA powered) and the upgraded exhaust fan (plugged into motherboard) and a few seconds after startup I got a BSoD with stop code "CRITICAL PROCESS DIED". Has anyone experienced this? Could it have been because of moving the hard drive? It did not happen again after that and things appear to be running smoothly now, but it was concerning considering it was only the 2nd time I had the machine running and had only made minor modifications.

-My U9S appears to be on a slightly rotated angle compared to everything else on the motherboard, is this normal or should I loosen it and try to get it straight?

-How are you guys utilizing the NA-FC1 fan controller? I bought one but when I had it plugged into the cpu fan slot and cotrolling the 2 on the U9S, I was getting bios errors on startup. As soon as I removed it and plugged those fans into the motherboard on their own, everything worked fine. I'm not opposed to running them without the controller because its fewer cables to worry about but I would like to be able to adjust speed. I thought the way I had it would work. Any suggestions?

Here is a pic of what I've done. Let me know if you guys have any info for me. Thanks!


@LjChesla nice setup! I love the black coolers!

If that error doesn't come back again, I wouldn't worry about it. Windows has mysterious ways sometimes

I wouldn't worry about the cooler angle either. As long as you put thermal paste and your temps are ok, it means the plate makes good contact with the CPU. I can't even notice any misalignment from the picture you posted.

I'll let others comment on the NA-FC1 controller. I don't have one. My Noctuas are all plugged into the motherboard fan headers (2 on the CPU header and 3 on the case header) using the splitters included with the fans. I let the software/OS control fan speed.


I might just try running the intake & exhaust fans with the FC1 powered only by SATA. It can get a little noisy when all 5 are going full blast.

Hi bro,

My Dell XPS was also having the same issue where it would stay 50 ish celcius on normal web surfing, would spike to 80 if I watch YouTube, near 100 if I play Dota, is this anywhere normal? Or should I be worried and request for a onsite check and repair from Dell since warranty is still running.


Best regards,


@Gerrard Loo Those temperatures are definitely not ok. What CPU do you have in your PC? 

Your problem is probably the same many of us on this thread reported: Dell is selling these PCs with a completely inadequate CPU cooler that is too small to keep temperatures under control. You can call Dell, but unfortunately they're not going to replace the cooler with a better one, because in their opinion the cooler and those temperatures are fine . Most of us have resorted to just buying and installing a proper aftermarket cooler. You can get a good cooler for $25, and installing it is pretty easy. 

After replacing the garbage cooler that Dell put on my CPU with a Noctua NH-9US, my idle is 25 degrees, browsing is around 30 and gaming is 60-65 degrees. 

Read this thread entirely. It's full of great info. Also check out this tutorial on replacing the cooler. It shows the Dell G5 desktop, but the process applies to the XPS desktop too, which is very similar.

Hi Bertro,

Thanks for sharing such valuable informations. I actually called Dell before I posted my question here , to my surprise the Technical Support say it is normal for my PC to stay 50ish on idle and 90 on gaming, sometimes it can spiked to 100 for seconds, these temp is definitely worrying for me. 


May I know if the vetroo or noctua cooler needs any mod before installing on the mobo? 


Thank you.




@Gerrard Loo haha, of course they said that because they have no idea what they're talking about. Even a 15-year old building his/her first computer would know to put a better cooler on their CPU. 

I have the Noctua and I had to buy four 3mm*16mm screws to mount it in place of the Dell cooler. No other modifications needed. The screws fit perfectly in the existing mounts. The tutorial I posted above shows you how to install the cooler. That person used a different model of screws, but same result. Just get whichever you can find in your area.

From what I've read on the forum, the Vetroo V5 cooler already comes with the right screws in the box, so you don't need to buy anything else. 

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