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

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

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@HanoverB  Yes, I had the frame manufactured to @purpledrillmonkey 's design here in UK.  No, I've not cut away any of the plastic on the inside of the front panel yet, but I'll consider it if I need additional cooling.


thx all of you


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.


I'm not sure of amperage limits for those headers, but I just completed a cooler/fan upgrade and am experiencing excellent cooling with no issues.

FWIW, here's what I did:

- Replaced rear case fan with Noctua NF-A9 PWM chromax.black.swap (power draw 1.2 Watts / 0.1 Amps)

- Added a front case fan Noctua NF-F12 PWM chromax.black.swap (power draw 0.6 Watts / 0.05 Amps)

- Added a front case fan Noctua NF-A8 PWM chromax.black.swap (power draw 0.96 Watts / 0.08 Amps)

The 3 fans above are connected to a Noctua 3-way splitter NA-SC1, which is plugged into the CASE fan connector on the motherboard. The TOTAL draw from these fans is only 0.23 Amps, which is easily handled by the motherboard.

- Replaced the stock cooler with Noctua NH-D9L.

- Replaced the included cooler fan with Noctua NF-A9 PWM chromax.black.swap (power draw 1.2 Watts / 0.1 Amps)

- Added a 2nd fan to the front of the cooler (same NF-A9 fan as above).

The 2 CPU fans are connected to a Noctua 2-way splitter NA-SYC1 which is plugged into the CPU fan connector on the motherboard. The TOTAL draw from these 2 fans is only 0.2 Amps.


- The NH-D9L was literally a drop-in replacement for the stock cooler. Just use the black spacers and 4 M3x16mm screws (bought at Lowe's).

- The front fan was attached using the 3D printed adapter designed by purpledrillmonkey. (that adapter works beautifully!)

- The 2nd fan added to the front of the NH-D9L is not able to flush-mount due to the height of the RAM sticks. So it is raised about a half inch above the cooler itself, but still attaches to the front of the cooler solidly using the supplied clips with no issues.

- The NA-SC1 3-way splitter can't be purchased separately, but any decent 3-way 4-pin PWM splitter will work.

- With the fans plugged into the existing connectors on the motherboard there were no BIOS boot issues. Everything boots and works fine and even though the fan speeds are being controlled by the BIOS, they seem to be cooling extremely well.

- The 120mm fan added to the front is the fan connected to the 4-pin connector of the 3-way splitter. Seeing as the system can only read the speed of ONE fan, I chose the fan that typically runs at the lowest RPMs to maximize cooling.

- With the factory stock setup and benchmarking using Intel's Extreme Tuning Utility, the CPU reached 101° and thermal throttled as well as power throttled. After the upgrade, CPU temps max out at 72°C with no throttling. On average at idle, the NVME and SSD drives in the system run about 22°C, CPU at about 25°C. and GPU around 25°C



I would suggest not cutting away the plastic. Those plastic cutouts actually slide into the metal frame and keep the bracket solidly attached. 


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.


Ignore that comment. I thought you were referring to the plastic on the bracket itself, not the actual case. My mistake.


Thanks for the tip regarding the Dell cooler.  Evidently the Dell cooler for K-model CPUs used to be the VWMTJ, which is no longer available.  It was the cooler pictured in the Dell ads.  It sounds as though you were able to buy the latest model of that cooler (the VWD01), is that correct?

I just received an i9-10900 (not K) with the RTX2060 Super and the CPU immediately hit 100 degrees C when I was rendering my first video.  I'd like to upgrade the cooler, but just want some reassurance that it will be "plug-and-play".  Also, you mentioned a heat sink for the voltage regulator module.  Where is that on the motherboard...I haven't been able to locate it?

Thanks in advance for your help...



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!


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