I am in week two of owning the 8950 (i7 12700, 16gb, 3060ti). I love it - great machine, IMO. The stock cooler for the i7 is not up-to-snuff, however. So, with the help of the friendly gurus on this forum, I learned a bunch about replacement options, how effective they are and whether or not there are compatibility issues.
Not wanting to deal with BIOS errors, now or in the future, I went for the premium OEM air cooler for the "K" version of my processor. I did not start with this selection during my learning process, as Noctua, BeQuiet, and so many cooler options looked more interesting. There's not much said about the premium cooler online, but there are some good resources that indicated that it can hold its own against popular 3rd party coolers. For me, it was the promise of 100% plug/play compatibility guaranteed over the long term, and the reported good/solid performance.
I am not one to spend too much time benchmarking hardware, but I wanted to do a casual before/after compare of the stock vs the premium cooler. One benchmark was the PassMark test - specifically the CPU portion of the test. The stock cooler skyrocketed to 100C before it throttled, and it sounded like someone turned on a Hoover in there. Once all fans were in total panic mode (quite loud) the running temp settled down to around 85C. The coolest temp from the stock cooler was 42C during low utilization.
With the premium cooler, the same test did not allow the processor to exceed 72C, with a running temp of about 60C. Temps during low utilization dropped to 28C.
Pretty amazing, IMO, and I am very happy with this purchase. I did remove the thermal paste (I know I didn't have to) and I carefully applied Thermal Grizzly paste. Not sure if that contributed to these numbers or not.
So, just wanted to give the often-overlooked OEM premium cooler a shout-out. The only slight downside is that at idle I can hear a couple more db's of fan noise. But, I figured that might be the case given the fact that the stock fan was tiny.
I am glad everything worked out and that you are able to recommend this cooler after verifying that it works very well with the non "K" CPU. In my opinion the premium air cooler should be the standard cooler for all the XPS desktops......"K" series cpu's or not.
I agree. The difference is stunning between these two coolers. The i712700, though not the heat generator the i9 is, is still quite a formidable heat source. It really requires something better than that cheap pancake cooler.
One other plus for this cooler that factored into my selection, is the factory fit. There are endless YouTube videos showing the hardware and process to get many 3rd party coolers to fit this motherboard. None of it looks particularly hard, but the plug/play aspect of the OEM cooler is certainly a plus.
As I mentioned above, not sure if my choice of paste contributes to these new thermal numbers, but according to reasonably good online sources - paste can matter - and I didn't know what paste was on there. I am sure the factory paste works, but again, my OCD wins the day.
I am glad you had a positive experience with the OEM premium air cooler for your XPS 8950. I have a similar system ( i7 12700, 32 GB, 1660 ti). I also found the stock cpu cooler to be inadequate also. For the same reasons as you, I replaced the stock cpu cooler with the OEM premium cooler. I have been delighted with the results. It is nice to see praise for an often overlooked cpu cooler.
Good to hear from another owner of the same cooling solution on a non-K proc.
The premium air cooler works great at keeping the CPU at low temps. It has a 120mm fan - much bigger than the 92mm stock fan. As I mentioned prior, the fan noise seems to be slightly higher, but I am not 100% convinced it's the new cooler. It could be the price of admission for a larger fan, but maybe I am now just paying more attention to it. Maybe it's the case fans and it's been there all along? It's still fairly quiet at idle, so it's not a high priority for me atm. What is your experience with fan noise before/after the new cooler?
I was fortunate to have a virtually silent system at idle and general usage before and after cpu cooler swap. The only time I hear any fan noise is during a hardware scan/test. The fans go full rpm as expected. I am not a gamer. The really annoying thing to me, as you may have noticed, about the stock cooler was it left approximately 20% of the cpu uncovered. The rectangular cpu with a circular cooler contact plate. Certainly, a head scratcher. Anyway, I am glad you are as pleased as I am.
A follow-up question for you if I may...
I just did a test with my 8950, and momentarily (like 20 seconds) started up the machine without the rear fan, and the noise I was hearing did not stop. Did the same with the front fan - ditto. Then I restarted without the CPU fan, and I didn't hear the sound, so it's from the premium cooler. It's not just the sound of air moving, it's a slight mechanical sound (sort of an "errrrrrrr" sound). Over time, I can hear it oscillate a bit - raises and lowers in volume. Maybe this is normal?
Can you check to see if yours does the same? Of course, I wouldn't ask you to disconnect your fans, but would it be possible for you to listen to your cooler with the side panel off? If so, is it just the sound of air coming from your cooler, or is there a slight mechanical sound?
No problem if you don't have the time! Just thought I'd ask.