I recently purchased a Dell XPS 15, 32 gb, 1 tb SSD. For the price and specs, I expected a relatively quiet machine. However, the fan runs at a near constant rate, even when performing simple tasks. It has even run on multiple occasions when the computer has been idle, with no programs open and only background applications running. I can see this happening with one unit, but I have swapped the unit multiple times and all of them have had the same problem. My question is whether the computer is supposed to be as loud as it is, with the fans running nearly constantly. Or have I just been unlucky enough to receive multiple units with fan issues? Does anyone actually have a quiet Dell XPS 15 that has a fan which only kicks into gear when performing CPU-intensive activities?
Unfortunately, quiet doesn't match well with thin.
Another thing is that the definition of quiet depends on the person and the ambient. For instance, in the office with some background noise I don't notice the fans, though they are spinning at about 2500 rpm as usually when "idling" on the WD15 dock. On the AC charger, they sometimes actually turn off and that's really quiet at night.
If you're seeing higher rpms when not loaded, consider repasting or have Dell do it with good paste e.g. TG Kryonaut. Printed paste used in the factory is known to cause issues, and the thin design is very sensitive to such faults. You may also consider thermal pads to take heat from VRMs and PCH to the case bottom, because some components on the main board heat up likely triggering the fans but actually get no active cooling from them. But mind high-thermal-conductivity pads on the VRMs may make things worse as the case heats up. Also try raising the rear with a bar.
I'm having the same issue, my XPS 15 9550 fan runs all the time now. I've tried resetting power settings, NVIDIA settings to no avail.
I can hear the fan of my Dell XPS 15 come on in most environments, including the ones in which I primarily use the computer (my office and apartment). In those environments, there isn't enough ambient noise to drown out the fan (unless the AC comes on in my apartment). I've also noticed the fan comes on whenever I plug in the power adapter, even when no applications are running (I already changed the setting to "passive cooling" with no discernible change).
Keep in mind, the fan issue has happened with multiple Dell XPS 15s, as I have continued to swap them out hoping the problem would be resolved. This is why I'm trying to figure out whether the fan noise is by design (which would just mean awful engineering), or whether some people do in fact have machines in which they can't hear the fan in normal working or home environments. If the latter is the case, I'm wondering whether I've just been receiving machines that were a part of a faulty batch.
How loud was your fan when you first purchased the computer and when did you purchase it? I've read online that some people have not heard the fan come on even once or have only heard it during intense gaming sessions. Therefore, you can imagine my dismay when I open 3 tabs of Microsoft Edge and the fan blares to life (on multiple machines)! Could the quiet fan possibly only apply to older models?
I'm afraid the XPS 15 isn't the best choice if you want a quiet laptop. The specs are quite high - a CPU with 45W TDP, a GPU with an even higher TDP, etc. And in order to make it look fancy, the size for the heatpipes and cooling fins has been restricted, and cooling of other board components is no good.
One widespread XPS problem is the bad printed thermal paste in the mass-production process. For the CPU this can be detected by running a stress test like Mersenne Prime95 for a few minutes and observing CPU temperatures and clocks using HWinfo64. If the temperatures approach 100 degC and the clocks throttle down. With good paste, peak temperatures shouldn't exceed 90 degC. Idle temperatures are usually around 40 degC (but idling is not well defined). For the GPU, Unigine Heaven stress test can be used, and throttling temperatures are less than 80 degC.
Unfortunately, the XPS isn't likely to idle without the fans running, and the low rpms like 2500 are still audible in quiet environments. As said, mine is silent sometimes on AC power, but not all the time, and never with the WD15 dock. There is also a design issue that the fans seem to be triggered by increased temperatures of some board components (VRMs - "ambient", PCH), however the fans make practically no airflow over the mainboard at all. Not that something would get fried because of this, but they spin in vain, and there is nothing users can do about this.
Though, the XPS is more likely to run fan-free when on battery, when it is in a much more restricted power mode (power plans have separate settings for plugged in and on battery) - though it also becomes much less responsive. You can adjust the power plan to make it as restrictive when plugged in as it is on battery.
Another thing you can do is "idle" state optimisation. Google up instructions for extreme forms of maximizing battery life, like getting rid of all unnecessary background programs and unnecessary windows services. The effect of such actions can directly be measured with a watt-meter, and idling power can span a considerable range, from just a couple to ca 20 watts. All the power fed to the computer gets converted into heat. Sometimes noisy idling results from processes using 5% or more CPU doing literally nothing important for you.
That's not true. Try Dell Fan Utility + SpeedFan. Even vigorous web browsing for me stays around 40C; I set the fans to kick on at 50C. I did repaste + add thermal pads. But even if only software changes are under discussion here, I can easily see your laptop become much quieter with customization. This has taken me a while to figure out as people on the web repeatedly claim that the XPS series' fans cannot be controlled manually. Hope this helps.
Yes I've read that Dell Fan Utility + SpeedFan helps. But it is the kind of intervention I wouldn't suggest to novices, because two sw hacks are being used for a low-level thermal control task. And I understand has a bit restricted fan actuation abilities to a few discrete values. I think it is ridiculous that Dell doesn't supply adequate fan control or make it conveniently configurable (I understand there is a trade-off between the total silence of the fans and the the CPU transient down-throttling upon the onset of heavy workloads).