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June 17th, 2010 12:00

Dell laptops with dual cooling fans?

Does  anyone know of any current model Dell laptops with dual cooling fans.  Machines capable of running an I7 CPU?  The Studio line appears to only have a single fan which is insufficient at properly cooling the CPU.

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87.5K Posts

June 17th, 2010 16:00

On what you do base this claim?

"single fan which is insufficient at properly cooling the CPU."

Is there a reference to the Intel design specification that requires two fans - or evidence that two fans are necessarily better than one? 

ASUS, Lenovo, HP/Compaq, Toshiba, Sony  and Apple all use single-fan designs with Core i7s.  Are their systems insufficient as well?

42 Posts

June 18th, 2010 01:00

20 years of IT experience including desktop support supplemented by intensive testing of the I7-720QM and I7-820QM processors in the Studio 1558.  Testing was performed under controlled levels of CPU utilization while core and external chassis temperatures were recorded.  Internal temps were recorded using CoreTemp and OCCT.  External temperatures of the laptop casing were measured using an infrared thermometer.

All of my results were provided to Dell technical support and Hardware Warranty Services and confirmed as accurate and true.  In fact, these departments placed enough weight on my test results that they were communicated up to management.  Also, the "MAJOR" retailer through which I purchased my machine have forwarded my results to their corporate buyers!!!  

My results and conclusions have been supported by both Dell and several independent hardware reviewers as well as the testimonies of technically competent users who experienced the same problem.

Need I say more or would it help if I uploaded all of my data?

Now, do you have any constructive input regarding my inquiry?

42 Posts

June 18th, 2010 02:00

The Dell implementation of the I7 in their 15" units has been proven by Dell and other reputable sources to create excessive amounts of heat which cannot be dissipated via a single fan though their minimal cooling exhaust ports.  Dell has seen my data and has come to the same conclusion  In fact, Dell has already begun to rollout changes to accommodate the heat issue.  

I made no mention of the Intel specifications which I have thoroughly reviewed.  I never made any inference that Intel specs state that 2 fans are required for the I7 line.  I merely referenced the fact that the Dell implementation of the I7 in a 15" form factor doesn't allow for sufficient cooling.  This fact has been backed by Dell.

From my testing results and the input and responses from numerous technical resources at Dell, i am merely inquiring about the existence of an I7 implementation with more then one cooling fan.  


I know nothing about the ASUS, Lenovo, or Toshiba implementations of the I7 in a 15" form factor.  I have though researched the ASUS, Samsung and Toshiba implementations of the the "I"' series of processors and have found many I7 models, available through reputable retail outlets, to be in the 17" form factor.  These 17" models didn't display any of the heat problems of the Dell 15" line.

However, I won't waste my time inferring anything about the HP line as I won't waste my time even looking at their machines.  That comes from a professional background working with them.  Regarding Apple, their implementation of the I7 on the Mac Book Pro is too new for there to be any significant data available to the consumer.   

If you can not stick to the question as it was posed and not take an unnecessary and intrusive defensive position, then I ask that you refrain from commenting.  I am looking for experienced input and not biased responses which I may use as part of my research as to whether or not I should accept ANOTHER 15" I7 from Dell in a line of replacements for machines which have consistently either overheated or failed to cool properly.  Dell and I are working on the 4th machine in this single transaction!  

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June 18th, 2010 04:00

My response is more out of technical curiosity than anything - it wasn't intended to be defensive.  I'd like to see a link that explains why two fans are necessary, and why the Dell system is deficient.  The other manufacturers - all of whom buy their notebooks from the same actual manufacturers as Dell - use single fans and yes, the i7 IS available in a 15" chassis, with single cooling fans.

It has been reported that the new Apple i7 15" Macbooks do run too hot - perhaps there is something to your issue.  A colleague has experienced freezeups with a brand-new i7 Macbook Pro/15".  I'm simply interested in what the issue might be.


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87.5K Posts

June 19th, 2010 04:00

Having now seen stability issues not only with Dell,  but with an HP and an Apple i7 system, I am beginning to wonder if Intel repeated its mistake with the Pentium4 - that CPU generated too much heat for a notebook chassis, and the speedup of the CPUs made  matters worse.  Everyone had issues with these - all manufacturers.  Since Intel cut the clock speed of the new Core i7 I wonder if they cut it enough -- or if they decided to release it with speeds faster than they should have to narrow the differential with the Core 2 Duo.

Unfortunately for buyers, this is the first widespread use of quad-core CPUs in notebooks -- life on the bleeding edge can be rough.

I've been advising those who ask to wait a while before the jump for a quad i7 -- the second generation will no doubt be better.


42 Posts

June 26th, 2010 01:00

Dell censored my initial response....   So I'll try again.  For some reason they thought I had offensive language in my posting. I believe they were more directed at censoring factual information which may identify problems with their machines.  Odd, their tech support, customer service, hardware warranty service all believe my test results bear important factual information...


I didn't see anything that says 2 fans are required but more than ample evidence that a single fan, located at the back of the chassis as is in the Dell Studio and Inspiron configs, results in excessive heat of the CPU cores as well as the external casing. However, running heat monitoring utilities, The Studio 15s were shutting down at lower that normal (but still excessively high) temps. That's what the A06 BIOS upgrade did. it fixed the thermal sensor and enabled more accurate fan operation. However, in their attempt to eliminate the machine shutdowns dueto CPu heat, they created a situation where the machines wouldn't shut down until core temps were CLOSE to the TJunction in the Dell specs. I have run an I7 up to 90% plus of the published TJunction temp before the utility itself shut itself down to avoid damaging the CPU. I would have expected the Dell BIOS to have shut the machine down first. But "No", with the BIOS update, the machine doesn't shut down as it used to but will run at higher temps. Take a look at the Dell Specs for the I7 (on Intel's website and the discussions on sites such as Toms Hardware and CNet.) You see that the Turboboost (a major selling pint of the I7) is dependent on the core temp. Too high a temp and no boost... Wait, that sounds like I'd be running a 1.6ghz 4-core CPU... With no chipset controlled overclocking.... Not what I'm buying into... The machine mfgr better be able to properly cool the CPU.... I can't find any discussions where anyone has taken the time to do IR readings of external case temps but after burning my thumb on the mouse pas of a Studio 1558 running an 820QM, I felt it necessary to look at this area. The external case was reporting temperatures of between 115 to 120+ degrees F. Most independent reviews of the 15" Dells with the I7 CPU reported temps in the 90-92 degree F range. A HUGE difference. And as a researcher who relies on empirical evidence for my decision making, I ran the tests over and over.... Only in the first 5 minutes after startup with no CPU load did I find temps any where under 100 degrees F. If the reviewers had just allowed the machine to warm up, under no direct CPU load, for about 20 minutes, they would be singing a different story. Put it under a normal CPU load based on basic everyday user processing (maybe a Youtube video in Chrome with a couple of tabs open with a decent, low CPU hog, antivirus scan) and their findings aren't even accurate. And these reviewers don't even try to test the Core temp... Why? Because if they did they would see the excessive temps and would P.O, Dell off.... Give it a try, the IR readers aren't expensive are are rather accurate. Run Coretemp and OCCT on a Dell I7 and you'll see the same thing that caused Dell Hardware Tech Support to determine that the I7 runs excessively hot. Mine isn't an isolated case as I recorded the same temps on 3 separate machines. I offer you the opportunity to test this situation yourself as seeing is believing. Google for "Dell Studio 1558 shut down problems", Dell Studio 1558 heat" or even "Dell Studio I7 problems" and you'll have more hits than you can read.... From Dell's own forums to Toms Hardware to CNet... Odd though that Dell doesn't read their own forums for feedback from their customers. Dell tech support and Sales wanted to push me towards the rave reviews the Studio 15 gets. Just read the Customer Reviews on the Dell website. 4+ stars out of 5? Great reviews!!! But under what configuration. When you look at the user skill level (most are "Good" and not "Expert") once can only assume they weren't pushing the advanced configurations. It hit me that these machines run I3, I5 and I7. Sure they won't have as obvious a heat problem with an I3 or I5 but if you dig deep enough on other reputable sites, you'll find heat problems with all of the Intel "I" series CPUs in Dell Studio machines... Dell even went so far as to indirectly admit to the heat problem by releasing a new Studio BIOS release, A06. However, they were only addressing excessive heat in the CPU when using the onboard GPU and not a separate GPU such as an ATI Mobility chipset. But I am running an ATI chipset and this thing still burned my fingers.


As a former IT professional returning to the university for an advanced degree in a non-technical field (got sick of the  stress of outsourced jobs), I couldn't see myself using the Studio 1558 in a lecture hall where I may very well be placing it on a textbook on my lap. I'm won't run one on my lap... But even still.... I mean the area directly under the mouse pad was too hot to touch. Oddly enough, from the Service Manuals, which are available online, this area appears to be sucking up heat from the CPU. Basically, the machine is cooling a CPU with a reputation for running hot through heat dispersion through the chassis (I don't expect this to be intentional) and by using a fan on the backside of the machine. My wife actually burned her finger tip on the mouse pad itself.... Not believing her, I placed my finger on it and, as one specializing in neurology, can say that it did some damage to my fingers....

On a side note, the recent Studio models have a single fan exhaust port on the back left hand side. Unfortunately, when you open the display to an angle of at least 90 degrees perpendicular to the keyboard, the bottom if the display casing BLOCKS most of the exhaust ports. From what I can see in the Service Manuals. the Studio XPS models partially address tis issue with a different ventilation layout on the bottom of the casing. Still, it won't be enough to provide a "cool to the touch":case. Want to go one step in the direction of odd designs? I was at Sam's Club today and picked up one of their demo Dells.... Unfortunately running a Core 2. The exhaust port was on the side and the ventilation config on the bottom the machine was better than the current studios....

What I don't get is why Dell changed the exhaust and ventilation config with a new line of CPUs that are known to run how??? Isn't that synonymous to using a smaller radiator in a car with a V8 than is used in a V6???? On the same topic, stop by your local Bestbuy. Try later in the evening when you're guaranteed the machines have been on all day in case they shut them down at night... Most let them run 24/7. Feel the bottom of a Toshiba, Asus or Sony running an I7. I've found the bottom of the case to be cool to the touch. But I haven't seen many 15" I7's at Bestbuy... But even the 15" I7s (non-Dell) at Fry's Electronics (MAJOR tech retailer in the west) were cool to the touch. The Bestbuy Geeksquad and technically savvy computer sales persons said that BestBuy knew the Dell I7s were running hot in the 15" form factor and didn't have them on the floor. My local stores are releasing a whole new line of laptops to their in-store retail lines on 6/20. I'll be looking very closely for a new machine for my wife.... (mine was a graduation gift from her)

My professional conclusion: Dell's attempt to create a lighter or more modern looking laptop using a wedge shaped chassis (thick in the back, narrow in the front) only presents them with design flaws that result in heat issues due to the inability to provide adequate air movement across the CPU heat sink. This is the first time I have seen a single fan Dell in a long time and I used to support literally hundreds of Dell laptops at the help desk of the university I did my undergrad studies at. The University was entirely Dell and even had a loaner program for students. I have 3 Dell machines in my house, one at my mothers and my neice's house... I'm a seriously loyal Dell user but can see a problem occurring...

For the very very first time in my recent technical career, I am looking at Toshiba, ASUS and Samsung.  For the first time ever, I am looking at buying directly from a brick and morter store and not from a "mail order:" outfit like Dell.  Oh, a manager at Dell's Customer Support department referred to Dell as a "Mail Order" company and said that I should expect problems....

I wouldn't take an HP if it was FREE and Sony is way over priced with poor support. I'm a former Vaio owner and have turned away many a crippled student Sony laptop during my tenure at the university help desk.

Either way, Dell is recognizing the problem, albeit rather slowly, and will eventually resolve it. But it won't be without financial strain on their current customer-base. I have paid the price in suffrage as I am looking for my 3rd replacement machine. Dell may be able to replace my laptop but they refuse to recognize the 50+ hours and nearly $300 in cellular phone charges incurred working with them looking for a resolution to this problem.... Honestly I was considering waiting for Apple to release the MacBook Pro with an I7... Yes, a 20+ year Windows user looking at moving to an Apple platform... But they released it too late... 

Latest update, My replacement machine is going to be delayed because "parts are backordered".  Because my replacement machine has been initiated by Hardware Warranty Support, the Dell Order Status system doesn't register changes in my order...  How did I find out about the backorder problem with the machine Dell is supposed to be sending me to replace the useless Studio 1558 I have gathering dust???  I emailed them asking why the machine didn't ship when their "Order Status": department said it would.  Had I not initiated contact they would have never said a word.

As of 6/26, Dell is driving away a very loyal customer. Through poor product development, direct lies told to "appease" me, mis-information given by Delll staff who couldn't take the few seconds to read the extensive case file regarding my replacement issue...  Absolutely RUDE managers in their Customer Support department, a department which is supposed to look at the customer from a non-technical perspective and be an advocate for that customer...

I have 10+ pages of notes of phone calls made to and received from Dell in the past 2.5 weeks.  I guess Dell doesn't care as I'm about to replace my wife's machine and, based on the input I get from Dell, I'm better off going elsewhere.


So, I agree with you.  When looking at a quad core in a laptop, wait as the current CPUs are too new and the manufacturers are too quick to adopt them and put them in poorly designed laptops.  But I do have to say that the non-Dell machines that UI have seen, with I7's in them, look pretty good, pretty stable and devoid of Dell's heat issue.


Let's see how long this post remains online.  Dell refuses to post my factual (I report actual temperatures) review of the Studio 1558.  


Oddly enough, when I buy a product, I want both the good and bad news.  When I sense a manufacturer is painting too rosy a picture of their products by censoring customer reviews, I can only assume they are hiding something,.  That brings out the analyst in me and I look for the potential problems to be reported elsewhere.  And when I find them, I tend to reiterate my findings where I can.  So Dell is shooting themselves in the foot by censoring fact based negative feedback.  The "I hate this machine" reviews don't carry much water and Dell knows that.  But report a couple of CPU and chassis temperatures that they don't want in the public domain and they turn into Big Brother...   

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87.5K Posts

July 7th, 2010 10:00

Before you make a mistake you'll regret, reconsider your options.  There are plenty of alternatives to Dell - none of them, NONE, worse than HP.

HP is hands-down the least reliable, worst-support notebook.  If you think Dell is bad - look, before you leap.


42 Posts

July 9th, 2010 21:00

I have an XPS 16 that they just delivered.  Its running at about 60 degrees C at idle loads.  I can get it down to 51 degrees C with a Belkin single fan cooling pad.  I've asked Dell to research the safe operating temps foor the I7-820QM but they have failed to deliver.  They have this information as it is a critical piece of the R&D process.


Any ideas where i can find technical specs for the I7-820QM aside from the useless spec sheet on Intel''s site.  No useful details there.  


Moderator, you have an opportunity to boost Dell's reputation here by finding a resource for the info I seek.  I'm more than willing to admit that this machine and those tat came before it, are safe if Dell can provide evidence of safe operating temps for the I7-820QM processor...


I'm looking all over the net, including on Intel's forums for this info.  If it ends up that this machine is operating at unsafe temps, I have three other options to look at.  And I agree, I wouldn't touch an HP if it was given to me free.  It wouldn't be wort the headache....  That comes from experience at a university helpdesk.  A popular name and cheap price boosts sales no matter the quality. 

March 3rd, 2011 15:00

Today I received my XPS16 notebook.
The one thing that I imiidiately noticed was the constant fan noise.
It blows for about 10 minutes... then it's silent for about 1 minute, and then it goes on for 10 minutes again, and so forth.
I also have an i7 - 720 in it.

I really can't work with this noise.
My laptop is placed on a "laptop holder" so the screen is as high as my eyes.
But the screen must be completely open for the right view, but that blocks the fan opening also...

Any solutions yet?


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