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September 22nd, 2016 10:00

XPS 13 Kaby Lake: coil whine

Hi everybody,

Last week I had to return the brand new 9350 QHD+ because of the coil whine noise. It was a real pity because I was in love with the rest, but it was simply too loud.

Now I am thinking again what to buy.

Is the design of the new XPS 13 Kaby Lake (9360) solving the coil whine problem?

If yes, I would prefer to wait and buy the new version.

I hope that someone from Dell can give me an asnwer here. Thank you very much in advance!

4 Operator


783 Posts

October 10th, 2016 14:00

Dear Community,

I see Rishi was speaking in terms of the SkyLake (9350) coil noise.

If there's coil noise from the 9360, we can investigate that. First, a little bit of history below.

There were 2 situations on previous models regarding coil noise:

Situation 1:

-the coil noise could only be heard in a very quiet environment but could not be heard in say an office environment ( during meetings, climate control running, while working at an office desk ).

Situation 2:

-coil noise could be heard in busy office environments ( during meetings, climate control running, working at office desk )

Dell Engineering deemed the behavior from Situation 1 to be: working as designed

For systems in situation 2: Dell came out with a motherboard revision for certain models previous to the XPS 9360.

Now for the XPS 9360:

For now, I need one volunteer. If you have a XPS 9360 that has noise levels as described in situation number 2 above, please add me as a friend and include your service tag, your name, email, phone and service address. We will need to bring one unit into Dell engineering for review.

I may also come back and ask for an engineering capture for one XPS 9360 that fits into situation 1, described above. This will be decided at a later time and I’ll get back with more on that.

Please note that I only need one volunteer for now. If I obtain the one volunteer, other friend requests will not be replied to. I will reply to all on this thread and let you all know once I have my one volunteer.

4 Operator


783 Posts

October 12th, 2016 17:00


Thank you for your question and feedback.

I'm sure Dell engineering has some noise specs on the 9350 internally but the answer that technical support has received doesn't include those specs. I'm sure they have their reasons. Some of which you already understand. It is what it is.

Since the previous official answer was about the 9350 I'm happy to capture a 9360 from both situations, replicate the concern then obtain an answer from Dell's engineering team. I try my best to make the capture process cost as little time as possible.

1 Rookie


87.5K Posts

September 22nd, 2016 12:00

This system is so new few if any users will have one in their hands.  

Other thing to consider if it's an issue -- Kaby Lake will not run anything earlier than Windows 10, period - no work arounds, etc.  It's Windows 10 or nothing (Windows-wise) -- if that's an issue.

2K Posts

September 24th, 2016 15:00


Rather unfortunate you had to face this issue and return the machine back to Dell.

Our PG team are working on the revised edition of motherboards for this system model and this might be made available by the end of this year. Having said this, we do not have any said ETA.

Let us know if you have any other queries.

7 Posts

October 6th, 2016 07:00

Hi Rishi,

What would you say to those customers who were told by Dell Australia that their many technicians could not hear any excessive noise and the laptop is "within acceptable design specifications" ?

7 Posts

October 11th, 2016 22:00

Thanks Justin,

Really appreciate the detailed response.

The focus on Situation 2 where there might be hardware issues is understandable, however both situation 1 and 2 are quite subjective. It also implies that when used in a quiet environment (management office room, private study, bedroom etc) Situation 1 may be a problem for users but still is considered "acceptable".

A number of users have raised concerns with Situation 1 as well as 2. Enough for me to refund devices and prevent further orders.

Can you point to a measurable specification Dell is using to consider its noise output "working as designed". Understandably it would be hard to use that as a guide without having access to high end audio equipment, but this is something you need to do before getting people to invest the time and loss of device for system capture. It at least shows Dell's definition of "design" is based on actual engineering matched with user feedback.

7 Posts

October 12th, 2016 21:00

I find the answer that you deem situation 1 as acceptable rather worrying and possibly the reason this type of attitude and attention Dell has given to these issues, hence they have never been fixed leaving people to deal with it.

For any laptop you purchase from anywhere you would expect to get at least a minimum level of standard/quality. Coil whine is not a feature but an inherent issue, an issue many would find that does not even exist in some of the cheapest and oldest laptops in the world. And coil whine in situation 1 to deemed as acceptable on a premium 2016 laptop is frankly substandard.

I too returned many of your previous models because of the coil whine. Whilst you may say that they either fall into situation 1 or 2, remember that no 2 persons hearing are precisely the same. Everybody person has a different tollerence level and indeed whilst situation 1 may not be bad for your hearing, it may be very bad to someone with more sensitive hearing which may or may not match your techs assesment.

Indeed was the case with my returns, the same laptop had differing results with different people.


me: It was like running fingernails through a blackboard, high pitch noise I couldn't bear it in situation 1 or 2

partner: She could only hear it in situation 1 but barely in sitation 2

Dell tech No 1: He couldnt even hear it at all even with the laptop in his ears regardless of situation 1 or 2

Dell tech No 2. He could only identify it in situation 1 but not situation 2

From this I was able to conclude the same laptop and the same people hear them with different tolerance levels. But one thing I know for sure I have laptops 13 years old from cheap *** to half decent laptops that to this date still do not exhibit this issue.

And for Dell to create this new standard of coil whine acceptable on a top end premium 2016 laptops as acceptable is very substandard and appauling.

20 Posts

October 13th, 2016 13:00

I received my XPS 9360 today and there is definitely coil whine. The origin of the noise is close to the power input.

- While it is not very loud, I noticed it while watching TV. It is thus, noticeable in a busy environment.

- The coil whine is louder when the computer is under load:

ex.: start-up, stress-test, stress-test + backlight

I'll upload a video on Youtube and provide you the link on Friday so you can see by yourself Justin C.

1 Message

October 17th, 2016 10:00

Dear community,

I think that Rishi made a marketing error here and Justin C is trying to correct it. As you can easily find out on reddit, the first user received his Kaby Lake XPS 13 on the 24th of September, so I'm quite sure that Rishi (on his post on the same day) was certainly NOT reffering to the XPS 13 9350 coil whine. He was talking about the 9360 which as it seems uses the exact same motherboard as the 9350. They may not had enough time at Dell to develop a new motherboard for the 9360 and so they decided to release an update later this year.

Such a disclosure from a Dell emploee will have many people (me included of course) wait for the revised motherboard edition due to the infamous coil whine issue on XPS 13 and not proceed to buying the 9360 as it is now.

So, Justin C tries to correct this by implying that Rishi was talking about 9350. Well just check the time frame. 9360 was already delivered to the first customers and Rishi would talk about a NEW version of the 9350 motherboard? What company would care about a new edition of the motherboard of a phasing out model?

Get real!

You all know what is coming in 2,5 months.

At least I'll wait. (even if my old Vaio is already dying on me).

7 Posts

October 18th, 2016 02:00

@Pontios yes that is what I believe everyone understood as well.

The problem is Dell is not giving anyone any confidence because they are not acknowledging that there was a problem in the first place. There is a response to Situation 2 where noise is obvious but too many laptops are loud enough to be an issue for users but considered acceptable by Dell.

What is the use of an updated model if Dell is incapable of telling us what is acceptable to them and what their engineers are aiming to fix?

I'm done wasting time with tone deaf "technicians". Dell has indefinitely lost my business.

2 Posts

October 21st, 2016 00:00

Sorry aykito, got mine 9360 two days ago, definitly annoying coil whine exists. I'll be returning mine. And there i hoped DELL is a top quality build.

2 Posts

October 21st, 2016 00:00

Just got mine XPS 13 9360 two days ago. Annoying coil whine is present, hardware itself is great, but the annoying buzzing especially when you scrolling through web pages is not acceptable. So be warned is you want to buy it. Very disappointing that dell knowing about the issues in previous xps  edition didn't get it right again. I'll be returning mine. And here i hoped that DELL will have top quality.

9 Posts

October 21st, 2016 08:00

My 9360 doesn't have hearable coil whine. you litterally have to put your ears on the keyboard to hear the noise.

2 Posts

October 21st, 2016 09:00

Just received my XPS 13 9360...

I have a very strong coil whine I can hear 10-15 feet away....

I'm returning my laptop and this is the last ever product I buy from Dell. They have now lost my business..

This is a known problem for many years and still not fixed.. wow..

1 Message

October 21st, 2016 22:00

Yep! Exact same issue here. Received my brand new XPS13 today and immediately noticed the terrible coil whine. Worst I've heard on any computer ever. Unacceptable for a supposedly top of the line system, even if it *was* quiet. Which this is not. This was my first time trying Dell. Lesson learned! Will definitely be returning this first thing Monday.

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