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2 Bronze

New XPS 13 (9333) Constant Noise

I have just recently received a new XPS 13 with the new haswell i7 processor, 8gb RAM, 256gb ssd, and windows 8.1.

I really like this laptop, but it makes a really bizarre noise. It happens constantly as soon as its powered on, like a high pitched whirring sound from somewhere beneath the keyboard. It also seems pretty inconsistent, like it flickers in frequency, and when you use programs (e.g scroll through webpages) it gets louder.

Can anyone help me with what the issue is here? Any help appreciated.

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2 Iron

So here is my final update to this thread for as long as I can foresee.

Right now, if you are looking to buy a laptop and considering the XPS 13, look elsewhere.

I've been talking about this issue for 2 weeks now with various members of Dell technical and customer support. Let me preface anything else I say beyond this point by stating that everyone I talked to was courteous and respectful. I am not knocking the individual's I spoke to at all, but the customer service experience I had still left me frustrated. Let me explain:

My issue is more so that Dell is continuing to sell a broken product that they have no fix for, and as far as I know, don't know how to fix\when it will be fixed by. I have gone through two XPS 13s in the past week that both have the coil whine issue, even after specifically asking to not be sent a second XPS 13 without having someone at Dell check it for the problem before sending it to me. I was ignored, and now I have two laptops I don't want which I have to return.

The thing is, I was willing to overlook all this. Despite the headache so far, I would be willing to give it a go with yet another XPS 13 as long as it didn't have the problem. There must be at least ONE XPS 13 that Dell is producing today that's not defective, right? Nope. They couldn't even promise me that they have a single machine not suffering from the coil whine problem. However, they have no problem continuing to sell their defective hardware hoping customer's don't notice I guess. 

Every time I have asked about the status for a fix, I am told something warm and fuzzy such as "the engineers are looking into it but there is no ETA for a fix." I can't get a concrete answer about anything. I understand there is some unknowns with any technical problem, and that Dell can't provide any answer with 100% certainty about when a fix would be available; however, they have provided me with no information that builds confidence that the problem is actually being worked on and that a fix would ever be issued. When I described the symptom's problems and all of my results from performing various trouble-shooting experiments, it seemed to be largely ignored as I was given generic answers that did not really pertain to the conversation I was attempting to have with Dell. Except for one or two of the techs I spoke too, most individual's seemed to just want to get me off the phone\chat or did not really care to help me (and their company) resolve the problem. This is not assuring at all, and does nothing to help me besides telling me I should probably buy computers from somewhere else.

Dell, this post is a wake-up call. Your top-of-the-line laptop is broken, and you are continuing to sell while knowing you can't produce one laptop today that does not have the coil whine problem. I have practically begged you to take my money and give me a functioning laptop without problems, and you can't even do that. For everyone's sake here, and your own, FIX YOUR HARDWARE!!!

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2 Iron

So first we were told the new boards would be here in June or July.. then Aug.. It's now Sept and nothing has been done about this. Does Dell really think it can get away with this? They take our money, give us a defective product, promise us a fix and nothing comes from it. The only reason why I didn't return it because I love the machine otherwise and I have a 3 year warranty and was told a fix would be soon in place. I've been waiting months and months and nothing. If I would have known this I would have returned the machine when I could have! I was dumb enough to believe they would actually fix this. I am going to fight and try to get a refund <refunds are only given inside the first 21 days from the original invoice date> based on the fact that the only reason why I didn't return the system was because a fix was promised months ago. <Legalistic statements are not allowed on this Dell funded Forum>

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Replies (708)


I have the same model and exactly the same issue. High frequency makes it difficult to record.

One of the very few flaws in an otherwise superb unit.

I'm hoping there will be a BIOS fix for this. I've noticed similar complaints with many different brands and models in my searches online. 

Consensus appears to be a coil whine of some sort. it is not harmful but annoying.

Not applicable


I have the same problem albeit with the Ubuntu Developer edition of the XPS 13 9333. 

The noise seems to disappear when the fan kicks. 

Dell is this a known issue you're working on?

Further to my reply below, I emailed Dell about this problem who are sending a tech to check it out. I was hoping for a BIOS fix and the thought of my notebook being apart is kind of tragic!

But if it gets fixed, then all good :-)

Tech guy is coming Friday. I'll report back on progress.

2 Bronze

Yeah, thinking I may have to contact dell see if a tech can sort it.

But yes, keep us posted!

2 Bronze

If i connect a headset the noise is louder...can you confirm?

I disable the sound card alsa driver and it is better. Can you confirm this?



blacklist snd-hda-intel


I tried the steps above in Windows and noticed no change.

Strangely enough the last 2 days, it seems a little quieter. It's probably due to the tech coming to investigate tomorrow. I'll end up looking silly. I'll run it for a bit to ensure the noise is there. 

The pattern seems to be it occurs after running for some time. That is consistent with coil whine where the coil heats up, expands and the noise is generated.


I thank all of you for posting about this here.  Dell engineering is aware of this thread and are investigating your claims.

Heldenhaft has some good questions regarding if the noise is originating from the on board sound system or seems to be coming from some other source.   Do any of you notice if disabling the sound card makes the problem better or worse?

If the sound card doesn’t seem to be the problem, does the noise seem to be cooling fan related? Does the noise only occur after prolonged use of the notebook, or when the notebook is running under a heavy load?

Kuqiki posted that the sound is coming from under the keyboard, have all of you noticed this as well?

I will likely be sending out friend requests to you shortly so that I can get the service tags for the systems. Engineering may also wish to capture a system for testing at the lab. Please let me know if possible where the noise is coming from and if it is fan, sound card related or something else.




Specialize in Laptops, Mobile Devices

2 Bronze

Cheers for letting us know terry. The steps Heldenhaft suggested didn't have an effect on the noise my system is making.

I am pretty certain it is not sound system related, it is also pretty distinct from the cooling fan sound. As far as loads, mine makes noise as soon as the system is powered up though it does fluctuate with use as I highlighted originally.       

Not applicable

Hi all,

Blacklisting the sound card didn't work for me, but turning off the keyboard backlight does!!

The "note" of the noise changes when I hit Fn+F6 and completely disappears when the backlight is off.

Please can someone else give it a go?


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