Original Post Date: 9:11 am, August 15, 2014
Just copied this here for my future reference, testing the A06 bios update now to see if this makes it nicer. So i have installed the A06 bios and set the cpu max to 70%. And its basically silent, can still a very quiet fan noise but no high piched screetching or loud fans!!! Yay!! Even doing a stress test on the cpu its silent. Like a brand new machine! (XPS 15 9530). <3
Like many of you, I saw the XPS 15 as an excellent choice of laptop. The only hesitation I ever had was reading comments about a loud blast of the fan when it seemed completely unnecessary. But I went ahead and bought it. Within the first moments of turning it on, however, I noticed the fan ramping up and down during the install. My heart sank just a bit.
I’ve read a lot of suggestions of reasons for why the fan kicks up a fuss when the system is performing rather simple tasks or even idling: it’s the Nvidia drivers, it’s the BIOS, it’s Optimus, it’s the active cooling setting… etc… etc.
My suggestion is Turbo Boost. Now, many of you will say that you’ve already thought of that and you simply have to set your Maximum Processor State to 99% to disable Turbo Boost. I contend to you that this is INCORRECT. For me, I had to set it to 70% to eliminate unnecessary blasts of the fan.
Why 70%? Simple mathematics. I have the i7-2670QM processor which runs at 2.20 GHz and Turbo Boost to 3.10 GHz.
2.2 / 3.1 = 0.7096 (to 4 dp).
Round it down to 70% and this is my sweet spot. Any setting above 70% effectively allows Turbo Boost to kick in, even if not the full blown 3.10 GHz. Many of you won’t have the same processor as me so find out your own CPU specs and do your own calculations.
I have the A06 BIOS, the latest Nvidia drivers, I set my system cooling policy to active and I have Optimus turned on (i.e. on Nvidia Control Panel, under Manage 3D settings my Global Settings is Auto-select). None of these factors cause the fan to ramp up and down unnecessarily. (***See Edit***)
Now, some of you will be critical that I’m effectively capping the speed of my computer, and I understand that. Simply put, I don’t need Turbo Boost for everyday use of my laptop. An i7 quad core running at 2.20 GHz suit me just fine. I do, however, like to play games from time to time (e.g. GTA IV, BFBC2). So I have a work-around for that.
I like to use Game Booster, but switching from the Balanced battery plan (which is what I run my system on most of the time) to a maxed-out configuration of High Performance will do the same job. I EXPECT my fan to run loud and consistently when gaming. This is what the fan must do when the system is under heavy load (unless you want a burnt out CPU or GPU). If you can find an affordably priced laptop PC with a fan that doesn’t make a lot of noise when under heavy load then I’ll eat my hat. If the fan noise is too loud for you while gaming then turn up those speakers or put on some headphones. Enjoy the game and remember that your system is running as it should.
If, however, you are the type of person who needs this laptop for work on highly CPU intensive applications and you dislike the ramping up and down of the fans, then, sorry, the XPS line of laptops might not be for you.
Hope this helps.
TL;DR: To eliminate unnecessary blasts of your fan, set your Maximum Processor State of your preferred battery plan settings to correspond to the ratio of your base CPU GHz to it's Turbo Boost maximum (e.g. 2.20 GHz / 3.10 GHz = 70%). All other settings do not influence the fan.
EDIT: Okay, might have jumped the gun a little bit. Perhaps for added insurance you should set your Optimus settings to Integrated Graphics (but remember to make all the exceptions you want for games, etc.) and the Passive setting on the System Cooling Policy (under Processor Power Management in the Advanced settings of your preferred battery plan).