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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi folks,

I'm a pretty technical guy, but most of my experience is with software. When it comes to hardware, I generally just buy a Dell and be done with it.

My wife has a Dell Dimension desktop PC with a problem I'm currently troubleshooting. Periodically, her fan will rev up to the point where it sounds like the darned thing is about to take off. Eventually, it spins back down again, but it's rather alarming when it does this.

Now, as I said, I don't know much about hardware, so I'm at a bit of a loss as to what information you might find helpful. I have no clue if it's a cpu fan, a video card fan, or whatever. But there is nothing custom in the box, it's whatever Dell sent it with.

Can you give any suggestions on how to start troubleshooting this issue? What other information could I provide?

Thanks,

Steve
 

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If it's periodically doing it, it's likely that the temperature sensor is detecting higher temps, and therefore speeds up. Usually that would indicate it's the CPU Fan. What you could try doing, is replacing the fan with one rated to be more quiet. Also, if the heatsink has came even slightly loose from the processor, it can cause more heat than normal--that would mean you may want to take off the heatsink and reapply it (using new thermal compound)... But if you're not too hip on hardware, you may not want to do that, as it can sometimes get a little tricky...
 

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If it is a Dell 8400 with the very tall heat sink, those heat sinks a prone to failure causing the fan to sound like an airplane taking off. You need to replace the heat sink , double check with Dell support on the model number, but I am pretty sure it is DELL W4254 Heat sink.
 

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It is most likely happening when one of your active processes is taking an inordinate amount of the CPU capacity.

When the fan is running at high speed, right-click on any empty space on the taskbar and click Task Manager. Select the Processes tab. Scroll through the listed processes to find the one that has a very high percentage, typically 90 to 100, and let me know what the name of the process is.

There are several programs/processes that cause this to happen. Some are running properly and some run at high CPU capacity due to other causes. I've had trouble with a couple. Let me know which one is causing the problem and we'll go from there.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks for the suggestions. Here's some more information:

1. It's a Dimension 3000

2. I popped the cover when the fan was spinning like mad. It definitely seems to be the CPU fan. In fact, I don't think my video card has a fan at all.

3. It definitely seems to happen with CPU-intensive stuff. I just saw jdl's post, so I didn't capture the process yet, but my wife can make it happen pretty easily by watching streaming videos or doing a lot of stuff with Photoshop.

Now, how do I figure out what kind of fan to buy to replace the current one?

Thanks,

Steve
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Well, I popped the fan out. It's a Nidec Beta TV TA350DC fan. Seems to be about 92 mm square, and 1 inch deep. Going to hop over to Circuit City and see if they have something that fits. If not, I guess I'll have to order one online.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Circut city does not have a lot to choose from.If you live in a area that has a FRYS that would be your best bet BF going on line
Indeed, Circuit City was lame. Unfortunately, no FRYS or better computer place around here.

I realize that the fan probably isn't the problem, it's probably the CPU getting too hot. But, a better fan would probably be a lot quieter, even if it wouldn't fix the actual problem. Is there any value in buying a better fan, or should I consider tackling the heat sink? (It does, BTW, have a tall copper heat sink.)

If I do buy a new fan, how, exactly, do I find the RIGHT kind of fan to buy online? I don't want to buy the exact same unit, because that wouldn't be any different, I suppose.

Thanks everyone!

Steve
 

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Just a thought before you change the fan. You may not need a new fan if a process is running continuously because of a program error and causing the high-speed fan. I've had Norton and Adobe "Updater" programs get stuck and run continuously, with resultant high-speed fan and associated noise. Both programs had to be deleted since neither Symantec nor Adobe could fix the problem.

Have you identified the process that is running at a high CPU percentage???
 
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