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Old 12-02-17, 12:25 PM   #1
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Loud fan upon startup

As the title indicates, I have had this problem for a couple of weeks. It's loud for about a minute, then quietens down steadily until it reaches normal volume. A little online research has indicated that it is probably the PSU fan, but I have yet to open up the PC to verify (lazy).
Anyone have experience with this? Is the fan easy to replace or must I replace the entire PSU (quite a bit more money, though not exorbitant)? I know there's a danger of electric shock in fiddling around with the PSU, even unplugged from electricity, but I'm not too concerned about that.
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Old 12-02-17, 09:28 PM   #2
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Re: Loud fan upon startup

Are you unplugging it or shutting off the power at the surge protector or something?

I've known of a few PCs that spin their fans really load after any sort of loss of power, i.e. it's not getting any power from the mains. Modern motherboards are never fully off while plugged in, so they know if they've lost power. I think the thinking is that the PC may have been stored for a while and dust had time to accumulate, so they rev the fans at high speed to make sure they're working at full capacity and shake loose any accumulation.
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Old 12-03-17, 07:07 AM   #3
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Re: Loud fan upon startup

Assuming this is a desktop PC I might suggest that you remove the side of the case to verify exactly which fan is making the noise. As Jay G. suggests, some computers spin their fans rather loudly at first, then quiet down after the space of a few seconds, although if this just started there may be something else going on. If the noise it's making is like a loud whooshing, like the fan is trying to move a lot of air, then I wouldn't fret. If it's making squealing noises (or other unnatural sounds) then the fan may just need to be lubricated, if you feel like getting into it.

If it's a case fan or the processor/heatsink fan, then you may be able to do something about the noise. If it's the power supply fan, you'll probably be further ahead to replace the power supply. I've tried to disassemble a few power supplies to get to the fan, they don't make it easy. Actually, they don't intend that a power supply should be disassembled to do anything, it's meant to be replaced. From my experience it's more of a PITA to get to the fan than it's worth.

If it's a case fan or the CPU fan, with the power off (of course), by removing the screws holding the fan in place, you can (carefully) pull the label up on the one side of the fan, put a drop or two of sewing machine oil in the hole that the label covered up, replace the label, then spin the fan manually with your finger for a minute, reseat the fan, snug the screws up (don't over-tighten), and you should be good to go, at least for awhile. If you can get the fan out of there it's much easier to do it outside the case.

Depending on the type of power supply you have, you might be able to replace it for relatively cheap, I used to get mine from Newegg, I don't know how their prices are anymore, I haven't bought anything from them in awhile. Just be sure to buy the right type of power supply, most are a standard ATX PSU but some are not. Replacing it will involve carefully unplugging all the leads from the various components inside the case, removing 4 screws from the back of the case holding the power supply in place, having enough room to pull the power supply out of there, then reverse the procedure with a new PSU.

Once again, if it's just a loud whooshing sound I wouldn't worry too much about it. If the fan is sqealing or making some other god-awful noise then you might be able to lubricate the fan and resolve the problem, depending on which fan it is.
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Last edited by kd5; 12-03-17 at 07:13 AM.
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Old 12-03-17, 05:27 PM   #4
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Re: Loud fan upon startup

Thanks to both of you for your replies.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jay G. View Post
Are you unplugging it or shutting off the power at the surge protector or something?

I've known of a few PCs that spin their fans really load after any sort of loss of power, i.e. it's not getting any power from the mains. Modern motherboards are never fully off while plugged in, so they know if they've lost power. I think the thinking is that the PC may have been stored for a while and dust had time to accumulate, so they rev the fans at high speed to make sure they're working at full capacity and shake loose any accumulation.
No, no power shut-off or unplugging. Just turning off the computer at night as normal, then rebooting the next day. The loud fan has only been for less than two weeks.
Quote:
Originally Posted by kd5
Assuming this is a desktop PC I might suggest that you remove the side of the case to verify exactly which fan is making the noise. As Jay G. suggests, some computers spin their fans rather loudly at first, then quiet down after the space of a few seconds, although if this just started there may be something else going on. If the noise it's making is like a loud whooshing, like the fan is trying to move a lot of air, then I wouldn't fret. If it's making squealing noises (or other unnatural sounds) then the fan may just need to be lubricated, if you feel like getting into it.

If it's a case fan or the processor/heatsink fan, then you may be able to do something about the noise. If it's the power supply fan, you'll probably be further ahead to replace the power supply. I've tried to disassemble a few power supplies to get to the fan, they don't make it easy. Actually, they don't intend that a power supply should be disassembled to do anything, it's meant to be replaced. From my experience it's more of a PITA to get to the fan than it's worth.

If it's a case fan or the CPU fan, with the power off (of course), by removing the screws holding the fan in place, you can (carefully) pull the label up on the one side of the fan, put a drop or two of sewing machine oil in the hole that the label covered up, replace the label, then spin the fan manually with your finger for a minute, reseat the fan, snug the screws up (don't over-tighten), and you should be good to go, at least for awhile. If you can get the fan out of there it's much easier to do it outside the case.

Depending on the type of power supply you have, you might be able to replace it for relatively cheap, I used to get mine from Newegg, I don't know how their prices are anymore, I haven't bought anything from them in awhile. Just be sure to buy the right type of power supply, most are a standard ATX PSU but some are not. Replacing it will involve carefully unplugging all the leads from the various components inside the case, removing 4 screws from the back of the case holding the power supply in place, having enough room to pull the power supply out of there, then reverse the procedure with a new PSU.

Once again, if it's just a loud whooshing sound I wouldn't worry too much about it. If the fan is sqealing or making some other god-awful noise then you might be able to lubricate the fan and resolve the problem, depending on which fan it is.
Yes, it's a roughly 10-year-old Dell Studio Slim desktop, kd5. I have been meaning to open it up to isolate the location of the sound, but I have been procrastinating.
The thing is, I think I replaced the PSU myself less than a year ago. Matter of fact, I started a thread here when there was some kind of problem (I don't remember exactly what), and that's what was recommended. If that's the case, I don't mind doing it again, but I'd like to know why it crapped out after such a short time.

There's no squealing; it's purely a loud whirring sound. It sounds much like the one in this video. As I wrote, it's just at startup. It reverts to normal after about 1-2 minutes.
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Old 12-04-17, 08:36 AM   #5
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Re: Loud fan upon startup

I'd never replace a fan in a power supply, just not worth the trouble. Aside from opening up the case, first thing i'd think of is blowing out any dust like Jay G. said.
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Old 12-04-17, 09:24 AM   #6
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Re: Loud fan upon startup

Here's the other thread about the same PC:
https://forum.dvdtalk.com/tech-talk/...-computer.html

One question: where did you buy the PSU? If you bought a cheap no-brand one off of eBay, it's possible it was so poorly/cheaply assembled that it'd start failing after a year.
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Old 12-04-17, 04:35 PM   #7
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Re: Loud fan upon startup

Thanks for digging up that old thread (was probably on page 2). I didn't recall what the problem was, and even now, having read that thread, it's only a vague memory. I thought I bought the PSU at Amazon, but it must have been somewhere else (maybe Canada Computers or NCIX). It's definitely not some el cheapo PSU, but I'm sure I chose one of the cheaper ones.
Anyway, I'll have to get around to opening it up. Maybe tomorrow. I'll report back with what I find.
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Old 12-04-17, 05:13 PM   #8
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Re: Loud fan upon startup

Watching the video above, it seems like the fans die down after the desktop is fully loaded, which to mean would indicated a CPU heat issue, since the CPU tends to run at 100% capacity up until Windows is fully loaded. It's possible that, after 10 years, the thermal compound on the CPU has broken down, requiring the CPU fan and chassis fan to run at max to keep it cool when it's in full use.

Instead of cracking open the case, you could use a few freeware tools to try and monitor the temp and fan speeds . I tend to use SpeedFan, but there's other tools, some which may work better on your Dell.
http://www.almico.com/speedfan.php
https://www.hwinfo.com/
http://openhardwaremonitor.org/
https://alternativeto.net/software/s...atform=windows


You could also try stress-testing the CPU while it's on to see if the temp/fan speed goes up. You'll want to be actively monitoring this activity:
https://www.pcworld.com/article/2028...-hardware.html


If the CPU looks like it's overheating, and both the chassis and CPU fan are working and going high speed, then it could be the thermal paste connecting the CPU to the heatsink that's the issue. This keeps heat transferring smoothly between the CPU and heatsink, so the fans can cool it off. if this breaks down, it can cause an air gap, which means the heat doesn't move from the CPU to the heatsink as efficiently, causing the fans to have to work overtime.

See this video for applying/removing thermal paste:

Also, this video shows how to take off the fan/heatsink assembly on a Dell 540S, at about the 12:30 mark:
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Old 12-04-17, 11:18 PM   #9
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Re: Loud fan upon startup

Many thanks for the additional ideas, JayG. I don't think I want to run the stress test if it means I have to sit and monitor it for four hours. Otherwise I'd be willing to. I know the computer can run at "full capacity" for many hours without problem, since I often run a dozen or more usage-intensive programs simultaneously.

I have SpeedFan running, but I don't know what I'm supposed to be looking for.
Fan 1: 1574 rpm
Fan 2: 1742 rpm
Fan 3: 0 rpm

The measurements on the right fluctuate slightly, but currently read as follows:
Temp1: 42C
Temp2: 24C
Temp3: 59C
HD0: 33C
Core 0: 46C
Core 1: 43C
Core 2: 47C
Core 3: 57C
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Old 12-05-17, 07:34 AM   #10
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Re: Loud fan upon startup

Are those the measurements for when the fans are really loud, or after its died down?
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Old 12-05-17, 07:16 PM   #11
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Re: Loud fan upon startup

No, those figures are when running normally. I would not be able to run SpeedFan while the fans are noisy at immediate startup because the computer, at its age, takes about 2 minutes to fully turn on and become responsive to keyboard or mouse commands. It has been that way (slow startup) for several years, and I have experienced the same with previous PCs. It's kind of like an old car that has to be warmed up in the winter.
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Old 12-05-17, 09:45 PM   #12
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Re: Loud fan upon startup

I say run a stress test for 5-10 minutes and monitor the temp/fan speed, as well as check if the fans get louder. Considering how fast your fans speed up at boot, if it's a CPU heat issue, you shouldn't have to stress it for too long.
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Old 12-05-17, 11:41 PM   #13
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Re: Loud fan upon startup

Thanks, I'll do that tomorrow. I appreciate your continuing advice.
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Old 12-06-17, 05:11 PM   #14
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Re: Loud fan upon startup

I ran the Prime95 stress test for about 15 minutes with SpeedFan running. I feel I could have run it for hours. The computer got a bit louder, as it always does when the CPU is at 100%, but it did not emit the loud whirring I hear when starting it up. I felt the case, and it was barely warm.
Here are the SpeedFan numbers at one point in time during the stress test. Do they tell you anything, JayG?

Fan 1: 2318 rpm
Fan 2: 2600 rpm
Fan 3: 0 rpm
Temp1: 44C
Temp2: 58C
Temp3: 120C
HD0: 31C
Core 0: 77C
Core 1: 72C
Core 2: 76C
Core 3: 75C
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Old 12-06-17, 06:07 PM   #15
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Re: Loud fan upon startup

Whatever Temp3 is measuring, 120C seems worrying.

However, the fan speeds didn't increase too much, and if you're saying they're not as loud, it may not be a temp issue.

What about when you put it to sleep instead of shutdown? How about hibernation?
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Old 12-06-17, 11:20 PM   #16
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Re: Loud fan upon startup

I take it you're wondering whether the fan is still loud after a 30-second sleep? I have a bunch of conversions running presently, so I'll check that tomorrow.
Based on the results, does it sound like the PSU fan? If that's the case, I'll just get a new PSU. Anyway, I really should open it up to pinpoint the origin. That'll answer the question.
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Old 12-07-17, 08:45 PM   #17
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Re: Loud fan upon startup

I tried setting the PC on sleep for about an hour. As I "awoke" it, the fan was as loud as during a startup. I was able to run SpeedFan during this noise and all readings were quite normal. For instance, Fan1 was running at 1574 r.p.m. and Fan2 at 1742 r.p.m.
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Old 12-07-17, 10:14 PM   #18
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Re: Loud fan upon startup

Quote:
Originally Posted by Norm de Plume View Post
I tried setting the PC on sleep for about an hour. As I "awoke" it, the fan was as loud as during a startup. I was able to run SpeedFan during this noise and all readings were quite normal. For instance, Fan1 was running at 1574 r.p.m. and Fan2 at 1742 r.p.m.
Yeah, those two fans are likely the CPU and chassis fans, and the Power Supply fans aren't monitored, so it's looking more like it's the power supply.

You may want to look up the purchase and warranty info for the power supply you bought. One year is a pretty typical length for a warranty, and based on the previous thread, this is cutting it close. You may want to contact the manufacturer to get an RMA started before the warranty has expired.
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Old 12-08-17, 06:43 PM   #19
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Re: Loud fan upon startup

I will do that, thanks. I'll also report back with what I found out after opening the case.
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