Fed up with loud, proprietary power supply

Discussion in 'Computers' started by ThomasC, Aug 16, 2004.

  1. ThomasC

    ThomasC Lead Actor

    Joined:
    Dec 15, 2001
    Messages:
    6,526
    Likes Received:
    0
    I have a Dell, and last year the fan for my power supply started to give out. I was still under warranty, so I got a free replacement. My replacement is getting pretty loud again, and since my warranty has expired, I really want to get a silent power supply. However, apparently the power supply for my computer can only be supplied through Dell. Does anyone know how that works? Does that mean that if I get a power supply from somewhere else and plug my components in, it'll fry everything? Or will the motherboard not recognize it? Or is Dell lying and being greedy?
     
  2. Scott L

    Scott L Producer

    Joined:
    Feb 29, 2000
    Messages:
    4,457
    Likes Received:
    1
    Doh, not too sure on what proprietary parts they use but you could probably open the PSU and switch out the fan for a Panaflo or Papst.
     
  3. Marko Berg

    Marko Berg Supporting Actor

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2002
    Messages:
    857
    Likes Received:
    0
    Thomas, what kind of a Dell computer do you have exactly? If you don't know exactly, please post the Service Tag and I'll look it up on Dell's web site. I had the exact same problem with an old 550MHz Pentium III that I still use today. The motherboard in this computer is designed in such a way that it will not accept an industry standard power supply.

    You can fry everything and your computer could go up in flames if you try to use a different power supply - without a modification, that is. I was able to find a company on the Web that offered a cheap modification; I then bought a super-silent 300W standard power supply to replace the 200W Dell proprietary model. It works perfectly. Hopefully something like this is available for your specific computer as well.
     
  4. Chris

    Chris Lead Actor

    Joined:
    Jul 4, 1997
    Messages:
    6,788
    Likes Received:
    0
    No, dell does change up their PS on some models.. on others not (a regular PS works on many of the optiplex, but most of the others are fixed up)

    You could do this:

    Open up your power supply, replace the van with a Vantec Stealth fan of the same mm size (http://www.vantec.com/) which would significantly lower volume..

    But still, would carry a good risk. Strongly agree with the above about weighing the risks of doing it [​IMG]
     
  5. Marko Berg

    Marko Berg Supporting Actor

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2002
    Messages:
    857
    Likes Received:
    0
    I realize I probably should have been more specific about the mod. It's actually a few wires and a couple of cheap plastic connectors that goes between your motherboard and the power supply, i.e. you plug the standard power supply into a connector and two more connectors to your motherboard. Dell changed the power supply configuration of the Intel motherboard as far as connectors and wiring is concerned, but thankfully not input voltage requirements.

    However, you can still physically plug in a standard power supply that will destroy your computer and set it on fire, according to a web site I visited while researching this, so beware! Even if the connectors appear the same in the Dell PS and a standard PS, they are NOT the same.

    The solution to this only cost me $8 shipped.
     
  6. ThomasC

    ThomasC Lead Actor

    Joined:
    Dec 15, 2001
    Messages:
    6,526
    Likes Received:
    0
    Marko, my service tag is BG5QH01.
     
  7. Marko Berg

    Marko Berg Supporting Actor

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2002
    Messages:
    857
    Likes Received:
    0
    That's a Dell Dimension 4100. Looking at the documentation on the Dell support website, the configuration seems to match my older Dell Dimension system and you should be able to benefit from the same modification.

    Check out this page or this page. Both links lead to different companies selling the exact same product. I would give one of them a call and ask whether this would work for your particular model.

    Replacing just the fan in your existing power supply might be cheaper in the short term, but you'll be stuck with 200W and that may limit your options if you decide to upgrade your computer with a new video card etc. Also you have to know what you are doing if you mess with a power supply.
     
  8. Chris

    Chris Lead Actor

    Joined:
    Jul 4, 1997
    Messages:
    6,788
    Likes Received:
    0
    Yep, 200W PS definitely drops you out of having a Geforce6600/6800 [​IMG]
     
  9. ThomasC

    ThomasC Lead Actor

    Joined:
    Dec 15, 2001
    Messages:
    6,526
    Likes Received:
    0
    Alright, I looked at my motherboard, and it has that (extra) 6-pin connector. Do industry standard motherboards not have that extra one, and that's why it could go up in flames if the power supply is just connected to the 20-pin connector?

    I'm looking to get this power supply: http://www.endpcnoise.com/cgi-bin/e/nexus.html

    It says "This Nexus ™ Real Silent Power Supply is AMD & P4 ready and has a one year replacement warranty." I have a P3, so that's fine, right?
     
  10. Marko Berg

    Marko Berg Supporting Actor

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2002
    Messages:
    857
    Likes Received:
    0
    That power supply can be used in your computer even though it's a Pentium III if you install the modification kit between the motherboard and the power supply.

    Dell not only added the second 6-pin power connector to their motherboards, but they also changed the configuration of the 20-pin connector - its wiring does not match the standard configuration found in regular power supplies. This is why your computer could catch fire - if you connect a standard power supply you could for instance feed several volts to a pin that is normally not supposed to receive any. And not being able to plug anything into the 6-pin connector will probably leave some parts in your computer without electricity.
     
  11. Chris

    Chris Lead Actor

    Joined:
    Jul 4, 1997
    Messages:
    6,788
    Likes Received:
    0
    BTW, there is a note at the bottom of that page:


    Converter is here:

    http://www.endpcnoise.com/cgi-bin/e/dellconverter.html

    BTW, if you want a really cool, quiet PS, check out the Silverstone:

    http://www.xoxide.com/fanlesspower.html

    No fans.

    But the Nexus also gets good reviews.

    http://www.silentpcreview.com/article88-page4.html

    Right now, I'm using the Antec Neopower:
    http://www.silentpcreview.com/article177-page1.html

    It's not as quiet as others, but the cable management solution means I need fewer "other" fans to deal with the clutter that cables can create. So far, I'm loving it [​IMG]
     
  12. ThomasC

    ThomasC Lead Actor

    Joined:
    Dec 15, 2001
    Messages:
    6,526
    Likes Received:
    0
    Chris, Marko beat you to the chase about the Dell adapter, but thanks anyways. [​IMG] That fanless power supply would be great, but I don't want to spend more than $50 on a power supply if possible, so I've ordered the Nexus NX-3000 that I linked to along with the Dell adapter. Thanks, everyone.
     
  13. Scott L

    Scott L Producer

    Joined:
    Feb 29, 2000
    Messages:
    4,457
    Likes Received:
    1
    Hey that Nexus is an awesome PSU, great choice. [​IMG] Let us know how it turns out.
     
  14. ThomasC

    ThomasC Lead Actor

    Joined:
    Dec 15, 2001
    Messages:
    6,526
    Likes Received:
    0
    Well, shit. I just installed the Nexus, and when I turned the computer on, I still heard a lot of noise. I was like, WTF?! But I found out that now the noise is coming from the case fan and the hard drive! I can hardly hear the Nexus even when I have my ear right next to the fan! Now I'm going to have to get a new case fan and a hard drive enclosure. Ugh. One down, two to go. [​IMG][​IMG]
     
  15. Chris

    Chris Lead Actor

    Joined:
    Jul 4, 1997
    Messages:
    6,788
    Likes Received:
    0
    There are lots of people who like different fans. I have found no better drive enclosures then Zalman's and Vantec's. You might also try using this dynamat equivelent stuff on your case.
     
  16. Marko Berg

    Marko Berg Supporting Actor

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2002
    Messages:
    857
    Likes Received:
    0
    The Dell web site documentation doesn't mention any details regarding the case fan, but since your computer's case and configuration is almost identical to mine, it's possible that the case fan is a 92mm model as opposed to the more widely used 80mm model. It's worth taking the measurements of the case fan before ordering a replacement fan as the two sizes are close to one another and visually it's difficult to tell the difference. It's easy to order a wrong size by mistake.
     
  17. ThomasC

    ThomasC Lead Actor

    Joined:
    Dec 15, 2001
    Messages:
    6,526
    Likes Received:
    0
    Just to make it clear, it is a case fan and not a CPU fan, right? The fan I'm talking about is right below the power supply. The CPU fan (which I don't think I have) would be right on top of the CPU, correct?
     
  18. Marko Berg

    Marko Berg Supporting Actor

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2002
    Messages:
    857
    Likes Received:
    0
    Sorry, I realize now my post above was confusing, but I blame Dell and their exotic system configuration.

    In my system, there is no case fan. The large fan at the back panel below the power supply is the CPU fan. The CPU in the system is directly below the power supply hidden by a black plastic cover that can be easily removed. The plastic cover acts as a tunnel for the cooling air to reach the CPU efficiently.

    The usual approach is to use a 40mm or 80mm fan attached directly to the heat sink, but Dell's approach is to use a larger fan attached to the back panel. In my computer, this fan is a 92mm model. Theoretically, there could be an advantage to this, since air taken in from outside the computer case is cooler compared to the air that is just moved around inside the case, but I'm not sure there is any practical difference. The construction is certainly noisier than a construction that uses an internal fan.

    It should be very easy to open the CPU cover and pull out the CPU fan, the fan may not even be secured with any screws. Just open the cover, pull the fan out (this will also give you the opportunity to carefully clean the dust the CPU has accumulated), and measure the fan to make sure the replacement you order is the right size.

    I went with an Enermax UC-9FAB which is probably not the most silent fan available (although I'm not sure any fan of this size can be completely silent), but it's cheap and comes equipped with manual RPM control, which I like. I hate fans that frequently power up for more efficient cooling - constant low-volume background hum is more desirable. I set the fan to minimum (1,200 RPM) and haven't touched it since. No overheating problems and minimum noise.
     
  19. ThomasC

    ThomasC Lead Actor

    Joined:
    Dec 15, 2001
    Messages:
    6,526
    Likes Received:
    0
    I just ordered this, and I know it's what I need, because it looks like the fan that I need to replace, and the CPU fans featured on that site don't look like what I need at all. My current case fan doesn't have any screws at all. It will be placed right below the power supply, and there is a black plastic cover that helps to flow the hot air coming from the CPU to the case fan, which will blow out the hot air. I don't think my CPU has a fan, it just has heatsinks.
     
  20. Marko Berg

    Marko Berg Supporting Actor

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2002
    Messages:
    857
    Likes Received:
    0
    That Nexus fan is exactly what you need Thomas.

    I forgot the original Dell fan blows out the hot air (i.e., a case fan), whereas I installed the new fan to blow cool air into the case, or more precisely directly to the CPU through the plastic tunnel. I thought this made more sense especially considering the low RPM of the replacement fan.

    So you're right, it's not really a CPU fan but a case fan, although I suppose the definition in this case depends on the direction of the air blow, and you can change that simply by turning around the fan assembly.
     

Share This Page