So I'd like to ask one question. I bought my first sorta gaming machine about 3 years ago. It was a dell XPS 8100. One year later I bought a Radeon HD sapphire 6870 video card and a cooler master GX 650w. After installing the parts my computer began to get increasingly louder. I'm ordering a new system soon though. I'm just curious what caused the sound. Was it the graphics card or the PSU?
What's louder? The fans or is it the sound comming from the PSU or the GPU ans you said?
Is it the sound of a fan that you are hearing, or an electronic noise like a squeak or whistle?
Most Dell systems come with integrated video only, so adding the video card would have added a cooling fan, and in poorly ventilated cases (Dell, like most OEM builders, goes for small case size rather than lots of airflow) a video card's cooling fan can spin up very fast to offset the lack of cool airflow, to keep the GPU from overheating.
As an example, my video card (HIS HD 4670) never spins faster than 50%, even at full load, but the system case has several intake fans which direct air into the area where the GPU cooler is. Lots of fans at low speed helps a lot in producing a quiet PC.
If you are getting a squeak or whistle, chances are it is the power supply, or MAYBE a bad capacitor on the motherboard's PSU power circuit, but usually a bad capacitor on the motherboard will just fail and the system won't boot. Dell PSUs are cheap, decent quality but not made for the robustness you expect from Corsair (made by Seasonic or Channel Well) or OCZ (Impervio, Topower, Sirtec) and squeaky components happen as those systems Dell uses age.
ADDED: A PSU full of dust can be noisy, too. One of my kids' PC (HP) was getting louder and louder, so I took the PSU out and blasted a ridiculous amount of dust out of it. It still isn't totally quiet (the fan bearings are going bad) but it is a lot quieter. I ended up building them a new system (Christmas present), which is good because I expect that PSU (or the fan) to fail soon anyway.
I guess it's the fans that make the noise. The case has almost no airflow whatsoever. But then again I haven't cleaned the insides for a loong time.
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