Dell XPS 13 making High-Pitched Noise (again)

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Dell XPS 13 making High-Pitched Noise (again)

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I recently got a replacement XPS 13 due to my first one having issues with high-pitched noise coming out from somewhere inside. Technicians and Customer Service couldn't point out the culprit so they replaced the laptop altogether. And now I am having the exact same issue on my replacement machine. I see from different forum posts that this issue was discovered as early as May/June 2012 and it is still out there. I assume this might be "standard", but people don't notice it due to the frequency. 

For such a premium machine with a pricy tag on it (the model I got: i7, 8 GB RAM, 256 GB SSD (1080p edition btw) was priced at NOK 10495 with standard options) you'd expect such issues to be non-existant, if not fixed by now. 

I LOVE the XPS 13 in every aspect possible; the lightweight construction, premium feel and solid performance. But I'm often in very quiet areas with this machine, and the noise drives me insane. (I'm a student)

What to do?

All Replies
  • Hi Karl Sindre Baath Engelstad,

    I am sorry about the frustration. I suggest that you flash BIOS from the following link:

    http://dell.to/11yLjEC

    Note: While flashing BIOS connect the Ac adapter and make sure the battery has minimum 15% charge as this needs uninterrupted power supply. Do not use the system till it restarts and comes up to the desktop.

    In case issue persists even after flashing BIOS to the latest version, kindly send me a private message with the system service tag. Click on my name and click Start Conversation to send me a private message.

    Thanks and Regards,
    Sujatha K
    #iworkfordell
    To know more about Dell Product Support, Drivers & Downloads, Order & Dispatch status -> choose your region US / India . For Dell support videos click here.

  • Just letting you know that I sent you a message, Sujatha K.

    Regards,

    Karl

  • Oh, I forgot to mention that I have the L322X version, and that link you gave me is for the L321X. So my issue is at the moment unresolved. Patiently waiting for another solution.

    Regards,

    Karl

  • Status update: I have updated the BIOS to the very latest A08 revision. The noise is still there.

  • I am also experiencing this "high pitch noise"/electronic noise and think it may partially be related to the screen brightness.  Although this is not a "solution", I'm curious if it 'helps' others with this issue.  In order to test, I had to get "True" 100% brighness from the xps13.  In windows 8, I went to the Charms bar, hit settings, then "change pc settings".  Under "general", I disabled the "Adjust my Screen Brighness automatically".   With this option off, and with the computer under no load, and the fan not spinning, I would put my ear to the right-ish side of the XPS 13 so I could hear the high pitch noise, and played with the brightness (fn-f1 and fn-f2).  When the brightness was at 100%, the majority of the noise went away.   However, at any other brightness setting, the noise would be "loud" again.  Curious if others notice this as well.  

    It is annoying though.  I am currently writing this using my macbook air, (because I wanted to see if my only other solid state laptop experiences this) and the Macbook Air is silent (at least from a normal distance.  I can hear a faint high pitch sound on it as well with my ear essentially next to the keyboard/screen, but nowhere near the loudness of the xps13, which I can hear from 1 meter away).

  • Hi GoonieG,

    The screen brightness should not be causing any change in the fan functionality or there be any sound. Since you are experiencing this sound issue, I recommend you to flash BIOS from the link given in the previous post and also make sure the air vents are clean and the system is placed on a hard surface where there is good air circulation.  

    If the issue persists send me a private message with the system service tag to check the system details. Click on my name and click Start Conversation to send me a private message.

    Thanks and Regards,
    Sujatha K
    #iworkfordell
    To know more about Dell Product Support, Drivers & Downloads, Order & Dispatch status -> choose your region US / India . For Dell support videos click here.

  • I am already on the A08 bios.  I think my description was misunderstood.  I wasn't saying the brightness controls change the fan functionality.

    All I was trying to describe was "electronic noise", which is not the same than fan noise, but something else....

    You can hear this "electronic", high-pitch noise better when the fan is not running (obviously, because the sound is isolated). (which is why I said to listen to the right side of the laptop when the fan is not spinning).

    It is hard to describe what it sounds like.  The best I can come up with is that it is almost similar to the sound of the "ringing in your ears" after being at a rock concert.  That really hight frequency sound.  It is not the fan.  It is there whether the fan is running or not.

    What I was mentioning, and how this high-pitch sound relates to the brightness controls, is that I have noticed when the screen is at 100% brightness, the loudness of this "high-pitch" sound is reduced.  As soon as you reduce brightness, the sound becomes louder.

    It is not something I think someone could hear in a normal work environment, but it is very audible when you are working late at night, and it is really quiet.

    It seems to be common to this line of laptop (x13 sputnik, or variant), as there are a number of people describing the same thing as the original poster, and myself

    see:  en.community.dell.com/.../20115053.aspx

    forum.notebookreview.com/.../714697-new-xps-13-electrical-mb-noise-cpu-whine-high-pitched-noise-screen.html

    Anyhow, I will send you a note soon.

  • Hi GoonieG,

    You have mentioned the sound is audible only when the room is very silent. There may be some noise when the system is running. However I am not sure if it is the normal noise or something abnormal. I recommend run diagnostics to rule out any hard ware issues. Restart the system and at Dell logo tap F12 key every two seconds and choose diagnostics. Reply to this post if there is any error message.  Click on my name and click Start Conversation to send me a private message.

    Also private message me the system service tag to check the system details and assist you further.

    Thanks and Regards,
    Sujatha K
    #iworkfordell
    To know more about Dell Product Support, Drivers & Downloads, Order & Dispatch status -> choose your region US / India . For Dell support videos click here.

  • I am in the same boat to. Got a new XPS13 and its has a very high pitched noise to it. So bad I can't stand using it because it gives me head aches. It came with the A08 bios on it already and Dell does not recommend flashing their bios with the same version. I see a lot of others complaining to, so I am probably going to try to stick it out for A09 and hopefully a fix to this issue. It's driving me insane.

  • definitely the SSD. If I go in the bios and listen while the SSD is not working, its dead silent. Soon as I get to windows ... facepalm

  • With that said, has only tried updating the firmware on their SAMSUNG SSD drives in these laptops? I have the option to return it for another 8 days so I am trying my best to resolve this issue and not have to do so.

  • This past weekend, I did some further investigation under the suspicion that it was the SSD (and not the LED screen like I originally thought...although sound is less when brightness is all the way up).  I created a bootable Linux Ubuntu USB drive to test out the theory that is could be the SSD making the noise.  There are several reports on ssd's with the symptons we have.  What i did to test this hypothesis:

    1) Make sure noise is present when booting from Ubuntu Live USB.....it was...

    2) remove xps bottom cover, and take out SSD (as described in the XPS 13 user guide downloaded from Dell's website)

    3) Replace cover, and boot again from Ubuntu Live USB.  Sound was gone.

    5) Install same SSD again.  Replace cover....sound is back.

    So my theory is that it is either:

    a) the SSD

    b) current draw from the XPS causes some inductors, or capacitors or something else to generate noise (i.e. sound goes away with SSD out, because there is less current draw).

    I'm leaning towards theory a), because I have seen reports of people experiencing these high pitch noises when they replace their regular hard drives (on their desktop, or laptop machines) with certain SSD's.

    I would love to try a different brand, to validate this theory.  (My mSata is a liteon running a marvell controller.  My macbook air with no noise is running an SSD with a samsung controller.)

  • @Askeptic...

    you mentioned your SSD was a samsung?  Mine seems to indicate Lite-on.  Can you verify this?  I was hoping a different brand/model msata ssd would resolve this, but if your mSata SSD is a samsung, then perhaps not?

  • @GoonieG

    Nice work to ensure it was the SSD. Yes, mine is listed as being a Samsung model PM830.

    In my other computer I use a Crucial M4 and I do not have any of this noise issues, but the other computer isn't a Dell either.

    Not sounding like an easy fix unfortunately. Was hoping something simple would fix it as it does get very annoying. I can return this laptop for a full refund if I do so in less than 8 days. I don't really want to do this as I do like the laptop a lot, but if its quiet in the room, this sounds drives me nuts.

  • Oh, also if I try upgrade the SATA LITEON software, the installer tells me there is no LITEON product in my system, so I do believe the SAMSUNG PM830 is correct. (This is what the BIOS says it is at least)