HP Slimline's bigger brother: Dell Studio Slim 540s

beowulf7

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Chklin, I'm curious about why you're so confident that that XFX card will work in the 540S. The box wants you to have a 350W power supply. I installed the card on my 540S and things seemed to be going well, until I decided to access the DVD burner. That's when the computer shut itself off. When I turned it back on, the DVD burner was broken.

I just replaced the DVD burner, but, obviously, the 9500 GT is no longer an option for me. Maybe a safer card like the ATI 3450 or 4550 or ... possibly... 3650? Not sure. Let me know what you think.

Also, under load my fans take off to max RPM's (5000 or so) and sound like a vacuum cleaner. Very annoying. I'm curious why your system seems quieter. Maybe because you have a discreet video card.
That's terrible that the video card + DVD burner apparently caused your PSU to be overtaxed. :( The 3650 seems like a good option and I've heard it's faster than a 4550. But unlike the 4550, is the 3650 available in the LP format? I couldn't find such a card on Newegg's site.
 

chklin

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Chklin, I'm curious about why you're so confident that that XFX card will work in the 540S. The box wants you to have a 350W power supply.
Almost all video card companies say that because they have no idea what else is in your computer, and they have to err on the safe side. Chances are that if you get a Radeon 3450, its box will list a 300+W power supply requirement as well. Here is a link with power consumption estimates for different video cards (collected from card reviews, IIRC), and it lists 9500GT at 35W max.

http://archive.atomicmpc.com.au/forums.asp?s=2&c=7&t=9354

I installed the card on my 540S and things seemed to be going well, until I decided to access the DVD burner. That's when the computer shut itself off. When I turned it back on, the DVD burner was broken.
Sorry to hear that. I don't really know how that could happen... the 9500GT works fine in my Studio Slim, and I also have a TV tuner card. There are people who install the 9500GT in their HP Slimline computers, and the Studio Slim PSU has about 40% more capacity than the one in the HP Slimline.

What's your hardware configuration? If your PC has problem handling the 9500GT, I suspect that there might be a problem with your PSU.

Also, under load my fans take off to max RPM's (5000 or so) and sound like a vacuum cleaner. Very annoying. I'm curious why your system seems quieter. Maybe because you have a discreet video card.
5000? Do you have a screenshot of SpeedFan or whatever? My 9500GT fan ramps up and becomes loud under load, but the case fan and the CPU fan both max out under 2500 (or something like that). Hmmm...

Perhaps Dell needs to work on its QC? You seem to be the second person who report receiving a problematic machine...
 

burro

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Been a while since I've seen a Dell case and I'm quite surprised they learned their lesson(s) :p My old dimension 8400 or whatever way back was the worst cooling case ever.
 

linus_xyz

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the 9500GT works fine in my Studio Slim, and I also have a TV tuner card. There are people who install the 9500GT in their HP Slimline computers, and the Studio Slim PSU has about 40% more capacity than that in the HP Slimline.

What's your hardware configuration? If your PC has problem handling the 9500GT, I suspect that there might be a problem with your PSU.
I have the same configuration as you do, except the 640 gig hard drive and no TV tuner.

Strangely, the fans seem much better behaved since I replaced the DVD-burner. Or perhaps it's just that the computer is cold this morning because it hasn't been on very long. The fan speeds spiked a couple of times this morning when I ran the Vista performance update and played a game, but nothing like what they were doing before. I would include a SpeedFan shot for you, but (blush) I don't know how! Fan 1 goes to 5000 and fan 2 to 3600. A few seconds later they cycle back down.
 

linus_xyz

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That's terrible that the video card + DVD burner apparently caused your PSU to be overtaxed. :( The 3650 seems like a good option and I've heard it's faster than a 4550. But unlike the 4550, is the 3650 available in the LP format? I couldn't find such a card on Newegg's site.
It's now "deactivated" on the Newegg site. But you can still find them if you google "low profile ati 3650". Try this http://www.ewiz.com/detail.php?p=AT...24217ed5bed927128643a629034a655c17d72230e4431.
 

beowulf7

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I have my Vostro 220s hooked up to a Kill A Watt (computer only - monitor is connected to another outlet). with the basic config. + a wireless PCI-e adapter, it's consuming just 43 W. :cool:

I'll soon add a video card, which brings me to the next part of this post.

It's now "deactivated" on the Newegg site. But you can still find them if you google "low profile ati 3650". Try this http://www.ewiz.com/detail.php?p=AT...24217ed5bed927128643a629034a655c17d72230e4431.
Thanks, that does look good for 64 and change. But I wonder if it's worth the extra ~$14 compared to a 4550. I also saw on SD that a basic video card, ATI 3450, that's arguably targeted for HTPCs is currently selling for $20 after MIR w/ free shipping, on Newegg. Anyone care to comment on it? I'm a little concerned that some people are having problems passing audio via its HDMI. : \
 

frumpy_uk

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Yes, that's it. More details in the datasheet on this page : http://www.seasonic.com/product/pc_tfx.jsp

24 + 4 Pin (P4 connector) ATX 2.0
4 Power ports (HDD, CD-Rom, etc.)
2 Floppy ports
2 SATA ports (12 V + 5V + 3,3 V)

As far as purchasing one in US it might help if you search for ss-300 tfx. This is where I bought mine, no problems to report : http://www.sh-edv.eu/product_info.php?products_id=410. They say they will ship to other countries on request so if you don't find any local retailers you could try these guys.

<updated> I had thought there was a problem with this PSU in that "operating temperature" is only up to 40 C. However I now understand from SeaSonic tech support that they only guarantee 100% power output up to 40C (output decreases linearly between 40-50C to 80%). According to posts elsewhere that is pretty much standard. FYI, maximum "safe" temperature is 50C, above which they claim that the life of components begins to be affected.

Other than my paranoia about temperature, the PSU continues to work without any problem. I now have a N9400GT installed and that also works fine.
 

furq

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Removing the video card and unplugging the case fan does not help much, so the noise has to be from either the CPU fan or the PSU fan... Fan noise stays pretty much constant between idle and load. During heavy load, CPU fan ramps up from 1700 RPM to 2100 PRM, and the case fan from 1600 RPM to 1800 RPM. Clearly both fans are thermally controlled, if there is a way to reduce fan speed at idle, we could perhaps drop the idle noise to the Slimline level.
I have a Vostro 200 Slim (same as your Studio Slim, I believe), and it's WAY noisier than my Vostro 200 Mini. :-(

I think the problem is the case fan - at 1650 RPM when idle, it's running way faster than it needs to, imo.

I've ordered a Fansis FC-RPM01M Fan Speed Controller to reduce the speed. Hoping the Dell bios doesn't have a problem with it.

Has anyone changed the case fan for a quiet/silent model? If so, how? It has a different fitting to normal fans.

Also, is it possible to get SpeedFan to control the speed/temperature? If so, what are the settings?

Love the PC, except for this noise issue. :-(

Cheers, from London town
 

frumpy_uk

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I'm not sure that Vostro Slim is the same as Studio Slim. I bought a Studio Slim from Dell in the UK FYI.

Anyway, case fan in the Studio Slim can be replaced by a 80x80x25 fan, fits no problem. You need to just get rid of the plastic surround to which the stock fan is attached. I'm using a low tech solution to attaching the fan to the case - gravity :).

For what its worth I've replaced both the case and the CPU fan with Noctua NF-R8s.

Big improvement.
 

beowulf7

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furq, I have a Vostro 220s Slim as well and I haven't had a problem with a particularly loud and noisy fan.
 

furq

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Thanks for reply frumpy_uk - will look at Noctua NF-R8. Haven't examined the CPU fan, tbh - can I simply unscrew it from heatsink and replace?

beowulf7, do you know what speed your case fan runs at? (My stats from Speedfan - http://www.almico.com/speedfan.php) I think mine is running way too fast at 1650 RPM. This is when idle, with the side of the case off/or not, and in a cold room!

The noise is a big issue for me as I'm about to move computer from study to lounge due to incoming baby! Waaaaaaaaaaaaaah!
 

beowulf7

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Thanks for reply frumpy_uk - will look at Noctua NF-R8. Haven't examined the CPU fan, tbh - can I simply unscrew it from heatsink and replace?

beowulf7, do you know what speed your case fan runs at? (My stats from Speedfan - http://www.almico.com/speedfan.php) I think mine is running way too fast at 1650 RPM. This is when idle, with the side of the case off/or not, and in a cold room!

The noise is a big issue for me as I'm about to move computer from study to lounge due to incoming baby! Waaaaaaaaaaaaaah!
When I go home tonight, I'll d/l that Speedfan program and let you know what my Vostro says. Good luck w/ the baby! :eek:
 

furq

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That would be a great help to me, thanks.

Mine looks like this.



The 'Automatic fan speed' box is checked, but SpeedFan is only recording data, not changing settings. Not sure it's compatible with Dell desktops.
 

beowulf7

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That would be a great help to me, thanks.

Mine looks like this.



The 'Automatic fan speed' box is checked, but SpeedFan is only recording data, not changing settings. Not sure it's compatible with Dell desktops.
I d/l'ed and installed SpeedFan 4.37. Here's a screen shot of my Vostro 220s Slim. Note that I have a different CPU than you. I kept the "Automatic fan speed" unchecked (default) for now.

 

frumpy_uk

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Thanks for reply frumpy_uk - will look at Noctua NF-R8. Haven't examined the CPU fan, tbh - can I simply unscrew it from heatsink and replace?

beowulf7, do you know what speed your case fan runs at? (My stats from Speedfan - http://www.almico.com/speedfan.php) I think mine is running way too fast at 1650 RPM. This is when idle, with the side of the case off/or not, and in a cold room!

The noise is a big issue for me as I'm about to move computer from study to lounge due to incoming baby! Waaaaaaaaaaaaaah!
No problem. You need to carefully push out a small black plastic lug at each corner of the CPU fan. Not hard to do.

Pretty sure my case fan also used to run around 1650 RPM. Note that when I replaced my stock case fan I no longer saw any case fan speed in Speedfan. Temps are displayed though, and it is fine.

Also note that using the Noctua fan to replace your CPU fan will mean it will run at a constant speed (2000rpm). Still quiter than stock. And my CPU temps are fine also.
 

frumpy_uk

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Furq : temp 1 looks very high to me. Hottest item in my Studio Slim is the graphics card (Nvidea) but that never gets above 65C. Next hottest is PSU which rarely goes above 55.

Beowulf : -60C for temp3? Wierd...
 

beowulf7

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Furq : temp 1 looks very high to me. Hottest item in my Studio Slim is the graphics card (Nvidea) but that never gets above 65C. Next hottest is PSU which rarely goes above 55.

Beowulf : -60C for temp3? Wierd...
I know, I thought it was odd for Temp3 be -60C. It's not like I submerged my PC in liquid nitrogen. :D I just attributed it to a bug w/ SpeedFan in how it reads that value from the Dell.
 

frumpy_uk

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By the way I thought it would be interesting to check exactly which temperature reading is for which component. So I asked Dell. Unfortunately... tech support told me they could not help... So we have to guess which sensor is which.
 

furq

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Thanks for info, guys.

Interesting that SpeedFan is reporting different fans for you, Beowulf7.

On mine, Fan1 is definitely CPU and Fan2 is case - I know because I stopped them temporarily.

Temp1 is v high, yes. I assumed this is a mistake (like the minus figures!), but maybe the heatsink isn't seated properly?!

I'm kinda torn between replacing the fans - or simply returning to Dell (assume I have to pay postage?). Hmmmm!
 

frumpy_uk

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When I contacted Dell about my noisy power supply, they sent an engineer out to replace it. Even though I only had return to base warranty. You might get lucky too - worth a try.

I would definitely get Dell to look at this whether or not they come out to you.
 

beowulf7

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furq, you may also want to try another temp. and fan monitoring program, just in case SpeedFan is not reading the values properly.
 

furq

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Thanks for the tip re: support. Took me nearly 50mins on the phone to sort out (!), but Dell are sending an engineer out on Tuesday.

Figure it will be good to get a proper fix and infomation, rather than d*cking about and spending more dosh.

I'll ask him what the fan speeds/temps are supposed to be - and about SpeedFan compatibility.

Will report back, of course. Cheers gents!
 

furq

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furq, you may also want to try another temp. and fan monitoring program, just in case SpeedFan is not reading the values properly.
Actually, had forgotten that I've already done that - with Everest.

Temp figures look normal actually (max 43), but fans at 16xx/17xx at idle. God knows what's going on here! :confused:
 

frumpy_uk

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I'm pretty sure my stock fan was also running at 1600-ish 100% of the time.

For what its worth, the replacement fan runs at 2000-ish 100% of the time.

Guess that proves that the crappy Dell bios disables any voltage variation to the fan?
 

linus_xyz

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Installed a Sapphire 4550 yesterday and haven't had any problems. The zooming fans have completely abated, so that I think the problem I was having was caused by overheating the graphics chip on the motherboard.
 

beowulf7

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Installed a Sapphire 4550 yesterday and haven't had any problems. The zooming fans have completely abated, so that I think the problem I was having was caused by overheating the graphics chip on the motherboard.
That's good to hear. Did you measure to see how power consumption was affected? How do you like your Sapphire 4550 so far? I'm leaning toward that video card, unless the 4350 comes on sale again w/ free shipping.
 

linus_xyz

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The 4550 works great. Of course, I'm not playing any games on it that are very challenging (yet). Morrowind looks lovely. The 4550 seems to be a nice, small, efficient card to go with a nice, small, efficient computer. :D

How do you check the power usage? I suppose I would need to buy some kind of hardware to do that.
 

beowulf7

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The 4550 works great. Of course, I'm not playing any games on it that are very challenging (yet). Morrowind looks lovely. The 4550 seems to be a nice, small, efficient card to go with a nice, small, efficient computer. :D

How do you check the power usage? I suppose I would need to buy some kind of hardware to do that.
Glad to hear that your 4550 is doing well for you. :cool:

I use Kill A Watt to measure power usage from the outlet.
 

beowulf7

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Obviously, some posts were lost from this thread as well. I'll just summarize an update for my Dell Vostro 220s Slim Tower.

I finally got a video card: Asus EAH4550 ATI Radeon HD 4550. I installed it today and my Windows Vista Performance score went up for Graphics from 4.2 to 5.0 and it went up for Gaming graphics from 4.0 to 5.3 compared to the motherboard graphics. :cool:

How do I disable shared memory between the graphics and the system RAM? The video card comes with 512 MB of video RAM, but it's showing that total available graphics memory of 1279 MB due to shared system memory of 767 MB. I don't want to share that RAM anymore. :)

I also bought a TV tuner (Hauppauge 1950 - USB 2.0) that I'll install in my HTPC. Finally, I got a wireless keyboard and mouse set: Logitech Cordless Desktop S520. I also plan to get that up and running today.

BTW, the new video card hasn't made my HTPC louder. Power consumption went up about 10 W according to my Kill A Watt meter.
 

beowulf7

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I just want to give a quick update on my Dell Vostro 220s Slim Tower. After doing a bit of research, it seems like that shared memory can't be disabled between the system and video RAM, but that Windows Vista is supposedly smart enough to not steal it from the system unless the video really needs it. And since I have a 512 MB video card, I think I'll be OK since I'm not going to do any intensive gaming w/ it.

I connected my HTPC to my Onkyo A/V receiver. I initially got picture, but no sound. Windows Vista didn't indicate any errors or conflicts. After some more research, I changed the input to HDMI1 (was HDMI2) and more importantly, disabled the on-board sound via the BIOS. Now I have sound through the video card (HDMI)! :D :cool:

The ATI's Catalyst driver was smart enough to detect that the video card was connected to my Onkyo TX-SR605 receiver. :cool: The only complaint I now have is that the picture on my 57" DLP TV looks a bit fuzzy - nowhere as sharp or crisp as it did on my 24" Dell LCD monitor. Does anyone have a solution for that?
 

beowulf7

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The following pics are of my Dell Vostro 220s Slim Tower, which is apparently similar to the thread starter's Dell Studio Slim 540s.

These pics show its size relative to my Antec Super LANBOY case, which houses my main PC.



Next is a pic of the innards of this PC, which I bought somewhat stripped.


Then, I added a PCI-e Wi-Fi card and PCI-e video card.



Finally, I officially made this PC an HTPC by integrating it w/ my HTS.
 

chklin

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beowulf7,

Nice pictures! Aside from the difference in motherboard features, the 220s does look a lot like the 540s.
 

beowulf7

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Thanks, chklin. I'm pretty happy w/ my HTPC so far. I need to upgrade the tiny 160 GB HDD, which I'll do soon enough. BTW, those pics were taken from my cell phone digicam, so please excuse it if they don't look great. :eek:
 

beowulf7

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I'm hopeful that my HDMI issues have been resolved. :)

For those who are shopping for a low profile video card, check out this 9600 GT that is not only low profile but low power consuming. (Although, I bet not as low as an ATI 3450/4350/4550.) Credit to miosis for posting that link in the HP Slimline thread.
 

beowulf7

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I upgraded my Dell Vostro 220s Slim HTPC's memory from the stock Samsung 2x1 GB DDR2 RAM to Corsair 2x2 GB DDR2 RAM. However, despite doubling the memory, my Windows Experience Index score is still 4.8 for memory. I thought it would improve. The stock memory's timing was 6-6-6-18; the new memory is rated at 5-5-5-18. Both memory are electrified at Dell's fixed 1.8V.
 

CrimandEvil

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I upgraded my Dell Vostro 220s Slim HTPC's memory from the stock Samsung 2x1 GB DDR2 RAM to Corsair 2x2 GB DDR2 RAM. However, despite doubling the memory, my Windows Experience Index score is still 4.8 for memory. I thought it would improve. The stock memory's timing was 6-6-6-18; the new memory is rated at 5-5-5-18. Both memory are electrified at Dell's fixed 1.8V.
Hey! What wifi card is that??
 

Noble713

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My refurbished Slim arrived today. Specs:

2.33GHz Core 2 Quad (Q8200?)
3GB RAM
600GB HD

I plan to add the Sparkle 9800GT:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814187061&Tpk=low profile 9800gt

and the Seasonic 300W PSU:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817151070

Do the Noctua RF-18 fans help with thermal management at all, or do they mostly just keep the machine quiet? Will I need a 6-pin PCIe power cable for this card? Lastly, can anyone recommend a good method or program for getting a complete list of the hardware on a system? I plan on installing a Linux distro (most likely Slackware, but I'll fall back to Linux Mint if I have too many problems) and I want to know EXACTLY what hardware I'll need to dig up drivers for.

On a slightly unrelated note, I love this form factor and plan to continually upgrade this case over the years. Does it use micro-ATX form factor motherboards, or is it something special? I know that two mATX boards are coming to the market for the Core i7, so I'm hoping that some will also follow for the Core i5. When I upgrade 2-3 years from now, I should be able to get a board with USB 3.0 as well, but who knows.
 

beowulf7

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Windows Vista on my Vostro 220s Slim Tower has been pissing me off lately. Before, I was having HDMI problems when I turn on my A/V receiver and TV, sometimes no signal would be detected and it would show up as a blank screen. I'd have to put the HTPC to sleep and then wake it up. Now more recently, when I put it to sleep and wake it back up, the HTPC won't wake up normally. It tries to come out and then reboots itself. This cycle continues endlessly. I have to turn off the computer and then turn it back on. I wonder what's going on. I might just blow away Windows Vista and put XP on it. After 3 months, I'm totally not sold on Vista. :mad:
 

chklin

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Lastly, can anyone recommend a good method or program for getting a complete list of the hardware on a system? I plan on installing a Linux distro (most likely Slackware, but I'll fall back to Linux Mint if I have too many problems) and I want to know EXACTLY what hardware I'll need to dig up drivers for.
I run Linux (Debian testing) on mine, and pretty much everything (including fan speed reporting) works out-of-the-box with a recent (month old or so) kernel.
 
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