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

Noble713

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Well, I installed the Seasonic 300W PSU, the 8GB of OCZ Gold RAM, and squeezed the Noctua fan into the case fan's spot while still using the plastic "mount". Then I installed Linux Mint 6 w/Fluxbox. I've been trying to get my conky config right and in the process I've found my cores running at ~50-60C, which seems a good 10-15 degrees hot, if not more.

I had to remove the CPU fan and heat sink to get the case fan in. Perhaps I didn't put it back correctly? Could air flow be a problem?
 

beowulf7

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Well, I installed the Seasonic 300W PSU, the 8GB of OCZ Gold RAM, and squeezed the Noctua fan into the case fan's spot while still using the plastic "mount". Then I installed Linux Mint 6 w/Fluxbox. I've been trying to get my conky config right and in the process I've found my cores running at ~50-60C, which seems a good 10-15 degrees hot, if not more.

I had to remove the CPU fan and heat sink to get the case fan in. Perhaps I didn't put it back correctly? Could air flow be a problem?
Did you remove the residual thermal paste and reapply new thermal paste when you reinstalled the HSF on your CPU?
 

Noble713

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Did you remove the residual thermal paste and reapply new thermal paste when you reinstalled the HSF on your CPU?
Uh, what? :(

*Googles "apply thermal paste"*

Wow, looks like I'll have to get some of this stuff tomorrow....

chklin said:
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.
I've updated to the latest kernel, installed lm-sensors, and I'm still only getting the CPU temp sensors. I tried running 'pwmconfig' (for pulse width modulation, what apparently lets you control fan speeds) and it tells me "There are no pwm-capable modules installed." What are you doing, specifically?

EDIT: Doh! I thought I updated to 2.6.29.1, and I only updated to 2.6.27-11.....
 
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beowulf7

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Uh, what? :(

*Googles "apply thermal paste"*

Wow, looks like I'll have to get some of this stuff tomorrow....

....
Yep, that has to be the problem. Once you get and apply the thermal paste, your temp. should drop. Remember to clean off the residue and then apply only a little of the thermal paste. You can Google around to get more detailed instructions. Good luck!
 

MurphNutz

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Hey, I'm curious about the power LED thing. Is there a reason people are using marker or tape on the case to block the power light? Is the power LED not it's own cable on the mobo header connections? I just want to know, 'cause I usually just unplug the cable from the header pins on the motherboard if I can't stand the power light.
 

Noble713

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Hey, I'm curious about the power LED thing. Is there a reason people are using marker or tape on the case to block the power light? Is the power LED not it's own cable on the mobo header connections? I just want to know, 'cause I usually just unplug the cable from the header pins on the motherboard if I can't stand the power light.
That won't work. After putting my whole system back together I tried to turn it on.....nothing. Turns out I had left the cable bundle running from the front of the system unplugged. :eek: The power button and LED are on the same connection.

So last night I was poking around looking for new CPU heat sinks/fans. I settled on a Scythe Shuriken which I picked up from Microcenter today. Installing this thing is a MASSIVE pain. Allow me to explain:

The Dell 540s mobo uses a metal bracket system to attach the heat sink. The bracket is on the rear side of the mobo, and the heat sink screws into it. Don't bother trying to remove said bracket, because you'll only end up removing your whole motherboard to find the damn thing is GLUED together. So what do you do if you have a "normal" Socket 775-compatible heat sink with the little plastic things? You can rig up some crazy stuff like I did. :D

I dismantled the stock Dell heat sink, snapping off the little rings that keep the screws & springs from coming out of the plastic chassis. Then I wedged these screws into the brackets that come with the Shuriken, attached the brackets to the heat sink as normal, and just screwed the damn thing down (after new paste!). Since the heat sink and fan are so big compared to the base, reaching the screws is rather difficult. They are barely "hand tight". This is fine IMO, as I was concerned about putting too much pressure on the CPU (how would you be able to tell if you had?). I also had to remove the plastic frame that held the case fan, in the process noticing that the Noctua NF-R8 is apparently magnetized (it sticks to the case). I find that....disturbing for some reason.

Anyways, I'm now getting the following CPU temps in Conky:

CPU1: 52-54C
CPU2: 40C
CPU3: 46C
CPU4: 43C

These are 5-10C cooler than before, although the system has been only up for 34mins and the side panel is currently off. Still seems a bit warm, especially since I haven't put the 9800GT in yet, but I've done so much I have no idea how to narrow down the cause to a single issue.

I took pics of the process but I haven't uploaded them yet. Stay tuned.
 

beowulf7

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^ Congrats, Noble. Also note that if your room temp. is different than when you measure the temp. the first time around, that will affect the temp. reading. My room that has my comp. is at least a good 10-12 deg. (Fahrenheit) warmer now than just a few days ago due to all the warm sunny weather we've had lately in TX. :cool: But that has caused my CPU temp. to rise by several deg. (Celsius) :(
 

chklin

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EDIT: Doh! I thought I updated to 2.6.29.1, and I only updated to 2.6.27-11.....
You want at least 2.6.29, because that was when support for the F8000 monitoring chip was added to the f71882fg driver.
 

Noble713

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So here's the pics of the heat sink installation:

http://picasaweb.google.com/nobyliti/SlimTower?feat=directlink

The last pic has the 9800GT installed, which I removed when I realized I didn't have the necessary power cable.

I've been having some problems lately though. The system has been sluggish when resizing video files to fullscreen (1680x1050 on a 22" HD LCD), resizing windows in general, and has occasionally hung, requiring me to power it off. I wonder if its the crap onboard video chip, but I didn't have problems like these in Windows Vista, so it makes me think it's a Linux issue (Linux Mint? Fluxbox? the kernel? conky settings?). Troubleshooting is such a pain. :(

I powered off today to feel the heat sink and it's not even warm to the touch, implying that heat isn't being transferred from the CPU. It's not *overheating* so I'm not too concerned. Still, I pulled out the whole mobo just to have some more maneuvering room to tighten down the heat sink a bit more.

I'll probably update the kernel again tomorrow. Next week I'll go back to Microcenter and get the cable for the 9800GT, update the NVIDIA drivers, and report back.
 

beowulf7

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^ Good luck, Noble. Looking forward to seeing how it turns out after you get the proper adapter/cable.
 

TreeBob

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Hey Noble, I have the same computer and I also just bought the Sparkle 9800 GT. I was thinking of upgrading to the SeaSonic 300W PSU as well. I am interested in seeing how well your PSU does under load. If your 300W PSU is not adequate I will have to move out of the current case. So run it hard and let us know! :)

Also, do you have a link for the type of splicer cable you bought to run your 9800GT?
 
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chklin

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A small update. I replaced the 9500GT in my studio slim with a Sapphire 100252HDMI Radeon HD 4550. Performance-wise it is a downgrade, but the 4550 is silent (being fanless) and has two digital outputs (I see interference artifacts when I connect my second monitor to D-sub on the 9500GT), so I think it suits my needs better. Once I turn the quality settings down a tad, I still get 30FPS in Company of Heroes at 1680x1050, which is good enough for me.

However, even though 4550 has a max power consumption of 25W, my new card does get quite hot. Normal idle temperature is 60°C, and an hour of gaming bring it to 105°C. This suggest that we might be better off with actively-cool cards in the confined space of the slim cases.
 

beowulf7

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Fanless video cards are good and bad, as you pointed out. My fan version of the 4550 made by Asus is relatively quiet. The case and CPU fans are louder than my video card fan. I haven't measured temp. lately, but I don't recal it getting anywhere near 105. deg. C. :eek:
 

linus_xyz

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I wonder if Noble blew up his computer. My computer runs very quiet with the Sapphire 4550, except for the seemingly random times the case and cpu fans do their berserk thing. It only lasts a second, but it's really annoying.
 

Noble713

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Hey Noble, I have the same computer and I also just bought the Sparkle 9800 GT. I was thinking of upgrading to the SeaSonic 300W PSU as well. I am interested in seeing how well your PSU does under load. If your 300W PSU is not adequate I will have to move out of the current case. So run it hard and let us know! :)

Also, do you have a link for the type of splicer cable you bought to run your 9800GT?
Sorry for the long absence. I'm a bit concerned about the PSU, it seems to be generating an inordinate amount of heat, and all of its cables really restrict the airflow in the system. I'm looking into how to replace the cables with better ones, but that could be a real problem since you're not supposed to open up PSUs. The only alternative would be cutting/splicing new cables just outside the PSU, and I don't really want to try that either.

I'm also researching how to evaluate how hard the PSU is working. Extreme Power Supply says my current hardware mix should need 270W at 90% loading and I'm not even close to stressing the CPU that much.

The Sparkle card eats up two PCI slots and generates quite a bit of heat. I'm wondering if there is some way to add an air duct to direct the fan exhaust out of the case. Something like this.

I've looked into getting a Western Digital Caviar Green 1TB or 2TB hard drive, as it draws less power and I could use the extra space (moving the existing 640GB to an external case and using it solely to store movies). I want to wait until Windows 7 comes out in October before dual-booting the system.

Really, though, the system runs fine. If it wasn't for the fact that I'm now on the 2nd floor of the house where it's hot as Hell, and that I keep a constant eye on my Conky core temp readings (hits around 65C for Core1 with a few games), I'd say there's nothing wrong with it.
 

chklin

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I noticed that Dell now offer a few new slim desktops: 535s, 537s, 545s, and 546s.

http://support.dell.com/support/edocs/systems/insp535st/en/sm/techov.htm

From a quick glance, they use the same case as the previous slim desktops (220s, etc.) with a few changes (better feet, different support bracket latch, that kind of thing). Oh, and you now get 8 colors to choose from.

Technology wise, they seem to be all over the map.
  • 220s: G45 chipset, Core2 Duo, 2 DIMM (4GB max), 2 PCI, 1 PCIe x1
  • 530s: G33 chipset, Core2 Duo, 4 DIMM (4GB max), 2 PCI, 1 PCIe x1
  • 531s: MCP61 chipset, Athlon X2, 4 DIMM (4GB max), 2 PCI, 1 PCIe x1
  • 535s: G31 chipset, Core2 Duo, 2 DIMM (4GB max), 2 PCI, 1 PCIe x1
  • 537s: G41 chipset, Core2 Quad, 2 DIMM (4GB max), 2 PCI, 1 PCIe x1
  • 540s: G45 chipset, Core2 Quad, 4 DIMM (8GB max), 1 PCI, 2 PCIe x1
  • 545s: G33 chipset, Core2 Quad, 4 DIMM (8GB max), 2 PCI, 1 PCIe x1
  • 546s: RS780 chipset, Phenom X4, 4 DIMM (8GB max), 2 PCI, 1 PCIe x1
Lots of choices!
 

beowulf7

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^ Nice update. Wow, a Phenom in this small form factor case w/ 4 DIMM slots. :cool:
 

mnewxcv

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That won't work. After putting my whole system back together I tried to turn it on.....nothing. Turns out I had left the cable bundle running from the front of the system unplugged. :eek: The power button and LED are on the same connection.
power buttons and power LEDs are 2 different things, so if anything, there are at least 3 wires going to the button, and disconnecting one(the correct one) will turn off the led. I assume there are four wires though. I will look into it tomorrow for everyone.

ps, you guys do know that the dell logo rotates, right?
 

Noble713

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So I've been trying to run a variety of games through Wine on Linux, but temperatures were standing in my way. For example, when running Need For Speed Undercover (I know, crap game) Core1 was spiking at 72C, and the other cores were high 60's. This was really beginning to concern me. Shortly thereafter I found out about Intel's S models that were added to the Core 2 line a few months back. I promptly replaced my Q8200 with a Q9400S.

Now my system idles @ 42C and spikes to ~59C, roughly a 15C drop across the board. Now I can run Medieval 2 Total War, in Wine, at 1680x1050 with pretty high graphics settings and I don't feel like I'm about to melt my processor. Would definitely recommend one of these new low-power processors if you can spare the $230+ for one.
 

beowulf7

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^ $230 just for a processor upgrade? That's about the cost of my system (after I sold the monitor)! :eek: But glad to hear your temps. have gone down. :cool:
 

TreeBob

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I have the Dell Studio Slim with the 250W (stock) TFX PSU. I was going to buy a new 300W as this is as big as I could go but decided to try with out. I installed my low profile NVIDIA 9800GT and it hasn't had any power problems at all. In fact I love it! All my games play great with huge improvements.

I am running Crysis on high graphics and the peak temperature I recorded on Core#3 was 52C. So I am not having any of the heat issues that noble is getting. I have the Quad Q8200 for reference.
 

beowulf7

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^ That's a nice speedy little system. :cool: Did you measure the power output before and after the video card upgrade?
 

jeremyshaw

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the Sparkle 9800gt?

It has decent maximum power draw, and I'm assuming two things (I'm from the Slimline thread):
Sparkle underclocked it by a tiny bit (g92b core, too, for the 55nm process)
512mb ram (stock can be 512/1024)

draw less power.

(for me, anyways), the stock HP PSU was 160W.
INWIN was 300W.

GFx card is 105W.



Absolute no brainer (other then PSU quality, but there is a 35W leeway, assuming 160W is the max - without the HP gfx cards and BluRay drive)
 

aleicgrant

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hey folks.

I have a week old 540s which I am really liking. I would like to upgrade the PSU to run my Sparkle 9800

I am also looking for some quieter fan suggestions.

thanks for the help !!!!!!!!
 

beowulf7

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aleicgrant, I haven't upgraded the PSU on my Dell Vostro 220s, so I can't help you there. Good luck w/ your project!
 

aleicgrant

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Noctua NF-R8-1800 80mm Case Fan - Retail

will this just drop into the existing cpu fan location?
 

beowulf7

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Over the Thanksgiving break, I replaced 32-bit Windows Vista on my Dell Vostro 220s (which is similar to the Studio Slim 540s) with 64-bit Windows 7. Read about it here.
 
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