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PHees
Novice
1,229 Views

Annoying noise from the fan *NUC7i7DNKE

Hi Everyone,

I hope that someone here can help with my problem.

The sound of the fan is very present, although the computer is not doing anything.

It is just like a heart rate monitor. "High RPM then little bit slow, then High again" the full time that the system is on.

What is the best thing what I can do , to keep it quiet ?

Regards,

Pascal

0 Kudos
4 Replies
n_scott_pearson
Super User Retired Employee
99 Views

What's happening here is the result of a number of issues:

  1. You have a Core i7 processor, which consumes more power and generates more heat as a result.
  2. Because the NUC's chassis is so small, conventional fans cannot be used to cool the processor. Due to the limitations in space available and airflow patterns necessary, blowers must be used instead. Unfortunately, blowers are less efficient than fans - the air has to be sucked in, turned 90 degrees and then exhausted - and, as a result, blowers must spin at higher RPMs in order to deliver the same amount of airflow.
  3. Unfortunately, because Intel cheaped out and used TIM instead of solder to connect the processor die to its heat spreader, this generation of processors (amongst others) is thermally more volatile. That is, because TIM is significantly less efficient than solder in transferring heat, temperatures increase more rapidly and to higher levels. [Note: this is my opinion; Intel will deny it - but the radical changes in temperature *do* occur and there are sites that have documented the differences in efficiency.]
  4. Windows is doing all sorts of things in the background (i.e. your system isn't as idle as you think it is) and the blower is simply responding to the temperature changes that this creates.

Ok, what can you do about this?

First of all, a significant contributor to the impact of the blower speed changes is the pitch of the noise. Changing this pitch will make a significant difference in the impact of these changes. How do you do this? One way is to simply move the NUC to someplace that is not in direct "line of sight" (for lack of a better phrase) to your ears. This could be something as simple as placing something - a pile of books, for example - between the NUC and you. Better yet, using the provided VESA mounting plate, attach the NUC to the back of your monitor or to the side, back or bottom of your desk.

Yea, I know, you bought the NUC so that it could sit right there on your desk yet not consume the amount of space that older desktop designs did. There are three types of changes that you will also want to consider:

  1. Lower the blower speed at idle. The blower speed at idle is set via the Minimum Duty Cycle parameters for the Primary and Secondary temperature sensors. These parameters are set in the Cooling scene in BIOS Setup (Visual BIOS). Set both of these parameters to a lower value. Note that, if you set the values too low for the blower to operate reliably, it will make even worse noise as it struggles to operate. I recommend not going below 25%, but in a few cases, I have used 20% myself.
  2. Slowing the rate at which duty cycle (and fan speed) is increased/decreased can make the noise levels less noticeable. To accomplish this, you want to increase the range over which the blower is taken from minimum duty cycle to maximum duty cycle (100%). The range is specified using the Duty Cycle Increment parameters for both the Primary and Secondary temperature sensors. The Duty Cycle Increment parameter specifies how much the duty cycle is increased/decreased for each one degree increase/decrease in temperature. Lowering the Duty Cycle Increment parameters will increase the temperature range and rate of change. For the processor, remember that the duty cycle should reach 100% duty cycle before the temperature reaches its Tjmax temperature (typically 100c). For the Secondary temperature, the duty cycle should reach 100% before the board components (including memory and SSD) reach their maximum operating temperature (typically 80c).
  3. Raise the Minimum Temperature levels to delay when the blower duty cycle starts increasing. As you consider the levels to use, remember that the duty cycle still needs to reach 100% at the appropriate temperature limits.

Ok, now you are saying 'OMG, this isn't easy!' Yes, this is true. You will have to play with the settings and take the system through various work scenarios to see what the impact of the changes are.

Hope this helps,

...S

LeonWaksman
Super User
99 Views

Hi Pascal,

1. I'm attaching an image of cooling setting for your NUC. This settings follows the rules of Scott's explanation in his post above. It will help to understand this explanation. As you can see on this image the Fan off capability is disabled. Setting your NUC to this setting will make it more quiet and still the CPU temperature will not exceed 90 deg C under load.

2. You should also have your bios be updated. The latest bios version is 0056: https://downloadcenter.intel.com/download/28261/BIOS-Update-DNKBLi7v-86A-?product=130392 Download BIOS Update [DNKBLi7v.86A]

Leon

PHees
Novice
99 Views

Hi Scott Pearson,

Thank you for your explanation, very extensive

PHees
Novice
99 Views

Hi lw1948,

Thanks for the addition of scotts his explanation.

I appreciate your image, I have applied the settings directly. The noise is gone for now

I also updated the nuc to the latest bios version this evening with the BIO images.