Dell PowerEdge 13th Gen Fan Noise

I recently came across the opportunity to assist a client with installing their new Dell PowerEdge R730XD. Quite the beefy server config, 2x10core CPUs, 128GB of RAM, 12x4TB NL-SAS, you know, all the goodies. This machine is slated to replace an aging T610 that has seen better days performance-wise.

I went ahead and put an Intel 10GbE card in the server since all other hosts in the server room including both backup boxes are 10GbE enabled and are connected to our new Netgear 10GbE switch. Keep in mind this was an industry standard PCIe 10GbE card, a particularly good one, the Intel TX540-2. After installing VMware ESXi, and later, Windows Server 2012 R2, users were complaining about the loud “jet sounding” noise coming from the server room. After logging into the Dell iDRAC Enterprise card I immediately noticed that the fans were running around 92% which was roughly 15K RPM or thereabouts. This was regardless of operating system mind you, so I couldn’t even blame Windows OR VMware this time.

After looking around online at various forums I realized that the system was running the fans near max speed/volume due to the presence of a non-certified PCIe card installed into the system. For all intents and purposes, non-certified means you didn’t pay through the nose to acquire the identical hardware from Dell. Essentially, since the Intel card doesn’t carry the Dell specific code/firmware to report back that “all is well over here in PCIe/temperature land”, the system defaults to running the fans in jet engine mode. For posterity’s sake and to clarify, this will happen on pretty much any non-Dell card that is inserted. In researching the issue I found numerous folks that put actively cooled GPUs, old school 4x1Gbps network cards, you name it, high speed fan noise.

Well no big deal, all you have to do is go into the Dell BIOS and modify a setting or two so that the system doesn’t run the fans at full steam when a card inserted right? Wrong! That would be the logical assumption and design choice to make so you know they didn’t make it that easy. Read on below to understand how I finally got this system to quiet down. The info below is compiled from many sources and some of my own figuring out, just though it would be helpful to have it all in one place.

Step 1: Enable IPMI
For this step enter your Dell servers setup/config screen and get to the remote access configuration/iDRAC setup. In the iDRAC setup you need to do all of the standard stuff like assigning an IP and setting user credentials etc, but you MUST also turn set “Enable IPMI over LAN” to yes. This setting is crucial to completing the steps below successfully.

Step 2: Get IPMI tools
Linux users can use their preferred package/distribution method to obtain ipmitool while Windows users will need to grab the Dell OpenManage BMC Utility and get it installed.

Next, open up and command prompt and navigate to the directory the BMC utility installed to, on my system this was: C:\Program Files (x86)\Dell\SysMgt\bmc\

From there go you will see several files, the program that we are using here is ipmitool.exe. Go ahead and run ipmitools.exe without any switches/arguments just to make sure its installed and working.

Step 3:
The third and final step is essentially ‘the fix’. This is where you can check the status, and then disable or enable the systems cooling response to third party cards that are installed on the PCIe bus. This part was a little frustrating at first because I was working in the right direction and was just about there but the commands weren’t being sent or interpreted the way the should have been.

You must use the lanplus option instead of lan but it is important to note that lanplus does NOT work unless you’ve enabled the “Enable IPMI over LAN” setting that I mentioned back in step 1. The non-intuitive part about that was that although I was running the right command aside from lan vs lanplus, I really didn’t get any clear feedback as to why the command wouldn’t “take”.

Anyhow, here is the base command which you need to acquaint yourself with:

ipmitool -I lanplus -H ipaddress -U root -P password raw

Obviously you will need to substitute your own iDRAC ip, user, and password. After that, just tack on one of the three commands below.

Disable Third-Party PCIe Card Default Cooling Response:
ipmitool -I lanplus -H ipaddress -U root -P password raw 0x30 0xce 0x00 0x16 0x05 0x00 0x00 0x00 0x05 0x00 0x01 0x00 0x00

Enable Third-Party PCIe Card Default Cooling Response:
ipmitool -I lanplus -H ipaddress -U root -P password raw 0x30 0xce 0x00 0x16 0x05 0x00 0x00 0x00 0x05 0x00 0x00 0x00 0x00

To check the current third party PCIe card default cooling setting:
ipmitool -I lanplus -H ipaddress -U root -P password raw 0x30 0xce 0x01 0x16 0x05 0x00 0x00 0x00

This response means disabed:
16 05 00 00 00 05 00 01 00 00

This response means enabled:
16 05 00 00 00 05 00 00 00 00

After disabling the third party cooling response my system went from the previously mentioned 15K RPM mark down to a user verified sane noise level/speed of around 6K RPM.

A key takeaway and disappointment for me is that in this day and age of widespread standards and simplicity, things are becoming increasingly proprietary and complex.


29 thoughts on “Dell PowerEdge 13th Gen Fan Noise

  1. Just want to say thank you for this. We have a production server that we just installed a new NIC and more memory on last night, and couldn’t figure out why the fans were so loud after. We didn’t have the iDRAC set up at all and I didn’t want to take the server down again; so I installed the Dell OpenManage tools and configured iDRAC through there, and followed your tutorial. As soon I ran that command in step 3 I heard the server calm down. Just as you said, from 15,000+ RPM down to 5-6K (sounds normal now). You’re a lifesaver

  2. What is the command to slow down the fans if no 3rd party NIC is installed. I have 135 CPU dies installed & it runs to loud.

  3. Just want to thank you. You have solved a major problem for us. We installed a 730XD server at a customers office with an Intel P3600 SSD PciE drive and all fans were at around 17000 rpm and the server sounded like a jet. We almost gave up until I found your tread. Thank you!!!

  4. 0x30 0xce 0x00 0x16 0x05 0x00 0x00 0x00 0x05 0x00 0x01 0x00 0x00
    was a life/hearing saver ! 🙂


  5. Thank you thank you thank you!!!! Funny thing is that the NIC card I added was purchased from Dell… SMH…

  6. Thanks for this article! NOTE, for us we also had to update the Broadcom NIC to driver version 21.4.9 from stock version 7.X.X before this fix would work.

    You are a Life saver.

  7. I have R720, when I issue raw command in ipmitool,
    it says unable to send raw command, invalid command.
    Please help

  8. Thank you!!! From screaming to a whisper. I had to enter the command twice for it to take but still worked. Thanks for taking the time to write this article.

  9. I’m trying this on an R630 and get below anyhelp appreciated!

    c:\Program Files (x86)\Dell\SysMgt\bmc>ipmitool -I lanplus -H -U root -P raw “0x00 0x00 0x05 0x00 0x01 0x00 0x00”
    1 [main] ipmitool 3692 find_fast_cwd: WARNING: Couldn’t compute FAST_CWD pointer. Please report this problem to
    the public mailing list
    RAW Commands: raw [data]

    Network Function Codes:

    0 0x00 Chassis
    2 0x02 Bridge
    4 0x04 SensorEvent
    6 0x06 Application
    8 0x08 Firmware
    10 0x0a Storage
    12 0x0c Transport

    (can also use raw hex values)

  10. R720 owners, manual fan speed override

    raw 0x30 0x30 0x01 0x00 -> enable

    raw 0x30 0x30 0x02 0xff 0x10 -> fixed fan speed

  11. Works on Dell r730xd
    Enable manual fan control: ipmitool raw 0x30 0x30 0x01 0x00
    Disable manual fan control: ipmitool raw 0x30 0x30 0x01 0x01
    Set manual fan speed step: ipmitool raw 0x30 0x30 0x02 0xff 0x??

    ??= hex value of percentage. Google decimal to hex conversion and 45=2D
    so to set speed at 45%= ipmitool raw 0x30 0x30 0x02 0xff 0x2D

  12. Thank you so much for this article and fix! I just performed this on a Dell NX3230 after a pcie NVME adapter! Worked fantastically!

  13. My r720 fan rampped up to 90% when i added an nvidia P40. My neighbor thought we were flying an airplane. Thank goodness for your post! 🙂

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  15. I tried this last night and managed to get it working, but I noticed that my ejaculatory fluid was tinged with a bit of red. Kind of odd, but it’s probably nothing.

  16. Woohoo! I got a Dell 1U server recently and noticed that the fans were too loud compared to the rest of my rack. Followed this article and they are now super quiet! Thanks!

    This makes it so much easier to manage my work now. I am currently trying to sort through 40 TB of homosexual and transsexual porn that I have stored on my NAS server. It’s a lengthy process, and I’ve seen lots and lots of women with penises because of it, but the hard work will pay off. Then when I decide to “polish the knob”, I won’t have to sift through countless videos with sex positions that don’t appeal to me.

  17. Wow thank you for this! Genius idea! My R7XXs were screaming like a jet engine and wasn’t sure what I was going to do with them. Luckily, I was able to get this working and they are whisper quiet now.

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