Dell 6430u updated to bios A10

Two days ago I did a new bios update on the notebook.

The process worked fine as usual and, again as usual, did not fix or improve the issue with the fan noise.
After 36 months with it I have to bear it for only 12 more months until the notebook is due to refresh.

A positive note about the 6430U: it does no longer trigger the security scanner in the Ben Gurion airport. Whatever the chemical that was there it is now completely evaporated.

Dell 6430u updated to bios A05: no joy with the fan noise yet

I’m using dell’s 6430u for a few months now and went through 4 bios updates, but the excessive fan noise issue is still present even with release A05.

The dell tool (system utility application) suggested in a support thread didn’t helped either.

Dell has now publicly acknowledged that there was a manufacturing issue with the fan of the 6430u: the next time that I’ll be not traveling for a while I’ll open a call to get the fan fixed/replaced: fingers crossed.

Delle 6430U and airport IONSCAN system did not played nicely together

From time to time happens to each frequent flyer that the hand luggage gets tested for various substances.
It happened to me a number of time and until recently it was always a minor slow down: a piece of white fabric (or fablic-like material) is rubbed against the luggage, but in the machine and then after a few seconds I moved head.

Until I got my luggage including the 6430U tested one week ago.
The IONSCAN machine turned the writings on the screen to red and I suddenly gained a lot of attention.
All of my personal belongings then got scanned a few more times in the x-ray machine and with the IONSCAN system, I got carefully checked with and hand-held metal detector and then by hand.
The personnel was very rigorous in the checks but professional and always kind.

After the process was completed and I had answered a lot of questions about what I had done during my trip I was told that everything was fine with the sole exception of the notebook.
This meant that it had to be shipped and I could not keep it with me until my arrival at home.

The notebook got packaged in a box and shipped.
After about 3+2 hours of flight the box was completely destroyed: the people handling it was not really paying any attention to the clearly visible red labels stating “FRAGILE” and I was very happy that I have no mechanical drive inside the system.

Finger crossed for the next airport control!

The first day of mobility with the 6430u

Ina a recent post I shared my impressions after a week with the 6430u.
Today I share the diary of my first day-long use tentatively on battery during a trip in the UK.

The summary is:
the 6-cell battery is unlikely to provide a full day of work, the total use time on battery in the 24h I had was: 44+78+97+9+39+38=305 minutes with a total of 91% battery (55 before recharge + 36 afterward)
1) the intermediate recharge makes the test not directly comparable with a run to depletion, but I need to work with the notebook, so I could not take the risk of running out of battery in the middle of an activity.
2) the use of the 3G key increases significantly the consumption compared to the most common tests, but is representative of a real mobile use. Phone tethering would have saved some notebook power at the expense of the battery charge of the phone.
3) the McAfee activity may not be representative of the standard usage pattern once the notebook break-in is over.

Here is the detail:
7.50 put to sleep, 100%, disconnected power
9.08 powered up, 97%, 3G USB key, no wi-fi
9.15 went to power saver mode (max 30% CPU frequency, minimum screen backlight) from balanced, no change in estimated life: 4h41′.
9.52 85%, 41 minutes of 3G connection for a total of about 30MB, estimated life 4h39′, sent to sleep.
11.36 powered up, 83%, disabled the keyboard backlight that was on at minimum level before, started a VMware image. Most of the chrome tabs were dead citing memory issues: according to performance monitor 1.5GB are available and a spool file does exist.
11.54 78%, sent to sleep, estimate 4h23′
14.02 powered on, powered on wi-fi, 75%
14.40 McAfee security endpoint running on the disk like crazy for a while, fan spinning
15.05 McAfee still going crazy, customer noticed the noise, 56%
15.32 McAfee still going crazy, 47%, 2h43′ left according to windows
15.39 plugged in power, 45%, set to high performance in an attempt to help the MacAffee processing.
17.04 McAfee craziness is over, I don’t know exactly when it stopped 99% charged
17.36 100% charged, disconnected power
17.45 put to sleep
18.56 powererd on, turned off wi-fi, 95%
19.35 put to sleep, 85%
23.57 powered on, 81%, turned on wi-fi
00.12 fan spinning like mad even with a simple browsing use (20 tabs in chrome), Skype and outlook in background
00.16 end of fan craziness, 76%
00.22 fan back in action for no apparent reason, I’ve reduced the number of tabs in chrome since the previous event, 74%
00.27: fan stopped
00.35, putting to sleep, 71%, estimated runtime 5h16′
8.45, turned pc on. It went to hibernate during the night (I should check the setting) and I was greeted by a message telling me that it was not able to save all the memory content. So the restore from hibernate did not work and I had to restart losing unsaved work (nothing in my case). Turned wi-fi off, 64%

First week with the Dell Latitude 6430u

After over 4 years I got my notebook refreshed and moved from a Latitude D630 (core2duo 2ghz, 3GB of ram, 80Gb disk) to a Latitude 6430u (core i7 2Ghz, 8GB of ram, 256GB SSD) Good luck hunting for the detailed specs of the 6430u on Dell’s site as depending on the way you enter you may or may not find it (but the accessories yes!)
It took me a while to move all the relevant data from the old machine to the new but it’s now a couple of days that I’m using exclusively the new system.

On the positive side is:
1) the good expansion options; most ultrabooks don’t have any so it’s an easy win and for a system that should last 4 years a relevant thing
2) the decrease in weight; it is not a champion when compared with the other ultrabooks on the market or my old personal ultra-portable (Acre 3810T) but for the business category is a nice improvement
3) a comfortable backlit keyboard

On the negative side is the temperature and, closely related to this, is the fan noise.
I’ve read reviews on the network that praise the low-level of noise, but this is not my case: it’s most of the time on and fairly audible in an home-office environment even when setting the max CPU speed to the minimum possible (30%) and the cooling strategy to passive.
The standard feet are very thin (likely to keep the total height under the design limit) so the underside space to get the air flowing is very limited, raising it on the back (where all the electronic lies) is not helping.
When running heavy workloads (I have to often times) the fan noise gets absolutely nerve-breaking.

I’ve made already two BIOS updates (the system arrived with A01 and now I have A03) hoping to get this more under control as happened with other notebooks in the past, but this did not happen.

In short: if you plan to use it in a place with a low noise floor look somewhere else or wait until the fan issue is under control. Maybe a core i3 will generate less heat, even if the TDP on the paper is the same, and make the fan kick in infrequently.
If you’re always using it in a noisy place (open space with other people, airports, etc) fan is less of an annoyance.

I have a single day trip planned soon and will share my experience with the battery life afterwards.

Anyone with a success story on managing the heat and noise of this notebook is welcome to comment with advises.