Certain gaming consoles have long been plagued with noise complaints. Users have noted whirring and even ticking sounds coming from the console itself, but that’s not even mentioning the kind of weird noises that can come from the power supply. However, loud Xbox fans are, perhaps, the worst offenders. So if you wanted to learn how to fix a noisy Xbox fan, you’ve come to the right place.
Of course, before you get to the bottom of the problem, you should understand why some Xbox fans are as loud as they are. Additionally, you should learn what makes the fan such a necessary component of any gaming console in the first place.
Why Is Your Xbox Fan So Loud?
Several things could be causing the fan inside your gaming console to sound off. Most of the time, the noise is triggered by a particularly demanding piece of software. It also tends to get louder over time. However, some sounds could be the result of a flaw in the manufacturing process.
As some Xbox users have noted, Microsoft doesn’t have a great track record with their gaming console releases. Many of them have noisy fans right off the bat. Some people have even likened the sound their Xbox is capable of making to that of a helicopter takeoff. That certainly can’t be the result of overtaxing outdated hardware with games that are too demanding.
So your console may become louder over time because it can’t handle new games. On the other hand, it may be noisy because you haven’t cleaned it in a while. Of course, neither of those explanations accounts for units that start making noise as soon as you take them out of the box. In those instances, the more likely reason would be manufacturing or even shipping mishaps.
Sadly, if someone dropped your Xbox during shipping, there’s a good chance that you won’t be able to replace it. So you might as well learn how to fix whatever was broken yourself.
After all, you shouldn’t have to put up with unnecessary noise, particularly if you’re used to playing games in silence. Even if you’re comfortable with wearing headphones while gaming, you may have testy neighbors or small children that won’t like having to put up with the whirring sounds.
Is the Fan That Important?
Everything we’ve established so far might make you wonder why you shouldn’t just remove your console’s fan the moment it starts making noise. So let’s take a moment to explain why that isn’t possible. After all, fans play a crucial role in gaming consoles.
Like computers, gaming consoles are pieces of hardware that are made to run software — e.g., video games. But much like any other electrical device, these consoles have an expiration date.
Software and hardware engineers tend to push each other toward technological advances. Each new generation of devices has better graphics cards, more powerful processing units, and, yes, more capable fans than the previous one. Most of the time, those components aren’t upgradeable.
So while you might be able to change a noisy laptop fan, you’ll probably be stuck with the one that’s built into your Xbox. Ultimately, that makes it pretty much impossible to run brand new games on a console you got five years ago.
Even when you use the newest Xbox model, the fan will start running to keep the internal temperature of the device low. After all, if it rises past a certain threshold, the system will likely shut off, potentially costing you your game. New games place heavier demands on the resources of a console than old ones did. So the internal cooling components have to work overtime to catch up.
And that’s why you can’t simply take out the fan and be done with it. If you did so, your console would simply stop working!
How to Fix a Noisy Xbox Fan
Since you’re already here, I’ll assume that you’re not about to let your Xbox expire because of a noisy fan. So let’s see what you can do to bring the noise down to a minimum.
1. Make Sure the Noise Is Coming From the Fan
Before you start tinkering with the internal components of your Xbox, you might want to check where the offending sound is coming from. As I have previously mentioned, some Xbox models also have a problem with noisy power supply units. Fortunately, figuring out which component is behind the noise should be pretty easy.
The easiest way to do it is by listening for the direction of the noise. If both the console and the power supply brick are in the same general area, get closer to each of them in turn. But if you still can’t distinguish between them, at least try to put a name to the kind of noise you’re hearing.
Is it whirring or whooshing sounds? If so, the fan is the most likely culprit. Most tech people would tell you that the sound is nothing to worry about, but you can still do something about it if you’d rather not hear it every time you turn on the console.
On the other hand, if the sound you’re hearing is more electrical, like a persistent buzzing noise, you can blame the power cable. To get to the bottom of that issue, you could follow the same steps you would use for figuring out noises coming from a laptop charger. After all, the two components have the same purpose, and some of the same parts as well. And if push comes to shove, you can just buy a new cable for your Xbox model.
Lastly, you might also hear a ticking sound, which may be caused by fan blade misalignment. The fan blades could be spinning at an angle, causing them to continually bump against surrounding surfaces. But before you go looking for evidence of that, let’s start with the basics.
2. Clean the Fan With Compressed Air
The best way to keep your Xbox from becoming noisy is to clean it regularly. If your console is full of dust, the fan will have to work harder to cool the central processing unit. Unfortunately, spinning faster only increases the dust intake, which is what makes the fan louder and louder.
In addition to blocking the fan grates and thereby causing a temperature spike inside the console, dust can make noise in other ways. For example, if there are pieces of lint caught on the fan blades, they could be hitting the surrounding components with every fan rotation. So how can you prevent that from happening while allowing your console to cool itself?
As we have established, the simplest way to go about it would be to keep dust off and out of your console. To achieve that, you’ll need only two things — a microfiber cloth and a can of compressed air. Alternatively, you could also get one of those electric dusters if you don’t want to use pressurized spray cans.
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In any case, you’ll start with your microfiber cloth, gently wiping away the dust from the surface of the Xbox. To avoid pushing the dust into the ports and through the dust grates, just keep dragging the cloth in one direction. When you’ve dusted the top and sides of the device, attach the smallest nozzle you have to your spray can or electric duster.
Use short bursts of air to dislodge any dust that made it into the console. Continuous blasting might turn the fan blades, which may damage some internal components. Of course, even if you clean your Xbox like this twice a month, you’ll still need to do a more thorough sweep every once in a while.
3. Deep Clean Your Xbox
Even if you regularly blow dust away from your Xbox, some of it will end up inside the device. That’s why you should perform a deeper clean of your console every other month or so.
To begin with, you’ll first have to turn your Xbox off and unplug it from its power supply and any other devices it’s hooked up to. Bring it to a flat and clean work station in the garage or even outside. Take a microfiber cloth and a clean dusting brush (like the kind that comes with a dustpan) with you. Additionally, you might have to use a smaller tool like a toothbrush in some areas.
Before you crack open your console, take a second to look at videos of other people disassembling the same model. For example, this video should be helpful to anyone with an Xbox One S device:
Better still, grab your Xbox instructions and see if opening the console will negate any warranty you might have. If you’re sure you want to proceed, get a slim and narrow flathead screwdriver.
Now, some Xbox models are held together by clips and others are screwed together. If you have the former type, you’ll start by gently prying the bottom tray off with the screwdriver. Alternatively, if you have the latter kind, use your screwdriver to loosen the screws that are holding it together.
As you take off each part of the outer shell, move it away from the main part of the console and dust it off with your brush. If you’ve been using the compressed air trick regularly, these outermost parts probably won’t have much dust on them. Still, as you get deeper into the unit, you’ll find more lint.
4. Disassemble the Fan to Check for Flaws
While you’re thoroughly cleaning your Xbox, you might want to check it for flaws and damage. You won’t be able to see the potential results of any shipping mishaps that might have happened any other way. However, if you do dismantle the fan, you might void the console’s warranty.
Once you start taking the device apart layer by layer, you should reach the fan fairly quickly. If you’ve had the Xbox in question for a while, it’ll probably be a bit dusty. After you clean the fan, you could take it out to give it a closer look.
Now, if you want to disassemble the fan, you’ll have to remove the sticker that protects the bearing in the middle of the fan case. As shown in the video, you can use a slim, flat tool to pry that off:
However, removing that sticker will signal to the manufacturer that you have tampered with the device. That would absolve them of the responsibility they have to fix any issues, so don’t do it if you’re planning to fall back on the warranty.
If that’s not something you’re worried about, you’ll have to use special pliers to take the snap ring off. In the video above, you’ll see the different components that hold the Xbox fan together. Pay special attention to the small tapered spring between the blades and their housing.
If the blades are slightly loose, they might produce ticking sounds while spinning. Stretching that spring out before putting everything back as it was should increase the fan’s resistance. Hopefully, that will keep the blades steady and eliminate the noise.
5. Replace the Fan With a Silent One
A closer inspection of your Xbox fan may prove that it has sustained physical damage. If the blades or their housing are cracked, the only thing left to do is find a suitable replacement. Sadly, that may be more difficult than you’d think.
One YouTube tech expert recommends using a Nexus 70mm silent fan but you should be able to use any 70mm product. It should be noted that these products aren’t technically made for Xbox consoles. Since some units have larger fans, you should take the time to measure the original fan that came with your console before ordering a replacement.
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When you get the fan you want, installing it should be as simple as taking the original one out and dropping the new one in. Then, you’ll just need to connect the wires as shown in the video and screw everything back in as it was.
If you don’t secure everything after installing the new fan, it might continue tapping against the surrounding parts. Still, that issue has a simple solution. If the fan has too much wiggle room, put some rubber foam tape wherever it comes into contact with other internal components of the console.
So now you know how to make your Xbox fan run more quietly. However, there are other things you could do to make it work as smoothly as possible. To begin with, though, let’s talk about some pieces of Internet wisdom you should ignore.
What Not to Do With a Noisy Xbox
If you’ve been looking into ways to keep your Xbox fan quiet, you might have come across some questionable advice. There are two tips you definitely shouldn’t use. Whatever you do, don’t put your Xbox in a box and don’t get an external cooling device.
Don’t Put Your Xbox in a Box
As we have established, the internal fan inside your Xbox is there to keep the hardware cool, allowing it to function normally. However, if you’ve ever tried to make any kind of electric device quieter, you probably wanted to lock it up in an impenetrable box. Out of sight, out of mind, right? That’s basically what building a soundproof box is all about.
Of course, if your Xbox is overheating enough to send the fan into overdrive, that hot air will need to escape somehow. A box would get in the way of that, even if it would muffle the noise somewhat. So don’t build a special case for your Xbox or put it away in your TV stand.
Don’t Get an External Cooling Device
Now let’s talk about the second tip you should feel free to ignore. Some people reason that, if the internal Xbox fan needs some help, you should get an external cooling device that plugs into the console. Unfortunately, there are a few things that are wrong with that idea:
- For one, most of these devices are simply ineffectual
- For another, external fans tend to add to the overall amount of noise in the room
Why should you risk increasing the volume of noise when that’s the exact thing you’re trying to prevent? Even if an external cooling component does decrease the temperature of your gaming console, it wouldn’t solve your problem. However, there are still some tips that may help your chances!
Additional Tips to Make Your Xbox Fan Quieter
So what are the tips you should follow instead of the ones I’ve mentioned above? Well, the most important thing you can do to make your Xbox fan quieter is provide plenty of air circulation. You’ll just have to find a good spot for it by:
- Keeping it off the floor. That kind of solid surface makes it difficult for the hot air to dissipate.
- Moving it to a cooler location in the room, like near a window or a hallway. That will depend on your game room setup.
- Making sure the console has plenty of space all around it, even if you need to keep it on a vertical stand. Just make sure the stand you get is compatible with the Xbox model you have.
- Lowering the temperature of the room either by cranking the AC or by using a quiet fan. As long as the fan itself doesn’t add to the noise, you’ll be good to go.
- Pointing a quiet desk fan right at your Xbox. That should keep the console cool and do it more quietly than an external cooling add-on would.
Not keeping your console on the floor would also prevent dust from entering it and making a noisy Xbox fan even louder. A simple dust cover could combat that issue. Just know that you’ll have to take it off while you’re gaming — otherwise, you’d lose air circulation.
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If your Xbox fan is already loud enough to distract you while you’re gaming, you might have to make your peace with it. Even if you thoroughly clean it for the first time after months of use, the initial neglect might have had a lasting effect. If that’s the case, you could try to keep everyone else in your building from hearing the noise by soundproofing your gaming room.
What’s more, you could also use a soundproof headset with a noise isolating mic. That would keep both you and your gaming buddies from hearing the sound of your Xbox fan struggling. But ultimately, all you need to do to keep your Xbox working quietly is shield it from dust right off the bat.