Quieting a Dell R710

I have a Dell R710 rev. II that I use in my home office lab (homelab) running ESXi 6.5. The R710 sits in my office where my girl and I spend some days when we work from home. Normally the hum of the R710 fans isn’t terribly bothersome - the 5 fans it houses run at around 3,800 RPM each. The noise is definitely noticeable so I did a little bit of digging into ways I could quiet it down. After looking into replacing the fans with quieter ones I found that I could override the system control of the fans and silence them that way. While I have to monitor the onboard temperatures more closely when disabled, I’ve found little downside to doing so when I’m in there. Here’s how to do it:

The commands used below assume default username / password of root / calvin. Hopefully you’ve changed the default password so substitute yours where applicable.

Step 1: Connect to the R710 iDrac using IPMI

brew install ipmitool

I’m using OS X on a MacBook Pro for this example, but ipmitool is available for linux as RPMs, PKGs, etc.

Step 2: Verify we can connect using IPMi

ipmitool -H 192.168.0.X -U root -P calvin -I lan chassis power status
Chassis Power is on

If you get this result it means you can successfully connect to your R710’s iDrac

Step 3: Disable system control of the fans

ipmitool -H -U root -P calvin raw 0x30 0x30 0x01 0x00

Disabling this doesn’t cause any alerts or errors.

Step 4: Turn down the fan speed

ipmitool -H -U root -P calvin raw 0x30 0x30 0x02 0xff 0x02

You should hear the fans spin down to a nice quiet 1,300 RPMs.

If you want to revert back to system control of the fans simply run this:

ipmitool -H -U root -P calvin raw 0x30 0x30 0x01 0x01

These commands do not persist after a reboot, so you’ll have to add them to a cron job or run them manually at system startup.

Use these commands at your own risk. There is no harm in running them but don’t complain to me if they cause your toenails fall off or something.