The bottom of the notebook features a 230mm (~9.05in) ventilation strip that stretches just over the CPU fan and M.2 SSD and the top of the notebook battery. The fan can get quite loud during heavy productivity use, though it will make a modest humming noise while playing video with a few other programs open at the same time.
When we first unboxed the notebook, the fan was exceptionally loud and almost intolerable for long periods of time. This was a bit surprising for a Kaby Lake notebook, as we expected the chip’s second-gen Speed Shift feature and further optimized 14nm+ process would be enough to keep it running well below the configurable 25W TDP-up power limit and 100C Tjunction.
We tried searching the HP community forums for similar issues and discovered that many users have been experiencing high fan noise issues with Spectre x360 units since spring 2015, when the first models were released with Broadwell-U options. While the nose levels were a potential barrier of ownership at the time, some users discovered a quick fix in Windows power options that mitigates the loud fan noise in most usage scenarios, though it may still return under certain workload demands.
In the Power Options menu, there is a list of custom power plans that can be toggled depending on usage patterns. Under the Advanced power settings, there is an option called “Processor power management” that defines a “System cooling policy.” By changing this policy from “Active” to “Passive,” the system will slow down the frequency of the processor before accelerating the fan speed. This is not only useful for power saving, but can also remove some unwanted noise during unplugged, mobile or tablet use.