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Coil whine, need help pinpointing what it could be. Very loud.

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April 4, 2013 2:04:32 PM

Hey all, quick background. I recently upgraded by Motherboard and Video card.
MB: Asus P8-Z77-V LK
Video Card - XFX Double D Radeon HD 7870

Now, for a month everything was working fine, until 2 nights ago I started to hear what sounded like nails on a chalkboard, or coil whine, as others have pointed out in various threads/forums. I even heard someone else's computer through youtube making the coil whine effect, and it is in fact the exact same sound I am having.

The problem for me in particular is this : It happens when the system isn't doing anything heavy. When I'm on the computer, as I am typing, the coil whines pretty consistently(its a bit intermittent, but its very frustrating), but whenever I boot up a graphics intensive game, the whine stops. Not sure why.

Either way, I've been trying to isolate the problem, here's what I have done:

-Replaced the PSU( THREE TIMES I might add, and the reason is a story for a whole other time), as I had recently got a new one. Alas, still coil whine, must not have been the PSU

-Stopped by fans to make sure it wasn't the fan, it wasn't

-Replaced my new 7870 video card, with my old XFX Radeon HD 5770. When I did that, I got down on the floor with my tower, put my ear up to the video card, and I could still hear it intermittently, but no where NEAR as loud as when the 7870 was there. In fact, it's so quiet, I wouldn't ever hear it if I wasn't looking for it. So who's to say my previous card didn't do it before?

-I put my new 7870 back in, and the coil whine is back to being really loud.

Now, I'm trying to figure out if this is a motherboard issue, or a Video Card issue. I would assume GPU, but the coil whine was still happening with my old card, albeit VERY quiet and intermittent(and it was the exact same sound as the previous coil whine, just quieter, so I know it wasn't the fan).

So either my old card always did it and it was too quiet to know, or the motherboard is causing the coil whine with these 2 GPUs.

My money is on the GPU. What do you all think?

I've tried disabling C-states like I've seen in a previous thread, and that didn't help. Even tried playing with the power management settings that others have said, that didn't help either.

Any help would be GREATLY appreciated as I'm going crazy here.

Thanks all.
a b U Graphics card
a b V Motherboard
April 4, 2013 2:28:30 PM

AMD cards always had coil whine (and the new 7xxx series is reputable for that) Only certain PSU GPU combo will work without doing any noise but it's not certified at 100% even if you pick the same model as another guy that don,t have this problem with this perticular harware...

There's no real solution for that as i know...

PS: Owned AMD cards X850Pro, X1950Pro, HD3850, Hd4670, HD5770, HD6970 and they all had coil whine, ALL... I found that Sapphire and ASUS cards are less annoying, they have some whine but not that bad... I had now changed to NVIDIA (had Dual 560ti and now a single 680) and i've not experienced Coil Whine on those 3 cards...
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April 4, 2013 2:31:23 PM

Ah, I see. I'm receiving so many mixed solutions. Some say GPU, others say motherboard.
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a b U Graphics card
a b V Motherboard
April 4, 2013 3:03:10 PM

Armisael191 said:
Ah, I see. I'm receiving so many mixed solutions. Some say GPU, others say motherboard.


I never owned a motherboard that as a Coil whine on it (i'm surprised some have !!)
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April 4, 2013 5:33:02 PM

Update:

Went out and bought a GTX 660 TI. So far no coil whine. Maybe it was the GPU. Although, my 7870 didn't do it for over a month, so who knows?
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April 4, 2013 7:47:34 PM

After sitting with my ear up close to the new card, I can now say that the coil whine is still there, only about as quiet as the old card.

So,
5770 - Coil Whine, but so quiet I never would've heard it without me putting my ear up to it.
7870- Coil Whine, extremely loud and very aggrivating
GTX 660 TI - Coil Whine, but so quiet I never would've heard it without putting my ear up to it.

3 different cards, 2 different brands.

Gotta be motherboard. Will be returned the 660 TI tomorrow and buying a new Motherboard to see if that fixes the issue.
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a b U Graphics card
a b V Motherboard
April 4, 2013 7:54:33 PM

Good luck, please returns if that solved the problem, i'm curious about this (motherboard coil whine issue)
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April 8, 2013 9:12:12 PM

Alright, here I am with an update. tl;dr at bottom.

Bought a new mobo, Gigabyte GA-Z77X-UD3H

No fix. After 5-10 minutes of my comp being on, the coil whine started while idle. I get very frustrated. I start to look at the catalyst software suite, I monitor my GPU. Whenever the coil whine starts(which is when my comp is idle, it is SILENT when I am playing games), the activity, and temperature raises on my GPU. The second the whine stops, the activity and temperature drop back down. So I think "It's definitely the video card then".

So as I wait for XFX(whose support sucks btw), I decide to start looking up some other things. I thought to myself "what is one of the things I changed in my CPU shortly before this started happening", then I realized I bought a new SSD and HDD.

After reading reviews on the SSD I bought(it had over 400 reviews and a 4 star rating and it was an OCZ Tech SSD), I saw a lot of people complaining about having problems with it within a couple days to a couple weeks of owning it. I dug deeper, looked up "SSD coil whine" and found some interesting threads where others have stated that they had major coil whine, but ONLY when their SSD was hooked up. I thought this was crazy because the SSD has no moving parts. So, what do I do? I go out and buy another SSD, hook it up, and going on 2 hours now so far without a single coil whine(it always happens in 5-10 minutes on the previous SSD). So I unhook my new one, hook up my old one, BAM, coil whine.

It seems the SSD IS the issue, as crazy as it sounds. Has anyone else heard of this before? I'm guessing something is being transmitted through the PSU from the SSD to cause this coil whine. Must be a defect in the SSD.

Either way, as of right now, the problem has been solved. If anything happens within the next few days, I'll come back and update.

tl;dr SSD seems to be the issue. Bought a new one, no more coil whine.

P.S. Can software cause coil whine? Maybe it's something installed on the old SSD? I could always try reformatting it to see if that would fix anything.
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a b U Graphics card
a b V Motherboard
April 8, 2013 10:30:17 PM

I was not aware of any SSD producing Coil Whine !!!! I'm really surprised !!!

Maybe you could try to update to the latest firmware, then format, maybe that would resolve the issue...
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April 8, 2013 11:39:55 PM

I have the latest firmware for that SSD. It's the Vertex 4 from OCZ. I'm going to keep running my new SSD from intel and see what happens.
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April 9, 2013 2:08:26 PM

UPDATE:
After reformatting the SSD that was causing the coil whine, I'm not receiving any coil whine now.
I haven't been using it for an extended amount of time since the reformat. i'm still going to try and return it and get a refund, as it could begin the coil whine again at anytime.
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a b U Graphics card
a b V Motherboard
April 9, 2013 7:55:09 PM

Nice to know that your problem is finally solved !!
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!