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8800GT coil whine?

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April 10, 2008 4:44:50 PM

I just upgraded to a MSI 8800GT OC from my old 256mb 8600GT, and everything seemed to be working without a hitch until I pulled the side of my case off yesterday to adjust something. The card is constantly emitting a quiet high pitched whine of sorts that varies depending on the load. I know it's not coming from the fan and it doesn't sound like it's coming from the power conditioning part of the board, but rather closer to the monitor connection side. I did contact MSI about it and their tech support claims its normal, so I've since been trying to figure out how to eliminate the noise.

Google came up with a load of the same problem for people with the GTX, but not so much the GT. I tried holding an eraser to the larger capacitors and inductors to try and stop vibration as some people suggested, but that didn't seem to help at all. Oddly, when I disable my second monitor the noise goes away almost entirely unless there is a heavy load on the card. This seems to indicate that input power is the problem, but I checked the supply with a meter and under heavy load the 12V rail is sitting at about 12.11V with very little ripple. Is there anyone else with this issue or some advice on fixing it? I'm trying to avoid the RMA route for now because I don't want to wait 2 weeks and pay shipping just to get another card that does the same thing, and aside from the whine (which I can't really hear over the fans) the card works flawlessly.

System specs:
GA-P35-DS3L Rev. 2
E6750 (stock)
MSI NX8800GT 512MB OC
2x 1GB Kingston 800MHz RAM
Thermaltake Purepower 2.0 500W supply
2x 17" monitors @ 1280x1024

More about : 8800gt coil whine

April 10, 2008 5:30:43 PM

I know the card would whine loudly if there wasn't enough power going to it..but it seems as though your power supply fits the job. But check this out, my 8800GT actually does whine very very very slightly under a very specific condition, its that or I just never really noticed it in other scenarios. Whenever I opened Hellgate London and only when I was at the main menu my BFG 8800GT Oc would make a very slight squeal noise. Anywhere else under heavy load/desktop/other games, nothing, no noise. It was strange but something that I don't even think about.
a b Î Nvidia
April 10, 2008 8:45:01 PM

bildo123 said:
I know the card would whine loudly if there wasn't enough power going to it..but it seems as though your power supply fits the job. But check this out, my 8800GT actually does whine very very very slightly under a very specific condition, its that or I just never really noticed it in other scenarios. Whenever I opened Hellgate London and only when I was at the main menu my BFG 8800GT Oc would make a very slight squeal noise. Anywhere else under heavy load/desktop/other games, nothing, no noise. It was strange but something that I don't even think about.


I am of the opinion that it is the power supply that is the problem. Im getting two variations when i google it. Can you tell us what you have on the 12v rails.
My thinking was and is like bildo123 says, The card will whine if its not drawing enough power but im thinking that it is drawing enough power but under protest. This could set up a vibration effect like you mentioned.
Something else that comes to mind is when you mention shutting down the second monitor causes the noise to go away again seems to sugest its power related. Do you have one or both of your monitors being powered using a pass through cable at the back of your computer ?
Mactronix
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April 10, 2008 10:23:10 PM

Here's everything I have in the system that I didn't already list:
160GB SATA HDD
250GB SATA HDD
DVD burner (PATA)
CD burner (PATA)
2x variable speed 120mm fan
1x variable speed 80mm fan (powered off the motherboard)

Both monitors and the computer are hooked up to a 540W UPS (no pass through), and the UPS interface has never reported more than 240W being used. I did consider that the power supply was the problem, but the fact that it's putting out a steady voltage on the 12V rail suggests otherwise (there is still some drop, it goes from 12.25V to about 12.1V under load). This still doesn't rule out the supply though, and I'm probably pushing it pretty close to its limit at full power. The specs for the supply say that it has 2 rails (+12V1 and +12V2) rated at 14A and 15A and the card calls for 26A (according to MSI). I'm not really sure how they actually distinguish between rails though, because as far as I can tell all of the 12V connections are all tied together inside the supply.

When I do have my second monitor disabled (actually disabling the output, not just turning the monitor off) the whining seems to follow the same pattern I've seen from others: it's quiet unless I'm running something with a very high frame rate (such as ATITool). Of course, this also points to the supply being an issue, but unfortunately I don't have another supply to test this. If I can get my hands on one and verify that that's the problem, then I'll probably be in the market for a new PSU.
April 10, 2008 11:36:50 PM

The fan is hitting the cover of the heatsink. You can easily remove the cover by unscrewing it.
a b Î Nvidia
April 11, 2008 8:37:35 AM

tekzor said:
The fan is hitting the cover of the heatsink. You can easily remove the cover by unscrewing it.


I guess it could be something as simple as this, assuming the fan may have a slight unballance that shows up more at higher speeds when the card is under load. Its worth trying before anything else that would be more costly.
The thing with the power supply that bothers me is the rails are 2 rails (+12V1 and +12V2) rated at 14A and 15A. Now this adds up to 29 but as it dosent work like that i have been trying to find out what the wattage on both rails is but have had no luck. As you may know the actual output is normally lower than the sum of both rails. (Watts divided by 12 = Amps).
Its kind of a tricky call as MSI claim its normal. Hopefully some MSI users will respond an dlet you know if their cards do the same.
Failing that I guess you need to decide if the expence of a new PSU only to find out the card still does it is worth it. :) 
Mactronix
April 12, 2008 7:07:40 PM

I actually checked the fan to make sure it couldn't hit anything before I even plugged the card in, and stopping the fan does nothing, so I know that's not the problem. As for the supply, I think I've ruled that out as well. A friend let me borrow one of his supplies with more than enough power for this card (1000W) and the whine was still there. In the past few days a couple of reviews on Newegg have popped up mentioning the noise and those users seem to think it's normal as well. I guess I'll just have to take MSI's word for it and assume nothing is wrong with the card, as I don't think it's worth the wait or money to try and get a new one that may do the exact same thing. It's not really a problem in terms of noise, as I can't hear it over the fans anyways, I'd just like to be sure that my new investment isn't going to blow up on me :) .
April 13, 2008 4:20:44 AM

superdeformed said:
I just upgraded to a MSI 8800GT OC from my old 256mb 8600GT, The card is constantly emitting a quiet high pitched whine of sorts that varies depending on the load.


Voltage regulation circuitry producing audible vibrations during routine operation is indicative of an impending capacitance fail state due to microscopic shorts and/or trace breaks. Most likely triggered by your use of the 2nd output and recent handling.

Causes are many and handling is one, so are moonbeams and cosmic rays. Risks include fire and damage to other components, also electrocution. All electricity carries those risks, but in your particular case, it's reminding you.

RMA, even if it was due to handling. Before you can't.

/dun dun dunnnnnn
April 23, 2008 9:30:24 PM

Well I decided to RMA the card for replacement and also picked up a new supply with more power on the 12V rails. I got the new card yesterday, plugged it in, and it was at least twice as loud as the old one. The thing was screaming with everything I did and was more than loud enough for me to hear over the case fans, so that one's already on its way back to Newegg. I decided to just return it and go with a different brand. Hopefully I'll have better luck with a reference card, and I have a different heatsink to put on it if I think it's really necessary. It's possible there was just a bad batch of cards, but I don't think I'll be going back to MSI any time soon.
April 24, 2008 2:46:21 PM

If it was twice as load are you SURE you connected the PCI-E connector? I remember when I volt modded my 8800GT and forgot to plug the PCI-E connector. When I pressed the power button and made this ear drum wrenching squeal and I thought I fried my card or something. Then I released the PCI-E connector wasn't plugged in.
April 24, 2008 7:26:45 PM

bildo123 said:
If it was twice as load are you SURE you connected the PCI-E connector?


Absolutely positive. It sounded about the same as the first card until I loaded up a game, at which point it just started squealing and didn't stop until the program was closed (and yes I made sure it wasn't the fan). I even tried the other supply to make sure the new one wasn't causing the problem. The power stage on the board was also getting significantly hotter than on the first card. After a few minutes of loading the board itself was too hot to touch, and all of this was with only one monitor enabled. There may not have been anything majorly wrong with the first card, but the second one was definitely a dud.
April 25, 2008 12:38:58 AM

superdeformed said:
I just upgraded to a MSI 8800GT OC from my old 256mb 8600GT, and everything seemed to be working without a hitch until I pulled the side of my case off yesterday to adjust something. The card is constantly emitting a quiet high pitched whine of sorts that varies depending on the load. I know it's not coming from the fan and it doesn't sound like it's coming from the power conditioning part of the board, but rather closer to the monitor connection side. I did contact MSI about it and their tech support claims its normal, so I've since been trying to figure out how to eliminate the noise.

Google came up with a load of the same problem for people with the GTX, but not so much the GT. I tried holding an eraser to the larger capacitors and inductors to try and stop vibration as some people suggested, but that didn't seem to help at all. Oddly, when I disable my second monitor the noise goes away almost entirely unless there is a heavy load on the card. This seems to indicate that input power is the problem, but I checked the supply with a meter and under heavy load the 12V rail is sitting at about 12.11V with very little ripple. Is there anyone else with this issue or some advice on fixing it? I'm trying to avoid the RMA route for now because I don't want to wait 2 weeks and pay shipping just to get another card that does the same thing, and aside from the whine (which I can't really hear over the fans) the card works flawlessly.

System specs:
GA-P35-DS3L Rev. 2
E6750 (stock)
MSI NX8800GT 512MB OC
2x 1GB Kingston 800MHz RAM
Thermaltake Purepower 2.0 500W supply
2x 17" monitors @ 1280x1024


I don't know if its any help but my graphics card makes a similar noise to what you've described while under 3d load, which can change in volume and pitch depending on whats on the screen at the time. This was back in like june last year when i bought the card (7900gt) second hand, installed it and heard a not-so-loud but still definetly audible 'squealing' kind of noise. I checked the power connector, reseated the card, etc etc and the noise has never gone away. A change of cooler to a much better zalman model didn't change anything either. I thought the card would be flaky and die on me but this never happened and its been very stable even with a heavy overclock. At the time i got the card and discovered this noise i put in something like 'squealing noise graphics card' into google, and i got quite a few relevant hits. The opinion was that yes either a capacitor or voltage regulator was at fault (imperfectly manufactured) and that the card could either quickly die or carry on just fine regardless. I remember reading some posts on some forum somewhere from people with 'noisey' cards that were working normally albeit with a little disconcerting noise being produced from them. You've rma'd the card so it doesn't matter anymore but i would like to say that this does happen sometimes and is not necesarily a sign of impending doom. Mines working fine almost a year after purchase, and even then was second hand. Cheers
April 28, 2008 5:58:27 PM

@superdeformed
I've got the BFG 8800 GT OC, but snatched the stock cooler and changed it out from the beginning, which relieved the card of supplying the voltage to the stock cooling fan, cause the after market cooler plugs into the P/S itself.

[Just a thought]I'm wondering if relieving the card from supplying the voltage to run the cooling fan is actually supplying the possible missing voltage that could be causing the whine.

Even though different companies have slapped their names on the cards and sometimes used different stock coolers, the board layout is basically the same, and my BFG has never made any type of sound like that.

However it has really never run the stock cooler either and supplied the voltage to it, so I'm wondering if that could possibly be the cards problem.

That in a stock configuration the power its drawing is borderline to its optimal needs when its also supplying the voltage to run the stock video cards cooling fan.

And is the P/S really delivering what the card actually needs?

Two bad cards would tend to point to something else being wrong in the system configuration, like an inadequate power supply.

My 2 cents. Ryan
!