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Computer fan creates an irritating, buzzing sound at random intervals.

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November 17, 2010 3:18:44 PM

Hi,

I got a new system assembled in September this year. Since the last two weeks, there is a weird buzzing sound [like that of a bee] emanating from inside the system at random intervals. It lasts for 4-5 seconds, and then stops only to occur again. Initially, I ignored it. But when it continued this way, I opened up the CPU while the system was running.

Now, there are two fans inside my CPU: a big one mounted vertically at the back [kind of like an exhaust fan] and a smaller one screwed horizontally on a heat sink [processor fan I suppose?]. I discovered that the sound was emanating from the processor fan. How did I know? Well, I waited for the buzzing sound to occur again and when it did, I placed a finger on the center of the fan. The fan stopped rotating and so did the buzzing sound.

The fan is screwed on to the heat sink. Initially, I thought that it might be rubbing against a rough surface. So I unscrewed it and took a peek underneath. But it seemed fine to me. Then, I cleaned the fan with a hair dryer. It didn’t have much of dust anyway as it’s just 2 months old. I also used the hair dryer to clean the top of the heat sink, then screwed the fan back on, and started the system. It was fine for a couple of minutes and then the buzzing sound materialized once again! And this continues to occur at random intervals even now.

I have experienced “noisy” computers before and I do understand that it’s normal for computers to be slightly noisy due to the cooling fans. However, this buzzing sound is something new to me. Can anyone diagnose this problem and help me get rid of the buzzing sound. It gets on my nerves, especially at nights while I am surfing.

My system configuration is as below:

AMD Athlon II X3 440 Processor on MSI 880GMA-E45 motherboard with 2GB Corsair DDR3 RAM

OS is Windows 7 Ultimate Ed. 32bit.

By the way, I had already enabled the "AMD Cool n Quiet" feature in my BIOS setup a long time ago.
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November 17, 2010 5:02:44 PM

If you are using cool n quiet is the sound occuring as the heat increases and the fan speeds up?

Could be the fan has developed a fault, noisy bearings which would possibly need replacing as will only get worse.

If it needs replacing and you are using a stock amd cooler you could replace with a better silent cooler?

Try plugging the fan directly into a socket without cool n quiet so it runs full speed.

If it makes the noise you know thats your problem.

Also when it makes the noise tap the centre of the fan while its spinning to see if you can get it to stop.

Again another sign that the fans had it.
November 18, 2010 2:56:42 AM

beanoslim said:
If you are using cool n quiet is the sound occuring as the heat increases and the fan speeds up?

Could be the fan has developed a fault, noisy bearings which would possibly need replacing as will only get worse.

If it needs replacing and you are using a stock amd cooler you could replace with a better silent cooler?

Try plugging the fan directly into a socket without cool n quiet so it runs full speed.

If it makes the noise you know thats your problem.

Also when it makes the noise tap the centre of the fan while its spinning to see if you can get it to stop.

Again another sign that the fans had it.


Well honestly, I wouldn't know just when the heat increases and the fan speeds up. To me, it always seems to run at the same speed. Is there a way to know or measure these things?

I don't have another system right now. I disabled AMD's "Cool n Quiet" feature in my BIOS setup a few minutes back. But this did not stop the buzzing sound. Just what is the purpose of Cool n Quiet?

Regarding noisy fan bearings, this is a brand new system anyway. So shouldn't the fan be running smoothly? I do remember that the heat sink and fan were part of the AMD processor package/kit.
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November 18, 2010 3:16:33 AM

Hi vanderluzt, Welcome to THW.

Quote:
what is the purpose of Cool n Quiet?


Cool n Quiet monitors the temprature's of your CPU and Case and when those temps start to increase or reach a certain level it will automatically speed up the fans to help reduce the temps to a desired level.

Quote:
Regarding noisy fan bearings, this is a brand new system anyway. So shouldn't the fan be running smoothly?

Fans can be built with a defect just like any other part, most will last their expected lifetime and some will fail right out of the box. When it comes to the cheaper style fans "sleeve bearing fans" they can begin to fail quickly and develope noises like buzzing and whining and this can be brought on faster if they are mounted in a horizontal position just because on the inferior design, but they are still made to produce a cheaper product as other fan bearing technology can be expensive.
November 18, 2010 3:34:55 AM

thechief73 said:
Hi vanderluzt, Welcome to THW.

Quote:
what is the purpose of Cool n Quiet?


Cool n Quiet monitors the temprature's of your CPU and Case and when those temps start to increase or reach a certain level it will automatically speed up the fans to help reduce the temps to a desired level.

Quote:
Regarding noisy fan bearings, this is a brand new system anyway. So shouldn't the fan be running smoothly?

Fans can be built with a defect just like any other part, most will last their expected lifetime and some will fail right out of the box. When it comes to the cheaper style fans "sleeve bearing fans" they can begin to fail quickly and develope noises like buzzing and whining and this can be brought on faster if they are mounted in a horizontal position just because on the inferior design, but they are still made to produce a cheaper product as other fan bearing technology can be expensive.


Thanks for the response. So should I keep Cool n Quiet enabled?

Is there no alternative other than replacing the fan?

And should I get only the fan replaced or the heat sink-fan combo? Can you suggest a good brand?
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November 18, 2010 5:12:37 AM

vanderluzt said:
Thanks for the response. So should I keep Cool n Quiet enabled?

Is there no alternative other than replacing the fan?

And should I get only the fan replaced or the heat sink-fan combo? Can you suggest a good brand?


1. It is up to you if you want to use Cool n Quiet or not, If you dont mind your fans running 100% speed all the time then no dont use it, but if you want it to slow you fans down for you and maybe minimize some noise then yes use it. That is really its only purpose theres no harm in going either way, just personal reference.

2. You could search the web for instructions on how to dissasemble it and lubricate the bearing, I know there are guides out there that show you how to do so. But this is not a gauranteed fix, it may or may not solve the problem. If not then the fan most likely needs to be replaced.

3. It is only necessary to replace the fan, you only need to get the same size, I would guess its 120mm but you will have to measure it to be sure. If you want to get a new cooler also I would highly recommend this one: COOLER MASTER Hyper 212 Plus
November 18, 2010 5:27:02 AM

Hi
I agree with the chief :
1. dismantle and disassemble the fan and lubricate the bearing.
or
2. Replace the fan
or
3. Use the oppotunity to replace the entire CPU cooler, specially if you're presently only using the stock cooler.
Considering your CPU the COOLER MASTER Hyper 212 Plus would indeed be an excellent choice for a new good-value cooler.
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November 18, 2010 5:30:58 AM

^@dipankar2007ind, Why thank you, I appreciate the compliment, it makes my day all the better. Some reason I am really liking helping people out on here to the best of my abilities, and it has kind of become a drug that I am getting addicted to. [:badge:5] Now only if this was my job.
November 18, 2010 5:40:52 AM

thechief73 said:
^@dipankar2007ind, Why thank you, I appreciate the compliment, it makes my day all the better. Some reason I am really liking helping people out on here to the best of my abilities, and it has kind of become a drug that I am getting addicted to. [:badge:5]


And your help is much appreciated! And ditto to stone69. Thanks to both of you. :) 

I have already removed the fan once, so I'll see if i can disassemble it. The thing is not big anyway, but not sure where I can find my "bearing". [No pun intended!]. Assuming I find them, can I use oil to lubricate the bearing?

I am just disappointed that this could happen to a new system. Incidentally, my CPU cabinet and Power Supply is also from Cooler Master.
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November 18, 2010 5:57:35 AM

It will be self explainitory once you get it apart. The center mass of the fan is the "hub" once you get the fan blades off there will be a center shaft on the blade side and still conected to the fans "frame" in the "hub" you should see the inner workings. Ill find a few pics and diagrams to post up for you.
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November 18, 2010 6:03:05 AM

Ok, here is a guide for you incase you have not found one yet: Prepping a sleeve bearing fan for work. You may have to search the web for whats the best lubricant that you can use that you may have around the house.

And here are a few pictures to help get you familiar with what you are working with:


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November 18, 2010 7:29:16 AM

vanderluzt said:
Thanks for the response. So should I keep Cool n Quiet enabled?

Is there no alternative other than replacing the fan?

And should I get only the fan replaced or the heat sink-fan combo? Can you suggest a good brand?



Lots of good info above.

I would say replace the heatsink and fan anyway.

It will undoubtedly lower the heat of your cpu and a decent quiet fan can run at full speed producing half the noise of the stock fan.

Everone loves the Hiper 212 but another cheap option that is very effective and comes with its own fan speed controller could be -

http://www.google.co.uk/products/catalog?hl=en&q=zalman...

Best of luck. [:bohleyk:1]
November 18, 2010 11:23:04 AM

Thanks a lot for all that info, especially to chief! I just followed the steps mentioned on the link suggested by chief. My fan did not have a plastic cap though as shown in the illustrations. The label on the fan says "Foxconn DC Brushless fan". Anyway, I used a lubricant as suggested. On startup, it started buzzing louder than before for some time but gradually the buzzing has diminished. There is still that unavoidable humming sound emanating like before, but I guess I have to live with that.

I am going to use the system for a few days more, especially during the night. If the buzzing is no longer there, then I'll leave it alone. If not, I'll seek a replacement as it's still under warrantee. Just one query: Can I seek a replacement for the complete HSF just for this buzzing problem? I thought I can only ask for a replacement of the fan.
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November 18, 2010 12:07:51 PM

I would think the whole unit but am not 100%, I wouldn't mention that you have tried a lubrication repair either.

Hope it all works out. [:bohleyk:1]
a c 94 à CPUs
November 18, 2010 12:22:13 PM

Use this ...




If you do not have any machine oil (or maybe even some graphite lubricant) laying around get up off your wallet and snag a new fan or a complete HSF assembly.

OEM fans *do the minimum* and sometimes they are just a little dodgy, anyway. I'm also surprised that you haven't been able to 'dial-back' the fan speeds with C&Q if the RPMs seem to be constant.

Have you tried something like SpeedFan ??

November 18, 2010 1:30:11 PM

Thanks once again for all your suggestions! Actually, I was wondering whether a "buzzing sound" really qualifies for seeking a replacement under warrantee? And to tell the truth, when I was removing the sticker at the back of the fan for adding the lubricant, I was aware of the fact that my "little experiment" might actually nullify the warrantee. The sticker is now slightly torn but I didn't see any seal there.

In any case, from all of the above inputs, I understand that most of the stock/OEM fans are usually not that great, and I would be better off going for a superior and silent HSF from the market. For the time being, I'll wait it out for a few days. The buzzing has definitely reduced after adding the lubricant.

Best solution

a b à CPUs
November 18, 2010 3:45:57 PM
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Hi vanderluzt, I am glad that you were able to alleviate the problem a little.

As for getting a replacement, it is wise not to mention your home repair job at all, like beanoslim suggested. But I belive a noisy fan would be good grounds to want a replacement part and since the fan and cooler came as one part it is common pratice for them to replace the whoe part, as I doubt AMD has a bunch of spare fans for this situation just laying around. But on the other hand since it is a CPU cooler and vital to your PC being usable they may say send in just the fan if your have one you can use as a substitute.

After you have covered all those bases and you have not found a solution you are happy with, I am still going to recommend the Cooler Master Hyper 212+ for your PC, it performs very well and can be found for ~$30 and sometimes if you shop around even less, I belive this is a better choice at least to buying a new fan which alone, even for a cheap model, will run you ~$10.

It is a good idea to try to dial back the fans RPM in Cool N Quiet, if you can slowy turn it down until the noise is gone or at an acceptible level. I wouldnt recommend using programs like speedfan unless you just want to test the ability to change the fans RPM, because to keep the change applied the program needs to remain running at all times.
November 18, 2010 4:30:16 PM

thechief73 said:
Hi vanderluzt, I am glad that you were able to alleviate the problem a little.

As for getting a replacement, it is wise not to mention your home repair job at all, like beanoslim suggested. But I belive a noisy fan would be good grounds to want a replacement part and since the fan and cooler came as one part it is common pratice for them to replace the whoe part, as I doubt AMD has a bunch of spare fans for this situation just laying around. But on the other hand since it is a CPU cooler and vital to your PC being usable they may say send in just the fan if your have one you can use as a substitute.

After you have covered all those bases and you have not found a solution you are happy with, I am still going to recommend the Cooler Master Hyper 212+ for your PC, it performs very well and can be found for ~$30 and sometimes if you shop around even less, I belive this is a better choice at least to buying a new fan which alone, even for a cheap model, will run you ~$10.

It is a good idea to try to dial back the fans RPM in Cool N Quiet, if you can slowy turn it down until the noise is gone or at an acceptible level. I wouldnt recommend using programs like speedfan unless you just want to test the ability to change the fans RPM, because to keep the change applied the program needs to remain running at all times.


Chief, you're the best when it comes to sage advice!

I am going to place a replacement request with the reseller soon and see how it goes. But I am considering going for the Hyper 212+ as a long-term solution.

Regarding Speedfan et al, I don't really fancy tinkering around with the RPM anyway and would rather let my BIOS setup/programs/or whatever-it- is control the fan speed. I've simply enabled AMD Cool n Quiet back on in the BIOS Setup.
November 18, 2010 4:31:01 PM

Best answer selected by vanderluzt.
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November 18, 2010 4:54:55 PM

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