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New Build Noise Question

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  • Power Supplies
  • New Build
  • Components
Last response: in Components
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June 2, 2012 8:37:32 PM

Hello all!

I've had a lot of people help out in these forums, and now I come asking another question from my new (now about 3 mo. old) build.

First of all, all aspects of the computer seem to be in order: temps (cpu, system, and gpu) are all good, fans are working quite well, the recent OC to 4.0 from the i5-2500K 3.7Ghz has been stable as lead and I have had no problems regarding heat. No bsod, no hang ups, no probs overall. Haven't even crashed yet.

However, there is a new issue: a noise emanating from the tower. It is unlike anything I have heard before from the tower, and doesn't seem natural to its function: it is a high pitched (VERY high, seems to permeate to the upper ranges of audible perception), low intensity, almost clicking scratch. The pitch does seem to vary slightly while maintaining high pitch, and the intensity also varies very slightly. I can almost describe it as the sound a chalk would normally make against a chalkboard when in use, except instantaneous, extremely low in intensity, and with no "knock". It even has what I can only describe as a metallic quality to it.

Here's the worst part of this: though the intensity of the sound is almost inaudible, the pitch is so high, it is annoying, very penetrating to the ear and the overall ambient noise. The noise is capable of being heard with almost no variation of intensity from a range of 7ft to right up inside the case. It SEEMS (as much as I have been able to deduce, so take this with a grain of salt) that the noise emanates from the BACK half of the case (cutting the case in the transverse plane), so I can only assume this isn't HDD related. But again, difficult to isolate considering the pitch. It seems even harder to pinpoint the closer I seem to get to the case.

The noise seems to have no discernible pattern, "click-scratching" at random without real relation to load, temp, or current activity. "Clicks" are sometimes not there, sometimes showing up once very 2 or 3 seconds, and anywhere in between.

One last note: I noticed this noise only after first booting up Metro 2033, bought bout 2 weeks ago. No idea if that is relevant.

Thanks for the help!

More about : build noise question

June 2, 2012 9:05:47 PM

I think it sounds like your HDD.
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June 2, 2012 9:40:18 PM

Ok, should it be that, what can I do?
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June 2, 2012 10:06:47 PM

I am basically sticking my head in the case while it's running, and this noise, though hard to pinpoint, still appears to be coming through from the psu. Still willing to entertain the point above (HDD), could this be a psu problem?
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a c 148 ) Power supply
June 2, 2012 10:16:47 PM

My first suspicion would be a fan.
Possibly the bearing is going, or there is some sort of binding.

To localize the source make a tube out of paper or card board, put one end to your ear, and the other to find the source.

Or, you might try stopping each fan with your finger and see if the noise disappears.

On a more esoteric note, there is something called "coil whine".

Google it.
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June 2, 2012 10:27:05 PM

Ok, I'll try the tube idea. It is remarkably difficult to isolate this sound for some reason, so anything to have an idea would help.

If this is a fan, should I suspect a problem with all the fans, or is it possible for stock case fans to give out that quick?

Also, just looked over the coil whine situation. Sounds...involved. How could that be fixed?
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a c 158 ) Power supply
June 2, 2012 10:34:12 PM

If it's coil whine then RMA it. The first fan to 'stop' test is the PSU fan. Fans usually die slow and horribly noisy deaths, which fits in with the noisy experience you are having.
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June 2, 2012 11:24:02 PM

Witness my neuroticism.

I decided to play to the medical student stereotypes, and instead of using a tube, I busted out the stethoscope.

Hit the PSU, but there seemed to be no interruption in its low hum. After about 20 minutes of steady listening, I found no anomaly.

Then, I put the stethoscope up against the frame of the fan (what would be its housing), assuming the noise would vibrate through. What I heard was interesting: pitch can't be accounted for (stethoscope only works within very low pitch ranges), but I heard what seemed like interruptions and shifts, as if the fan were stopping or changing speeds for a second. This shouldn't be: all fans but the cpu are in a fixed speed switch. Within these shifts, I could feel on the stethoscope diaphragm a telltale vibration emitted at the moment of the shift. Its hum is not even close to regular. Thus, I assume this here is a fan situation.

So, any recommendations on vertical mount case fans?
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a c 76 ) Power supply
June 2, 2012 11:32:31 PM

My diagnosis on the original sound (high pitched) is coil whine. With the fan, if it's not a 4 pin PWM type, what you're hearing with the stethoscope there is interesting. Very strange, in fact. I think the two are unrelated, though.
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June 2, 2012 11:48:15 PM

As I am checking up on videos of people with coil whine issues, imagine what I hear is about a 1/100th of what they do. Which makes this problem so remarkably annoying: my ears cant stand but try to discern it. Eh, I guess it's an RMA then :/ 
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a c 148 ) Power supply
June 2, 2012 11:51:36 PM

A PSU fan is always speed controlled, depending on the psu load.
Unless it is defective, I would expect the psu fan speeds to gradually ramp up or down as the psu nned more or less cooling.
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June 3, 2012 12:02:29 AM

Geo, the fan in question was actually case fan. But, I have been looking into the coil whine. Again, imagine that, but in a much smaller scale. But the pitch, characteristic, and such are spot on.
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a c 76 ) Power supply
June 3, 2012 12:06:02 AM

What motherboard? Although it sounds like the GPU is the source if it only does it while gaming.
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June 3, 2012 12:09:49 AM

Mobo: GA z68x-ud3h-b3
GPU: EVGA Nvidia GeForce GT 570
PSU: Corsair GS800

Woah, the situation isn't only during gaming. This happens in varying degrees at all times.
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Best solution

a c 76 ) Power supply
June 3, 2012 12:14:05 AM

Cool, I was thrown off by what you said about it only starting after you ran Metro. The reason I asked about the motherboard is that I kind of have that kind of thing with my Asus mobo when I have SpeedStep enabled. It's a VERY faint but VERY high pitched sound. It never changes pitch though, it just pulses. I've decided that it's the VRM's, since it doesn't do it if SpeedStep is disabled (therefore taking a lot of load off the VRM's and taking away the need to regulate as much).
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June 3, 2012 12:17:17 AM

Huh, interesting. That is pretty much how I would describe this sound, nearing the pitch of almost inaudible sound. About as faint as, say, dropping a piece of mechanical pencil lead on a desk?
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a c 76 ) Power supply
June 3, 2012 12:20:25 AM

Platyrunner said:
About as faint as, say, dropping a piece of pencil lead on a desk?


Yep, barely audible unless I put my ear right up next to the mobo.
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June 3, 2012 12:24:57 AM

Hmm. You are presenting me with a lot of scenarios, but this one seems to most closely resemble the situation I hear without having to stretch parameters of what people are experiencing.

The pulsating nature of the sound makes me notice it up to the door of my room, which is about 6 feet from the tower. Not so much the pitch as much as the sensation of vibration at my eardrum.

Any way that same situation could be existing in this mobo, and what setting could be emulating the noise?
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a c 76 ) Power supply
June 3, 2012 12:27:13 AM

Try setting the power setting in Windows to High Performance to see if it stops (that takes SpeedStep out of the equation).
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June 3, 2012 12:35:51 AM

Santo Dios, that seems to have done it!
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a c 76 ) Power supply
June 3, 2012 12:44:57 AM

Platyrunner said:
Santo Dios, that seems to have done it!


Awesome! :D  The only problem with that is that it can't clock down with High Performance enabled. No a huge problem, especially with such a low OC, but it'll idle a bit warmer.
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June 3, 2012 12:53:38 AM

What do you mean? I see my speeds idling at 1.6 GHz, bumping to 4.0, and still idling around the typical. Do you mean the mobo temps?
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a c 76 ) Power supply
June 3, 2012 12:56:19 AM

That's slightly odd. With High Performance enabled, my 2500K never clocks down (nor would I expect it to). And I meant the CPU temps, but if it's clocking down, it's irrelevant now, lol.
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a c 76 ) Power supply
June 3, 2012 12:59:52 AM

This is dead idle with High Performance enabled for me.

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June 3, 2012 1:36:42 AM

Huh. Well, strange. I checked: Windows>Control Panel>Power Options>Balanced switched to High Performance.

Still throttling as fit. Though, it is throttling different: all or idle.
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a c 76 ) Power supply
June 3, 2012 1:38:06 AM

Platyrunner said:
Huh. Well, strange. I checked: Windows>Control Panel>Power Options>Balanced switched to High Performance.

Still throttling as fit. Though, it is throttling different: all or idle.


Well, that's not really a problem, either way, in fact it's a good thing. No sound still?
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June 3, 2012 1:38:56 AM

Not a peep. Guess I just had to open up the pipeline.
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a c 76 ) Power supply
June 3, 2012 1:40:04 AM

Platyrunner said:
Not a peep. Guess I just had to open up the pipeline.


Excellent!
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June 3, 2012 3:18:27 AM

Thanks for the help, dude! Even though the throttling is different, the change is hardly noticeable (thank you, Zalman gargantuan cpu cooler!). Thanks for the help!
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June 3, 2012 3:18:57 AM

Best answer selected by Platyrunner.
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a c 76 ) Power supply
June 3, 2012 3:19:53 AM

You're welcome, man! Glad I could help you get it figured out! :) 
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June 3, 2012 3:23:22 AM

Yeah, with a problem that tangential, I would have gone nuts!
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