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Weird PSU Noise .... Fan Issue? Urgent!

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July 11, 2012 4:48:41 PM

Hey all, I recently built a computer (a few weeks ago), and all had been going well. The temperatures are fine, and performance is swell. I am yet to open it up again and give it a maintenance.......

HOWEVER, recently I have noticed a buzzing noise, which I believe is coming from the power supply. It isn't extremely loud, but pretty noticeable. I noticed my motherboard, a Gigabyte GA-Z68AP-D3 has a few pins for a "PWR_FAN", but I never noticed any suitable cable on the power supply that'd connect to this when building. Does this mean the PSU fan isn't working and it may be overheating (and buzzing)? I use an XFX PRO 550W Core Edition, the rest of the specs are found below.

i5-2500k
Hyper 212 Evo
Antec Three Hundred Two case (with two case fans by the CPU, none by the power supply at base)
XFX HD 7850
Gigabyte GA-Z68AP-D3
XFX Core 550W Pro
A-Data 120gb SSD
Seagate 1TB Barracuda


How else should I go about troubleshooting the buzzing?

Thanks in advance, TkTk :) 
a c 158 ) Power supply
July 11, 2012 5:44:38 PM

Some PSUs have a connector that can plug into this header; it was originally designed to provide fan monitoring for the PSU's fan. Most PSUs no longer have this feature. Mobo mfrs have made it standard practice to add 12V to the header so that it can be used power a fan. It supplies a constant 12V to the header so the fan will always run at max speed. There is no mobo control of fan speed but if you get lucky then a program like Speedfan will allow you to control the fans speed.

To answer your original question...not using this fan header will not cause the buzzing sound. Do you have another PSU that you can test in the PC? Another PC that you can test the XFX Core in? Are you sure that it's coming from the PSU an not the mobo or gpu?
July 11, 2012 5:51:31 PM

Rugger said:
Some PSUs have a connector that can plug into this header; it was originally designed to provide fan monitoring for the PSU's fan. Most PSUs no longer have this feature. Mobo mfrs have made it standard practice to add 12V to the header so that it can be used power a fan. It supplies a constant 12V to the header so the fan will always run at max speed. There is no mobo control of fan speed but if you get lucky then a program like Speedfan will allow you to control the fans speed.

To answer your original question...not using this fan header will not cause the buzzing sound. Do you have another PSU that you can test in the PC? Another PC that you can test the XFX Core in? Are you sure that it's coming from the PSU an not the mobo or gpu?


Ah I see, cool thanks for the fan information! :) 

Unfortunately I don't as I was previously using a laptop. Yet I know that it is the power supply, as it hums when I turn the power supply on without the computer being turned on. Although I think a small bit of higher pitch hum may be coming from the motherboard. :/ 
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a c 158 ) Power supply
July 11, 2012 6:10:30 PM

Sounds like coil whine...some PSUs/mobos/GPUs just don't play well together. I would contact the retailer or XFX for an RMA/swap.
July 11, 2012 6:27:01 PM

Rugger said:
Sounds like coil whine...some PSUs/mobos/GPUs just don't play well together. I would contact the retailer or XFX for an RMA/swap.


Sorry to be a newbie, but what is coil whine? I sent a support ticket and warranty should be valid! I unfortunately dont have a different PC to use instead, is it risky to keep using this PC now?
July 11, 2012 7:37:43 PM

Rugger said:
Glad I could help! A Corsair support thread with a couple of ideas that you can try: http://forum.corsair.com/v3/showthread.php?t=85166


I think soon I will open up the computer and try and hear if there is any hum elsewhere. I'm hoping it is simply a power supply issue, but I am concerned there is minor noise coming from the motherboard/gpu that I can't isolate when the thing is closed up (I'm paranoid).

How do you recommend I do that? Literally just open it up and listen out at different places while the computer is idling?
July 11, 2012 8:20:28 PM

IMPORTANT : After listening a bit more, and checking the rear vent behind the motherboard which has no fan, the sound is definitely higher up in the system. Around the CPU region. Uh-oh...
a c 158 ) Power supply
July 11, 2012 8:59:54 PM

Paranoia can be a good thing. ;)  I use an old papertowel tube to isolate/listen to specific parts of the PC...it may look a bit silly but it really helps to isolate sounds to specific areas. Make sure you do the tips in that Corsair forum thread. If it's the mobo, then it's just an RMA for a different part...no big deal. Being able to try this PSU in another PC and another PSU in this PC would help ID whether it's more an issue with the PSU or other parts. Do you have a buddy with a PC that you can use to help you troubleshoot. I hate to RMA parts without having a better idea of what the real issue is...
July 11, 2012 9:14:42 PM

Rugger said:
Paranoia can be a good thing. ;)  I use an old papertowel tube to isolate/listen to specific parts of the PC...it may look a bit silly but it really helps to isolate sounds to specific areas. Make sure you do the tips in that Corsair forum thread. If it's the mobo, then it's just an RMA for a different part...no big deal. Being able to try this PSU in another PC and another PSU in this PC would help ID whether it's more an issue with the PSU or other parts. Do you have a buddy with a PC that you can use to help you troubleshoot. I hate to RMA parts without having a better idea of what the real issue is...


Unfortunately my only friend with a desk top is on holiday for two months, rest have laptops. I'm going to open it up tomorrow and use a stethoscope while idle to isolate the noise. I can't find the power settings mentioned on that suggestion page in my bios (I checked manual too). Also, my HPET is set to 32 and should be 64, could changing this fix anything? I really dont want to have to change mobo, itd be a nightmare :(  I'm pretty sure the noise isn't coming from the PSU now anyway.
a c 158 ) Power supply
July 11, 2012 10:13:01 PM

Go ahead and correct the HPET...it could help.
July 12, 2012 12:13:42 AM

Stick something nonconductive through the fan blades to block movement before turning on the power. 'Nonconductive' is the key - no screwdrivers, but wooden chopsticks or staws are acceptable. Do this for only 30 seconds.

Coil whine from the power factor correction circuitry is a common source of noise.
July 12, 2012 6:38:11 AM

bryanl said:
Stick something nonconductive through the fan blades to block movement before turning on the power. 'Nonconductive' is the key - no screwdrivers, but wooden chopsticks or staws are acceptable. Do this for only 30 seconds.

Coil whine from the power factor correction circuitry is a common source of noise.


"power factor correction circuitry" I will give this a go later, is this a component of the power supply?
!