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Hissing/ whistling sound coming from computer

Last response: in Components
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September 28, 2012 2:45:39 AM

Hey guys, I RMA'd my old motherboard ( Msi Z68A-GD65 G3) and I just finished installing the new one MSI gave me. Unfortunately I am noticing a very annoying whistling/hissing sound and I was wondering what it could be.

It's coming from either my GPU, CPU (i5 2500k) or motherboard. I am also 95% sure this sound wasn't present before installing the new board. This hissing sound is constantly on besides one exception. It practically goes away whenever my motherboard's six CPU Phase LED's are on, or when my CPU is in load and at 3300Mhz instead of 1600. Therefore if I turn on prime 95 to stress my CPU, the noise will disappear since my cpu will constantly be in heavy load and the noise will randomly appear maybe once for 1-2s but then stop until I turn Prime off. Also, the second I open a program, such as CPU-z or Word, the noise will disappear for about .3s but then reappear.

I thought the issue came from the CPU so I unplugged the power cables from my gtx 570 and booted up using my CPU's integrated GPU to see if the noise was really CPU related. However, for some reason the hissing sound was not present when my GTX 570 was not connected.

I was wondering if you guys knew what the problem could be. I can try putting back my old Z68A-GD65 G3 and see what happens, but I won't be able to do that anytime soon. Is it possible that the issue is my graphics card even though the noise stops when my CPU is in load?

I would highly appreciate any help.

GPU = GTX 570
CPU = i5 2500k
Motherboard = Msi Z68A-GD65 G3
a c 185 à CPUs
a b V Motherboard
September 28, 2012 2:48:13 AM

Most likely it's your GPU, something that is vibrating, probably caps. It's perfectly fine though, it won't damage anythign in your system!
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September 28, 2012 3:11:31 AM

amuffin said:
Most likely it's your GPU, something that is vibrating, probably caps. It's perfectly fine though, it won't damage anythign in your system!


All right, thanks a lot for the quick reply!

Do you have any idea why this problem would have started occurring after switching motherboards though?
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September 28, 2012 3:12:47 AM

Quote:
If it stops when the cpu is loaded, its most certainly the motherboard. Sounds like electrical noise to me. That would make me very unhappy if I had just RMA'd. Contact MSI and let them know whats going on.


Hey jallenlabs, thanks a lot for the quick reply too!

I will be sure to call MSI and tell them the problem tomorrow. If it's the motherboard though, is there an explanation as to why the noise isn't present if I disconnect or take my GPU out of my case?
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September 28, 2012 4:40:09 AM

The sound is probably coming from your new motherboard. Just like any 110V transformer, or especially those large utility high-voltage transformers usually have a humming/hissing sound, the small capacitors, transformer coils and other components (even your CPU) on your motherboard can have a humming/hissing sound. Usually its nothing to worry about.
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September 28, 2012 5:52:15 AM

JennyJones said:
The sound is probably coming from your new motherboard. [...] Usually its nothing to worry about.


Thanks for the feedback JennyJones:) 

Everyone seems to have a different take on what the problem is, and it's importance, so I'm not sure what to think. I did not mention this before, but the sound is very annoying, especially when I'm trying to work and I hear a constant hissing in the background. If this sound is an unfortunate natural occurrence which happens with some motherboards, is there a way to stop it?

Also, would you recommend I RMA the mobo again, or is it just not worth it?
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a c 116 à CPUs
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September 28, 2012 6:01:24 AM

amuffin said:
Most likely it's your GPU, something that is vibrating, probably caps.

Caps do not vibrate, lousily wound or assembled coils/transformers without enamel coat to lock everything in place do.

The alternating wound electrode layers inside electrolytic capacitors cancel each other's magnetic field so the net force is nearly zero and whatever miniscule vibrations may be electrostatically induced get dampened by the cellulose or polymer separator and the electrolyte it contains. If you manage to make a capacitor produce an audible whine, you are likely driving it way beyond its AC ripple rating.
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a c 185 à CPUs
a b V Motherboard
September 28, 2012 6:05:02 AM

Coils! That's what it was! Couldn't think of it....
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a c 116 à CPUs
a b V Motherboard
September 28, 2012 6:16:35 AM

killer-xz said:
but the sound is very annoying, especially when I'm trying to work and I hear a constant hissing in the background.

The most recent time I have had problems with hissing/whining, the sound was coming from my speakers and it turned out it was caused by a ground loop. Similarly to your problem, the noise appeared only under certain load conditions, particularly standby with my previous PSU.

If the source really is somewhere inside your PC, you could use a paper towel roll core to funnel the suspected source's sound to your ear and proceed by elimination until you find the actual source.
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September 28, 2012 9:51:40 PM

InvalidError said:


If the source really is somewhere inside your PC, you could use a paper towel roll core to funnel the suspected source's sound to your ear and proceed by elimination until you find the actual source.


Hey InvalidError. Unfortunately the noise is not coming from my speakers as I have no speakers! As for the paper towel, that's a great idea. I'm already sure the noise is coming from inside my computer and either my GPU, motherboard or CPU, but the paper towel should help me get more precise.

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September 28, 2012 9:53:58 PM

Hey guys, thanks again for all your responses.

It seems like most of you believe the problem is Motherboard or GPU related, so what I'll do is test the system outside of it's case and try to determine exactly what the problem is.
This should also help me eliminate the possibility that improper grounding of my motherboard was causing the hissing.
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September 30, 2012 11:55:42 PM

Hey guys, it seems that the problem was indeed the grounding of my motherboard. When tested outside of the case, the noise was not present.

However, when putting back the motherboard in my case it seems that no matter how hard I try to screw all the screws evenly, in order to get the noise to stop, I need to completely loosen some screws and tighten as much as possible another screw.

If the hissing sound is still present when I tighten all screws evenly, would that be dangerous for my motherboard?
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a c 116 à CPUs
a b V Motherboard
October 1, 2012 12:22:29 AM

Can't really say without knowing exactly what is hissing and why.

If the noise/whining is coming from the CPU VRM coils around the socket, it could be that the VRM is running in discontinuous mode and the noise you are hearing is simply vibrations from coils (de)magnetizing erratically. PSUs are usually designed to operate in continuous mode because it yields cleaner output. In this case, you are going to have to ask the manufacturer whether or not this is intended and RMA-worthy.
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October 1, 2012 4:09:31 AM

All right, thanks a lot. I"ll try to pinpoint the exact location and i'll give MSI a call if I have to
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October 15, 2012 12:03:02 AM

Try unplugging your system speaker
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