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Help with really annoying noises

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  • Homebuilt
  • Systems
Last response: in Systems
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June 7, 2012 3:12:24 PM

Hi all,

I would really appreciate it if someone could help me out with this one:

About a year ago, I assembled a system with the following:

Silverstone FT02 case
Palit GTX570
Corsair HX850 power supply
Corsair H70 CPU cooler

(Detailed specs below, I don't think they're really relevant though)

About 6 months or so in, I noticed it was being a bit noisy. I can't remember exactly how it started, or in what order, it must have been fairly gradual.

At the moment my computer seems to make 3 noises:
1) a low pitched buzzing that seems to ebb and flow
2) a medium pitched humming, that I have identified as being caused by the case fans
3) a very high frequency whine

Since the FT02 has 3 180mm fans, and the selection is somewhat limited there, I bought another set of AP181s and installed them. This seemed to get rid of that particular noise, but now, 3 months later, it seems to be doing it again. It's hard to hear what's causing it, but unplugging the case fans kills that noise.

Next, the other two noises can be heard in the following video (I eventually unplugged the case fan to show they're not the ones making the noise):

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HPwa6bjYMcI

About 3 seconds in, the low frequency droning noise (number 1 above) starts coming in, and at 7-8 second, you can very clearly hear the high frequency noise (number 3). The fan noise, number 2, can't really be heard in that one. I'm planning on making another video in a bit.

None of these noises are particular loud, but like a mosquito flying around your head, they are extremely irritating. In an attempt to figure out what was the cause, I started unplugging different components. Eventually, though, I got to the point where the graphics card, cpu cooler and case fans were all unplugged, which seemed to lead to the obvious conclusion: It's the PSU!

I can send in the PSU and have it looked at, but then I'd be without any sort of computer for up to 2 weeks - so I bought another one (same model). I put it in, plugged everything in, and what do you know - it's still making both of those noises!!! :??: 

(The video I linked to above is with the new PSU).

So ... am I wrong, and it's not the PSU? Is the new PSU already broken/do they all make that noise? Maybe there is some way I can get the PSU to run without having to plug it into the motherboard and turn on the computer?

Also, can anyone recommend some other 180mm fans that may fix the case fan problem?

I know this is a long post with lots of questions, but I would really, really appreciate the help. The noise is driving me absolutely nuts. I intend to send in the old PSU anyway and see what the people at Scan.co.uk have to say about it.

Thanks in advance,

Moritz

-------

System:

Gigabyte GA-P67A-UD4-B3
Intel i5-2500K (Sandybridge)
Palit GTX570 Sonic
2x4GB Corsair Vengeance
Corsair HX850
Corsair H70
128GB Crucial SSD
Silverstone FT02 case

More about : annoying noises

June 7, 2012 3:19:10 PM

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xvT639Zkw5E&feature=yout...

Here's a video with the graphics card, CPU cooler (the pump and fans) and case fans all turned off. The high pitched noise is quite loud throughout, the low frequency one is clearest from about 0:05 - 0:08. Turning up the bass on an EQ might help, my Logitech speakers are very bass-heavy and I can hear it quite loudly.

Thanks again!
June 7, 2012 5:09:34 PM

That's a hard call, because it's hard to pick out the noises in the video.

The (2) noise that you mentioned, you nailed on the head. The bearings in your fans go out. After a few months of use, the bearing wears out and starts to make noise. Thats why changing them out fixed the issue. For this specifically, I went to Noctua. They use a dynamic hydro SSO bearing, with a 6 year warranty. The bearings don't go out.

The other noises are hard to take care of.

The (1) noise I think is your H70. The pump in the units can make noise, sometimes due to a bubble of air getting in the system. You might take the soft end of a screwdriver and tap the cold plate a few times. Make sure that you have the motherboard fan header set to 100% in the bios. That controls the pump, not the fan.

The (3) noise, might be cap whine from your GPU or PSU. Typically you'd only hear this under a heavy load. It could also be your Hard Drive. Try unplugging it.

Tracing the sounds can be tough, so unplug all your fans (but your cpu) and start searching.

Carefully stop the fan on the graphics card for a few seconds by pressing your finger on the impeller of the fan.

Gently put a small screwdriver through the grill on the PSU to stop that fan and check it.

Do those one at a time, to hear if the sound stops.

Then go around with your ear and listen to each piece of hardware.

Good luck.
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June 7, 2012 6:08:01 PM

Thanks for the advice, will see what I can do. BTW, I have the fans on the H70 in the CPU header, the pump is in a system fan header as so runs on 100% all the time (I think ... my friend helped me set most of this up).

Unfortunately, it seems Noctua don't do 180mm fans :(  I know you can fit 120mm fans into there, but I want the big fans to keep the internal air pressure high.

I should still have warranty on my new AP181s, so maybe I can get them replaced. Don't really want to have to do that every 3-6 months though.....

Anyway, the low frequency noise is the most annoying, so if it's the CPU cooler, that would be great. But as I mentioned, it still made the noise even with the H70 pump off.

Will try unplugging all hard drives (the SSD as well?)

UPDATE: Ok, it sounds like the cap whine is from the GPU after all. I'll do a quick reboot with the card off to confirm.
June 7, 2012 7:08:29 PM

SSD don't have any moving parts and use very small amounts of power, so no worries there.

If it is the GPU whine, there's nothing to do about it. It's normal, and a lot of cards do it. You could try to RMA or return it, but there's no guarantee you won't get another whiner.
June 7, 2012 7:23:56 PM

Okay, it's not the GPU. Is there any way it could be the Mobo/CPU?

I've run the computer with no hard drives, no sound card, no network card, no graphics card, no cpu cooler fans or pump, no case fans ... nothing. I'll play around some more tomorrow - right now, I've been sticking my ear in there so much I'm hearing the noise even when it's not there.

HOWEVER, it seems the low frequency sound is caused by vibrations - I took the PSU out of the case and ran it on the floor, and that noise is now gone.
June 7, 2012 7:30:12 PM

You can probably snag some silicone grommets to isolate vibration on the PSU and fans.
Or if you're a car audio guy and have some Dynamat lying around, that works too.

It is possible you're getting noise off the motherboard, but highly unlikely.

If you don't have a mobo speaker to hear POST beeps, you could take everything off the board and just plug in the PSU and turn it on. Add one piece at a time, until one of them makes the noise.
June 7, 2012 7:58:24 PM

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BuSxi6nIcfc&feature=yout...

Well, there's my computer running with the following:

PSU (outside of case)
Mobo
CPU
SSD
RAM

The following have all been unplugged:
All HDDs
Case fans
GPU
CPU Cooler
Sound Card
Network Card
LEDs (hey, I'm being thorough)
DVD drive

I've also run it with each stick of RAM individually, so it's not that. When I held my head down, it very strongly sounded like it was coming from within the case, not the PSU (although I'm finding it hard to be 100% certain).

I have silicone grommets lying around which I used for fans once, but they won't work for the PSU in this case - it's pretty much suspended from the screws, I don't trust that the grommets will hold it up. Anyway, it has to be one of those first 5 items I listed.
June 7, 2012 8:16:21 PM

Gosh, i definitely hear it now. It'd make me crazy too.
The PSU is the only thing with moving parts, it's gotta be in there.
Take your PSU into another room, and short that bad boy on.

http://www.****/id/How-to-power-up-an-ATX-Power-Supply-without-a-PC/

You can use a paperclip with some needle nose pliers to make the jump similar to closing a switch. That'll rule out everything, or the PSU.
June 7, 2012 9:13:42 PM

Did that, it's whisperquiet (well, the fan sounds a bit rattly, but w/e). Also, after unplugging it, I was able to plug it back in and move it further away, and I can now stick my head inbetween and definitely hear the sound coming from the left.

I will call Scan tomorrow and see what they can do.

Thanks for all the help, Dannoddd!
June 7, 2012 9:20:26 PM

Hey no problem man, I'm glad if I've been any help at all.
Those noises are terrible and you shouldn't have to just deal with them.
Good luck and keep posting.
!