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Weird PSU Noise .... Urgent!

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July 11, 2012 4:49:46 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 :) 


EDIT : IMPORTANT !
After listening and investigating over a few hours, with the PC closed, the buzzing around the PSU seemed less evident. Instead, the high pitched humming was more audible when listening through the higher position vent (no fan installed there) behind the motherboard and CPU in particular. Uh-oh.....

More about : weird psu noise urgent

July 11, 2012 4:53:22 PM

Your PSU fan will work without connecting anything to the motherboard =). It gets its power from, well, itself =). So need to worry about that. The fan header on your motherboard is just used if you ever need to power any fan or component, for example a case fan or a pump for a cpu water cooler.

Now the buzzing noise, if it is indeed coming from your PSU chances are its a capacitor that didn't get enough glue on it and its shaking while being used and creating a very small vibration. Do you notice this buzz all the time or only certain times?
July 11, 2012 5:03:57 PM

It happens all the time, so even if the computer is off and power supply is on at its personal switch. Its weird this is just starting. Do I need to get rid of dust? I've noticed a bit as its situated next to a fan-less vent
Related resources
a b B Homebuilt system
a b ) Power supply
July 11, 2012 5:10:04 PM

if the system is off and you hear that sound..first turn off and move the computer speakers..you may be picking up electrical sound over the case speakers. if the sound does not stop with the speakers moved..move the pc to another outlet just to rule out the outlet is causing the issue..if it still hums put in an rma for the power supply.
July 11, 2012 5:22:22 PM

What you are hearing is nothing harmful, if that is your concern. If it doesn't actually bother you, you don't need to do anything about it; but if it's getting on your nerves, call the PSU manufacturer and see if they will service it under warranty (though do try moving or turning off your speakers just to rule them out).

You cannot fix it yourself, and should not attempt it, as the internal components of a power supply can hold a deadly charge for months.

@skaz I'm fairly certain that it's the inductors (coils) that break loose and make noise.
July 11, 2012 5:30:35 PM

djscribbles said:
What you are hearing is nothing harmful, if that is your concern. If it doesn't actually bother you, you don't need to do anything about it; but if it's getting on your nerves, call the PSU manufacturer and see if they will service it under warranty (though do try moving or turning off your speakers just to rule them out).

You cannot fix it yourself, and should not attempt it, as the internal components of a power supply can hold a deadly charge for months.

@skaz I'm fairly certain that it's the inductors (coils) that break loose and make noise.


I was mistaken, your right. Thanks. I was even thinking "coil whine" when I was typing that. =)

EDIT: Do you know, when those break loose is it obviously visible? And are these held in with glue as well? Thanks.


July 11, 2012 5:46:01 PM

djscribbles said:
What you are hearing is nothing harmful, if that is your concern. If it doesn't actually bother you, you don't need to do anything about it; but if it's getting on your nerves, call the PSU manufacturer and see if they will service it under warranty (though do try moving or turning off your speakers just to rule them out).

You cannot fix it yourself, and should not attempt it, as the internal components of a power supply can hold a deadly charge for months.

@skaz I'm fairly certain that it's the inductors (coils) that break loose and make noise.


I am assuming it isn't speaker issues as I am using headphones!

Are you sure it isn't harmful? Is it normal for power supplies to buzz?
I am sending a support ticket just in case, and am wondering how you think I should best express the issue I am having?

Thanks very much mate
July 11, 2012 5:47:49 PM

smorizio said:
if the system is off and you hear that sound..first turn off and move the computer speakers..you may be picking up electrical sound over the case speakers. if the sound does not stop with the speakers moved..move the pc to another outlet just to rule out the outlet is causing the issue..if it still hums put in an rma for the power supply.


Thanks very much for the suggestion, but I am using a headset! Changing the outlet and mains adaptor didn't make a difference unfortunately. It is weird it is only suddenly happening after plenty of use....

I am putting up a support ticket at the moment! Even though more cost effective, do you not think it'd be a safer move going with a different power supply model?

Thanks dude :D 
a b B Homebuilt system
July 11, 2012 5:56:32 PM

I would do as smorizio suggests. A power supply unit is not supposed to make those noises, even during stress. If the moving speakers and outlets around doesn't stop the noise and you know it's coming from the psu, then return it for a replacement. Sooner probably than later the capacitors or conductors are going to give out and leave you without a computer or worse, take a computer part(s) with it. It's simple for me. It's not supposed to make noise like that, It's not something you want to try to fix yourself, send it in for a replacement RMA and if they refuse, which XFX is usually good at customer support, Get a new one from somewhere else.
July 11, 2012 7:28:38 PM

suteck said:
I would do as smorizio suggests. A power supply unit is not supposed to make those noises, even during stress. If the moving speakers and outlets around doesn't stop the noise and you know it's coming from the psu, then return it for a replacement. Sooner probably than later the capacitors or conductors are going to give out and leave you without a computer or worse, take a computer part(s) with it. It's simple for me. It's not supposed to make noise like that, It's not something you want to try to fix yourself, send it in for a replacement RMA and if they refuse, which XFX is usually good at customer support, Get a new one from somewhere else.


Unfortunately I cannot use a different computer in the mean time, is that a problem? Can I use this one without being worried?

I have filed a support ticket to XFX, and am hoping for a swift response and potentially even a replacement! Thanks mate, I really appreciate it :) 
a b B Homebuilt system
a b ) Power supply
July 11, 2012 7:46:47 PM

most good vendors will do what called a cross ship if need be..they use your credit card as a deposit if you dont return the bad one withing a set time. if it under 30 days you can also use new egg return if that who you got it from or if it was a local micro center they will just hand you a new unit and do an exchange.
July 11, 2012 7:52:36 PM

smorizio said:
most good vendors will do what called a cross ship if need be..they use your credit card as a deposit if you dont return the bad one withing a set time. if it under 30 days you can also use new egg return if that who you got it from or if it was a local micro center they will just hand you a new unit and do an exchange.


Unfortunately I'm in the UK and don't get the good NewEgg service! Yet I have registered my product on the XFX website, within 30 days of purchase, which makes a 2 year warranty available (maybe longer). I guess it's a matter of them checking whether its a valid reason for replacement.
a b B Homebuilt system
a c 80 ) Power supply
July 11, 2012 8:06:16 PM

I am in the boat of noise does not equal early failure.

If the noise does bug you then yes, try to RMA with the store you purchased it from.

The buzz in it self is normally caused by the coils. Unfortunately even in a batch of coils some will buzz and others will not.

This coil buzz is not limited to just power supplies but also boards and video card power systems. It can also be heard from routers/monitors power supplies as well.

So i guess my 15+ year old router should have failed if the buzz(sounds more like a very faint hissing) indicates failure. My 4 year old monitor also has some slight buzz as well and still works like new. The 7+ year old screen before that did the same.
July 11, 2012 8:20:56 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.

Now I'm very scared...
July 11, 2012 8:47:21 PM

Remove your gpu, boot and see if you still hear the buzz. Let's atleast void out the gpu possibly being an issue.
July 11, 2012 8:53:03 PM

skaz said:
Remove your gpu, boot and see if you still hear the buzz. Let's atleast void out the gpu possibly being an issue.


Unfortunately I do not have time to try it this evening (in the UK), so I will probably set everything up on a wooden surface tomorrow and test things out. If it isn't the GPU, is it likely nothing can be done?

I wonder if it is because my HPET is set to 32 bit when I'm using a 64 bit OS, I noticed it and tried to change it a few seconds ago yet my keyboard is stupid and isn't letting me back into the BIOS on boot.
a b B Homebuilt system
a c 80 ) Power supply
July 11, 2012 8:58:49 PM

The HPET(high precision even timer) should not effect that the keyboard, that is kind of strange.

After flashing a bios, i left the HPET at 32 bit(forgot to check that) for a while and it did not even cause any issues(not sure how many programs use it, but must not be much of what I use.).
July 11, 2012 9:33:15 PM

Are you sure its the PSU? Try unplugging the PSU from your components and turning it on. If the buzzing persists, you might be getting:

mains hum from bad AC power from the wall causing the transformer to vibrate.

Or, it might be a gate drive transformer buzzing. If either of those are the case, you don't have a problem, just an annoyance.

I was having fun with high voltages and gate drive transformers (GDT's), and got the GDT to vibrate out some music. It was interesting...
July 11, 2012 9:44:46 PM

nukemaster said:
The HPET(high precision even timer) should not effect that the keyboard, that is kind of strange.

After flashing a bios, i left the HPET at 32 bit(forgot to check that) for a while and it did not even cause any issues(not sure how many programs use it, but must not be much of what I use.).



Ah I see, phew. Do you think changing it to 64 will cause any errors?
July 11, 2012 9:47:37 PM

JohnJones said:
Are you sure its the PSU? Try unplugging the PSU from your components and turning it on. If the buzzing persists, you might be getting:

mains hum from bad AC power from the wall causing the transformer to vibrate.

Or, it might be a gate drive transformer buzzing. If either of those are the case, you don't have a problem, just an annoyance.

I was having fun with high voltages and gate drive transformers (GDT's), and got the GDT to vibrate out some music. It was interesting...


Well I can hear a feint PSU hum, but I've realised the more noticeable sound is coming from higher up in the chassis. I will be opening it up and testing further tomorrow! When I do that, i will unplug the psu and have a play.
a b B Homebuilt system
a c 80 ) Power supply
July 11, 2012 11:24:10 PM

TkTk said:
Ah I see, phew. Do you think changing it to 64 will cause any errors?

If you run a 64 bit os, then yes set it to 64.

I think this is used for timing because many app used to use the cpu frequency for that and modern cpus change frequencies all over.

When power savings like that on the Athlon64 for desktops started, many users reported problems. With a change to boot(in msconfig) you could set a different timing(add /USEPMTIMER).

Not needed any more. Just set it to 64bit for any 64 bit os and 32 for 23 bit os
July 12, 2012 6:55:57 AM

SO after properly opening up the computer, I will diagnose the exact whereabouts of the sound and create a new thread, to ensure the subject of discussion relates to that of the thread name.Thank you everyone who has helped so far :) 

http://www.tomshardware.co.uk/forum/354255-13-strange-n...
!