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Very Strange Problem

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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June 6, 2012 12:51:34 AM

Hello everyone! I have a very strange issue at hand here. First, let me explain. About a month and a half ago, I started hearing a buzzing/hum noise which seemed to be coming from my GTX 560ti. I had only replaced the PSU (Antec Earthwatts Green 650 Watt) a week before that, I knew it wasn't the PSU. I opened up the case and no matter what I did, the sound always seemed to be coming from the GPU area. So I thought I would try removing the graphics card, and then start up a game like Skyrim, as the noise only happened during gaming or heavy loads like gaming. So I removed it, and the noise wasn't present anymore, at all. It was completely gone. I thought I would just RMA the GPU and the problem would be fixed.

I got my RMAed GPU today, the advanced RMA one mind you, and plugged it in. Well, it does the exact same thing, maybe even a little louder this time. I listened again, and it is coming from the GPU area again. So I remove the GPU and try opening a game without it, the noise is now again gone. I am at a lost as to what the noise could be. I know it's either the Motherboard or something as the noise seems to be coming from that area. However, like I said, it only does it when the GPU is in. So it can't be the motherboard because if it was, then the noise would be persistent right? Any ideas?

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a c 255 U Graphics card
June 6, 2012 1:04:23 AM

It's probably coil whine from your new power supply. It happens sometimes even with high quality units. You should RMA it.
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a b U Graphics card
June 6, 2012 1:06:15 AM

Coil whine maybe? Could be your PSU as well, when your GPU is out, it doesnt work as hard, hence no noise. Doesnt mean its bad, just a noise they make. Doesnt happen to them all, but it can happen to GPUs and PSUs.
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June 6, 2012 1:08:21 AM

I do have one question though, could it be the motherboard? I mean I seriously doubt it, being as it seems it would happen continuously right?

EDIT: Coil whine from the GPU was what I thought it was to begin with, which is why I RMAed it. I doubt both GPUs in a row have the same level of coil whine. It's probably something else.
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a c 255 U Graphics card
June 6, 2012 1:12:11 AM

Probably the PSU. Try this. Get a tube from an empty roll of paper towels and use that to listen like a Dr. would use a stethoscope and see if you can isolate where it's coming from. Based on the power supply being new and that being a common power supply problem it would be my guess that is the problem.
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June 6, 2012 1:15:27 AM

Ok, I will try that later thanks!
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a b U Graphics card
June 6, 2012 1:26:06 AM

As others have said, it's probably the Power Supply Unit (PSU). Another possibility is that the fan on the graphics card is making noise although I doubt that since you said you replaced it. Do you hear the noise immediately after powering up and during general usage or only under high load such as during gaming?

You could also be getting noise from the motherboard, however, the general rule of troubleshooting is to ask, "what has changed?" You definitely changed the PSU and the graphics card recently so you need to prove that it is not those components first by swapping them out. Since you have replaced the Graphics card and nothing changed the next thing to change out is the PSU. Especially since several experts are saying that the PSU is the most likely cause.
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June 6, 2012 1:26:13 AM

Ok so here is what I did. I took the paper towel tube and covered up all the case fan holes on the case. Everything was covered up except the back of the PSU where you plug it in. Since it has holes there and you can clearly see into it, I assumed doing the above would make it easier for me to tell if it is the PSU. I heard it again coming from the middle of the case in the GPU area. I did not hear it coming from the bottom portion or the PSU at all. Hmm...I am stumped.

I might try sticking the GPU in the bottom x16 slot on the motherboard and seeing if it does it then. AsRock Extreme 3 Gen 3 mobo by the way.

A little bit more info here:

This issue was happening actually BEFORE I replaced the PSU the first time. The PSU was getting a buzzing noise coming from it, so I replaced it, which stopped it. This was very much an electricity buzz that again went away when I replaced the PSU.Then I did the same for what seemed a buzzing GPU. It is defiantly not the same buzzing noise as this doesn't sound like an electrical buzz. Hmm...I might still look into the PSU but this is defiantly strange. Thanks so much for your continued help!
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a b U Graphics card
June 6, 2012 1:43:45 AM

Ah, A little more information makes a huge difference. Now we know that both the PSU and the GPU have been replaced since the symptom appeared and neither changed it. I'm beginning to think that you are on the right track. Moving the GPU to another slot is a good idea although I doubt that it will change anything. You should probably make sure the sound system is disconnected as well just in case that has something to do with it. Motherboard is sounding likely.
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June 6, 2012 2:08:49 AM

Let me go ALL the way back: (Sorry, I didn't think any of this info would be relevant, but I guess it is.)

Late last year my HP laptop's PSU started to make a popping noise, so I replaced it by ordering a new one off of the HP website.

Then, about two months ago, my laptop's PSU started to randomly make the same popping noise as before at random times during the day. It was/is never a static thing and occurs randomly. Around the same time my desktop's PSU starting to make the electrical buzzing noise I talked about. I replaced my desktop's PSU like I said but have left my laptop's alone ever since. It still randomly makes the popping noise randomly.

Now while looking into my current problem described in the first post, I heard the same popping noise coming from my desktop's PSU, that randomly occurs in my laptop's. Upon further inspection I figured out it was my desktop's making the loud popping noise and then the laptop's making a small popping noise of the same type. I always just unplug the laptop's when it started doing this and the problem stops, so I did the same thing here. I unplugged my laptop's PSU and the noise from both it AND the desktop PSU stopped, the popping noise that is.

Both of these are plugged into the same surge protector in the same room too.

I'm starting to think that these problems ALONG with the buzzing noise coming from the GPU area is electrical related. I am going to purchase this : (http://www.amazon.com/OPTI-UPS-AVR-SS2000-Automatic-Reg...) This should clear up any electrical issues I am facing. So while I wait for that I think the best plan of action is to move thesr two computers to different parts of the house and see if the desktop's GPU area buzzing and the PSU popping along with the laptop's PSU popping is solved. If not I will wait and see what happens when I recieve that extra protection. What do you guys think about this? I know this sounds absolutely crazy, I know, I know... :( 
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a c 255 U Graphics card
June 6, 2012 2:30:21 AM

Do you by chance live in a really old house? Or an apartment with alot of high drain devices plugged into the same room?
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a b U Graphics card
June 6, 2012 2:52:09 AM

Hmm, well based on the fact that you seem to be having issues with more than one computer and even different types of computers I would suggest that you get hold of an electrician and have him check out your AC wiring in your house. Also, you might want to find out if the power company is generating spikes or brownouts. At the very least get a good quality Surge suppressor. Are you living in an area where thunderstorms with a lot of lightning are common?
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June 6, 2012 2:59:27 AM

anort3 said:
Do you by chance live in a really old house? Or an apartment with alot of high drain devices plugged into the same room?


I do indeed live in a older house. I will look into getting this looked at asap.
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a c 255 U Graphics card
June 6, 2012 3:24:16 AM

Unless you own the house and can afford to have it rewired your best bet is to get a UPS for any sensitive electronic devices.
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