High Pitched Buzzing Coming From Computer


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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
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    High Pitched Buzzing Coming From Computer

    Hello All!
    I've been away from the Linux community for a while, but I thought you guys might be able to help me out with something.

    When I boot my computer, it's relatively quiet, but at some point during boot, it begins to emit a high pitched buzzing of sorts. In Linux, it starts when X shows the nVidia logo. (I'm Running Ubuntu 5.10 with the better nVidia drivers.) When I boot XP, it used to start right at the welcome screen. It seems like it may be starting a bit earlier now. I don't know if it could be a fan or hard drive or something, but I'm pretty sure it's not a CD-ROM drive (I've disconnected my 2, and it didn't fix the problem.)I've tried switching out my video card for another, and I don't believe the noise stopped.

    Possible Clues:

    -When I boot Knoppix off a CD, there is no noise.
    -When I use Abit uGuru to overclock my system in XP (specifically processor speed), the pitch of the noise changes.

    Does anyone have any suggestions of what it is or might be?

    Here's my hardware list:
    Antec P180 Case with 500W SmartPower PSU
    Abit AV8 Motherboard
    AMD Athlon 64 3500+ (Newcastle Core) with Stock heatsink/fan combo
    2 Western Digital Hard Drives. 120GB and 30GB, 7200RPM
    eVGA nVidia Geforce 6800 (AGP)
    ADMtek AN983 10/100 Ethernet Adapter

    Thanks!
    I'll be back...

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2003
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    Iceland
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    the cpu fan or the powersupply fan might be dirty or braking down, i would open the computer and start it that way and try to listen in.
    If the cpu fan is dirty you can try to clean it with a cotton swab. And vacume the computer fans. Vacuuming can be dangerous, it can produce static electricity.
    Last edited by frimann; 06-04-2006 at 06:11 PM.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
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    5
    You might want to check volume settings. I had this problem with a client once where there was no hardware problem. It turned out the the microphone was plugged in a creating feed back. You may want to check alsamixer or whatever volume control you use and mute the mic.

    Joshua Frank
    Joshua Frank Consulting, L.C.

  4. #4
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    crt monitor?

  5. #5
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    And if it is a LCD monitor, does it have built in speakers? If so, unplug the audio line if connected to the monitor speakers.
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  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
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    This sounds like CRT monitor related noise. Boot up in Windows, and try changing the refresh rate and resolution. If the noise changes with refresh rate and/or resolution, then your two options are:

    1. Buy a new monitor.

    or

    2. Find acceptable resolution/refresh rate settings. It may be easiest to find acceptable settings in Windows, and then adjusting your Linux setup to match the Windows settings.

    Note that CRT monitors tend to degrade with time. It may simply be getting old.
    Isaac Kuo, ICQ 29055726 or Yahoo mechdan

  7. #7
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    Or why not turn the monitor off or unplug it for that matter... and see if the humming stops?

  8. #8
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    what they said

  9. #9
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    It may be the video card's fan, too (though it'd be the same failure mode as the CPU or power supply fan); some nvidia cards have driver-controlled fans. I don't know if the Knoppix CD uses nvidia's binary drivers, but if not, then that might be why you don't hear the noise with Knoppix -- because the fans never start moving.

    AFAIK the "nv" X driver doesn't do the fan stuff, because it never fires up the 3D support in the card. 2D operations don't generate a lot of heat in the GPU or memory chips.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
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    151
    Thanks for all the replies everyone!

    So, I just opened up my case, cleaned out the video card and CPU fans, booted up the computer, and if I'm not mistaken, the noise is coming out of the power supply. Is it safe to open it up and have a look at the fans inside? Or is there another option?
    I'll be back...

  11. #11
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    Aug 2005
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    It's not normally safe to open a power supply. They retain current long after they've been disconnected, IIRC.

  12. #12
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    Are you positive the noise isn't coming from the monitor? What happens when you turn off the monitor? Does the noise remain?

    Assuming the noise really isn't coming from the monitor and is coming from the PSU, then you should try testing to see if this noise is coming from the fans. Use some nonconductive small sticks (like wood chopsticks) to physically block the PSU fans.

    Most likely, the noise will still be there. Try blocking the other fans to see if any of them are causing it.

    If the annoying noise is coming from a fan, then there are options to replace and/or undervolt the relevant fans.

    But if the high pitched buzzing is coming from the PSU and it's the sort of noise I'm thinking it is, then none of the fans are the culprit. I'll bet it's coil whine--which is very common in old CRTs but also occurs a lot in PSUs and motherboards. Swapping the power supply may work.
    Isaac Kuo, ICQ 29055726 or Yahoo mechdan

  13. #13
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    Dec 2002
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    I've tried turning off the monitor, and that doesn't help. I've also used the computer at a friend's house with a totally different monitor, and when I overclocked the system a bit, the whining got louder, and everyone went, "Ah! Make it stop!" Or something to that effect.

    I guess I'll try to swap out the power supply with another sometime this weekend. Is it a possibility that an over-rated power supply does odd stuff when it's not being used fully? A 500W supply is surely more than my system needs. I don't know why this would happen, just brainstorming a bit.

    I'll also try blocking out the fans the next time I'm in there. I'm sure it's not the CPU or case fans, but if could very well be one on the power supply, or possibly one on my video card.
    I'll be back...

  14. #14
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    Sep 2002
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    475
    Yeah, its called coil whine. I was passively reading this comment and I was just thinking to myself "I bet it's the PSU", but I wanted to wait and see what you determined it to be. It's a real ***** to get rid of the whine though; try a different power supply, possibly. Google coil whine, etc. for more ideas. Here is someone else w/ your problem...

    http://forums.anandtech.com/messagev...readid=1866015

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by ZAmodeo
    I guess I'll try to swap out the power supply with another sometime this weekend. Is it a possibility that an over-rated power supply does odd stuff when it's not being used fully? A 500W supply is surely more than my system needs. I don't know why this would happen, just brainstorming a bit.
    No, it's more just a matter that some models will buzz while others won't. I've heard that coil whine tends to be a problem more with PSUs using passive PFC rather than active PFC, but I can't confirm this with first-hand experience.

    On SPCR, Seasonic power supplies are highly regarded; they probably won't buzz.
    Isaac Kuo, ICQ 29055726 or Yahoo mechdan

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