Computer had problems, was opened up and fixed, and is now much louder.

By Ribboncandy ยท 5 replies
Dec 22, 2007
  1. Hey there. I'm a new member here and I was hoping to get some insight as to whether or not I should start digging for computer tech. bodies.

    I'm horrible with hardware and I'm terrified of messing with electronics for fear of becoming a cheese burger. I'll do my best to explain the issue. Any help is appreciated.

    My previous problem:
    I've had my computer for about three years. About a year ago I had decided to upgrade it with a new power supply, video card, sound card, CD writer for an expansion bay, and RAM. My brother in law did the installation of the hardware and litterally had to rearrange the contents of the computer to connect the graphics card to the power supply. Directly after I had upgraded, I started having random issues with startup: the fan would power up but I wouldn't get video. If I shut down manually and started up again it worked fine. After a year of that it eventually decided to stop turning on entirely. So I decided to take it to the great and powerful Geek Squad who gave an incorrect diagnosis of dangling RAM. They reseated it and sent me home.
    The computer worked for a day and then refused to startup again. I took it back and they gave another incorrect diagnosis of BAD RAM. However, he proved himself wrong that moment by giving me new RAM and trying to start it up. Nothing happened, so he put the guts back in and stated, "YOU NEED NEW MOTHERBOARD!" (As you can see, I'm slightly angered with Best Buy).
    Seeing as he told me the motherboard would be a couple hundred dollars, plus the fee of special ordering it... I decided to just buy a new computer entirely. When discussing this issue with a friend, he mentioned that it might be the power supply and also opened up my computer to search inside. Apparently when I had bought the power supply to match my new graphics card, I hadn't taken the OTHER upgrades into consideration. So... he said I needed a new (and larger) power supply.
    Before I bought a new one, however, he took another look inside my computer and said that it was not reading my graphics card. He then unplugged that from the power supply and hooked everything back up to my onboard card. It ran fine and hasn't failed in startup yet. Apparently the graphics card was sucking up much more power than was needed from my power supply. He actually opened it up, and turned the computer on to show me how it was turning on some things within the computer, but couldn't even power up the hard drive. The diagnosis was now a 'faulty graphics card'.

    My problem now:
    He had me screw the power supply back in and screw the side of the computer back on and left. I've set it back up recently and turned it on. However, now that I'm in my quiet room I notice that the computer is louder. To me, it sounds like the fan- but I don't claim to be savvy with hardware. Instead of having the high pitch, barely audible hum I get a slower version of it that sounds like the fan has a disability.

    So here's the actual questions!
    1: From what I've described and the specs I will be leaving below; does it sound like its actually a faulty graphics card? I don't want to throw it away or let the computer keep running to find the graphics card was fine and there's something else rotting in there.
    2: Is it OK to leave the computer running with the lovely sound change, or should I keep it off for now and hunt around for someone who sounds like they know what they're talking about?

    Here's what my computer is (if I'm leaving anything out, let me know):
    -Windows XP
    -1 GIG of RAM installed (It originally came with 512). Not sure of the company who made the RAM, but since we've switched it out I'm assuming the RAM isn't the problem anyway
    -ATI Radeon X1300 (512 MB) that has since been UNINSTALLED. The computer is running from the onboard card now. Not sure of the specs for that because I'm afraid to turn it on (drivers for the onboard were actually missing and required reinstallation)
    -Sound Blaster 24 bit advanced HD (It's a cheap sound card, but I was told I might as well install a new one because it takes stress off the motherboard or something?)
    -I lost the box for the power supply, but it's 450 (which I'm told is low, but good enough to run what I have)

    Four different people have put their hands into my computer and I'm afraid something was put back incorrectly or that the first issue I had is still there. Is there anyone that can provide some insight?
  2. Fragrant Coit

    Fragrant Coit TS Guru Posts: 363

    Could it be a wire hitting the CPU Fan? That's pretty common, especially as you've replaced the PSU. Fix is a few Cable ties.

    I'd start from scratch if I was you - and you'll learn along the way...

    Download & boot from Memtest and let it go for at least an hour - then you will know for sure that your RAM is OK.

    Download & boot from the Diagnostic for wharever Hard Drive you have : Then you can be sure the HDD is OK.

    450w ought to be enough to run that PC and that video card. Can you try the card in a friends PC and determine if that is the cause of your boot problems - or borrow a Card and see if it still has trouble booting.
  3. SNGX1275

    SNGX1275 TS Forces Special Posts: 10,742   +422

    I agree with everything in the above post. But I'd suggest taking the side of the case off and powering up the computer. Then look and listen for where the excess sound is coming from. Nothing in your novel of a post above screams hardware problems to me, except that originally it may have been a power supply problem. I doubt it still is unless that 450W PSU cost less than $35-40.

    There is nothing to be scared of inside a PC. Make sure before touching any of the electrical components you touch the metal of your case (to discharge static electricity) after that your components are safe, nothing inside of there is putting you at any risk - aside from maybe a cut finger if you stick it in a high speed fan.

    PC building and swapping comonents is so easy now, and has been for a few years, its not like the old days where you had to be a uberdork to understand it. Now stuff is pretty much stick things in the only places they can fit and it will work.
  4. Bruce2

    Bruce2 TS Rookie

    Well, do you think you can open the computer back for an inspection? Check closely for where the noise is coming from. You can check to see if the power supply screwed in tight fit or any other things may seem loose. If it is coming form a fan and it is not loose, replace it with a same size fan (doesn't need to be same brand). Make sure remember how and where the fan was plugged in. (you may draw a picture on save side). If the case is loose and vibrating, try to shim it with plastic or rubber material like rubber bands. Make sure the power supply is off (don't unplug it) before open the case. Also, touch the bare metal of the psu frequently to rid of static on you while you are working on the unit. Please becareful.
  5. Samstoned

    Samstoned TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,018

    maybe somebody's got a screw loose
    cheap PSU's lie big time about watts
    I have opened up a 300watt and a 450 watt they where the same except for the fans
    so adding better cooling made the specs go up
    now i know this to be true as I have built motor drives and when you add heat sinks and cooling you can add more current
  6. Ribboncandy

    Ribboncandy TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Thank you for the speedy replies. I'll run those diagnostics provided and make sure everything is tight in there this afternoon. I had unrealistic expectations of what might happen if I played around inside of it.

    Also, as far as the price of the power supply- I think it was around or over eighty. I keep all of my receipts from a certain time, so I'll rummage through my papers and make sure it wasn't a cheap piece of hardware.

    Thanks again. :)
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