Computer makes soft but irritating high pitch hum

By SMA ยท 20 replies
Sep 16, 2004
  1. The hum takes a while to kick in after startup.
  2. Schmapdi

    Schmapdi TS Rookie

    Where's the hum comming from? Is it rythmic or constant? How long's it been doing this?

    Anyway, my first guess would be a cooling fan getting clogged, try getting some of that air in a can and clean em.
  3. Nodsu

    Nodsu TS Rookie Posts: 5,837   +6

    You should try to locate the exact source of the noise. If it's a high pitched whine then three things come to my mind: the HD, the monitor/video card, the network adapter.
  4. SMA

    SMA TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 19

    THanks for the response, I've been away from the computer for a couple of days so I am just replying now.

    I think it is the fan but I am not sure. It is a steady hum. It seemed that after I adjusted everything slightly (fan and all the connections to drives), it stopped. The fan is screwed in but it can move about in place. Does this seem right? I connected the fan using artic silver. It is a fan that is described as being suitable for state of the art processors.

    I also seems to stop sometimes, when I move the computer case a bit

    Not sure how to isolate different possibilities. I disconnected video and network adapters by disconnecting the cords , which didn't have an effect. I will have to turn off the comupter to disconnect the HD. However since it seems to take a while after startup for the hum to kick in, I guess the best thing would be to disconnect the HD before I go to bed and leave the computer on all morning. If it is humming, I guess I can assume tyhat it is not the HD.

    Second paragraph interesting, Nodsu, of courseit I don't understand it at all, sounds (to me) like you are either talking about biology or in Martian code.
  5. Nodsu

    Nodsu TS Rookie Posts: 5,837   +6

    Unplugging the cables from video or network don't really affect them. You should try to locate the sound by ear. Just listen to the open computer case carefully while the machine is turned on and the sound occurs.
  6. SMA

    SMA TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 19

    I did listen and I thought that the sound might be coming from the video card. Upon examination I found that one of thpse little items that screws into the video card so that one can then screw in the monitor cable was missing so that one side of that connection on tyhe video card was loose. I fixed that and I think it solved the problem, although I will have to test it for a while to be sure.

  7. SMA

    SMA TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 19

    The hum is still there but it seems inconsistent. Sometimes I barely notice it but this morning it was quite loud.

    I removed the side panel and then it sounded noticably softer.

    I am suspecting the CPU fan because it is different than other fans I have used in the past being one designed for the higher speed processors.

    The sound seems to be coming from somewhere around the CPU fan and the video card, which also has a fan and which I have sprayed with an antidust air spray, as suggested earlier.

    I suspect that this is more of an irritation than an indicator of a serious problem, but of course I can't be sure.
  8. Nodsu

    Nodsu TS Rookie Posts: 5,837   +6

    You can try unplugging the vid card fan for a couple of seconds to see if the irritating hum stops. If you are feeling like an adventure then you can try that with the CPU fan too.
  9. SMA

    SMA TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 19

    If I unplug the CPU fan, I think the computer will shut down after i nanosecond.

    I'll try the other. I was wondering about audio as well since the sound is amplified when the side panel is on.
  10. ---agissi---

    ---agissi--- TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,978   +15

    Its the hard drive... i betcha a ton, if its inconsistant, some times louding than others, its the hard drive.
  11. SMA

    SMA TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 19

    I hope not. The hard drive is only a few months old but it is a Maxtor, which I found out after I bought it has gone way down in it's reputation.

    But what is your basis for saying that? Have you had a similar occurance which turned out to be the hard drive?
  12. Per Hansson

    Per Hansson TS Server Guru Posts: 1,958   +216

    Shutdown the computer in standby mode, this will turn off the harddrive, so if the sound stops then...

    You can block the HFX card fan with your fingers, it will not hurt it... You can do the same with the CPU fan, while it wont hurt the fan it might hurt you....
  13. THNDR143

    THNDR143 TS Member Posts: 43


    Sounds like a firmiliar sound i had once.
    I found the source of the noise... it was my case.
    The fans were causing a vibration and making the riveted connections vibrate inside.
    I snugged the fans down as tight as i could and used a pair of pliers to tighten the rivets up (squeezed them), and the "hum" stopped.

    Weird, I know,but it surprised me too.
  14. ---agissi---

    ---agissi--- TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,978   +15

    Ya past experience, and it makes sence, a hard drives platters spin up and down, the faster then spin when spinning up, the louder the hum, the lower/slower the softer the hum. The drive isnt always spinning up and down at the same rates, which makes for inconsistant noise.
  15. SMA

    SMA TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 19

    I used the diagnostic disk from Maxtor to test the drive and it passed all the tests and that is all that I know that I can do to test the drive.
  16. SMA

    SMA TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 19

    Actually I think it might be my on-board audio because it has stopped functioning.

    After I re-installed it I heard the hum again as it was booting up, but then this message flashed on the screen that said "this Os is not supported" My OS is Win98SE. Sound is Avance AC'97 for VIA (R) Audio Controller. Motherboard is Shuttle AK38

    The audio still doesn't work and the software doesn't recognize the hardware but I think the sound is gone again

    The device manager does not indicate a problem.
  17. ---agissi---

    ---agissi--- TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,978   +15

    haha so it was your speakers or subwoofer making the sound :haha:
  18. SMA

    SMA TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 19

    I don't think so because thespeaker and subwoofer are a distance away from the processor, but maybe it is the onboard sound connection. I haven't really figured it out yet. Still trying to figure out why the software isn't recognizing the hardware, since the device manager is not reporting a problem.
  19. SMA

    SMA TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 19

    Then on the other hand it could be the phone line connected to the modem, which went in need of repair yesterday when it was making a high pitshed hum sound.

    I guess it could be any one of a number of things but at the moment I am not hearing it. The phone line has been repaired.
  20. SMA

    SMA TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 19

    And the sound is back again, particarily noticable when I decided to put side panel back. Sound becomes louder with side panel on.

    Could this be an idicator that it is being caused by the operation of the fan? CPU fan?
  21. eshrules

    eshrules TS Rookie

    :confused: i also have a problem almost identical to this one and also have a maxtor hd. my system's only a few months old, one of tinys ready built systems,its definitley not the cpu as all is quiet and well when in standby mode, the high pitched but quiet humming is noticeable when the hd is being used. how in the world of sundays do i get rid of the noise? as playing my music to cover it is getting annoying. any help would be bliss
Topic Status:
Not open for further replies.

Similar Topics

Add your comment to this article

You need to be a member to leave a comment. Join thousands of tech enthusiasts and participate.
TechSpot Account You may also...