Question All of my GPUs are ticking (in different systems)... HELP

Jan 5, 2020
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Hi there,

i'm desperatley trying to find out the reason for a weird ticking noise that i have experienced on several GPUS from AMD (Asus Matrix Platinum 7970, Powercolor 5700XT and Sapphire 5700XT) and Nvidia (MSI GTX1060). Those cards were in 2 different systems and while trying to figure out what's causing the sound i switched PSUs for about 3 times. In between those 2 systems i moved so the sound occured in 2 total houses (and electrical installations).

All GPUs worked well but showed this irritating ticking sound.

Here's what i found out until now:

  • the sound is definitely coming from the GPU, not from the fans (also ticking while no fan movement)
  • under load (e.g. high settings in games) the GPUs produce a faint but very regular "ticking" noise which almost sounds like a clock
  • the sound is so faint that it's only perceiveable when the case is open
  • this sound is proportional to fps to the point where it could be "1 tick per frame"
  • it does not occur only on high frame rates but i can framelock to 8 fps and still hear a slower ticking noise
  • it does not occur on low or higher framerates when i reduce the graphic quality settings to a minimum

The best matching record of the sound is this on a GTX970: GTX 970 Ticking sound (only fast)


What is this and what is causing it?


I'm looking for an answer to this for years up until now and read through hundreds of posts of gpu sounds and found only a handful of topics that resemble my problem (like: Rare example of FPS-related ticking ), none with a solution or an explanation that went further than "some electrical sound/some sort of coil whine"). It seems so strange to me that i'm experiencing this with all my GPUs in different settings while it seems it's not even known by a majority of other users.


I'm hoping to find an Expert who can explain why this is happening and what's the cause for this sounds or other people that are experiencing the exact same thing and want to share their findings and thoughts.


Thanks in advance!


Appendix: System Specs for the 2 systems in which the sound occured



Those systems were:



#1

CPU: Intel Core i5 4570 with Thermalright HR-02 Macho Rev.A
MB: Gigabyte H87-HD3
HDD: 1000GB Seagate Desktop HDD ST1000DM003
SSD: 120GB Samsung 840 Evo Series 2.5" (6.4cm)
RAM: 8GB Corsair Vengeance LP Black DDR3-1600
CD/DVD: LG Electronics GH24NS95 DVD-RW SATA
PSU:530 Watt be quiet! L8 CM
Case: Fractal r4



with the Asus Matrix Platinum 7970 and GTX 1060



and #2



Ryzen 5 3600 mit Dark Rock 4
MSI B450 Tomahawk Max
Corsair Vengeance LPX 32GB-3200
be quiet! straight Power 11 550W
Evo 970 1TB (M.2) + Evo 860 1TB (SATA)



with the 2 5700XT
 

Lutfij

Titan
Moderator
It's advised to have a 550W PSU as the bare minimum(and then you add more wattage for longevity and overclocking) when having a RX5700XT as your GPU which will lead me to say that you're probably seeing the issue crop up due to coil whine. The same story with your 7970 but the GTX1060 is lower TDP'd.

I will say that it's coil whine or it being related to your power since you'll hear the same sort of buzz when at a power plant, with their large transformers.

Now, back to the point about your GPU's and the PSU's, the PSU's lack the necessary power for your entire build and if you're overclocking, it's going to need more.

That's my 2 cents though someone else can come around and provide more info.
 
Jan 5, 2020
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thanks,for your input and ideas.
i forgot to mention that one of the PSUs i installed was a 630W one - still ticking. While i also read about the advised wattage from the supplier i also read alot of information about the power consumption of gaming systems which led me to believe that 550w would be more than sufficient, at least since i'm not overclocking.

the power idea isn't new to me aswell but i moved the whole pc to a nearby shop once and tried it there, and it was still clicking (besides the fact that it occured in 2 different houses)..
 
...none with a solution or an explanation that went further than "some electrical sound/some sort of coil whine").
That's pretty much what I was going to say. : P If it matches the frame rate, my best guess would be that it's due to variations in the amount of power being used by components of the card during different parts of the rendering process. For example, power draw might potentially change while the card is transferring a completed frame to the monitor, or while overwriting VRAM, or while waiting on the CPU or something else, causing the power to dip then spike momentarily. When the frame rate gets high enough, the ticks may blend together into a continual hum that may be less noticeable.

the sound is so faint that it's only perceiveable when the case is open
It seems so strange to me that i'm experiencing this with all my GPUs in different settings while it seems it's not even known by a majority of other users.
Well, most people are not running their games with the case open, and even if they are, game audio is likely masking any faint electrical sounds they might otherwise hear. It also looks like you are using large, quiet CPU coolers, and if your system is quieter than most, that could make such faint noises more apparent. I'm not sure how it could be considered "irritating" or a "problem" if the system needs to be opened to hear it though.
 
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