Question Computer system is making "Dog-whistle" noise from GPU area

Apr 4, 2022
26
3
35
0
Hello forum,

I built my buddy's computer a couple years ago and have been his personal tech support for a while now. I've also given him hand-me-down parts that I no longer needed and have installed them for him.

Over time, he has been having a handful of strange issues and complaints with the system, one of which are strange noises. He claims that there is a dog-whistle tone coming from his GPU while under load, and he isn't convinced that it is coil whine.

Another problem he has been having is experiencing lag-spikes while gaming. I have been trying to fine-tune his system, and to no avail, none of it seems to improve his performance.

I would appreciate any help from the true professionals here, I really am still learning, but I am determined to get better at this. Thank you.

Specs:
CPU: AMD Ryzen 3700X
GPU: Nvidia RTX 3070Ti
RAM: 16GB DDR4 @ 3200MHz
Motherboard: B450 Aorus Pro Wifi
PSU: 750W Thermaltake SMART Non-Modular
OS: Windows 10 Home, 21H2
 

KananX

Prominent
BANNED
Apr 11, 2022
615
139
590
10
That’s coilwhine, usually happens if the GPU puts out a lot of frames. I wouldn’t worry about it, a possible fix is, to use a frame limiter in games that have too much fps.

lag spikes could be because the CPU can’t quite keep up with the 3070 Ti in all situations.
 
Apr 4, 2022
26
3
35
0
That’s coilwhine, usually happens if the GPU puts out a lot of frames. I wouldn’t worry about it, a possible fix is, to use a frame limiter in games that have too much fps.
Thought so, thanks for the quick response.
I've reccomended that he upgraded to a new PSU first, given that's a low grade PSU, then RAM. I would appreciate your thoughts on this very much.
 

KananX

Prominent
BANNED
Apr 11, 2022
615
139
590
10
Thought so, thanks for the quick response.
I've reccomended that he upgraded to a new PSU first, given that's a low grade PSU, then RAM. I would appreciate your thoughts on this very much.
I’ve also edited my first post to address the second issue btw.

while PSU upgrade CAN alleviate coilwhine it’s not guaranteed. Be sure to use two different or 3 different cables for all GPU power connectors, if possible. A RAM update on other hand can only improve performance, but I’m not sure if this would make the lag spikes go away, 3200 RAM isn’t that bad.
 
Apr 4, 2022
26
3
35
0
Huh, didn't think the CPU would be the bottleneck. I'll look into cost-effective upgrades for him.

As for the supposed coil-whine while not under load, I'm still a bit confused on that. I'm gonna look more into it myself next time I'm at his house.
 
Apr 4, 2022
26
3
35
0
If this is true, I would certainly send the card back for RMA.
I'll head over there tonight at take a listen for myself.
Well it’s a 3700X, while they’re fast CPUs they’re certainly not the fastest (for gaming) and the 3070 Ti is very demanding.
Makes sense. Maybe a 5th gen Ryzen 5 would suffice for him? He plays games like World of Warcraft and Battlefield, which call for an i7/Ryzen 7 in most cases.
 

KananX

Prominent
BANNED
Apr 11, 2022
615
139
590
10
I'll head over there tonight at take a listen for myself.

Makes sense. Maybe a 5th gen Ryzen 5 would suffice for him? He plays games like World of Warcraft and Battlefield, which call for an i7/Ryzen 7 in most cases.
Yea, good luck with the former. Yes, it would certainly boost his performance in certain cases, I’ve recently made a similar switch from 3700X to 5800X3D and some games profited a lot, and I’m on a 2080 Ti myself, so very comparable. I would go for a 5600 at least, and 5800X if he wants a bit more oomph or headroom.
 
Apr 4, 2022
26
3
35
0
Yea, good luck with the former. Yes, it would certainly boost his performance in certain cases, I’ve recently made a similar switch from 3700X to 5800X3D and some games profited a lot, and I’m on a 2080 Ti myself, so very comparable. I would go for a 5600 at least, and 5800X if he wants a bit more oomph or headroom.
Would you recommend a 5800X or the X3D for gaming? I'm a bit confused on the difference between them, unless its just the larger cache, which I wouldn't know what benefit that would give for gaming. The 5800X has faster single core speed, so that would make sense to me.

And by the way, thank you for all of the quick replies, godspeed.
 
Reactions: KananX

KananX

Prominent
BANNED
Apr 11, 2022
615
139
590
10
Would you recommend a 5800X or the X3D for gaming? I'm a bit confused on the difference between them, unless its just the larger cache, which I wouldn't know what benefit that would give for gaming. The 5800X has faster single core speed, so that would make sense to me.

And by the way, thank you for all of the quick replies, godspeed.
5800X if you want a very good CPU, 5800X3D if you want the best of the best. Latter is certainly more for enthusiasts or long term investment. You’re welcome, btw.
 
Reactions: CANINE_RAPPAH
Apr 4, 2022
26
3
35
0
Okay, I'm at his house, and after listening, there is a low electric buzzing noise coming from the CPU/RAM area. The pitch of the sound seems to change as he looks around in a game, for example, World of Warcraft. I have never seen something like this before.
 

KananX

Prominent
BANNED
Apr 11, 2022
615
139
590
10
Okay, I'm at his house, and after listening, there is a low electric buzzing noise coming from the CPU/RAM area. The pitch of the sound seems to change as he looks around in a game, for example, World of Warcraft. I have never seen something like this before.
Could totally be the PSU but also the mainboard. As others said, the PSU isn’t great, maybe replace it.
 

Karadjgne

Titan
Ambassador
You get coil whine anywhere there is an inductor. That's in several spots on the mobo, but the largest by far are on the gpu. The coil whine you hear is a harmonic of the actual coil whine, which is always present but so far above human hearing, you couldn't hear it. It comes from electrical frequency running through the coil, and bouncing off the electromagnetic field, setting up a resonant wave. Like a tuning fork. More power pulled through the coil, louder it gets. It's annoying, but harmless.

Ever looked inside a psu and seen where someone dropped goop on caps and coils in a seemingly random mess? That's done deliberately, the goop acts as a rubber insulator, helps absorb the resonant frequency, smothering the whine. Unfortunately it looks like crap so doesn't usually end up on motherboards and there generally isn't room to add it under the heatsink of a gpu.

Changing psus can help, as long as it's a pretty high grade psu, one that has decent voltage regulation as that reduces the frequency ripple, lowering the chances of the whine resonant frequency being an audible issue. But no guarantees.

Undervolting the gpu can also help as that changes the voltage through the inductor, offsetting the voltage to the resonant frequency. But again, no guarantees.

RMA the card might also help, but understand, you'll get the same card type you turned in, so same platform, same clocks, same same components, so chance of same resonant frequency.

There are no cures for coil whine since it's always there, there's only changes that can seperate the resonant frequency from input frequency alleviating the affect, but not the cause.
 
Apr 4, 2022
26
3
35
0
You get coil whine anywhere there is an inductor. That's in several spots on the mobo, but the largest by far are on the gpu. The coil whine you hear is a harmonic of the actual coil whine, which is always present but so far above human hearing, you couldn't hear it. It comes from electrical frequency running through the coil, and bouncing off the electromagnetic field, setting up a resonant wave. Like a tuning fork. More power pulled through the coil, louder it gets. It's annoying, but harmless.

Ever looked inside a psu and seen where someone dropped goop on caps and coils in a seemingly random mess? That's done deliberately, the goop acts as a rubber insulator, helps absorb the resonant frequency, smothering the whine. Unfortunately it looks like crap so doesn't usually end up on motherboards and there generally isn't room to add it under the heatsink of a gpu.

Changing psus can help, as long as it's a pretty high grade psu, one that has decent voltage regulation as that reduces the frequency ripple, lowering the chances of the whine resonant frequency being an audible issue. But no guarantees.

Undervolting the gpu can also help as that changes the voltage through the inductor, offsetting the voltage to the resonant frequency. But again, no guarantees.

RMA the card might also help, but understand, you'll get the same card type you turned in, so same platform, same clocks, same same components, so chance of same resonant frequency.

There are no cures for coil whine since it's always there, there's only changes that can seperate the resonant frequency from input frequency alleviating the affect, but not the cause.
Thank you for the feedback. After listening to the system myself yesterday, I definitely think a new PSU is in order, given the results. It would only make sense.

To re-iterate EXACTLY what's going on... there is a low buzzing sound near the CPU/RAM area that seems to change pitch depending on what's on screen. Someone had said that this may be due to his PSU, which isn't pumping enough power for the hardware to keep up, which sounds plausible.

I'm going to provide him with a Corsair R850x. Has a good amount of headroom and a gold rating. I have one for my build and it's been great so far, it has actually solved a lot of problems.

Again, thanks to all of you, you guys rock.
 
Reactions: KananX

Karadjgne

Titan
Ambassador
Someone had said that this may be due to his PSU, which isn't pumping enough power for the hardware to keep up, which sounds plausible.
Not really. It's just inductor whine, if the cpu was low on power from the psu, you'd get a kernel error 41 bsod.
A psu output is supposed to be deaf flat DC voltage, but that's very difficult to actually achieve, so what you get is closer to AC voltage but packed so tight it resembles a straight line band. As the positive hump in the sinewave crests and starts to come down, it runs into the next crest on the way up, repeat. That's ripple. Those tiny bounces. A bad PSU with eh! regulation will have larger bounces, even spikes of 50mv or more. Highly erratic behavior, that makes a lot of noise and adds to coil whine. An excellent psu would be looking at maybe 10mv, without the spikes,

I'm going to provide him with a Corsair R850x. Has a good amount of headroom and a gold rating.
The Corsair RMx is pretty much the Gold Standard of psus, it's the psu to beat. It sets a very high standards bar for outputs, quality, build, longetivity. There's very few psus in its class that meet or exceed its ability. Not surprising it fixes some issues, it's an Excellent psu.

Gold is just an efficiency rating, nothing more. Generally you'd expect a Gold psu to be better than a Bronze, but that's not always the case, it's highly dependent on not only the brand, but specifically the model. Brand is important for reputation only, a cheap Chinese knock-off might have Gold in the title or plastered all over the box, but most likely isn't as reliable nor quality of manufacture or output as a Corsair Bronze, regardless of the wattage rating.
 
Apr 4, 2022
26
3
35
0
Not really. It's just inductor whine, if the cpu was low on power from the psu, you'd get a kernel error 41 bsod.
A psu output is supposed to be deaf flat DC voltage, but that's very difficult to actually achieve, so what you get is closer to AC voltage but packed so tight it resembles a straight line band. As the positive hump in the sinewave crests and starts to come down, it runs into the next crest on the way up, repeat. That's ripple. Those tiny bounces. A bad PSU with eh! regulation will have larger bounces, even spikes of 50mv or more. Highly erratic behavior, that makes a lot of noise and adds to coil whine. An excellent psu would be looking at maybe 10mv, without the spikes,
Well... hmm. He had already ordered the PSU, so we'll have to see what happens when I get it hooked up. He's super anxious about the noise and thinks it's dangerous to be using his system. In all honesty, I need some advice. What can I recommend for him in this situation where he has a limited budget? Is this a motherboard issue? I'm struggling to help him and I feel bad, I work in this field and I'm really showing my flaws, lol.
The Corsair RMx is pretty much the Gold Standard of psus, it's the psu to beat. It sets a very high standards bar for outputs, quality, build, longetivity. There's very few psus in its class that meet or exceed its ability. Not surprising it fixes some issues, it's an Excellent psu.

Gold is just an efficiency rating, nothing more. Generally you'd expect a Gold psu to be better than a Bronze, but that's not always the case, it's highly dependent on not only the brand, but specifically the model. Brand is important for reputation only, a cheap Chinese knock-off might have Gold in the title or plastered all over the box, but most likely isn't as reliable nor quality of manufacture or output as a Corsair Bronze, regardless of the wattage rating.
Oh yeah, I love my RM1000X. Makes little to no noise and I've had no issues with it whatsoever.
 

Karadjgne

Titan
Ambassador
Use MSI Afterburner or similar to undervolt the gpu 0.05v or even 0.1v, if that doesn't work, OC the gpu, change memory and power limits and clock speeds. Doesn't have to be by much, just has to be. What you are looking to do is change the frequency associated with those inductors.

Every truly listen to someone sing? They'll hit a whole range of notes, but somewhere in there they seem to hit just the right note and really belt it out. That's their resonant note. What you are looking to do is dampen that 1 note, and doing so by changing the key the inductor sings in.
 

ASK THE COMMUNITY

TRENDING THREADS