Question Is there something inherent to PSUs that make fans tick?

Ollie_7

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Just about every 120mm fan PSU I have purchased in the last 10 years ..ticks. Its mostly not a big deal as it's very minor most of the time. However, i am tying to build a quiet machine for a specific purpose and the PSU i want to use .. ticks a little too much. So i replaced it's fan. the new fan.. ticks exactly the same as before. Took the new fan out and listened to it on its own. No ticking. Put it back in.. ticks. Take it out and put in another fan (that also does not tick outside of the PSU) and it.. ticks.. lol

Could it be the little plastic "air guide" that screws onto the fan? I put it back in each time. The blades aren't hitting anything. It ticks the same (in the PSU) regardless of whether it is in the horizontal or vertical orientation..
 

Lutfij

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We're going to need more information. What were the makes and model of the PSU's you've faced a ticking noise on? On top of that, what were the specs for said system's that had a ticking PSU in them? Bad quality PSU's are the only units that will have a dodgy behavior.

If you're having difficulty remembering names, pictures will help.
 
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Just about every 120mm fan PSU I have purchased in the last 10 years ..ticks. Its mostly not a big deal as it's very minor most of the time. However, i am tying to build a quiet machine for a specific purpose and the PSU i want to use .. ticks a little too much. So i replaced it's fan. the new fan.. ticks exactly the same as before. Took the new fan out and listened to it on its own. No ticking. Put it back in.. ticks. Take it out and put in another fan (that also does not tick outside of the PSU) and it.. ticks.. lol

Could it be the little plastic "air guide" that screws onto the fan? I put it back in each time. The blades aren't hitting anything. It ticks the same (in the PSU) regardless of whether it is in the horizontal or vertical orientation..
What PSUs with what fans?

Most PSUs tend to NOT use ball bearing fans because at low RPM, the balls make a ticking noise against the races. Only once they get spinning does the ticking stop due to centrifugal force. This is why the better PSUs that are engineered to be quiet actually use fluid dynamic bearings.

The other possibility is the driver IC of the fan. This one drives me nuts because it's a 15 cent fix but most PSU companies won't spend that much. At low loads, the driver IC for the PSU generates a more square wave form which causes a "bzz", which could sound like a "click" to some, at the rise and fall of each cycle. A better driver IC has a more true-sine wave regardless of the voltage to the fan motor.
 
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Ollie_7

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I don't remember the model number for every single PSU I've bought in 10 years guys, lol. Over 20 before i slowed down building PCs and mining rigs. I always use a tier list/guide, or a jonnyguru review and usually end up buying a Corsair or EVGA in a good tier. Never the best tier mind you. Couple Seasonics too. Just about every single one of them (say 18 out of 20?) had a ticking fan if you put your ear next to it. The last PSU I bought was a TX 750m for my unRAID box. Couple years old now. It's fan ticks, and has done so since day one.

I'm hesitant to say the one I am currently working with, as people will just think i always buy cheap, which is untrue. The one I replaced the fan on (twice now lol) this week is the cheapo EVGA 400. I bought it a few years back because i needed something cheap and jonnyguru's review said it was, mostly, okay lol. It's been sitting in my closet for over a year. I am building a cheap PC out of stuff i had laying around so i decided to use it. So, right now its an EVGA 400w with an Arctic f12 inside it. The f12 does not tick if i hold it in my hand and listen to it. As soon as it goes into the PSU it ticks. The the driver IC of the fan sounds likely and was what i was thinking. The fan is okay on mobo PWM but the PSU is using cheap voltage control?

Maybe i just have bad luck with PSU fans? lol .. I am not kidding that nearly 90% of the PSUs i've bought have fans that go ... tick, tick, tick, tick, tick, tick, tick, if you stick your head behind the PC and listen :D

EDIT: I just opened this PC (My main one) And it has a Corsair CXM 550. The good one i think? I remember there being a good and a bad version lol. Anyways not the best PSU for sure, and she's a tickin away. I've been putting off changing the fan since i cant hear it from a normal distance from the PC. I may never do it (unless the fan fails) if the new one is just gonna tick too. Which is kind of why i started this thread :p
 
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EDIT: I just opened this PC (My main one) And it has a Corsair CXM 550. The good one i think? I remember there being a good and a bad version lol. Anyways not the best PSU for sure, and she's a tickin away. I've been putting off changing the fan since i cant hear it from a normal distance from the PC. I may never do it (unless the fan fails) if the new one is just gonna tick too. Which is kind of why i started this thread :p
That's a rifle bearing fan, so it shouldn't be bearing noise. Also has a fairly high startup voltage, so it shouldn't be the fan's driver IC.

So... Are you sure it's actually the fan making the noise? Like, if you stop the fan with a Q-tip or pencil eraser, the ticking stops?
 
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Ollie_7

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Nope, not %100 sure. I just put this PC back together and back in its spot. PSU is on the bottom so annoying to do that test right this second. I will at some point though. I remember when i bought that PSU. I didnt notice It ticked on first boot. Only after i was finished building (second boot). I was too lazy to un cable manage that PC and RMA it over a slight fan tick. That was a 6th gen build and its been running 24/7 since. 10th gen build now.

Dang it.. i really want to do that test now! lol

I just realized im talking to the legend! Hey jonnyguru! thanks for all the work/reviews you've done. :D
 

Ollie_7

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I haven't had a chance the try my main PC or unRAID box yet. I did test the EVGA. Ticking immediately stops when the fan is stopped. Immediately starts again then you let it go.
 

Ollie_7

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Okay, I just did the Corsair CXM 550 in this PC. Again, ticking immediately stops when the fan is stopped. Immediately starts again then you let it go. Also tested at "idle" as I didn't think to fire up a benchmark while testing. And.... I just put everything back, again, lol. sigh

^More like %5-%15 since its doing lots of small tasks.

Which EVGA? The 400W you put the Arctic F12 into?

Does it only make the tick at low RPM or across the full range of speeds?
Yes, the 400W with the Arctic F12. I only tested at idle. Should I load up an x264 CPU test and try?

I don't feel like messing with my unRAID server today. Won't be testing that one.

EDIT: My Xbox One S is the worst offender of them all, lol. It ticks like a motherf**ker and the fan never stops spinning unless you unplug the console, lol. Which i have to do since its on my desk. Not really PSU related, just funny. I returned 4 consoles before i gave up. They all ticked. All of my PC and CPU fans are fine to my ears tho, thank god.
 
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Okay, I just did the Corsair CXM 550 in this PC. Again, ticking immediately stops when the fan is stopped. Immediately starts again then you let it go. Also tested at "idle" as I didn't think to fire up a benchmark while testing. And.... I just put everything back, again, lol. sigh

^More like %5-%15 since its doing lots of small tasks.



Yes, the 400W with the Arctic F12. I only tested at idle. Should I load up an x264 CPU test and try?

I don't feel like messing with my unRAID server today. Won't be testing that one.
Well, if the fan spins up and the tick goes away, it could be the driver IC. Do you have a DMM to see what voltage the fan is being fed at low speed? The lower the voltage, the more likely you're going to get noise from the IC.
 

Ollie_7

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I had to google DMM. heh.

I do actually. Somewhere around here. I don't usually go that far into electronics, hehe. I don't think I will go that far on this PC. That would be a lot of work. Un cable manage it, open the PSU to test, then re cable manage it.

I could do the EVGA if you are interested though. Honestly it's not the end of the world. I can only hear it when i put my ear close to it. From a "normal" distance I cannot hear it. I sometimes think I can if I'm trying to hear it. But that could just be my mind hearing it. I was honestly just curious since just about every PSU I buy does it. However, I'm probably the only person actively looking for it with my ear a foot, or less, away from them. :D

Cheers.
 
Well, I guess using the DMM isn't going to matter since Arctic doesn't even put the starting voltages for their fans on their product pages.

Anyway.. what it comes down to is there's a lot more to putting a fan into a PSU than putting a fan into a PSU. That's why it pisses me off when someone says "I'll jus throw a Noctua in there and it's going to be a lot quieter!" You have a fan controller to deal with too.

And I know you're saying you don't buy cheap PSUs, but both that EVGA 400W and the Corsair CX-M are bottom of the line PSUs from those companies and have absolutely no engineering done on them to make them necessarily quiet.

The TX-M, on the other hand, if it's the 80 PLUS Gold model, should have a Corsair Blue Jay fan in it and shouldn't click.
 

Ollie_7

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Lol, yea, that's why I didn't want to mention which PSUs I am currently working with. I have bought some pretty high end, high wattage, high price, stuff for mining rigs when i was into that. Just about every single one ticked the same as both of these do. Some much worse than this $30 EVGA. My TX-M is the 80 PLUS Gold model.. and guess what.. :p
 
Lol, yea, that's why I didn't want to mention which PSUs I am currently working with. I have bought some pretty high end, high wattage, high price, stuff for mining rigs when i was into that. Just about every single one ticked the same as both of these do. Some much worse than this $30 EVGA. My TX-M is the 80 PLUS Gold model.. and guess what.. :p
The TX-M clicking doesn't make sense. It's a rifle bearing and uses a Melexis driver IC. It should be dead silent.
 

bobjackieson

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Poor quality PSUs make your motherboard cry!

Edit: Sorry missed your reply to another guy! You shouldnt have ticking with a txm... Are you sure its on correctly and isn't loose or touching something?
 
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bobjackieson

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It's more of a slight ticky-grindy noise. I can only hear it if my ear is like within 5 inches of the back of the exhaust grill.
Unless you have check to make sure that its not loose and because the clicky grinding noise could be a loose fan... Then I dont really know because I have never had a clicky fan, it could just be a dodgy fan.
 

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