[SOLVED] Numerous issues with PSUs and PC noise. Do I need a UPS?

Bormear

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Jul 28, 2012
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Hi,

So I've been having a string of hardware issues from my PC, mostly over the last couple of months, and I'm starting to suspect that it's not bad luck and there may be some electrical issues somewhere. This is a rough timeline of events:

- (several years back) First PC build PSU dies after a few years, pretty sure the guys who built it cheaped out on it, whatever, building my own machines from here on.

- (a few months ago) A replacement to the above unit, a just over 3 year old PSU (XFX 550 TS Bronze), started clicking under load. Eventually clicked on and off regardless of the load. Determined that it was definitely faulty (no fan hitting a cable or anything like that) and needed to be replaced. Was still under warranty but decided I'd prefer to just buy a better one instead. Pretty disappointed, that unit should have lasted me a lot longer, I thought.

- (last week) GPU (INNO3D 1660S) and PSU (Seasonic Focus GX 550) arrive (GPU upgraded partially because of a broken fan bearing), install them both together. First annoyance is that the PSU fan is audible at low RPM when hybrid mode is off, which isn't too important. Later notice that the GPU produces a pretty annoying coil whine, which really sucks, at this stage I'm sick of dealing with these issues so I move my silent case under my desk so the sound isn't as noticeable. At least the build is pretty quiet while not under load.

- (last weekend) Shortly after, notice a faint buzzing, seemingly coming from my power supply. Now I'm starting to suspect that there's issues with the power coming from the room I'm in or even the whole house. It's only a buzzing that can be heard if I move my ear near the end of the case and listen, but this PSU should be dead silent. The buzz is constant, even on idle load, and even while the PC is off.

So at this point I'm willing to accept some light buzzing and coil whine noise so long as it's not harmful to my parts. I'm not willing to go to the trouble of trying to RMA any of these parts unless they're defective or unsafe. Right now I'm more worried that this fairly high end new PSU is only going to last me 3 or 4 more years because of some underlying issue with my build or something else. Do I need a UPS? Or could this be an issue with the motherboard? Should I just forget about these noises and hope for the best?

Build details:
Mobo: Gigabyte AB350 Gaming 3, latest F50a BIOS
CPU: Ryzen 5 1600 (I used to have a stable OC @ 3.7GHz, but this fails to boot occasionally now. idk if that's related to these issues)
RAM: Corsair Vengeance 2x8GB
GPU: INNO3D 1660S
PSU: Seasonic Focus GX 550W
Storage: 1x Samsung 860 EVO, 1x Samsung 850 EVO
Case: Fractal Design Define R5

Sorry this is kind of a long post for what it is but I felt like the context is important. Any answers or ideas much appreciated.
 

jonnyguru

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Shortly after, notice a faint buzzing, seemingly coming from my power supply. Now I'm starting to suspect that there's issues with the power coming from the room I'm in or even the whole house. It's only a buzzing that can be heard if I move my ear near the end of the case and listen, but this PSU should be dead silent. The buzz is constant, even on idle load, and even while the PC is off.
Who ever said that PSU should be dead silent? It's not uncommon for those to buzz.

Remember: ALL magnetics "vibrate". Vibration makes noise. Whether or not that noise is audible depends on the frequency of the vibration. Unfortunately, with all of the new efficiency requirements (2% load @ 70% efficiency, 10% load @ 80% efficiency, standby efficiency requirements, vampire power maximum limits, etc.), sometimes switching frequencies are brought down to audible levels.

But if the noise is happening even when the PSU is off, then you could have noise introduced to your AC line from something else on the same circuit.

So at this point I'm willing to accept some light buzzing and coil whine noise so long as it's not harmful to my parts.
Noise is not unsafe.

Do I need a UPS? Or could this be an issue with the motherboard? Should I just forget about these noises and hope for the best?


Unless you spend a small fortune on an online UPS, a UPS isn't going to do jack for line noise. Offline and Line Interactive UPSs are mostly passive devices, with the unit only providing support when the mains drops out. Even a line interactive UPS with buck and boost will only buck and boost if the mains voltages is outside of nominal range.

IF it is line noise, the only thing that's going to help is a line conditioner: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Power_conditioner

Or you could just plug the PC into an outlet in another room that's on another circuit to see if the noise goes away.
 

Diddly

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Nov 2, 2006
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I'm surprised your having issues with the PSU. If it's making noises it's not supposed to then RMA that, how do you know it's safe? As for coil whine, if it's that annoying you should bite the bullet and RMA & replace it. Otherwise crank the sound up while playing games! :) good luck
 

jonnyguru

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- (a few months ago) A replacement to the above unit, a just over 3 year old PSU (XFX 550 TS Bronze), started clicking under load. Eventually clicked on and off regardless of the load. Determined that it was definitely faulty (no fan hitting a cable or anything like that) and needed to be replaced. Was still under warranty but decided I'd prefer to just buy a better one instead. Pretty disappointed, that unit should have lasted me a lot longer, I thought.
I can see being disappointed. And, sure, it should have lasted longer. But it didn't. Which is normal.

Companies don't put 5 year warranties on PSUs because they know that 100% of the units in the field are going to last 5 years. They KNOW probably about 10% of them are going to fall short within that period and they want to 1. Protect the consumer and 2. Uphold their company's reputation.

Do you really think there are PSUs out there that never fail? That last forever? And if they don't, they're not quality products?

I mean... Just look at this, for example: https://www.hardware.fr/articles/944-3/alimentations.html
 

Bormear

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Jul 28, 2012
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I'm surprised your having issues with the PSU. If it's making noises it's not supposed to then RMA that, how do you know it's safe? As for coil whine, if it's that annoying you should bite the bullet and RMA & replace it. Otherwise crank the sound up while playing games! :) good luck
Is a very faint buzzing sound enough of an indication of a fault to go to the trouble of returning the unit? I'm also not really convinced that something else isn't causing the buzz. The lights on my old keyboard used to flash when someone else turned on the lights in the bathroom so I'm just wondering if the power in this house or my room could be "dirty" or "unstable" or something, idk, I don't know much about that.

I suppose the GPU coil whine situation is kind of separate and I'll have to decide if it's worth returning that or not...

I can see being disappointed. And, sure, it should have lasted longer. But it didn't. Which is normal.

Companies don't put 5 year warranties on PSUs because they know that 100% of the units in the field are going to last 5 years. They KNOW probably about 10% of them are going to fall short within that period and they want to 1. Protect the consumer and 2. Uphold their company's reputation.

Do you really think there are PSUs out there that never fail? That last forever? And if they don't, they're not quality products?

I mean... Just look at this, for example: https://www.hardware.fr/articles/944-3/alimentations.html
OK, so I was just a bit unlucky there, and there's nothing particularly suspicious about a PSU dying after 3 years. Thank you.
 

jonnyguru

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Shortly after, notice a faint buzzing, seemingly coming from my power supply. Now I'm starting to suspect that there's issues with the power coming from the room I'm in or even the whole house. It's only a buzzing that can be heard if I move my ear near the end of the case and listen, but this PSU should be dead silent. The buzz is constant, even on idle load, and even while the PC is off.
Who ever said that PSU should be dead silent? It's not uncommon for those to buzz.

Remember: ALL magnetics "vibrate". Vibration makes noise. Whether or not that noise is audible depends on the frequency of the vibration. Unfortunately, with all of the new efficiency requirements (2% load @ 70% efficiency, 10% load @ 80% efficiency, standby efficiency requirements, vampire power maximum limits, etc.), sometimes switching frequencies are brought down to audible levels.

But if the noise is happening even when the PSU is off, then you could have noise introduced to your AC line from something else on the same circuit.

So at this point I'm willing to accept some light buzzing and coil whine noise so long as it's not harmful to my parts.
Noise is not unsafe.

Do I need a UPS? Or could this be an issue with the motherboard? Should I just forget about these noises and hope for the best?


Unless you spend a small fortune on an online UPS, a UPS isn't going to do jack for line noise. Offline and Line Interactive UPSs are mostly passive devices, with the unit only providing support when the mains drops out. Even a line interactive UPS with buck and boost will only buck and boost if the mains voltages is outside of nominal range.

IF it is line noise, the only thing that's going to help is a line conditioner: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Power_conditioner

Or you could just plug the PC into an outlet in another room that's on another circuit to see if the noise goes away.
 

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