Question Please help I’m out of ideas RTX 3080

Nov 28, 2021
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Okay this is a long one stick with me, please read it all. Full specs and changes listed at bottom.

So this all started when I got my evga rtx 3080 ftw 3 ultra. My girlfriend got the same card at the same time as me. We are both enjoying gaming on our cards for several months (April to August no issues). In August I notice a strange clicking noise coming from my pc while I’m gaming. It kind of sounds like an electrical click and I can’t put my finger on what’s causing it. It only happens when gaming and at random intervals but it seems some games cause it more consistently. The game it happened most on was insurgency: sandstorm.

I turn to google and read every forum I could find. Most of them tell me if it’s a clicking sound the PSU is dying. Ok cool, swap the PSU, still clicking. So next I try swapping my fan hub because it was a junk one, no change clicking continues. So I ignore it for a while, one day, just a few days later, my pc shuts down while playing phasmaphobia. It wouldn’t turn on again until I turned off the PSU in the back and turned it on again. So at this point I say it’s got to have something to do with the GPU or the motherboard.

So at this point I don’t have another motherboard but I do have access to my girlfriends exact same GPU. I test her system to make sure there’s no clicking, no issues. So I swap the GPUs and test out the game. Here’s the kicker, while I had my gpu in her computer the clicking was now happening in her computer. While I had her card in my computer, the clicking continued. So now both cards are making the click. So I panic and swap them back. The clicking stops in her pc once I get her card back in. It continues with mine.

So what I do then is go to microcenter and ask the pc repair desk. They tell me the motherboard likely damaged the GPU and they should both be replaced. So I buy a new motherboard and RMA the GPU. I get the new gpu and mobo, do the swaps, pop in my same SSD, I have done zero software changes at this point. Fire up the game and the new gpu starts clicking. Now I’m really puzzled.

My next best guess was maybe there was some software on my SSD that caused it somehow. So today I got a brand new SSD. Downloaded a fresh install of windows and only downloaded Asus armory crate, evga precision x1, Nvidia GeForce (for the drivers), Steam, and the game (Insurgency: Sandstorm). Fire up the game and within 5 minutes hear the familiar click yet again.

So what the heck do I do now? I’ve replaced everything but the CPU and RAM. I’ve done a fresh install of windows and drivers. Before you ask, yes, I’ve cleared fans of obstructions and this is not mechanical in any way. No mechanical hard drives. Could I be the CPU or RAM? Could it be something in the GPU bios or mobo bios? Could it be the power coming from the wall (our lights dim when there are large power draws)? But then why was it fine for 4 months? Could using my old SSD first create an issue? Could having 2 Asus motherboards be causing this? It’s basically a whole new pc now and I’m stuck.

Specs:
-Asus ROG gaming wifi b550 changed to Asus tuf gaming x570
-ryzen 9 3900x
-32gb Corsair RAM
-EVGA RTX 3080 ftw 3 (3 different cards)
-EVGA GA 850w PSU changed to NZXT C850w
-2tb inland NVMe SSD changed to 512gb inland NVMe SSD
 
basically a whole new pc now and I’m stuck.
have you experienced any actual issues outside of an annoying sound?
crashes, low frame rates, over heating, etc...?
I’ve cleared fans of obstructions and this is not mechanical in any way
have you actually tested each fan to ensure no noise is being generated by any of them?
Could it be the power coming from the wall (our lights dim when there are large power draws)?
if the sound is coming form the computer and the computer is connected to a surge protector, then no.
if the sound is coming from the wall outlet, then yes.
 
Nov 28, 2021
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Hey John thanks for the response. So the only real issue I had was when it shutdown, only one time, while gaming. It completely shutdown and wouldn’t turn on until I hit the switch on the PSU off then back on and it booted normally. I haven’t used it much since then because I was worried about this issue. Other than that everything seems normal, no crashes or overheating.
I have tested every fan, it’s not that. The click is very electrical sounding and happens mostly during the most intense first person games. It’s not consistent just one loud random click, it will happen every 2 to 5 min. On games with less graphical needs it may only happen every 10-15 min. It’s super loud, louder than I can click my tongue or snap my fingers. The sound comes from the pc not the wall.
 
Nov 28, 2021
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Hey John thanks for the response. So the only real issue I had was when it shutdown, only one time, while gaming. It completely shutdown and wouldn’t turn on until I hit the switch on the PSU off then back on and it booted normally. I haven’t used it much since then because I was worried about this issue. Other than that everything seems normal, no crashes or overheating.
I have tested every fan, it’s not that. The click is very electrical sounding and happens mostly during the most intense first person games. It’s not consistent just one loud random click, it will happen every 2 to 5 min. On games with less graphical needs it may only happen every 10-15 min. It’s super loud, louder than I can click my tongue or snap my fingers. The sound comes from the pc not the wall.
Also not related to fan curve, doesn’t happen when the fans turn on. It doesn’t appear to be tied directly to gpu use. Only loosely related to gpu use. For instance it happens consistently in Insurgency: sandstorm when the gpu is running at 60% but less in Satisfactory when it’s running closer to 80-90%. It hardly happens at all when playing RTS games like They are Billions, that run the gpu at 10-20%. So it is related but it’s not directly related.
 
doesn’t appear to be tied directly to gpu use. Only loosely related to gpu use
normally i would suggest that it is an issue with power draw as the GPU needs more power but the NZXT C series is a very reliable unit and i know 850w is enough for any basic RTX 3080.

unlikely, but could be an issue with power draw from the PCIe slot.
if you have a second 8x or 16x slot try the card there and see if it continues...

another thing i might try is limiting the GPU's fan's RPM. start @ 70% and work your down 10% at a time.
if the sound stops then it would look like an issue with at least one of the fans as they change RPM.
it may not be the bearings or blades but some issue with power drawing.
 
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Nov 28, 2021
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I will try those ideas but I did try 2 different motherboards so I can’t imagine it’s the pcie slot. I also tried 2 power supplies. It could be the fans but when I was testing with my girlfriends identical gpu it happened in my system with her card, but when her card was put back in her system it stopped. My system has recreated the issue with 3 different identical cards now.
 
Apr 23, 2021
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I have to agree with John. It’s more than likely the fans changing RPM one at a time. Although this is abnormal, it can happen. Different GPU models can have generic issues that are tied to that particular model or revision. For example, the Gigabyte GPUs causing overcurrent protection to go off on the PSU. Not normal, but is a somewhat common issue with the Aorus Master GPUs. I was unfortunately a victim of this. Anyhow, that’s starting to go besides the point. Have you ever used any software like MSI Afterburner or EVGA precision X? Have you ever played with any fan sliders on there? Sometimes these programs can also do strange things in the background and make GPUs behave oddly. Although highly unlikely, it’s possible. But the fact that your lover’s GPU started doing the same thing after putting in your system instantly makes me think it’s a software or firmware issue.
 
Nov 28, 2021
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So that’s partially why I did a whole new install of windows on a new SSD. I was thinking it was a software issue. On the original gpu I was using several programs that may have caused issue, I had asus armory crate, precision x1, Nvidia GeForce, and nice hash crypto miner. I never played with any stetting at all. But on this new install I only put on armory crate, precision x1, and Nvidia GeForce. I was worried the miner was causing issues but that’s not on this new SSD. As for the other 3 programs my girl has all of those too but the problem only happens on my system. We have identical drivers, firmware updates, etc.

The only thing that would be any different is if the miner messed with the gpu bios but her gpu was in my system so if that was the case wouldn’t it be subject to the same issue? And with a new install of windows and an SSD even if it was the miner it’s gone now.

I will try messing with the fans and seeing if that helps. Would that really start being an issue 4 months in?

I should probably mention this too. When I am monitoring the gpu in precision x, any time I open any app I get these huge spikes that show the gpu clock running at 1980mhz for 1 second while the app opens and then back to like 200mhz. Similar spikes with gpu memory mhz. Not sure if that’s normal.
 
Apr 23, 2021
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I should probably mention this too. When I am monitoring the gpu in precision x, any time I open any app I get these huge spikes that show the gpu clock running at 1980mhz for 1 second while the app opens and then back to like 200mhz. Similar spikes with gpu memory mhz. Not sure if that’s normal.
That’s normal. It’s just the visual aspect of the app maximising on the screen that causes it to spike up. But there is no real load on it. Just because your voltage and core clock speed goes really high, that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s under any sort of load. But yea, play with your fans a bit. Start lowering the speeds and see if you notice a difference.
 
My system has recreated the issue with 3 different identical cards now.
if this is absolutely true then it would obviously lead to another device/component either being the sole culprit or at least the culprit that causes the cards to behave erratically.

with all of the trial & error you've listed + swapping of almost every component I would start to wonder if this sound is coming from your head or some other source unrelated to the computer.

try and get a very clear recording of the sound from it's source, and if you can also; video.
and upload it here through a YouTube link.
 
Nov 28, 2021
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I have an update! I was playing the same game on my girls pc and noticed nice steady gpu clock mhz within a range of ~1890-1980mhz on the extremes average ~1950, very steady.

Then I looked at my system playing the game. The click is associated with a drop out in GPU clock. When the click happens the gpu clock goes from ~1950 to around ~1600mhz for about 4-5 seconds, (always 2 small sharp spikes ~1600-1700mhz in that time) and then a climb back to ~1950mhz until the next click, then it drops, few seconds, then climbs to normal.

If you think it’s a component, could it be the CPU or RAM causing it? I have others I could swap.

I’m thinking this discovery points to some hardware I haven’t changed, or some software is messing with it, possibly drivers or firmware on the card? How would I even fix that? Considering I got all new software with the new download of windows.

I’m not crazy I swear! The sound is coming from the pc! I’ve listened to all other things in this house, the ac and fridge clicking on, the cat in her litter box, you name it and I’ve listened to it like a hawk trying to solve this 😩!
 
I’m not crazy I swear! The sound is coming from the pc! I’ve listened to all other things in this house, the ac and fridge clicking on, the cat in her litter box, you name it and I’ve listened to it like a hawk trying to solve this 😩!
try and get a very clear recording of the sound from it's source, and if you can also; video.
and upload it here through a YouTube link.
 
Apr 23, 2021
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I have an update! I was playing the same game on my girls pc and noticed nice steady gpu clock mhz within a range of ~1890-1980mhz on the extremes average ~1950, very steady.

Then I looked at my system playing the game. The click is associated with a drop out in GPU clock. When the click happens the gpu clock goes from ~1950 to around ~1600mhz for about 4-5 seconds, (always 2 small sharp spikes ~1600-1700mhz in that time) and then a climb back to ~1950mhz until the next click, then it drops, few seconds, then climbs to normal.

If you think it’s a component, could it be the CPU or RAM causing it? I have others I could swap.

I’m thinking this discovery points to some hardware I haven’t changed, or some software is messing with it, possibly drivers or firmware on the card? How would I even fix that? Considering I got all new software with the new download of windows.

I’m not crazy I swear! The sound is coming from the pc! I’ve listened to all other things in this house, the ac and fridge clicking on, the cat in her litter box, you name it and I’ve listened to it like a hawk trying to solve this 😩!
It could quite possibly be your PSU making the noise. If you say it happens when clock speed and voltage changes etc it could be the sound of your 12v rail dropping. Maybe even just generic nosies coming from the GPU that literally most high power consuming electronics make. I honestly find it really fascinating that you went through all this trouble just because of a noise that is probably not affecting any performance or causing any damage. Unless the sound is just horrendously loud and annoying to the point where you would rather listen to Travis Scott, I can’t really see any point in worrying about it at all. Electronics make noises, that’s what happens.
 
Nov 28, 2021
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I’m gonna get a video because it’s very loud, like it makes me jump. I would say it’s Travis Scott bad lol. Also I tried it on 3 PSUs and still had the issue so it can’t be the PSU. I’m also finding it’s tied to the clock speed dropping so I think it’s power delivery related. I’m worried it will lead to a major failure. My pc is silent and I can hear this click from across the house.
 
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JinxTheWorld

Prominent
Jan 10, 2021
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Hmm, well you can always do an experiment. Download an app on your phone if you want, doesn't matter. Spectroid for android, it's free. Find out what frequency the clicking sound is and google what sounds happen in that frequency spike. If it's electrical, you could find out that way. Sure, it's silly, but why not lol.
 
Nov 19, 2021
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Do you have anything else near your computer that’s not near hers? Specifically something that would intermittently be active like a compressor in a fridge. I’ve seen issues with a computer near a minifrige causing ‘pop’ sounds when a nearby minifrige compressor starts up.
 

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