Question PSU going faulty or just cheap?

May 11, 2021
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Two months ago I bought a cheap, basic PC for my mom, it does fine job for her requirements.

As it is, cheap PCs come with cheap PSU, it's one of those generic Chinese things with domestic brand name slap on it. The thing is, doing startup, cold boot to be precise, its fan produce low grinding noise for a minute or so, I've checked it, and it is the PSU fan, so I know the sound is its bearing. After a minute that sound goes away and fan works smooth for the whole day.

Question is, is it a normal behavior for those cheap PSU with cheap fans to sound that way until it warms up or it is the sound of upcoming fan failure? Can I ignore it for the time being or should it be replaced asap?

Btw, I know the cheap PSUs are not the thing that PC community like to give a pass, but before this one my parents had two office desktops with those low price PSUs and they worked for 5+ years without problems.
 

jay32267

Illustrious
I run a LOT of cheap PSUs for work.

"Question is, is it a normal behavior for those cheap PSU with cheap fans to sound that way until it warms up or it is the sound of upcoming fan failure? "

I'm not surprised.
...and it may last for a decade this way.

"Can I ignore it for the time being or should it be replaced asap? "

I think the worst that happens is....it stops...and then your PC will probably crash...and then you replace the PSU....but I don't think it's likely any damage to the PC would happen....other than to the PSU.
 
Reactions: Jordani
May 11, 2021
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Thanks for an answer!

Yeah, tight with money right now so I would like to let it be as far as it works. I've asked for the opinion on one domestic forum and people's attitude there was like Are you fine with your PC setting on fire and your PSU destroying the whole thing...

Like I've said, I know the good PSU is the main thing when you build PC for yourself, but there is a whole bunch of cheap and even mid price prebuilt PCs selling around and they don't suffer major problems due to cheap PSUs in them.
 

jay32267

Illustrious
"Are you fine with your PC setting on fire and your PSU destroying the whole thing..."

<<<People like to be dramatic.

Most of the time....when a PSU fails...it just fails....no fire...or even smoke.

It's very rare for a PSU to fail with fire involved (in my world).

...and usually when they fail...the voltages drop....they don't go up....and they don't damage things (in my world)...and I've probably replaced 100+ PSUs.
 
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May 11, 2021
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And one more thing which I've noticed - when I've tilted the case in one moment when fan was grinding, it went mad, loud grinding and vibrating, but again everything settled after a minute. So why did the change of case position and angle cause that?

Somebody advised me to grease the bearing, but I am not comfortable with doing that since opening would void the warranty, and if the PSU completely fails during the warranty period at least I could get a free replacement.
 

jay32267

Illustrious
by tilting it....the weight of the fan presses on the bearings from a different direction and the sound can change. I'm not surprised.

You can try and lube the bearings....but many times they aren't even accessible....so you can't get the lube where it needs to go....and it may not do any good anyway. I generally don't try and lube them. I just replace the whole fan/motor assembly.
 
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May 11, 2021
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I'm just gonna leave it be, as long as the sound doesn't get worse... Like I've said, for now it's just a minor occurrence. I just wanted to make sure that it wasn't a sound of imminent failure.
 

--SID--

Upstanding
Jan 23, 2021
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What's the make and model of the psu, can you post a picture of the label?
If it's real Chinese crap, replace it. Bad PSUs can damage parts of he system.
 

jay32267

Illustrious
I'm just gonna leave it be, as long as the sound doesn't get worse... Like I've said, for now it's just a minor occurrence. I just wanted to make sure that it wasn't a sound of imminent failure.
That's not a bad idea...and as far as imminent failure...anything can have an imminent failure...even the best hardware in the world...but I don't see the noisy fan as a sign of imminent failure...as I said...it may go for a decade.
 
May 11, 2021
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Some people told me that noisy fan = bad bearing. Bad bearing = fan going faulty. Faulty fan = PSU overheating. PSU overheat = PC critical damage.
 

jay32267

Illustrious
It somewhat can go in that order....except the part about PSU overheat damaging the PC.

As I said....that usually doesn't happen in my world.

...and the other thing they don't mention is...just because the bearing is noisy for one minute when it's cold doesn't mean the fan is going to stop anytime soon.

If you are concerned about it you can always replace the fan or the PSU.

I'm just telling you my experience with things like this....and my experience says....fans like this can go a long time....the noise might even go away.

Although it's possible it could stop right now but it's also possible anything else in your PC could fail right now as well.

.
 
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May 11, 2021
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I understand, my main curiosity was about fan vs. its bearing in terms of reliability. Now I get that noisy fan due to its bearing doesn't mean it will soon die as a rule, it could happen but it can just keep spinning as well.

I will keep it in check, in terms that it doesn't produce higher or longer periods of noise, and if that may happen I will buy new PSU.

Like I've said, sometimes when you ask for a clarification how something works, some people just tend to shout what's cheap and what's no good and announce whole bunch of dangers as they are 100% sure thing to come.
When I've asked this question on one domestic tech forum everybody shouted how the low cost PSUs are a time bombs, how you risk you PC everyday with it and stuff.

Yes, I know that PSU is very important part of the computer, it is not a great thing to have a cheap one but that doesn't mean it is a disaster to have one either, especially in low end PCs.

Thanks once again for your help!
 

Rogue Leader

It's a trap!
Moderator
When I've asked this question on one domestic tech forum everybody shouted how the low cost PSUs are a time bombs, how you risk you PC everyday with it and stuff.
Look with a junk PSU 8 times out of 10 it will just die and you replace it and move on with your life.

With a non junk PSU 10 times out of 10 if it dies you won't have a problem.

I've replaced many junk PSUs that caused no damage at all. However upon becoming a Firefighter the first fire I ever went to was due to a faulty PSU. Burnt the whole house down. Is this the exception? Yeah, I mean come on if cheap chinese PSUs were burning peoples houses down left and right surely someone would have been sued into the center of the earth right now.

Its all about your tolerance for risk. That said on a forum full of enthusiasts, you will find low risk tolerance.
 
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jay32267

Illustrious
I understand, my main curiosity was about fan vs. its bearing in terms of reliability. Now I get that noisy fan due to its bearing doesn't mean it will soon die as a rule, it could happen but it can just keep spinning as well.

I will keep it in check, in terms that it doesn't produce higher or longer periods of noise, and if that may happen I will buy new PSU.

Like I've said, sometimes when you ask for a clarification how something works, some people just tend to shout what's cheap and what's no good and announce whole bunch of dangers as they are 100% sure thing to come.
When I've asked this question on one domestic tech forum everybody shouted how the low cost PSUs are a time bombs, how you risk you PC everyday with it and stuff.

Yes, I know that PSU is very important part of the computer, it is not a great thing to have a cheap one but that doesn't mean it is a disaster to have one either, especially in low end PCs.

Thanks once again for your help!
You're welcome....and just to give you some sense of where I'm coming from...

I'm responsible for all the PCs on the floor in a manufacturing plant and all of them have cheap Chinese PSUs.

I deal with them every day.

The vast vast majority of them don't blow up or start fires or even smoke.

Many of them are running 24/7 for 10 years plus.
 
Reactions: Jordani
May 11, 2021
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Its all about your tolerance for risk. That said on a forum full of enthusiasts, you will find low risk tolerance.
I mean they are a bit more enthusiastic on topic than about risk as it is.

Like I've said, here prebuilt PCs in budget friendly price range have two things in common - cheap PSU and a cheap case.

Even more expensive ones. Let me just say that 600$ PCs have 25$ PSU in them.

Both are usually Made in China generic ones but they are branded by domestic firms, and so they do need to be compliant with some quality standards even if they are cheap. I mean they cannot sell or put something that is a fire hazard and 2 years of warranty is a standard.
 

Rogue Leader

It's a trap!
Moderator
I mean they are a bit more enthusiastic on topic than about risk as it is.

Like I've said, here prebuilt PCs in budget friendly price range have two things in common - cheap PSU and a cheap case.

Even more expensive ones. Let me just say that 600$ PCs have 25$ PSU in them.

Both are usually Made in China generic ones but they are branded by domestic firms, and so they do need to be compliant with some quality standards even if they are cheap. I mean they cannot sell or put something that is a fire hazard and 2 years of warranty is a standard.
You'd be surprised regarding quality of OEM PSUs... For example a lot of OEMs like Dell and HP use Delta PSUs. Delta makes a quality product for them (in China!) that likely costs HP or Dell $20 each. Its hard to compare the cost of an aftermarket PSU, or even to buy the stock one from the OEM (because the price is always jacked there), and compare the quality.

My point is a $25 PSU that you would pay for, is WAY WAYY WAYYY worse than when Dell or HP pays $25 for a PSU. If they were that bad there would be lawsuits through the roof.
 
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