Question Weird slight constant buzzing noise from PC when playing a game

May 31, 2021
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This started after I just installed a Noctua NH-U12S Air Cooler on top of my Intel i7-8700K Coffee Lake 6-Core CPU and so far the core temps seems to be normal, being around average 30C while idle and then about 50-60C while playing a decent looking game. However, when I start up a game, like Warframe for example, I can hear slight constant buzzing coming from inside my the computer. As soon as I exit the game, the buzzing just immediately stops. Afterwards, I decided to see if the buzzing would still be present on an older looking game, like Postal 2 for example, and the buzzing still seemed to be present while playing that game, but not as loud as when playing Warframe. I don't know if it's suppose to be some kind of coil whine, but I'm not entirely sure. I want to know if it's a serious hardware problem that needs to be addressed as soon as possible or if it's normal and if there's something I can do to reduce that buzzing noise.

Build:
Motherboard: ASUS ROG Maximus X Hero (Wi-Fi AC) LGA 1151 (300 Series) Intel Z370 SATA 6Gb/s ATX Intel Motherboard
CPU: Intel i7-8700K Coffee Lake 6-Core
GPU: NVIDIA ASUS Strix GTX 1070
Memory: 16 GB
 

iPeekYou

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Jul 7, 2014
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Localize the source of the buzzing; my guess it's coil whine either from the GPU (more likely) or the PSU.

A fan could also be problematic, and I had issues with strange noise (high-pitched noise) that turns out I just needed to plug in a fan in another header. Usually when I use push/pull either on HSF or AIO.
 
May 31, 2021
4
0
10
0
Localize the source of the buzzing; my guess it's coil whine either from the GPU (more likely) or the PSU.

A fan could also be problematic, and I had issues with strange noise (high-pitched noise) that turns out I just needed to plug in a fan in another header. Usually when I use push/pull either on HSF or AIO.
Now that you say it, I do have my CPU fan connected to an AIO header even though I'm not using AIO Pump. Maybe I'm supposed to have the fan connected to a different header if I'm only relying on air to cool my CPU?
 

TommyTwoTone66

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Apr 24, 2021
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You should connect your CPU fan to the CPU fan header, for sure, but that wouldn't cause a buzzing sound.

It seems like it's the PSU to me. When you load a game, the PSU has to deliver a lot more power to the GPU. As soon as you quit the game, the power demand goes down.

So I would bet that your PSU is close to failure, and the buzzing is the transformer inside the PSU which has come loose and is rattling around under higher load.

What PSU is it and how old is it please?
 

iPeekYou

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Jul 7, 2014
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Now that you say it, I do have my CPU fan connected to an AIO header even though I'm not using AIO Pump. Maybe I'm supposed to have the fan connected to a different header if I'm only relying on air to cool my CPU?
If it's like a case fan or any fans that spins 100% all the time, probably no worries. Worst case is the pump header is only capable of DC control since a lot of AIOs run their pump full speed all the time anyway.
Then again, you'd notice a fan that's behaving weird or making noise since it's full speed.
 
May 31, 2021
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You should connect your CPU fan to the CPU fan header, for sure, but that wouldn't cause a buzzing sound.

It seems like it's the PSU to me. When you load a game, the PSU has to deliver a lot more power to the GPU. As soon as you quit the game, the power demand goes down.

So I would bet that your PSU is close to failure, and the buzzing is the transformer inside the PSU which has come loose and is rattling around under higher load.

What PSU is it and how old is it please?
The PSU is a Corsair CX Series CX750 (750w) Non-Modular, but its only slightly less than three years old, so it would be weird if it were failing this early, and the sounds were only starting to appear after I put the new cooler in, so I assumed it was a cooler issue.
 

TommyTwoTone66

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Apr 24, 2021
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Reach your hand into the pc case and stop the CPU fan momentarily with your finger. Does the buzzing stop? If so, then likely the fan blades are rubbing slightly on one of the wires leading to the motherboard.

You'd hear that on idle though, not just when playing games, and it takes a few seconds for the CPU fans to spin down to idle after playing a game, so when you say:

"As soon as I exit the game, the buzzing just immediately stops", that doesn't quite fit with it being caused by the fan.

You say the sound only started after you put the new cooler in, but is that perhaps because the old cooler was so loud you didn't notice it before? A Noctua NH-U12S cooler is classed as "Ultra Quiet", and is what you'd go for if you were trying to get a silent, or very quiet PC. So maybe if you were on the stock Intel cooler before, it was simply drowning out the buzzing sound?

CX series PSUs do tend to get coil whine after 4-5 years, and although yours is less than 3 years old it might have come on early.

You need to put your ear next to each component and really narrow down exactly where this noise is coming from.

I haven't changed my opinion. I still think it's the PSU.
 
May 31, 2021
4
0
10
0
Reach your hand into the pc case and stop the CPU fan momentarily with your finger. Does the buzzing stop? If so, then likely the fan blades are rubbing slightly on one of the wires leading to the motherboard.

You'd hear that on idle though, not just when playing games, and it takes a few seconds for the CPU fans to spin down to idle after playing a game, so when you say:

"As soon as I exit the game, the buzzing just immediately stops", that doesn't quite fit with it being caused by the fan.

You say the sound only started after you put the new cooler in, but is that perhaps because the old cooler was so loud you didn't notice it before? A Noctua NH-U12S cooler is classed as "Ultra Quiet", and is what you'd go for if you were trying to get a silent, or very quiet PC. So maybe if you were on the stock Intel cooler before, it was simply drowning out the buzzing sound?

CX series PSUs do tend to get coil whine after 4-5 years, and although yours is less than 3 years old it might have come on early.

You need to put your ear next to each component and really narrow down exactly where this noise is coming from.

I haven't changed my opinion. I still think it's the PSU.
So I did what you said and put my finger on the fan to stop it momentarily and the sound did not go away, so it's either the GPU or PSU. I've heard that coil whine isn't necessarily bad and that it's completely normal and it's only a matter of if you're willing to tolerate the noise or fix it. The sound itself isn't too bad for me, it was just something I noticed when I installed the new cooler.
 
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TommyTwoTone66

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Apr 24, 2021
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So I did what you said and put my finger on the fan to stop it momentarily and the sound did not go away, so it's either the GPU or PSU. I've heard that coil whine isn't necessarily bad and that it's completely normal and it's only a matter of if you're willing to tolerate the noise or fix it. The sound itself isn't too bad for me, it was just something I noticed when I installed the new cooler.
I would say that buzzing and whine are very different things. If it is 50hz buzzing, then the PSU is vibrating and that is very not good. If it is more of a high-pitched whine then yes you can live with it if you don’t mind the noise.
 

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