Squealing sound in computer

February 25, 2006 at 16:10:30
Specs: Windows XP Home SP2, Intel 1.8 Ghz
Okay, I haven't been able to find out what causes this sound. I'm running an MSI motherboard (SiS chipset) in an eMachine chassis.

It starts as soon as I boot the computer up. It's a high-pitched, somewhat "staticy" sound is pretty loud, but extremely high in pitch. Testing has shown me the following:

- The sound occurs whenever CPU load is present. Moving the mouse, scrolling pictures, and loading programs cause it to occur. Using the task manager shows that the sound corresponds perfectly to CPU load.

- It is so precisely synched to the mouse that you can literally control when the sound occurs if the system is at rest by moving the mouse. However, using the keyboard to move scrollbars also causes it. Disconnecting both the mouse and keyboard does not change the sound as eventual CPU load causes it.

- The sound is coming from around the CPU itself. I know for a fact that is it not a mechanical device (fan, drive, etc) that is making the noise and have found no solution to it so far.

If anyone's familiar with this issue, let me know please.

See More: Squealing sound in computer

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February 25, 2006 at 16:24:17
If it's coming from around the CPU and it's not the CPU fan, I give up. Why not try replacing the fan, just for the heck of it?

Sorry, I do not check for private messages

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February 25, 2006 at 16:53:20
An electrical whine could be overheating mosfets.Is your system overclocked?

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February 25, 2006 at 16:57:18
The cpu operates at a particular frequency... or in other words, it's vibrating (very fast!). Under the proper circumstances it can be heard in the same way you can hear the 60hz hum from a normal line transformer (the frequency is vibrating the transformer)

If your cpu heatsink is lose (even a little) or your cpu mounting plate or lever is lose or touching the cpu in a funny way, then it is possible for this to pick up and amplify the cpu vibrations.

Remove the heatsink, redo the grease layer and make sure the cpu is secure and mounted properly.

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February 25, 2006 at 19:13:46

""The cpu operates at a particular frequency... or in other words, it's vibrating (very fast!). Under the proper circumstances it can be heard in the same way you can hear the 60hz hum from a normal line transformer (the frequency is vibrating the transformer)
If your cpu heatsink is lose (even a little) or your cpu mounting plate or lever is lose or touching the cpu in a funny way, then it is possible for this to pick up and amplify the cpu vibrations.

Remove the heatsink, redo the grease layer and make sure the cpu is secure and mounted properly.""

is the most humongous, blatant, load of Karap and misinformation I HAVE EVER READ in my life.

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February 25, 2006 at 19:56:59
CPUs do not vibrate.

Sorry, I do not check for private messages

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February 25, 2006 at 20:09:57
DAP12 (KARAP) amplifies inflammation and increases mortality from endotoxemia and septic peritonitis.


name you are correct again.

Your witty play on spelling brings up the most unusual results.

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February 25, 2006 at 20:30:48
Whew! For a moment I didn't know just *who* to believe - but if "Robert J" says 'name' is right, then by t'underin' Jesus - he must be

Thank you so much
(rah, rah)

Science is built up with facts, as a house is with stones. But a collection of facts is not more a science than a heap of stones is a home

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February 25, 2006 at 20:48:44
Robert J StreetI originally {robertj} now {street1}My son Robert J StreetII

Lard T'underin' Jaysus, boy

Your welcome jboy.

Hip Hip hooray!!

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February 25, 2006 at 21:39:36
I only wish I knew the CORRECT answer to this question, here's a few possibliliies:

Fan noise. Since fans are now controlled for speed, it's entirely possible that the CPU fan is making this noise, and or that some mixing element, such as the noise of the cpu fan is beating with the sound from some other fan, and causing a beat note.

It is entirely possible that one of the ferrite cores on the board or in the power supply is making this noise, sometimes caused by a loose winding or two.

I can assure you, however, that "IF" the cpu chip itself vibrates, it won't be at any audible frequency.

Frankly, I'd suspect something in the monitor, rather than in the computer.

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February 26, 2006 at 02:20:15
NAME, HAM... Terribly sorry... but you are wrong.

ANY elactronics device that operates at ANY frequency vibrates... It's pure physics you can not get around it. You do not Have to take my word for it... That in fact is what alternating current is; millions of little electrons VIBRATING back and forth....get out a basic electronics and physics book and look it up.

Transformers are especially loud and can be heard by the naked ear with no additional amplification because there a LOT of coils vibrating back and forth due to the alternating current. The higher the operating frequency, the higher the whine you will hear. Have you ever watched an older crt TV and heard a high faint high pitched whine? It's the flyback transformer... over the years the varathane coating they place over the coils to hold them in place (as well as insulate) starts to break down and the wires start to move with the pattern of the electrons.... cuasing the whine.

Granted cpu's do not operate on an alternating current in the same sense, but they do contain internal clocks which operate at a particular frequency.... milions of little electrons starting and stopping at a timed rate. This is what clocks are built to do... VIBRATE the electrons at a specific rate. This vibration CAN BE HEARD EVEN BY THE NAKED EAR if you get the cpu hot enough... again you do not have to take my word for it... take an old cpu that you don't want, plug it in with no heat sink and put it under load. Sooner or later of course it will burn out... but as the temperature rises, you will begin to hear a very faint but high pitched whining... this is your clock vibrating.

The natural vibrations of the cpu can not be heard by the naked ear.... unless it has a little help from a lose heat sink or something acting as a tuning fork, amplifying the noise

Now I have no plans on getting into an argument on this... I have tried to list a few FACTS here to some non believers. You can choose to believe or not.... but I suggest you study up on it before calling me crazy again!

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February 26, 2006 at 02:33:27
In fact... I just read STREET1's first comment on MOSFETs.... you are on the right track STREET... the heat gives the mosfets the additional amplification required to hear the whine.

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February 26, 2006 at 05:05:01
MEH.... I had the same problem with a really old computer that had been sitting outside for a while. (Even had grubs in it when i got it, must have been there for months) I replaced the PSU and most of the noise was gone, then 3 out of five times it wouldent boot, I found out that the motherboard was touching the case. Re-mounted the M/B and I never heard the noise again.

Mattwizz3 : )

A7N8X-E Deluxe
Sempron 2600+ OC 2.2GHz
1Gb DDR400 Dual Channel
Maxtor SATA 200Gb/7200/8m
WDC IDE 80Gb/7200/8m
Damn Microsoft...

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February 26, 2006 at 06:10:24
That's a slightly different affair... most likely mechanical vibration from the fan working its way through the mobo, in turn vibrating an unsecured part of the mobo against the case.

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February 26, 2006 at 09:10:58
Sorry Blackbill. CPUs do not vibrate by themselves. They might vibrate because of a fan that is out of balance or something.

Sorry, I do not check for private messages

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February 26, 2006 at 10:18:08
Ham... yes they do. Look I have not the time to debate (on my way out the door right now!)

But try and look at it this way... ANYTHING that is in motion has the ability to make noise... and yes, this even includes electrons running around on a peice of silicon. Noise is sound waves vibrating the air.... key word there being "vibrate".

Cpu's quite naturally vibrate... you can not see it with the naked eye, feel it, or even hear it. You may not even see it when placed under a microscope beacuse the actual chip is embedded inside a lot of plastic (or ceramic as the case may be.) But if you were able to place a sensitive microphone near it hooked up to a scope you would be able sound waves being generated... remember noise is in fact vibrating sound waves.

Now that vibration can be amplified in a number of different ways... one is kind of like a tuning fork.... the thongs connected to the weights transfer and amplify.

But there is also heat which will cause noise to amplify (amplify is a wrong term her but I am pressed for time)

If you turn on your tap to full and thottle it back slowly you will notice the pitch of the sound get higher and louder... this is even more pronouned when using hot water. It is the increased resistance to the flow that causes this change and amplification.

The same idea can be applied to a cpu (or any other chip for that matter) As you increase the load on a cpu it heats up due to increased resistance (heat and resistance work hand in hand one goes up , so does the other) Just as with the tap, the more resistance you throw at a flow of electricity, the higher and louder the noise (or vibration will be.

If you get a cpu hot enough, you will actually be able to hear a high pitched whine with the naked ear... no word of a lie.... just like STREET suggested with the overheating mosfets.

Now if you have a lose piece of metal up against the side of the cpu, it will at as a sort of amplifier.

gotta go!

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February 26, 2006 at 10:47:01
From my understanding, the clock frequency of a CPU is as a result of the system crystal vibrating due to applied voltage but doing so to the point of being audibly amplified without any special equipment is where I'm lost.

When Google isn't your best pal

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February 26, 2006 at 15:21:21
Special equipment is not required... Have you ever seen one of those old phonograhs... the ones with the big megaphones hanging off the tone arm?

Who would have thought that you could sit clear accross the room and hear at a fair volume, a tiny little needle vibrating in the micro-grooves of a flat piece of plastic?!

This is done I might add with absolutely no electronic amplification what so ever... The needle is simply hook to a larger diaphram which vibrates, which in turn is tunneled through a natural amplifier... a megaphone. Nothing complicated about it.

To the other extreme a simple muffler takes the high pitched rather loud explosions within an engine and turns them into a quite whisper... just by bending sound waves. Bose uses the same idea in their speaker systems only in reverse.

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February 26, 2006 at 15:22:20
This may be a late response, but I had the same issues. When ever I would scroll a big picture in picture viewer, I would here a mild whistling sound from my cabinet. It was loud enoug for me to hear it through the cabinet and the room noice.
It happend only while I schrolled using the scroll bar.
I was equally puzzled when I first saw it, but it was over a year ago and nothing has happened about it, so nothing to worry about.


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February 26, 2006 at 16:49:18
I'm 'a thinkin' that this here:


is your solution.

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February 26, 2006 at 17:08:49
Now, let's be perfectly clear, here. People who think that a cpu chip, within itself, can generate audible sound need to go relearn some basic electronics.

First, there is no AC of any frequency that is LOW enough, anywhere in a cpu interface, to cause sound in the audible range. The ONLY AC signals within a computer system that could be in the audible range are "in" the sound system, the serial data port, and the PSU and other power supply and voltage regulation components.

Additionally, there is no "equivalent" to something like a dynamic/ magnetic, or piezoelectric, or other electro-mechanical device of any kind to generate this kind of sound in the chip.

A cpu is comprized of thousands of equivalent descrete components, none of which individually consume enough power to even GENERATE sound, even if the frequency WAS in the audible range. If they did, they would self destruct from that much power

A good comparison, for example, is the basic old fashioned crystal oscillator, which IS THE VERY example of an electro-mechanical-piezo device. A crystal oscillator DOES in fact physically vibrate, and IN FACT if one was operated in the audible range, you could probably hear it. It is possible, if a crystal is operated with too much power to actually fracture the crystal by physical vibration--something that used to happen back in the days of vacuum tube oscillators.

However, again, virtually all crystal oscillators are operated ABOVE the audible range, which means "about" 20KHZ

There is NOTHING in a cpu of ANY where near the magnitude of this power.

Additionally, because just about EVERY modern cpu is strapped down very securely by the socket/cpu/heat sink sandwich, even IF the thing (chip) could or did vibrate, the entire package of this sandwich would tend to dampen any vibration.

Now, it is VERY possible that wherever the source of this vibration or noise is, it could very well be transferred through the motherboard material, and the CPU assembly, being a fairly large component, is acting as a diaphrapm or sounding board.

There is no way this happens, directly from a cpu chip, period. You need to look elsewhere.

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February 26, 2006 at 17:35:18
First NAME I do agree that it could well be a vibration from another source winding its way through the mobo.

But second, I must point out that I AM an elctronics engineer and I do this sort of stuff for a living... I don't need to consult an electronics book... I do it every day. I have tried to explain the bending of sound waves and the change in their respective pitch and dynamics, as well as made several attempts to make it clear that cpu's just like any other electronics chip ARE capable of generating audible noise. If you choose not to believe then that's entirely fine... you are not hurting me in any sense.

Either way I am done with this debate... there is no sense trying to drive a nail into a rock.

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February 26, 2006 at 18:22:05
"there is no sense trying to drive a nail into a rock."

Yup blackbill, is it possible tht you are the rock? Maybe you should consult some of your fellow enigineers to see if you can find anyone that agrees with you. My bet is 'no way'.

Sorry, I do not check for private messages

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March 14, 2006 at 18:44:24
If you choose to disagree w/ blackbill, then why don't you try to come up with the answers yourselves? What other component in a computer would cause a high pitched squealing noise who's pitch is based on the CPU Load??? Blackbill's answer makes complete sense to me, as I am studying this sort of thing myself.

I think computing.net is becoming more and more full with "professionals" who don't want to accept other professional's opinions, and don't want to leave them alone. I'm tired of coming on here with having to wonder if someone is going to criticize my advice or not. You are doing the same thing to blackbill that you do with me, and this kind of treatment HAS TO STOP.

The only I ask is that you accept other people's suggestions as being possible.

I believe in the Big Bang. God said it, and BANG it happened!

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March 20, 2006 at 03:36:41
I Have the same problem.
A sound is emanating from my CPU. I do not have a power supply in the machine (it is sitting to the side now) and when I hold the fan off the noise continues.
The processor is a Duron 1000 also the Duron 1200 is doing it on the same motherboard.
It does sound like it's coming from the CPU. If not it must be transferred from thte HDD through the case to the motherboard and then to the socket.
I think I will try with the HDD outside the casae next.
Still don't know what's causing it. My bet is on the dude who mentioned heat and resonance.

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