Computer fan creates an irritating, buzzing sound at random intervals. Plz help!


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Hi,

I got a new system assembled in September this year. Since the last two weeks, there is a weird buzzing sound [like that of a bee] emanating from inside the system at random intervals. It lasts for 4-5 seconds, and then stops only to occur again. Initially, I ignored it. But when it continued this way, I opened up the CPU while the system was running.

Now, there are two fans inside my CPU: a big one mounted vertically at the back [kind of like an exhaust fan] and a smaller one screwed horizontally on a heat sink [processor fan I suppose?]. I discovered that the sound was emanating from the processor fan. How did I know? Well, I waited for the buzzing sound to occur again and when it did, I placed a finger on the center of the fan. The fan stopped rotating and so did the buzzing sound.

The fan is screwed on to the heat sink. Initially, I thought that it might be due to friction/ fan rubbing against a rough surface. So I unscrewed it and took a peek underneath. But it seemed fine to me. Then, I cleaned the fan with a hair dryer. It didn’t have much of dust anyway as it’s just 2 months old. I also used the hair dryer to clean the top of the heat sink, then screwed the fan back on, and started the system. It was fine for a couple of minutes and then the buzzing sound materialized once again! And this continues to occur at random intervals even now.

I have experienced “noisy” computers before and I do understand that it’s normal for computers to be slightly noisy due to the cooling fans. However, this buzzing sound is something new to me. Can anyone diagnose this problem and help me get rid of the buzzing sound. It gets on my nerves, especially at nights while I am surfing.

My system configuration is as below:

AMD Athlon II X3 440 Processor on MSI 880GMA-E45 motherboard with 2GB Corsair DDR3 RAM

OS is Windows 7 Ultimate Ed. 32bit.

By the way, I had enabled the "AMD Cool n Quiet" feature in my BIOS setup a long time ago. I have tried disabling it. But this did not stop the buzzing sound.

As this is a brand new system, shouldn't the fan be running smoothly? I do remember that the heat sink and fan were part of the AMD processor package/kit.
 
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Ian

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Hi vanderluzt,

It sounds like you may have problems with the bearings in the HSF (Heat-Sink Fan) mounted on the CPU. It may not be easy to fix without opening the fan up, so it would be easier just to replace the fan in most cases.

If it's a new system and still under warranty, you should be able to get them to replace the HSF as it really shouldn't be making that sound. My old system (97-99 ish) used to do that when it turned on, but a sharp whack to the side of the case fixed it until the next time (I wouldn't recommend that!).
 
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Hi vanderluzt,

It sounds like you may have problems with the bearings in the HSF (Heat-Sink Fan) mounted on the CPU. It may not be easy to fix without opening the fan up, so it would be easier just to replace the fan in most cases.

If it's a new system and still under warranty, you should be able to get them to replace the HSF as it really shouldn't be making that sound. My old system (97-99 ish) used to do that when it turned on, but a sharp whack to the side of the case fixed it until the next time (I wouldn't recommend that!).
Thanks for the response, Ian. My 10-year old nephew has also been using the "whack" approach quite effectively! Anyway, after posting this query, I checked with a colleague, who described how to go about disassembling the fan and lubricating the bearing. I just did that with a great deal of trepidation and guess what? On startup, it started buzzing louder than before for some time but gradually diminished till it stopped altogether! There is still that unavoidable humming sound emanating like before, but I guess I have to live with that. :(

I am going to use the system for a few days more, especially during the night. If the buzzing is no longer there, then I'll leave it alone. Yes, it's definitely under warranty [been only 2 months], but can I seek a replacement of the complete HSF just for this buzzing problem? I do remember that the HSF was part of the AMD processor kit. But I thought I can only get a replacement for the fan for this problem.

Anyway, I have always been paranoid about noiseless systems and I can say this from experience: Branded systems somehow seem to produce less noise than assembled ones. And I have no idea why this is so!
 

Ian

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Well done on opening up the fan :). It sounds like you've fixed the main bearing problem, the general hum isn't something you can fix without replacing it.

If you want to reduce the noise, you could buy an aftermarket HSF designed to be as silent as possible. I'm not up to date on the latest silent designs, but if you post your CPU (and perhaps motherboard) model number and I'm sure someone here will know of a good product. :)
 
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If i could just ad that I was told not too long ago by the manufacturer of one of my other systems that if i attempt or gain access to the inside of my system that it would no longer be under warranty therefore being void.

this came about after i had spoke to them concerning a problem i had with the fan.

having looked at the back of the system on the casing there was a little sticker type 'seal' that would evidently brake it should i remove the casing. on the seal it says warranty void if seal is broken.

so i would check that out.Keep yourself right.

but just to point out this little sticker thingy is only on one out 4 systems i have. 2 Acer's 1 Dell and a Sony Viao, and it is only 1 of the Acer model that has this.
 
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If i could just ad that I was told not too long ago by the manufacturer of one of my other systems that if i attempt or gain access to the inside of my system that it would no longer be under warranty therefore being void.

this came about after i had spoke to them concerning a problem i had with the fan.

having looked at the back of the system on the casing there was a little sticker type 'seal' that would evidently brake it should i remove the casing. on the seal it says warranty void if seal is broken.

so i would check that out.Keep yourself right.

but just to point out this little sticker thingy is only on one out 4 systems i have. 2 Acer's 1 Dell and a Sony Viao, and it is only 1 of the Acer model that has this.

Thanks for the response! To tell the truth, that is exactly what I was thinking, and hence my question about the warrantee. Does a "buzzing sound" really qualify for seeking replacement under warrantee? Also, when I was removing the sticker for adding the lubricant, I was conscious of the fact that my "little experiment" might nullify the warrantee. But what the heck, this is not a branded system and I am not going to tell them anyway! Let the guy check it at his end.

In any case, I'll wait it out for a few days. On the plus side though, I was given to understand that most of these stock/OEM fans are usually not that great stuff, and I would be better off going for superior and silent HSFs available in the market.
 
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cpu fans are quite common for making these sounds you are describing, i wouldn't concern myself over it too much, its when you can actually feel the system vibrating quite hard with the loud sound when you should start thinking of buying or lubricating in most cases. but not yours, especially as its quite new.
 

Fire cat

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I agree with Ian,
Stock fans are never the best
Buy a new one now.

Humming from the fan.
That is totaly normal.
Make do or buy new.
 

Nibiru2012

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Your CPU cooling fan should NOT be making hardly any noise at all!

Stay away from bearing sleeve fans and yes even some ball-bearing units will make noise.

First I would check to see how the fan is mounting to the CPU heatsink and make sure that the fan blades are not touching any of the cooling fins or any wires. Leave the side of the case off and start it up and use a flashlight to verify any problems.

I have rarely had any issues with the bearings or hub sections of fans, it was usually the blades striking something to make that "buzzing" noise.

If you do have to replace the fan, get a good high quality fan with fluid dynamic bearings as those are the quietest, longest life and very efficient.
 

Fire cat

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If you can afford
Water cooling is awesome
The silent and cool.
 
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TrainableMan

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If the sound is not normal then yes you should be able to have it repaired under warranty. The issue is can you live with the terms of the warranty; I know of at least one company that, in this case a laptop, was returned to and it took them over a month to repair it.
 

Nibiru2012

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Branded systems somehow seem to produce less noise than assembled ones. And I have no idea why this is so!
I find that to be quite the contrary! Usually the branded systems use less cooling fans and the only ones are the PSU fan and the CPU fan. On the other hand, assembled systems can be quite "overboard" and too damn many fans. Some assemblers use enough fans to qualify as another wind tunnel project for JPL! LOL!

What I really mean is that if the assembler is careful and chooses wisely, their system build can be as quiet of quieter than branded systems.

I have a total of 4 fans in my home-built setup: 1-120mm fan, 1-130mm PSU fan, 1-140mm fan and 1-93mm CPU fan and this system is so quiet you can't tell if it's running unless you look at the power and HDD LEDs.
 

Digerati

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vanderluzt said:
As this is a brand new system, shouldn't the fan be running smoothly? I do remember that the heat sink and fan were part of the AMD processor package/kit.
Yes, AMD (and Intel) warranty their CPU and accompanied cooling solution for 3 years. Call for a replacement.

vanderluzt said:
but can I seek a replacement of the complete HSF just for this buzzing problem?
Absolutely! Understand that AMD specifically states in their AMD CPU Warranty (their bold):
This Limited Warranty shall be null and void if the AMD microprocessor which is the subject of this Limited Warranty is used with any heatsink/fan other than the one provided herewith.
If you don't care about the CPU warranty, then go for a 3rd party cooling solution. Otherwise, stick with the OEM supplied fan. In any case, you should replace it immediately. Noisy bearings are a sure sign the bearings are failing and will likely seize and then you will not be able to use your computer, and if unlucky, damage to the CPU or socket may occur due to excessive heat. You should be watching your temps carefully right now as it is also likely the fan is not spinning at full speed due to the added friction of the bad bearings.

Bugsy said:
If i could just ad that I was told not too long ago by the manufacturer of one of my other systems that if i attempt or gain access to the inside of my system that it would no longer be under warranty therefore being void.

the seal it says warranty void if seal is broken.
Those seals are a SCAM used by (IMO) unscrupulous PC makers, used to intimidate buyers to spend more money at their shops and to keep untrained hands out. BUT, you not only have the Right to open your case to add more RAM, a new drive, or an add-in card, you have the responsibility to open the case to clean the interior of heat trapping dust. There is NO DOUBT if something fries because dust buildup caused excessive heat and damage that you will be stuck with the bill. And you can't, or better not anyway, let a PC go for a whole year without cleaning. At the very least, you need to open it up every couple months for inspection.

The key factor here, as recognized in the courts across the globe and as accepted by ALL member countries of the United Nations, is user serviceable parts inside. If there are no user serviceable parts inside, such as inside a power supply, or inside a hard drive, then you can't open it. But if there are user serviceable parts inside, you can. Many new cases come with thumbscrews for a reason!

Therefore, the PC maker can plaster 1000s of those stickers on the case if he wants, but if he voids your warranty because you opened the case to add a HD, take him to court and you will win. Then counter-sue for unfair trade practices and put him out of business! There is already case precedence on this with such things as new car owners are allowed to do their own routine maintenance (oil changes and tire rotations), for example.

The exception to the sticker rule is if, and only if the PC makers performs ALL routine and elective maintenance for FREE! That is, they clean it for free, they add RAM for free, and they add extra hard drives for free. And that includes RAM you buy from someplace else. You do NOT have to buy your extra RAM from them, just as you don't have to buy your oil and filter from the car dealer.

Of course, you also have the responsibility of doing the maintenance correctly. If you zap something because you failed to take necessary ESD control precautions, then you have to pay for the damage. If you break something due to carelessness or because you used too much force incorrectly, you have to pay for the damage.

Notebooks are a bit different because they are so proprietary and don't provide for easy access to the interior. But most notebooks still have access panels to add RAM or to remove drives and batteries so you can do some cleaning.

So again, you not only have the Right to open your case if there are user serviceable parts inside, as there are with PCs, you have the responsibility to keep the interior clean of heat trapping dust. Therefore, it is those stickers and their warnings that are null and void, not your warranties. And these PC makers know that (or their lawyers sure do). Note that many of the big name makers no longer put them on their cases for that reason. Even my new Toshiba notebook has none.

I've been building custom PCs for years and I never have used those stickers because I know they are a scam. Yes, there will always be some unscrupulous users who will do something wrong then when sparks fly claim sweet innocence. That's just one of the costs of doing business. It is also why, to avoid that, I teach my new buyers what to inspect and how to clean because, as noted in my sig, heat is not good.
 
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''you have the responsibility to keep the interior clean of heat trapping dust''

yes i agree with totally, this was a heated argument when i was told about the seal on the back and i was concerned about the above quote too in which they did say that if seal was broken it will be void of warranty, however i was blue in the face with them trying to explain this and hung up the phone and ignored what was said.

And i was just asking about possible upgrading of a suitable alternative graphics at the time lol.:D ie because of lack of space in my system.
 
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Digerati

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Yeah, some of these guys get pretty forceful, but again, their arguement won't stand up in court - not unless they provide free routine maintenance, to include upgrades and cleaning, for the life of the warranty.
 
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