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strange two-pitched noise coming from pc

Posted on 2011-02-15
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Last Modified: 2012-05-11
I have a customer with a pc that was built by their previous support business.  It is emitting a two-tone (sounds like an octave apart if that helps) sound from inside the casing.  I've taken off the cover and can't identify where it's coming from.  Has anyone come across this before.  The noise is intermittent and tends to start when the customer is busy doing something in Windows Mail, or online.  It has an Intel Core2 CPU6600 and Nvidia graphics card which is being driven by GEForce 8500Gt driver.  The motherboard says it is Abit AW9D.  Hard drive is WD4000AAKS-00TMA0.  I'm not sure how much more info you might need?
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Question by:eyetealady
11 Comments
 
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by:
JEaston earned 84 total points
ID: 34895606
Hi eyetealady,

It is difficult to say exactally what is wrong without running some tests on the PC.  I would suggest running the BIOS hardware tests or if you have any third party tools you can use these also.

The only time I have seen similar symptoms was when a Hard Disk was failing and the more heavily it was being used, the worse the sound.

Hope this helps.
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Expert Comment

by:Dr. Klahn
ID: 34895973
In my experience, intermittent high-low sounds are due to a fan bearing failing.  It might be the system fan or the CPU fan.  If the video card has a fan, it could be that fan as well.  Try swapping out the fans, one at a time, to see if the problem is alleviated.
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Assisted Solution

by:MarcusMartin
MarcusMartin earned 83 total points
ID: 34896002
To add to DrKlahns input, stop the fans one by one with a pencil or your finger if your brave :) before replacing them. There is only a few places the noise can be comming from and the fans i would say are the most likely.

Other than that theres the PC internal speaker which can be eliminated from your diagnostics by disabling it in the bios, cd roms again can be eliminated by removing the power cable. and then theres the hdd, the only way to eliminate that really is to put it in another machine and see if the noise re-occurs.

Good luck hope the above is useful.
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Author Comment

by:eyetealady
ID: 34897965
Thanks very much to all.  I am not due to go back to this customer for a few days so cant try out what you've suggested till then.. Can I leave thin query in abeyance in some way?
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Assisted Solution

by:_
_ earned 83 total points
ID: 34903550
Yes, you can leave it for a few days.

Also check if the BIOS is set to give a Thermal Alarm (overheating).
Check the cpu fan/heatsink for dust. Also the Intake and Exhaust case vents.

Also try Real Temp or SpeedFan to monitor the temps while they are working.

Real Temp
http://www.techpowerup.com/realtemp/

Speed Fan
http://www.almico.com/speedfan.php

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Author Comment

by:eyetealady
ID: 34904116
thanks to all - I'll get back to you next week when I've visited the customer.
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Author Comment

by:eyetealady
ID: 34904177
Thanks to coral47 for that really useful link to Techpowerup - what a lot of useful bits of software!  
Can any of you recommend what software you use for hardware analysis when you're trying to find out what's inside a PC?
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Expert Comment

by:_
ID: 34904247
It kind of varies with what I am after.

For quick and dirty cpu - motherboard - memory info, I use CPU-Z:
http://www.cpuid.com/cpuz.php

For video card(s), GPU-Z
http://www.techpowerup.com/gpuz/

When I want to find out more than I want to know, SIW
http://www.gtopala.com/

EVEREST is pretty good also, but when they started charging for it, I went to SIW.
http://www.techpowerup.com/downloads/1398/EVEREST_Ultimate_Edition_5.02_.EXE_Package.html


If the OS is messed up or gone, UBCD is my weapon of choice:
www.ultimatebootcd.com

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Author Comment

by:eyetealady
ID: 34904323
That's great. Thanks a lot for all that.
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Author Closing Comment

by:eyetealady
ID: 34963921
lots of helpful tips to try
the customer came back and said that the instruction I'd given her to very carefully clean all the dust which was covering the internal components of the pc, seemed to have worked!  I suggested she use a soft brush and a gentle vacuum and that seems to have done the trick!
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by:_
ID: 34965492
Thanks for the feedback and the Points.    : )
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