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PSU/GPU Buzzing problem

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#1
Hey.

I just wanted some people's opinions on something. It's rather complicated.

I recently built a mini-ITX PC to use as a LAN rig, but I've had some rather annoying issues.

Spec;
i5 4440 @ 3.3 GHz
8GB Corsair 1333MHz
MSI H87i
Sapphire AMD Radeon R9 270X Dual-X

The first case I used was a Silverstone Sugo SG05, with a Silverstone 450W 80 Plus Bronze SFX powersupply. After a while, the power supply started to develop (it wasn't instant) a really loud buzzing noise, not the usual whining associated with coils, but an electric buzzing noise, at both idle and under load from the GPU. Similar to a cable tie caught in a high-speed fan.

Wasn't exactly that, or any fan-related or vibration issues for several reasons; stopped the fan with the end of a screwdriver; buzzing persisted. And it was definitely coming from within the PSU. Putting load on the GPU and CPU caused the buzzing frequency to heighten, and become somewhat louder.

Thinking the PSU was bad; I sent it back for an replacement; new unit came, set it up and got everything running. Was silent and fine for a while (about an hour), but the replacement slowly started developing this problem; the buzzing returned.

I tested both units without the GPU, too; same buzzing.

That leads me to the final part of my issue. After the replacement had this same buzzing noise; I decided to get a bigger powersupply, since 450W could be considered cutting it fine for a 270X (though I know it's sufficient). So I got a refund and picked up a Seasonic G Series 650W Gold, and a Bitfenix Prodigy.

Got all that set up, and installed. Powersupply was silent for a while, but even this unit is now starting to buzz, but not quite as loud as the other two. So I'm thinking, it can't be the PSUs. I've tried different sockets, different cables, extension leads, surge protectors all to no avail.

Testing with the case side off revealed that the GPU itself buzzes also; confirmed this as the buzzing changes pitch when looking around in games. So it's got a bit of coil whine, it's not too loud and I can live with it. The noise isn't so much the problem, though. My 270X has been experiencing artifacting in many games, even on the desktop (with Unigine Heaven running in the background in Windowed mode), leading me to believe that the GPU or PSU is causing it. I pulled the 270X out and tested it thoroughly in my main rig; absolutely fine as far as I can see.

Also, there is a slight buzzing from all three units even when the unit is switched off, but still plugged in.

So I have some questions for those who are knowledgeable on the subject, or have experience with this kind of problem, also TL;DR:

1) Can components other than the PSU, cause a powersupply to develop an irreversible coil whine or buzzing?

2) Is buzzing from the Graphics card and powersupply dangerous, can it cause GPU erroring/other problems?

3) Can buzzing from a powersupply be normal behaviour?

Any advice would be very much appreciated, thank you!
 
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#2
I don't consider coil whine to be normal under any circumstances but it seems to be more so with in GPU and PSU manufactures.
 
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#3
So 3 power supply units all buzzing. Gfx card doesn't when in main rig. Could the motherboard have power distribution issues causing the problems with individual components? Just a thought with no science to back me up.
 
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#4
Can you try out your main rig's PSU in the mini-rig and check if that produces any noise? Actually, don't try that. Because if it is your other component's fault it could crap up your main PSU. Hopefully it's only bad luck and you got bad PSUs.
 
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#5
I had a GPU a few years ago that made a whistle noise.
 
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#6
Replace motherbosrd and power supply.
 

Aerpoweron

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#7
Hi, ArbitraryAffection,

to 3) Can buzzing from a powersupply be normal behaviour?

I don't consider buzzing or coil whine as normal behavior too, but can occur with some GPU / PSU configurations. The mainboard might also play a role in it. I have an old GTX 275 running with a 550W Tagan PSU. They show the same behavior as you described. But i had no trouble with 430 or 500W Corsair CS PSU on the computer.
The different pitch in the sound comes from the different frame rates in game, or even in the loading screens. You will notice that the pitch goes up, when you have more FPS.
The buzzing is persisting after some time, because some of the parts in the PSU get mechanically loose inside. Their coating or glue is shaken loose over time because the coils or transformers are under a huge mechanical stress from the alternating current.
Your setup has the perfect conditions for this to happen quickly.

to 2) Is buzzing from the Graphics card and powersupply dangerous, can it cause GPU erroring/other problems?

It should not be dangerous in your case. You have new PSU, and they should work fine without problems, and deliver the voltage and current quite stable.
But on aged PSU capacitors could have failed. So the filtering does not work as well any more. You have higher than allowed ripple voltage than. This can cause instability or even damage components. I had no damaged components here so far, but at some point the messed up PSU did not start the PC any more. (all low voltage capacitors were popped open)

to 1) Can components other than the PSU, cause a powersupply to develop an irreversible coil whine or buzzing?

In my opinion yes. Nobody can test all the combinations of parts you can plug together. And then there are slight differences.
You just got unlucky in your choice of parts and PSU so far i think. There might even be the possibility that on some rail you draw too less power for the PSU to handle it well. Try next time to find a PSU rated for the Haswell CPU. That might help, since you run a interesting setup. (Low power Mainboard, with average CPU but quite high power GPU)

You could try changing the memory, or just run on 1 module. Change the cpu, if you have another one which can fit in this board. And you can try running the computer without the 270X for testing, since the cpu has a built in GPU.

The artifacts you get: i think they come from your "new" setup. The Haswell cpu hasn't been out for long as well as the 270X. There might still be driver issues. Even a bios update might help. :)

I hope i could help you a little. Keep us posted when you found a solution.
 
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#8
Could be power management issue - try this - works a treat

1. Execute: "regedit"
2 .Locate: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE \ SYSTEM \ CurrentControlSet \ Control \ Power \ PowerSettings \ 54533251-82be-4824-96c1-47b60b¬740d00 \ 5d76a2ca-e8c0-402f-a133-215849¬2d58ad
3. Change Attributes from 1 to 0.
4. Then, through the control panel - power - in the settings mode select power management processor. There will be an option disabling idle processor and high pitched noise immediately disappears.

Just try it. If it doesn't work put it back.
I spend almost a year figuring out why my system made weird noises. Whining, buzzing etc. You name it did it. Then i found this. And it worked! Maybe it will do the same for you.
 
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#9
Thank you very much for your replies.

I went and updated the BIOS on my H87i to the latest version, and rolled back from the Catalyst 14.1 Beta (mantle) drivers to the 13.12 release. And so far, the GPU hasn't artifacted in benchmarks or games that I've tested. However, the noise still persists. I believe the Seasonic G Series to be Haswell ready (it says on the box, too), so I assume it supports the low power states.

I don't have another LGA1150 CPU to try, since my main rig is a Sandy Bridge... And the PSU buzzing still occurs when the 270X is out of the system (running on IGP). Since I've replaced the PSU three times already, I'm reluctant to again, and I don't have grounds to RMA the motherboard, or another board to test with.

I'm going to play with it for a while, see if the artifacting reoccurs.

On a completely unrelated note; the new BIOS update seemed to break the H87i's 'Enhanced Turbo' Mode, which used to force the 4440 to 3.3 GHz on all four cores regardless of load, but now it doesn't even when set to enabled. :confused:
 

Aerpoweron

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#10
Well, i didn't expect the buzzing to stop without the GPU. But it should have changed pitch.
I checked the bios update notes, but couldn't find any mentioning of the "Enhanced Turbo" Mode, and if it was changed. Maybe it was a bug as it was working and is now fixed in MSI's opinion.

If you want to try another CPU, you can get an Haswell based Celeron for around 35€ / $

By the way, nice cat you have :)
 
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#11
This buzzing is just bad luck from a combination of hardware. Last year I updated my PSU, bought a Corsair AX860. Before that I had an HX850 and my (now gone) HD7970 had a lot of coil whine which changed depending on the FPS of a 3D application. I also had issues with my mouse losing power from the USB (had to unplug and replug for it to work).

When I replaced the PSU, the coil whine on the GPU was gone and the mouse stopped losing power. But that was only for about a week. A week after I had the AX860 it started buzzing A LOT (increasing every day) and was even emitting sound when the system was off but plugged, as you also described. My mouse also started losing power as well. I RMAed the PSU and the new unit never had any issue. About 6 months later there was no whine from anywhere but the mouse started losing power again and my usb webcam was shutting down during skype calls. At some point I decide to update system. I had a high end X58-OC from Gigabyte and I bought an Asus X79 board. Didnt get any issue till now so I will blame bad circuits on that mobo. Out of my head I can recall other people on this forum having issues with USB devices (mostly mouse) on their Gigabyte boards. I've also come to the conclusion that my older mouse (a RAT7) burned one day because of this motherboard.

EDIT: I never read anywhere that anyone had performance issues or burned hardware related to coil whine. Its just very annoying to hear. My 7970 and Gigabyte X58 board still work today, sold them to my flatmate. He gets the coil whine from the GPU as well as very very rare mouse issues which dont bother him (he bought a Coolermaster gold rate PSU around 700W cant remember exactly what).
 
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#12
I've done some considerable testing, and the artifacting continues. I've noticed white squares in Battlefield 4, and a few other games. However, the 270X Survived ~3 hours of Unigine Valley Benchmark (and prime95 running in the background) without fault, so I don't blame the power supply. I'm thinking it could be bad VRAM, since the squares went away taking the memory clocks down 200 MHz, however I simply can't re-produce the artifacts on demand; I've played hours of Battlefield 4 without fault. So I'm thinking it could be a software issue.

I'm going to run OCCT overnight on GPU error testing to see what happens. Any thoughts?

Thanks. :)
 
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#13
Every AMD card I have ever owned if it failed it was VRM failure.
 
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#14
Probably some resonance between CPU VRM and GPU VRM. Buzzing usually indicates something "bouncing off" the X-capacitors on the EMI filter of the PSU, possibly the interference that's amplified between the VRMs.

In your Motherboard BIOS, under OC menu, try disabling EIST (Enhanced Intel Speedstep Tech), and "SVID Communication" to disabled. In the "DigitALL Power" sub-menu set "CPU Phase Control" to disabled, change the "CPU Switching Frequency" from Auto to a value within the allowed range (you'll need to experiment, but start with, say, 250 if you can). I'm not entirely sure what values are permitted, and if you can chose an arbitrary one or a few preset ones, but if possible, choose a non-round, preferably prime number - so that the possibility of resonance is minimal. Under the "CPU Features" menu, verify that "C1E Support" is disabled.

After all this and some experimenting with the switching frequency setting, look for buzzing pattern/intensity changes when your CPU and GPU are idle or under load, either solo or simultaneously. Report back what you find.

As for the question of whether it's normal, it is, it's just annoying. Lately coil whine and cap squeal/buzz have become valid grounds for RMA, but they're not technical faults per se, they're just some mean physics at work, against our sensitive ears and psyche. VRMs are much more sensitive to high temperature than to coupled/resonant parasitic AC signals.
 
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#15
Probably some resonance between CPU VRM and GPU VRM. Buzzing usually indicates something "bouncing off" the X-capacitors on the EMI filter of the PSU, possibly the interference that's amplified between the VRMs.

In your Motherboard BIOS, under OC menu, try disabling EIST (Enhanced Intel Speedstep Tech), and "SVID Communication" to disabled. In the "DigitALL Power" sub-menu set "CPU Phase Control" to disabled, change the "CPU Switching Frequency" from Auto to a value within the allowed range (you'll need to experiment, but start with, say, 250 if you can). I'm not entirely sure what values are permitted, and if you can chose an arbitrary one or a few preset ones, but if possible, choose a non-round, preferably prime number - so that the possibility of resonance is minimal. Under the "CPU Features" menu, verify that "C1E Support" is disabled.

After all this and some experimenting with the switching frequency setting, look for buzzing pattern/intensity changes when your CPU and GPU are idle or under load, either solo or simultaneously. Report back what you find.

As for the question of whether it's normal, it is, it's just annoying. Lately coil whine and cap squeal/buzz have become valid grounds for RMA, but they're not technical faults per se, they're just some mean physics at work, against our sensitive ears and psyche. VRMs are much more sensitive to high temperature than to coupled/resonant parasitic AC signals.
I tried many of the settings you suggested, but I didn't notice a change in the buzzing, unfortunately. (The CPU Phase Control only allowed presets, no custom values, so I tried a few of them) The buzzing from the PSU is almost inaudible at idle and under CPU load, but under GPU load, it gets rather loud.

To be honest, I can live with the noise. My main concern was (still is) whether the buzzing was a sign of imminent failure that could damage the system, but if it's just a noise, I can live with it.

The GPU artifacting is too sporadic to pre-produce, so I'm going to see how it goes, maybe wait until AMD release some newer drivers. See if it gets worse, if not; I can live with that, too.

Thanks :)
 
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#16
You're welcome!

Sorry we couldn't eliminate the issue... But it does seem that the problem is actually independent of CPU, and is probably an unlucky combo of Motherboard, GPU and PSU. Most PSUs actually work at similar switching frequencies, namely APFC stage and typical double-forward topologies mostly run at around 60-65 kHz, while the newer resonant topologies tend to go considerably higher in some instances. Since both your GPU and your PSU use fixed values, you can't really effect a fix easily. You could maybe slip a few ferrite beads on a couple of PSU's cables, but I doubt you have too many of those lying around... And there's no guarantee it would be an efficient solution.

Either way, it's a harmless phenomenon, insofar that it won't cause any damage to anything. It'll just bug you, if even that.
 
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