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 Post subject: Nforce chipsets prone to chirping/hissing/coil noise?
PostPosted: Tue Jun 07, 2005 2:51 pm 
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Joined: Fri Apr 23, 2004 8:46 pm
Posts: 34
I don't mean for this thread to be controversial (even though the title may sound like it - just wanted to grab your attention ;) ) but I'm just wondering what others' experiences are when it comes to choke/coil noise on various motherboards.

I have noticed that only a very VERY few motherboards on the market use what I call "block" chokes (dunno the technical term but they look like this: http://planet64bit.de/files/cebit05/msi_k8mneov.jpg - the black block inbetween the 4-pin 12v connector and the tall caps, there's another one just above the 20-pin 12v connector)

The board in that picture is actually what I'm using. It's basic, but it fills my needs, and there is little if any audible noise coming back through those blocks. With other motherboards (most notably any nforce variant, 2, 3) I notice a lot of chirping, tweeting, squealing, or whatever you want to call it coming from this area whenever the system is running at full speed (it's even worse under load).

What I am wondering is, do coil chokes inherently make more noise than "block" chokes, or is this a chipset issue? I can't recall having ever had these issues on any Via-based board, but this is my first Via board in so long that I can't honestly claim to be certain.

I've only seen one nforce board that uses "block" chokes, and that is the MSI K8N Neo4 series. Unfortunately, I have neither a 939 CPU nor a PCIE graphics card to test such a board with.

I don't mean to turn this into an nvidia vs via argument, but I would really like to know what the situation with this is. I would almost rather it be an nforce issue, because then I can easily avoid buying nvidia boards for future silent PCs (obviously if you have a lot of noise in your system already this is not a factor and will go unnoticed).

However if this is a "block" vs coil issue, or worse yet, a variable quality issue between manufacturers and even specific samples, it becomes very difficult to choose a motherboard that will not irk the shite out of one once one silences all other components in ones system.

PS - no "press it with your fingers/an eraser" suggestions needed, I've tried that on every board and it's never worked for me.


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PostPosted: Tue Jun 07, 2005 6:27 pm 
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Location: United States
I think it really depends on the quality of components used on the motherboard. I notice absolutely no noise of any kind on my DFI nF3. However, the cheaper Chaintech VNF3-250 I owned before this would whine whenever I used the onboard ethernet, and I've heard of many other whining problems with this board as well.

And of course it also depends on what kind of load you're applying to the components. With a specific setup, one person's board might whine, but another board with a different setup might not whine at all.

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PostPosted: Tue Jun 07, 2005 10:26 pm 
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Location: Helsinki, Finland
I've had two Nforce 2 boards and they both squealed/whirred/clicked/whined/whatever, depending on the load etc. Just like you described. MSI K7N2G-ILSR squealed like there was hell coming to earth, and Asus A7N8X-X, which I bought as a cheap replacement, too had the same problem, much less obtrusive though.

I'm thinking of buying VIA the next time.. :)


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 08, 2005 2:37 pm 
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Joined: Fri Apr 23, 2004 8:46 pm
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tlinna wrote:
I've had two Nforce 2 boards and they both squealed/whirred/clicked/whined/whatever, depending on the load etc. Just like you described. MSI K7N2G-ILSR squealed like there was hell coming to earth, and Asus A7N8X-X, which I bought as a cheap replacement, too had the same problem, much less obtrusive though.

I'm thinking of buying VIA the next time.. :)


Haha, funny you should mention that MSI board, it's the same one my little brother has, and you are correct sir, it screams like a banshee


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 09, 2005 5:01 am 
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Location: Boston, MA
I'm on my 3rd Nforce 2 board and I had the same MSI board. It was a major squealing problem until I bought a new PSU and then it went away. It still doesn't compare with the problems I've had over the years with Via chipsets.

I haven't noticed any whine on my other 2 boards (Gigabyte and Biostar). I think that I'm going to try to stick with Gigabyte in the future.


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PostPosted: Fri Jun 17, 2005 9:12 am 
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Joined: Thu Aug 05, 2004 3:32 pm
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My MSI K8N Platinum (Nforce3 S754) motherboard also whines, however with CnQ enabled the whine is only audible when CPU steps up.

I suspect that it is coil buzz, and with A64 systems possibly because of the higher power draw, plus CnQ keeping the system quiet at enough at idle, then stepping up the voltage makes the whine much more noticable compared to a system running at constant voltage or lower power draw.

Other's experiences can be found here and also seems many SN95GN users are complaining as well
here and here

Pressing down on my mb's coils does seem to change the signature of the whine (try at your own risk!!). Also these coils run burning hot when whining, but very cool when CPU is idling.

It is possible "block" chokes reduce whining as in your case, or maybe chipset also factors in. However I suspect there is also some variability between brands, design, and manufacturing process itself as not all A64 users are complaining including those posting in this forum. Also MikeC has pointed out interaction with other components in the system like the PSU may also cause whining.
Maybe someone with the block choke nforce board will give some feedback.


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PostPosted: Fri Jun 17, 2005 9:31 am 
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I learned to live with the intermittent buzzing which was most noticable during mild use (with CnQ CPU still steps up occassionally even when surfing). At full load the CPU fan ramps up and kind of masks the whining. However today finally decided to give CrystalCPUID a try to replace CnQ.

It seems that not only does higher voltage, higher multiplier make more buzz, also seems adding low CPU load causes more whining. Yes LOW CPU load, it seems if the CPU is working hard the whine is much less, only with the wasted cycles (at high voltage/multiplier) does it becomes noisy... interesting. There seemed to be some mention of S2K bus disconnect causing whining with old XP systems too... maybe there is some relationship?

In anycase by reducing the voltage (in my case to around 1.35v), and also using a short interval time between P-states seems to have significantly reduced the whining (to keep the time CPU spends at low load/high voltage down to a minimum). If I listen very carefully I can still hear the intermittent whine (just as the CPU goes from high load to low load), however it is significantly improved over using CnQ. Maybe this solution can help other A64 users with the buzz problem especially if you're not ready to try hotglue or earplug in your coils.

My Multiplier Management settings:
Max = 10x 1.35v = 100 ms = - 40%
Mid = 8x 1.2v = 500 ms = 60% 30%
Min = 4x 0.95v = 500 ms = 40% -

I also created a K8 Multiplier shortcut for when I need to run at constant full load (11x 1.5v Newcastle 3200). I haven't fully tested these settings for stability yet but so far running several apps seems just fine. CrystalCPUID is also great for undervolting the A64, will try to get as low voltage as stable.


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