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 Post subject: Motherboard/CPU making clicking noise when active?
PostPosted: Tue Jun 25, 2013 11:38 pm 
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I just finished building a computer which I expected to be pretty quiet. For the most part it is. For the PSU I used a fanless Kingwin. The CPU has a big finned heatsink with a single 12" Silenx fan. This is the only fan in the whole case. When it is running at the lowest speed it is indiscernable to me from having the fan completely unplugged. The graphics card is fanless. The motherboard Northbridge has a fanless heat sink. The hard drive is a Sandisk Ultra SSD. It's in a 4 RU rackmount iStarUSA case.

Overall I'm pretty happy with it. It's definitely the quietest computer I've ever had. But I'm finding myself very puzzled by something.

When the computer is heavily active, eg. when I am recording music and the CPU/mobo/HD are working, it is making a very active rapid clicking sound that sounds similar to a standard old fashioned hard drive seeking/writing.

I have stuck my ear in the case and listened near all the components. It is definitely not coming from the SSD or PSU. The optical drive is inactive and not making any noise either. When I listen, it sounds like it is coming from the CPU/Northbridge/motherboard.

As I am typing this on my laptop (which also has a SSD), I notice a similar clicking when I put my ear to it, but it is quieter. The clicking coming from the computer I assembled is much louder to the point that I can hear it at 3-5 feet in a quiet room, and as a lifelong musician, my hearing is not even that great.

So what gives? I have read CPUs cannot making clicking noises. Is this true? I have read though that voltage regulators (which are used on mobos) though can click.

Would that be the explanation for the clicking I am hearing from my desktop (and to a lesser extent my laptop)?

For completeness, I should mention that the mobo/CPU in the new desktop I put together are quite old but they have been sitting on the shelf for years, and haven't really seen more than a few months actual use when in another system (Gigabyte K8 939 with Athlon dual core X2 processor). It's a long story but I had them sitting around and thought I could make it work until I am ready to upgrade in a few months.

Any thoughts? I can live with the clicking, I just find it really puzzling, since I thought I already took out everything in the computer that could click...

If I knew the motherboard could click, I would have used some specialized standoffs rather than the metal ones I used - not that I'm sure it would have made a difference.

Thanks.


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 Post subject: Re: Motherboard/CPU making clicking noise when active?
PostPosted: Wed Jun 26, 2013 6:46 am 
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Welcome to SPCR. When the system is idling, try stopping the CPU fan and see if the clicking goes away.

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 Post subject: Re: Motherboard/CPU making clicking noise when active?
PostPosted: Wed Jun 26, 2013 9:01 am 
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Joined: Tue Jun 25, 2013 11:11 pm
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I have tried completely disconnecting the fan. The clicking persists, so I am certain the fan is not causing the clicking. And again, that is the only "moving part" in the entire system.


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 Post subject: Re: Motherboard/CPU making clicking noise when active?
PostPosted: Wed Jun 26, 2013 9:30 am 
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Also, I should clarify, no clicking is present when the computer is completely idle - it only clicks in direct proportion to the stress I put on it. Same as my (much quieter) clicking from my SSD-based laptop.

This is why I have by process of elimination determined with reasonable confidence it is the mobo.


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 Post subject: Re: Motherboard/CPU making clicking noise when active?
PostPosted: Wed Jun 26, 2013 2:16 pm 
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Usually, when people talk about VRM circuitry noises, it's buzzing or whine, not clicking...where the whine is a capacitor or inductor at a resonant frequency. The whine will alter by load. Sometimes, you can get it to go away by going into BIOS and disabling some of the idle/sleep states. Sometimes, you can get it to go away by using a different PSU. Sometimes, you can get it to go away by recycling the motherboard. :lol:

Also, if you have an empty paper tube or a small section of hose (water, automotive vacuum, etc), you can use it like a stethoscope to narrow down WHERE on the mobo the clicking noise is.

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 Post subject: Re: Motherboard/CPU making clicking noise when active?
PostPosted: Wed Jun 26, 2013 4:17 pm 
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Joined: Tue Jun 25, 2013 11:11 pm
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High pitch whine noises I am more familiar with and consider more expected. Eg. both of my SSD's put out a very faint high frequency sound when accessed.

But this is not the kind of clicking I am talking about. The clicking I am getting sounds very much like a traditional hard drive writing/seeking.

I actually have a stethescope, and while it might be hard to get in around the big CPU heat sink, I will try to localize it better. If I am successful I will post back, though I'm not sure it will matter either way.


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 Post subject: Re: Motherboard/CPU making clicking noise when active?
PostPosted: Sun Sep 29, 2013 11:31 am 
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its most likely your PSU, its probably a transformer or relay dying, you could open it up and inspect the parts, but i would just test it the psu in another computer, or just try another psu in your computer, i hope i could be of any help


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