How to stop the whining noise of your LCD monitor

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How to stop the whining noise of your LCD monitor

Post by MikeC » Wed Nov 05, 2008 11:36 am

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Post by Das_Saunamies » Wed Nov 05, 2008 12:05 pm

Brilliant idea, thanks Mike!

I'll try this the next time I'm around my old monitor that whined.
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Post by Matija » Wed Nov 05, 2008 12:13 pm

But that's not a solution.

You only end up with a much lower amount of displayed colours, possible banding issues, and lower contrast.

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Post by jhhoffma » Wed Nov 05, 2008 12:16 pm

Won't this result in crushed blacks?

I'd be curious to see what happens to a contrast/brightness calibration image before and after doing this. Maybe I'll try it with my Dell SP2208WFP sometime, though it's quiet as it is with lowered brightness.
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Post by sapereaude » Wed Nov 05, 2008 12:21 pm

Hi Mike,

I really hoped that there would be some great new information in this article (because I share the same problem), but the solution you propose is not very useful.
You see: If you set the brightnes of your monitor to 100%, then there will be no more real black, just a dark grey, because the backlight bleeds through. If you then lower the brightnes setting via the display driver, all you do is darken all colors. So white becomes a light grey, dark grey becomes black and so on. This means that many nuances of grey (and other colors) are lost and you end with poor image quality. This may be enough for surfing and writing text, but certainly not for gaming or even image processing.
The fact that LCDs tend to whine less at 100% brightness is well known, but it doesn't really help. The only thing you can do is buy a good monitor (where good doesn't mean expensive, but silent) and hope that manufacturers will finally do something about it if enough users complain.

At the moment even quality manufacturers like Eizo and Dell say that they think there is no problem, because "no one works in such a quiet environment that these noises could be noticed".

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Post by MikeC » Wed Nov 05, 2008 12:32 pm

sapereaude --

Interesting. Have you experimentally confirmed what you're saying? I have not noticied any significant cdhange in visual quality -- but perhaps it's because I wasn't looking. Please -- everyone -- try a comparison (using either color adjust brightness reduction or on-monitor brightness reduction) and report on the differences.

In any case, I have to disagree that it isn't useful -- since much of the world uses the PC precisely for the functions you mention.
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Post by sapereaude » Wed Nov 05, 2008 12:39 pm

You can see it just by lookin at a picture like this one
There should be no bands and only grey, no other colors (although only very expensive monitors will give you such a perfect image)
But of course I also measured the difference with a colorimeter and got huge deviations when using the drivers controls.

The problem with the lowered contrast is that your eyes tire faster than if they were looking at a monitor with low brightness but high contrast. So when you have to sit in front of your PC for extended periods of time, it even matters for reading and writing.

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Post by MikeC » Wed Nov 05, 2008 12:51 pm

I see no bands and only grey... on either of the two brightness reduction settings. This is on the BenQ G2400W monitor -- a nice monitor but certainly not prof and not calibrated.
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Post by MikeC » Wed Nov 05, 2008 12:59 pm

After a second look, I see bands -- a small degree, but not significantly different either way the brightness is turned down. I sure hear the difference in whine tho!
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Post by SnooP » Wed Nov 05, 2008 1:21 pm

how about opening up the lcd and glueing up the offending coil? 8)
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Post by jhhoffma » Wed Nov 05, 2008 1:26 pm

Yeah, I wouldn't call it useless, either. Unless, you use the computer for color sensitive purposes or watching lots of movies, it probably won't bother you. 90% of people spend 90% of their time on the internet anyway. Crushed blacks won't stop me from reading SPCR!!!

I just wanted to confirm that point. If my monitor were noisy, that's what I'd do, you can always create a color profile preset (maybe setup a hotkey shortcut for it) to change it back if you needed full gamut.

My old Samsung 950p used to get real noisy with a LOT of white background, which was common with the newsreader I was using at the time. I switched the color pallet to black background and the buzz went down drastically.
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Post by sapereaude » Wed Nov 05, 2008 1:48 pm

Mike, try this: Switch off your lights and look at a black image, then switch off your screen. Do this with both brightness methods. Which one matches the switched off screen closer?
This tells you something about how easily your eyes will be able to read black on white text. It's like comparing black letters on bleached paper against grey letters on recycled paper.

Of course it would be nice to have no more whine, but is it worth the eyestrain?

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Post by MikeC » Wed Nov 05, 2008 2:21 pm

sapereaude --

I've been using this method to keep the monitor brightness down for about a month. I spend upwards of 10 hrs/day in front of the screen reading and writing, for the most part. I don't think my eyestrain is any worse than usual -- that's constant. :lol: Is it worth not hearing the whine? You betcha! Not, obviously, for everyone, but for me, absolutely. (This is SPCR, after all.)

With that kind of whine, I can't really stand to be in front of the monitor for any length of time. If I get more eyestrain than before, well, that's as good an excuse as any to get away and do something healthier for a while.
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Post by tehcrazybob » Wed Nov 05, 2008 3:31 pm

When I first read this, I came in here to voice complaints similar to those already mentioned. However, I've tried it on both of my monitors, and it seems pretty reasonable on my good monitor. My older, cheaper display, on the other hand, looks fairly terrible with the brightness reduced this way.

Really, for text and general browsing, you'd likely get used to it very quickly even if your display did it poorly. Even for watching movies, though, I'd find it very irritating. In fact, I own an LCD TV which doesn't even allow changing the backlight brightness - it can only change the brightness in software, like this article discusses. The TV is perfectly usable for most TV content, and even bright and colorful movies. When you start watching movies with many dark scenes, though, it all goes wrong.

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Post by Ninjackn » Wed Nov 05, 2008 3:39 pm

I would just like to say I'm a little disappointed in this article. Only a little. I was expecting something akin to opening up the monitor, dousing the offending parts in hot glue, lining the case with some sort of dampening rubber and then stuffing the empty space with cotton balls only to wrap it all up by sandwiching the monitor between two large pieces of lexan and suspending it from the ceiling with bungee cords.

Then again the disappointment probably stems from my cheap d-link network switching suffering from coil whine, a device where turning down the brightness is not an option. In the end I went nuts and bought a netgear switch (the metal one).


As a man obsessed with fidelity I say this method is blasphemous. I also bring up the point of how messed up color is on a computer. First off MOST images out there on the internet are missing a color profile. Second I don't think there are many browsers that do any color correction. (Firefox only?) It wasn't until recently (a month?) that Adobe added color correction to flash (10).

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Post by jjwa » Wed Nov 05, 2008 3:45 pm

The noise is indeed gone, interesting to know that.

I also see there are indeed color problems that come with it. Using the Eizo Test (no idea where it is available for download :() I saw a lot of details disappearing if I would try to compensate the higher brightness. Without compensating it a lot, it feels too bright while writing this, even tho I can not really 'see' that.

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Post by kike_1974 » Wed Nov 05, 2008 4:52 pm

My dell 2408WFP whines when brightness is set between 16 and 66 (range goes from 0 to 100)

Some time ago I tried first the solution proposed by Mike, but I discarded it for this reason: I measured power consumption for different brightness values, while displaying a full black image and a full black image). These were my measures:

Bright%..White...Black
.100........96W.....88W
..70........94W......84W
..50........75W......69W
..30........63W......58W
..15........55W......52W

So setting brightness in the monitor to a high value like 70 and reducing brighness through GPU controls leads to a much higher power consumption.

My monitor with brightness set at 66 gets hot as hell.

My current solution is just the opposite. I set brightness to a very low level (which is silent as well), and I set brightness a bit higher in the graphics card. Currently I have brightness in this monitor set to 16.

As usual... sorry for my poor English.

EDIT: By the way, when I used 66% brightness, I got better results decreasing brightness in my HD3870, and increasing contrast slightly as well. I lost less greys this way.

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Post by MikeC » Wed Nov 05, 2008 5:35 pm

Ninjackn wrote:I would just like to say I'm a little disappointed in this article. Only a little. I was expecting something akin to opening up the monitor, dousing the offending parts in hot glue, lining the case with some sort of dampening rubber and then stuffing the empty space with cotton balls only to wrap it all up by sandwiching the monitor between two large pieces of lexan and suspending it from the ceiling with bungee cords.
:lol: :lol: :lol:

Even if this was effective, there'd be no way to describe it as a simple, effective solution. This kind of solution works for HDDs, fans and other components where you don't have to break into anything, the mods are external and no warranties are voided. The number of computer owners who could successfully pull off a whine reduction mod? One in a thousand is my bet... even if 1 in 50 is willing to try.
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Post by porkchop » Wed Nov 05, 2008 7:30 pm

no luck here either, with dell s2409w and nvidia 7025.

it looks awful- and the increase in power consumption is a big minus.

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Post by MikeC » Wed Nov 05, 2008 9:00 pm

From the few reports here, it sounds like my approach is somewhat hit/miss. It probably depends on your monitor, your video card, & your expectation of color fidelity. The two monitors which whine in the lab are an Asus 24" LCD and the aforementioned BenQ. The whine on the BenQ was quite obvious for a few weeks, but I just tried dimming it normally, and the whine is much more subtle than before -- in fact, it's almost inaudible except from right atop/behind the monitor. So perhaps this one needed some break-in time. No such luck with the Asus -- it fairly sings like a soprano -- or several, depending on just where the brightness setting is. Its visual quality is poor and its full brightness so bright... that whatever degradations the software dimming makes is virtually irrelevant -- it always looks bad anyway, so it hardly matters, and any way to silence the dueling sopranos is worthwhile. This monitor is used exclusively as a lab tool, not for any writing or extensive reading. (Setting up test systems, hecking HDMI output, etc)

It will be interesting to see more reports of other tries.
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Post by LongJan » Wed Nov 05, 2008 11:01 pm

I recently bought a LG monitor that was terrible noisy, at all settings of brightness, other than 100%. It was also extremely bright (400 cd/m).

There was no way, I could get decent contrast and colors, by blocking all that waste brightness, neither with VGA brightness nor monitor RGB settings.

I had to send it back. Ordered Dell 2408WFP in stead. It's dead silent at 10% brightness, and keeps itself rather cool. Nice colors too.

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Post by Forester » Thu Nov 06, 2008 1:56 am

I got annoyed with the whining of my LG WT204 monitor a while ago. It buzzes and whines at all brightness values lower than 91%. Sometimes this noise finds harmony with the otherwise quiet PSU fan and is amplified to a really irritating level.

So I cranked up brightness to 91, reduced contrast down to 35, and gamma to -50%. Instead of playing with display driver settings, this was done using the monitor OSD settings only.

According to these test images, gamma values were actually improved over the original adjustment (brightness 20, contrast 60, gamma 0). The deepest shades of grey were lost, of course, but the black level in this TN panel is not so good anyway so no big deal, I don't watch movies on this monitor. The gradient banding is also a bit more obvious but I guess you cannot get rid of it with these cheap 6-bit (?) panels. It seems, however, that hardware settings retain the deep greys much better than doing the same adjustments by software.

The top of the monitor case does not feel considerably warmer than it was at 20% brightness. I would like to try a real hardware silencing, though, just to save those watts the excess brightness must consume (and to satisfy the little silence-obsessed engineer within me :) ).

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Post by lm » Thu Nov 06, 2008 9:35 am

Isn't a solution for me. My HP LP3065 consumes about 100W more on max brightness vs min brightness, while buzzing on anything but max brightness.

Try looking at a black screen on the monitor in a dark room and adjust brightness. You'll see that the black starts to kind of shine when increasing brightness.

Basically the described method just makes the bright colors less bright, and the dark colors more bright, compared to the method of lowering actual brightness, which makes all colors less bright.

I'd really like to see an article where a monitor is actually fixed and cured from the buzz.

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Post by Immortals » Thu Nov 06, 2008 1:16 pm

I've been using this fix for about a year. My dell 2407WFP-HC makes noises between about 15 - 75. Outside this range the noise drops off significantly. I've put the brightness on 77 and adjusted the gamma/brightness accordingly. I've come to the same conclusion as everyone else. It's a slight trade off since I can never get the exact same colours as I did when the brightness was at 50. I never noticed any buzzing with my previous dell monitor (2007wfp). I'm guessing smaller monitor = smaller backlight = less noise. I am guessing now there will be more monitor reviews at SPCR now that it's been officially recognised that lcd monitors are a major source of noise in quiet systems?

Thanks to the person that did the power usage test at different brightness levels. I've now changed my configuration to have low monitor brightness/higher vid card brightness. Your English is perfect.

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Post by potsy » Thu Nov 06, 2008 2:13 pm

Mike, how about a sticky where people could post the make and model of their monitor and whether it whines or not? Then we could all use it as a quick reference in the future.

I have two Benq FP71G+S monitors. They don't whine.
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Post by wim » Thu Nov 06, 2008 2:55 pm

agree with Ninjackn.

for reference, my dell 3008wfp buzzes and carries on even at full brightness :(

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Post by MikeC » Thu Nov 06, 2008 3:12 pm

potsy wrote:Mike, how about a sticky where people could post the make and model of their monitor and whether it whines or not? Then we could all use it as a quick reference in the future.
Done -- viewtopic.php?t=50879
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Post by sapereaude » Thu Nov 06, 2008 5:19 pm

Immortals wrote: I'm guessing smaller monitor = smaller backlight = less noise.
Or to be more accurate: smaller backlight = less powerful inverter = less noise (assuming parts of the same quality).
That seems to be true (and would be logical). After trying almost every 27" monitor out there twice, I have yet to hear one that could be called "bearable". Your best bet seems to be 22" and less. Many members of silenthardware.de have screens in that range and say that they are silent even at low brightness settings.

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Post by Clicking » Thu Nov 06, 2008 6:52 pm

Hm, interesting. I have one monitor which whines, but only does when the screen is on standby. When there is a signal the whining stops.
I assume there would be no way to fix this without opening it up, anyone got ideas?

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Post by NyteOwl » Thu Nov 06, 2008 7:08 pm

I have two Samsung panels at home, a 932B+ and a 275T+. Neither make a sound at any setting and I have the brightness on one set at 5 and the other at 10. Maybe I'm just lucky :D
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