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Video card coil whine...

Discussion in 'Hardware, Software & Troubleshooting' started by DeathoX 8, Dec 29, 2014.

  1. DeathoX 8

    DeathoX 8 Beta Toaster

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    Hi all guys,
    I finally got tired of using an old PC that couldn't even run UT3 decently so I built myself a new computer for the new Unreal Engine :)

    I chose a Zotac GTX 970 4GB video card, which seemed like a good card in the price range I was looking at (I got it for 330€).
    I am very happy with its performance (I have yet to try some of the more recent games but I tried the first Crysis with everything maxed out and I have yet to see any framerate issue) but I am experiencing some coil whine (a high-pitched noise coming from the GPU) in some games/applications (UE4 editor is one of these unfortunately...).
    It's not very loud but it is pretty noticeable.

    From what I read it is a pretty common issue with mid/top range video cards, did any of you guys experience coil whine as well? Did you live with it or sent the card back under warranty?
    I am undecided on whether I should try my luck at getting a replacement (possibly getting one that whines even worse?) or just learn to live with it...
     
  2. Carbon

    Carbon Altiloquent bloviator.

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    This was one of my primary problems I wanted to avoid when I bought my 280x. Some of the cards had this issue, others did not.

    http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/radeon-r9-280x-third-party-round-up,3655-6.html

    From what I understand it is a combination of fan type, cooler and BIOS. If the cooler is somewhat inadequate, the fans need to ramp up high and if those are cheaper fans, they whine. I ended up with the ASUS card because the cooler is top notch (check the videos in the link) and even when the fans ramp up - which is not at all common as the heatsink does well on its own - the noise is still just air, no whine.

    The solution will have to come from the manufacturer ither with an RMA from you for an 'updated' card (not going to happen) or a BIOS update. The update path is suspect because they normally lower the speed of the card to keep temps down or lower the fan speeds which cause more heat on the card. As long as the heat is within spec it isn't too serious; it might just shorten the life of the card somewhat.

    As for it being a common issue, well, only with kind of poorly built cards or ones that try to differentiate themselves from the rest with an overclock out of the box (which means heat, which means fan speed are higher) coupled with a heatsink design that can't handle the extra heat.

    RMA or live with it. RMA will get you a new card sure, but will it be any different? Likely not but if you do RMA, check the clocks on the new one when it arrives. Unless they redesign the heatisink...?
     
  3. DeathoX 8

    DeathoX 8 Beta Toaster

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    Thanks for the answer, the noise doesn't come from the fans but from one of the internal GPU components.
    The fans are actually very silent on my card (I tried running the Heaven and Valley Unigine benchmarks at max settings and the max temperature was 76° while the fans remained pretty quiet).

    The noise coming from my card is similar to the one in this video (though not as loud)
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zGytGL8NxR4

    In the Unigine benchmarks it was barely noticeable but when I closed the application and the credits screen appeared the card started screaming :p
    It seems to happen mostly on very simple scenes (es. a game menu) where there's uncapped FPS (enabling VSync fixes it but it's not supported by every game out there).
     
  4. Carbon

    Carbon Altiloquent bloviator.

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    Spooky then. RMA time....?
     
  5. JohnDoe641

    JohnDoe641 Killer Fools Pro Staff Member

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    My old 560ti was horrible with coil whine, when I got my replacement it stopped but now I get intermittent whoosh noises when I scroll through web pages. o_O

    People are saying that your PSU can have a big impact on hearing the whine, getting some type of .... suppressor thingies (sorry I can't remember what it is exactly) can stop the issue or at least bring it down to almost being inaudible.

    I'm going to be eventually get a 970 myself and I'm really hoping that the one I do get won't be one with loud coil whine.
     
  6. [GU]elmur_fud

    [GU]elmur_fud I have balls of Depleted Uranium

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    Step 1 - Get a good one of these that will face the card: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produ...ESTMATCH&Description=slot+fan&N=-1&isNodeId=1
    Step 2 - Place in front of said card place to compensate for poor cooling design.

    You may need to establish which direction the fan turns on the video card you don't want the 2 fighting. Switching the polarity on the slot fan might be needed.

    From my experience...

    Brands that usually work well: ASUS, EVGA, MSI, and GIGGABYTE.

    Good to Mid-range: BFG, XFX, and PNY

    Avoid: Sparkle, ZOTEC, ECS, Wintek, Viosiontek, or pretty much anything not listed above.
     
    Last edited: Jan 3, 2015
  7. JohnDoe641

    JohnDoe641 Killer Fools Pro Staff Member

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    My first 970 didn't have any coil whine but that card was messed up from the beginning to I had that rma's back to amazon. The replacement they sent me works great but it has some really loud coil whine when I first start playing games, then eventually it gets silent.

    It's great when it's not making the whine but it's absolutely horrible when it first starts, you can hear it in the next room. :/
     
  8. WedgeBob

    WedgeBob XSI Mod Tool User

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    Actually, Sapphire's not too bad of a brand, either. I've owned a GPU from them, and no coil whine whatsoever. Even though they only deal in AMD GPUs.
     

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