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xGGAx

Random coil whine fixed with new PSU?

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Posted · Original PosterOP

I built my pc about a year ago and never had a problem until three months ago.

I started getting a random coil whine that would last anywhere from 30 seconds to a minute or two. At first, thought it was my gpu, but after some monitoring it didn't seem to be the cause. I was thinking that maybe my psu was doing that under load because it always happened while playing battlefield 1(but i couldn't replicate the issue, it was indeed totally random).

I had a EVGA 500B before, which is plently for my current build. Still, I wanted a better power efficiency so I grabbed a Seasonic x650 about a week ago.

Installed new psu, no coil whine. Even after long playing sessions. So I want to hear your theories about this.
By the way,  I tested the EVGA PSU out of the case and it seems fine.


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Coil whine is dependent on so many other factors. The biggest is load. My psu will whine when under a just right load. High loads and it goes away. Or if vibration is just right, I can stop a fan and it will go away. If it's a big enough issue you can open the psu and use paper to shim the coil's core so that there is no room to vibrate although i would not really recommend this.


If I use words like probably or most likely, it is because I dislike certainty. These words can probably be omitted and the sentence read as a certainty.

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by testing the psu outside the case do you mean you hotwired itor tested it under load?

since the problem got fixed, odds are the psu was the source of the coil whine


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Thats how it works, combinations of PSUs and GPUs can cause GPU coil whine, sometimes one or both are at fault.

 

If the PSU was the one with the coil whine then id put that shit in the bin.

 

Also seasonic X-series are amazing units, that PSU should last you a good 10 years.

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8 minutes ago, xGGAx said:

I built my pc about a year ago and never had a problem until three months ago.

I started getting a random coil whine that would last anywhere from 30 seconds to a minute or two. At first, thought it was my gpu, but after some monitoring it didn't seem to be the cause. I was thinking that maybe my psu was doing that under load because it always happened while playing battlefield 1(but i couldn't replicate the issue, it was indeed totally random).

I had a EVGA 500B before, which is plently for my current build. Still, I wanted a better power efficiency so I grabbed a Seasonic x650 about a week ago.

Installed new psu, no coil whine. Even after long playing sessions. So I want to hear your theories about this.
By the way,  I tested the EVGA PSU out of the case and it seems fine.

That can occur at times with different PSU or even different ones of the exact same model, as it can be a combination of that exact PSU and GPU that can cause coil whine to occur. It's why it's basically just up to luck most times if they cause coil whine or not. 

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Posted · Original PosterOP
5 minutes ago, revsilverspine said:

by testing the psu outside the case do you mean you hotwired itor tested it under load?

since the problem got fixed, odds are the psu was the source of the coil whine

hotwired only, fan spins, no vibration or anything out of the ordinary (I read that some coil whine is caused by bad wiring inside the psu, but that doesn't seem to be the case either)

 

7 minutes ago, TrigrH said:

Thats how it works, combinations of PSUs and GPUs can cause GPU coil whine, sometimes one or both are at fault.

 

If the PSU was the one with the coil whine then id put that shit in the bin.

 

Also seasonic X-series are amazing units, that PSU should last you a good 10 years.

damn I wanted to build a mini itx system with it...

8 minutes ago, W-L said:

That can occur at times with different PSU or even different ones of the exact same model, as it can be a combination of that exact PSU and GPU that can cause coil whine to occur. It's why it's basically just up to luck most times if they cause coil whine or not. 

any particular reason why it started happening after months of use?


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3 minutes ago, xGGAx said:

hotwired only, fan spins, no vibration or anything out of the ordinary (I read that some coil whine is caused by bad wiring inside the psu, but that doesn't seem to be the case either)

 

damn I wanted to build a mini itx system with it...

any particular reason why it started happening after months of use?

coil whine can apear after minutes os years. pixies get angry when they feel like it.


Remember kids, the only difference between screwing around and science is writing it down. - Adam Savage

 

PHOΞNIX Ryzen 5 1600 @ 3.75GHz | Corsair LPX 16Gb DDR4 @ 2933 | MSI B350 Tomahawk | Sapphire RX 480 Nitro+ 8Gb | Intel 535 120Gb | Western Digital WD5000AAKS x2 | Cooler Master HAF XB Evo | Corsair H80 + Corsair SP120 | Cooler Master 120mm AF | Corsair SP120 | Icy Box IB-172SK-B | OCZ CX500W | Acer GF246 24" + AOC <some model> 21.5" | Steelseries Apex 350 | Steelseries Diablo 3 | Steelseries Syberia RAW Prism | Corsair HS-1 | Akai AM-A1

D.VA coming soon™ xoxo

Sapphire Acer Aspire 1410 Celeron 743 | 3Gb DDR2-667 | 120Gb HDD | Windows 10 Home x32

Vault Tec Celeron 420 | 2Gb DDR2-667 | Storage pending | Open Media Vault

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Diskord Apple MacBook A1181 Mid-2007 Core2Duo T7400 @2.16GHz | 4Gb DDR2-667 | 120Gb HDD | Windows 10 Pro x32

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16 minutes ago, TrigrH said:

Thats how it works, combinations of PSUs and GPUs can cause GPU coil whine, sometimes one or both are at fault.

 

If the PSU was the one with the coil whine then id put that shit in the bin.

 

Also seasonic X-series are amazing units, that PSU should last you a good 10 years.

Sometimes it can also be resolved by locking framerate down.

 

In the retired rig, I had a GTX 560 Ti and a Cougar 750w gold unit I bought on sale. That combo never yeilded any coil whine. When the PSU had a failure, I grabbed a cheap Fractal Integra unit. Suddenly I had coil whine.

 

When I rma'd that unit, Fractal sent me a 750w version by mistake and I thought sweet, better unit. Yeah, it whined too. Figured out the culprit was game menus rendering hundreds of useless frames. Once locked, whine went away.


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3 minutes ago, TrigrH said:

That doesn't "fix" the issue, you are just drawing less power which gives the PSU less load.

 

I'd rather buy a new PSU than run my GPU slower.

Uh, both PSU's were 750w. Gold vs Bronze aside, we're talking a GTX 560 Ti. 

 

Just saying in that case, it was a fix or at least a resolution. Since frames rendered above your monitors refresh rate are pointless and no one is going to stare at their game menus and see a difference between 60fps vs 300+ fps, I don't see how it's an issue.

 

Edit: Thankfully I haven't had coil whine in ages and Fractal PSUs give me a bad feeling because of that experience haha


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PRISIMHEART 2.0 - desktop

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1 minute ago, Mooshi said:

Since frames rendered above your monitors refresh rate are pointless and no one is going to stare at their game menus and see a difference between 60fps vs 300+ fps, I don't see how it's an issue.

The size of the PSU or the graphics card is irrelevant, If you cap your FPS you reduce GPU load in most cases, which reduces power draw and load on the PSU. The reason anything "whines" is because its under some sort of strain, which for a PSU is something you don't want to happen at all (idk about you but if its powering my system I want it to be in check). A FPS cap can help avoid that, but its not going to work in more intensive areas of the game or other games.

 

TLDR: use a temporary solution only, if you need to use your PC.

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Here's a post by McSteel of Jonnyguru.com: http://www.jonnyguru.com/forums/showpost.php?p=108453&postcount=3

Spoiler

" Coil whine usually doesn't affect either the PSU's or the components' operation, at least not to a measurable degree, since the resonant frequencies are typically such that they're easily damped in other components, such as capacitors and other filter coils. I believe all manufacturers are actually aware of this issue, and are doing what they can to deal with it, most of the time.

Namely, there are three ways coil whine will develop. There's "self-whine" to which every coil under the Sun is susceptible (including various types of transformers) by it's very nature, and there's resonant/induced whine, which is a byproduct of resonance between VRMs on the motherboard and/or the graphics card, and the PSU's coil(s) and/or transformer(s). Let me elaborate further:

As the current passes through a coil, it creates a magnetic field, which in turn induces a current in the coil such that it tends to cancel out the change in the initial current. So if there's a constant 1A through a coil, then it jumps to 1.1A, the change in magnetic field will induce a current of -0.1A (meaning 0.1A in the opposite direction), restoring the net flow to 1A. This is how coils remove unwanted ripple/noise from the DC output of a PSU, or a DC input into a VRM.

Both the length of the coiling wire and the coil loop diameter are parts of the inductance equation, and are a variable just like the inductance is, and not constants. Well, theoretically they are constants for a given coil when it's effective inductance is calculated, but in real world, where approximations amount to a wrong result, the coil will shrink and expand under the influence of magnetostriction.

Self-whine or coil noise can be twofold - physical and electrical.

Physically, high frequency switching used in PSUs (50-150 kHz) will make the coil vibrate (from all the rapidly succeeding shrinking and expanding) at a lesser frequency, typically from one quarter to one eight of the switching frequency. This is sometimes well inside the audible range (~20 Hz - ~20 kHz, typically 30 - 18k). The lower frequency vibrations are a consequence of the finite velocity of current (rather, electrons) and the finite speed of expansion/shrinkage propagation through the coil. Not only that, but both the wire and the core are shrinking/expanding, and at a different rate and amplitude, so until everything aligns properly (rate and speed of shape change with the rate of propagation of the deformations), there will be no audible vibrations. This is part of the story.

Electrically, as the coil loops are moving and the core changes shape, both travel inside a varying magnetic field, which causes additional self-induced currents to appear. These are mostly damped out by other filtering elements, due to their very low magnitude and their relatively high frequency, but sometimes they manage to get to an amplifier in a sound card, for example, and show up as audible noise in the sound (sub)system. Additionally, every coil is a (poor) antenna for high-frequency signals (voltage changes), and it radiates those signals out into wires and PCB traces. There they are induced back from electromagnetic emissions into current and possibly amplified as per above.

The kicker is that physical noise can (and does, in larger inductors) cause electrical noise, and vice-versa. Further, any wire or other form of conductor (like a PCB trace) is also an inductor, albeit a poor one.

Resonant whine can develop between any two oscillatory systems, which coils are all by themselves, as is practically any circuit that contains them. VRM circuits on motherboards, graphics cards, hard drives, etc. pretty much always contain at least one. In order to have an electrical oscillator, you need an inductor and a capacitor. All inductors are also (poor) capacitors, and this doesn't present a problem at low frequencies, because they "see" capacitors as open circuits. Self-capacitance is a problem at high frequencies, exactly the situations where you'd want to use coils in the first place... When two coupled coils (either connected via wires and traces or magnetically coupled, or when the EM radiation of one permeates the other) reach very similar electrical self-noise frequency, the parasitic signals they produce may be (and usually are) amplified exponentially. This can, in rare cases, actually pollute the DC input/output, and there are actual cases in practice. There are some Sirfa-made PSUs in which simply moving output wires away from a regulator coil makes the PSU output voltage significantly less noisy. I still consider this a rarity, though, and it can be solved by putting a simple EMI shield (a piece of isolated metal sheet) around the offending coil or between it and the "polluted" area.

Coil whine can be lessened to an acceptable degree with a relatively simple fix. Just dampen the physical side of it by gluing or caulking down the coil, so that it's vibrations are absorbed. Another way is changing the current/voltage frequency, which is never easy, as it affects the electrical design of the device in question, or use a different coil. This could be a coil made of different materials, or of a different size, or even a different shape. I've seen coils made in the shape of the number 8 (or the infinity sign, if you need to be geeky about it), that produce significantly less noise than standard toroidal coils. I can't say how much this would add to the price, however. And let's not forget that transformers are, in effect, simply big-ass coils, and their whiny nature is much harder to deal with...

As for why coil whine would develop in time, instead of right from the get-go, well... Perhaps the dampening glue/caulk "breaks in"? Or maybe the coils very slightly change their basic (at-rest) shape, such that their resonance pattern shifts into the audible range? Who knows, it's a very complex phenomenon.
"

 

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21 hours ago, xGGAx said:

I built my pc about a year ago and never had a problem until three months ago.

I started getting a random coil whine that would last anywhere from 30 seconds to a minute or two. At first, thought it was my gpu, but after some monitoring it didn't seem to be the cause. I was thinking that maybe my psu was doing that under load because it always happened while playing battlefield 1(but i couldn't replicate the issue, it was indeed totally random).

I had a EVGA 500B before, which is plently for my current build. Still, I wanted a better power efficiency so I grabbed a Seasonic x650 about a week ago.

Installed new psu, no coil whine. Even after long playing sessions. So I want to hear your theories about this.
By the way,  I tested the EVGA PSU out of the case and it seems fine.

At the end of the day it's annoying but not a problem. 

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