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Unusual noise coming from computer


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#1
little87

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The other day while using my computer, it started making an unusual and fairly loud sound. I suspect that it's one of the fans. It sort of sounds like the vibrating sound that a cd/dvd drive will sometimes make while playing a disc, except that it's not that loud. I wasn't sure what to do so I turned off the computer. I haven't turned it on since then because I'm not sure what I should do. My computer is seven years old and I've never had a hardware problem with it before. It hasn't been upgraded or cleaned either. When I looked at the back of it, the power supply fan looks very dusty. The other fan doesn't look that bad but it's dusty too. Based on my description of the sound, is it most likely the fan or could it be something else? What should I do? I'd like to try to fix this myself, if I can.
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#2
123Runner

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Welcome to Geeks to Go

The noise you may be hearing may very well be a fan that is bad or about to go. The fans will start to wobble and make noise. There is a fan in the power supply and 1 or more in the main cabinet.

If the unit has not been cleaned in this amount of time, it is time to open it and clean it out of the dust and cobwebs.

ONLY PROCEED IF YOU ARE COMFORTABLE IN DOING SO.

Unplug the computer from the wall so there is no power.
Open the case for access to the inside.
Proceed to clean the accumulated dust buildup.
BE CAREFUL TO NOT DISTURB ANY COMPONENTS OR KNOCK ANYTHING LOOSE.
You can use a vacuum cleaner for some of it. The rest we recommend canned air to blow the dust out.
Clean the accumulation off the fan blades. You may have to use a Qtip here.
Pay particular attention to the CPU heatsink and get all the dust from there.
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#3
little87

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Assuming it is one of the fans, how long could I leave the computer on before the heat caused any damage? Would it only be a few minutes? The computer is a Pentium 4, 1.6 GHz Willamette from early 2002. I'm not sure but I think the case was designed in a way that prevents proper cooling. Some of the reviews for that particular model had said that. Anyway, I was thinking about going ahead and installing a program to measure CPU temp and fans speeds.

Edited by little87, 02 April 2009 - 03:45 AM.

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#4
rshaffer61

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That would depend on which fan it really is. Case fan it could be a day or so depending on the ventilation around the case. Power supply fan maybe hours. CPU fan usually minutes.
In any case it is not wise to leave a fan down as heat is not good for a computer and components. Roadrunners123's suggestion is correct. The procedure is not difficult and it should be performed on a normal basis.
The cost of a fan can range from 5 - 15 dollars for a basic model
Powers Supply can be 40 -120 depending on the wattage
Cost of a can of compressed air is about 4 - 7 dollars
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#5
little87

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It's the power supply fan. So I guess that means I need to replace the power supply, right? So how do I go about finding a proper replacement? I know there are things I need to take into consideration, I'm just not sure what they all are. I think the PSU is 200w. But I can safely use a 400w one, right? I don't have to replace it with a 200w, do I?

Well, If I'm going to replace the PSU, I might as well upgrade to USB 2.0 :) :)
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#6
rshaffer61

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You can go Here to check out psu's and any other parts you may need
Another site to go is Newegg
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#7
123Runner

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Before putting in a power supply, we need to know what the manufacturer is?
Is it a Dell or HP or Gateway?
I can only speak for Dell at this time, but their PSU's are proprietary. There are very few, if any, off the shelf that will fit a Dell.

Any other supply from the shelf will generally fit any other computer.

As for the USB upgrade....What are you looking for? A PSU will not get you USB.

Again, what is the make and model?
What is the operating system?
How old is the computer?
How much memory?
How big is the hard drive? How much free space?

If the computer can not support 2.0 due to limitations of the main board and software, then you can usually put in a separate USB PCI card (provided there is a slot available for the board).
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#8
rshaffer61

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Oversite on my part for not asking for Specs.
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#9
123Runner

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Not a problem because that is why we want the stuff in the post. We can all learn and add things to it. We are not all experts in all areas.
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