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Strange clicking sound coming from computer


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#1
coins99

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Hey guys,

So this has only started happening recently. I've had this custom-built computer for about two years now, and about 5-10 minutes after I start up my computer, I hear a clicking sound. I suspect it's is one of the fans because it's almost like I put a small piece of paper on the fan and the blades are hitting it, although the sound is different but the rhythm is similar. This happens in waves where it quiets down and then gets loud again, but after about ten minutes or so the strange noise stops completely. It's fine for the rest of the day until I turn it off when I go to sleep, get up, and then turn my computer on, in which case the process starts all over again. I don't think it's the case fan or the CPU fan because I put my ear to them and the source doesn't seem to be coming from them. I'm no computer expert, but it also seems like whatever fan or device it is, it's almost like it's warming up because it only happens when I start the computer. Perhaps it's the power supply fan? I haven't cleaned the interior of my computer since I got it, so maybe removing the dust with compressed air might give me results. Thoughts? Thanks!
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#2
phillpower2

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:welcome: coins99

Please check out the sounds at the attached link and let us know if any of them are the same or similar http://datacent.com/...rive_sounds.php

If the computer needs cleaning out, first remove the power cord from the wall and open up the case, take anti static precautions before touching anything inside, you can do this by touching a bare metal part of the case, remove the video card, blow out the slot and re-seat the card securely, do the same with the memory sticks, clean all internal fans, if you use canned compressed air do not let any fan spin freely this can damage them, use something like a clean lollipop stick to hold the fan.
Ensure that all internal connections are secure and that there are no loose components, write down the PSU details (brand and model) re-assemble the computer, boot up and see how it goes.

Just a cautionary note, if you do use canned compressed air do not upend the can as it is possible for fluid to be emitted.

NB: The cleaning instructions are provided for those who may read the topic but not be aware of the potential hazards.
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#3
coins99

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Thanks for the response!

I listened to the sounds in your link, and they didn't really sound like any of the ones I was experiencing. This morning, I went and unplugged my hard drive (I only have one) from the power supply and the SATA cable to see if the sound would still come. I turned on my computer and just let it sat there for a while as I went to do something else. Turns out, even with the hard drive disconnected, the sound still came at its usual time (I timed it, and it was about 6-7 minutes after booting). This leads me to believe that it's not a hard drive issue but a power supply issue.

Then I turned off the computer while the sounds were still going on. Of course the sounds would stop, so then I plugged in my hard drive again and turned the computer back on. Unlike the first time, the sound came immediately after booting, as if it was in a process that it had to finish. A few minutes later, everything went back to normal. I still have not cleaned my computer yet, but perhaps I need to get the PSU replaced?

Edit: Cleaned it out. Will find out tomorrow whether the problem is fixed, but I was doing some research, and I think this might be related: http://www.tomshardw...-clicking-noise

Edited by coins99, 24 November 2012 - 01:13 AM.

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#4
phillpower2

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There is a way of 100% confirming that the clicking is coming from the PSU and that is to remove it and then activate it whilst it is not connected to anything else, please refer to the attached links for "how to" http://www.smpspower...rs-pinouts.html and

I asked previously that you make a note of the PSU brand and model details, can you post them with your next reply please.
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#5
coins99

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My PSU is the Cooler Master RS-500-PCAR-A3. The same as this one: http://www.coolermas...product_id=3738

I tried the paperclip method, and for some reason it didn't work. I thought I did it according to the video you linked, but perhaps I did something wrong. In any case, I didn't decide to dwell on that method and just put it back together and turned it on again. Even after cleaning my computer, the sound still came. Definitely sounds like a fan. From that tomshardware linked earlier, it looks like it might be the fan bearings or something along those lines? So I should probably get this replaced, right?

Also, I wonder how long I should still try to use this PSU before I need to replace it. On the website, it says it has OVP / OCP / OPP / SCP protection. Would it be safe to just use it until it becomes really apparent that I need to replace it? Because it's working just fine other than the intermittent noise that only lasts for a few minutes. Thanks!
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#6
phillpower2

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A suspect PSU should never be used because if it fails it has the potential to take out the whole system, lets check and see what the output readings are with Speedfan;

Download Speedfan and install it. Once it's installed, run the program and post here the information it shows. The information I want you to post is the stuff that is circled in the example picture I have attached.
If you are running on a vista machine, please go to where you installed the program and run the program as administrator.

Posted Image
(this is a screenshot from a vista machine)

To capture and post a screenshot;

Click on the ALT key + PRT SCR key..its on the top row..right hand side..now click on start...all programs...accessories...paint....left click in the white area ...press CTRL + V...click on file...click on save...save it to your desktop...name it something related to the screen your capturing... BE SURE TO SAVE IT AS A .JPG ...otherwise it may be to big to upload... then after typing in any response you have... click on browse...desktop...find the screenshot..select it and click on the upload button...then on the lower left...after it says upload successful...click on add reply like you normally would.

Depending on the results we may need to run further software for comparison.

Screenshot instructions are provided to assist those that may read this topic but are not yet aware of the “how to”.
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#7
coins99

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Cool, thanks. Here are my results: http://puu.sh/1tTFu
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#8
phillpower2

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Your PSU outputs are showing as being fine but your GPU is running hot, what is the brand and model of your video card if it is the add on type.
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#9
coins99

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I have the NVIDIA GeForce GTS 250.

Edit: Also I don't know if the PSU behavior is the same as when it starts making those noises. If it's the fan bearings or something, then would that be reflected in the readings?

Edited by coins99, 24 November 2012 - 04:58 PM.

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#10
phillpower2

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While the maximum operating temperature for the GTS 250 is 105C it should not normally exceed 35 - 40C when idle and 65C when under load such as gaming, 53C when idle is too high so I suggest you check the cooling fan on the card for any play in the fan bearings, if your MB has an integrated video chip try booting up the computer while the GTS 250 is removed and see if the clicking is still present.

Yes bad bearings would affect the PSU performance as it would overheat and begin to throw out erratic voltages.
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#11
coins99

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Ah I see, thanks for the info. I downloaded this other program to monitor the fan speed on my GPU as well here: http://www.techpowerup.com/gpuz/

I see the temperature fluctuate between 48 to 55. It reached 55 when I booted up a game (Starcraft 2 on Medium settings. From the program, I can see that the fan speed doesn't exceed 50%. I see some methods online to increase the fan speed, but should I try it? If so, what would be a safe zone to increase it up to?

I don't quite want to remove the video card just yet because it's not certain if I will hear the sound when I boot up again. It usually occurs after the computer's been off for a while, such as when I go to sleep and then wake up in the morning.

I will also check the voltages with SpeedFan as well when the clicking starts. That should be another indicator if it's the PSU, right?

Edited by coins99, 24 November 2012 - 06:05 PM.

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#12
phillpower2

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That is also a very useful tool :thumbsup:

Regarding removing the card, I can only suggest ways of pinpointing where the clicking is coming from and removing the card is one way of ruling the fan on it in or out as the cause of the noise, if your MB does have an integrated video chip then I suggest that you use it while you clean and inspect the card and wait and see if the noise occurs.

FWIF, the fact that the noise is happening after the computer has been running for a while suggests that something is getting hot and expanding, many cooling fans are plastic and so prone to this and the danger is that a blade could snap off and jam the whole fan up with the results being disastrous, especially if you were away from the computer at the time.
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