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The noises that are normal on a PC, and what to do to mitigate them

Obviously, when we talk about noise on a PC everything is relative: for example, we can expect that when we start a game, the fans start making more noise as they will spin faster as the hardware components heat up, and that is obviously totally normal. What would not be normal is that the fans emit excessively unpleasant sounds that go beyond their own air flowing or the bearings turning, so you should be able to assess how normal or excessive you consider something.

Clicking or scraping noises on the PC

The units of mechanical hard drive they were the standard for PC storage due to their low cost-capacity; however, these have been replaced by SSDs, since they are much faster, as they have become more and more affordable. The use of an SSD also implies a lower noise level since it is a component without moving parts, but if you continue to use conventional hard drives on your PC, then it is normal for them to emit some typical PC noises.

Therefore, if you still use conventional hard drives, it is important that you bear in mind that they are mechanical and therefore have moving parts, which when moving emit sounds both through the rotating platters and through the heads moving and writing or reading data.

Of course, if you look at the video that we have inserted above there are certain “exaggerated” sounds, such as squeaks, which may indicate that the hard drive is failing or about to fail. However, clicking or scraping noises are normal on a properly functioning hard drive and you shouldn’t worry about them at all. However, if you have an SSD and it emits any kind of noise then you should be concerned because these devices are absolutely silent by nature.

Coil whine

The coil whine or «coil whine»Is a kind of high-pitched squeal that comes from certain electronic components, usually from the power supply, graphics card, or even sometimes from the motherboard. As energy passes through the coils of these components, they can vibrate and emit this noise, which will change depending on the intensity of current that passes through them.

This noise, although unpleasant, it is perfectly normal and it does not necessarily mean that the component is bad. Some manufacturers support managing an RMA (warranty) if the coil whine is excessive, but most of them (and especially the graphics card manufacturers) admit the coil whine as one of the acceptable noises in the PC since, as we have said above, they do not necessarily mean that the component is not working properly.

There are methods to try to alleviate the coil whine, such as using two PCIe cables from the source in the graph instead of one so as not to force the + 12V rails of the source so much, for example, but if you have a component that emits coil whine You can hardly get rid of it. Bad luck.

Hums and hums

The fans They are essential to keep the PC hardware running at good temperatures, and in a PC you can find fans in the processor heatsink, in the graphics card, in the case or in the power supply in the usual way. Its standard noise volume will depend on the type of fans you use, their size, and if your mounting system has anti-vibration measures, but in any case one of the most typical PC noises is the hums produced by the vibrations of the fans.

In addition to the noises generated by the fans when moving due to the friction of their bearings and vibrations, we also have the noise that simply the air makes when it is pushed by the components themselves, starting with the grille behind which the fan is installed. When air “collides” with flat surfaces, even though they are quite thin such as the aluminum fins of a heatsink, noise is generated and sometimes even turbulence, generating one of the most typical noises that we can find in a PC.

Rattling noises on the PC

If you can hear rattling noises on your PC, the first thing to do is check that you don’t have anything on top of the computer case, such as an external hard drive, headphones, a figure, or whatever. Vibration within the equipment could be transmitted to connected components and cause a malfunction. If this does not solve the problem, it is likely that the rattle is caused by a fan, either because it has too much wear or because the moving air is causing some cable to move and collide with other parts.

These noises are quite normal on the PC, and although you can check as we have said that you do not have anything on top of the box or that there are no loose cables and that they are well tied, it is not something you should worry about, although it is true that these types of noises are usually quite annoying and get on our nerves until we finally find the cause and proceed to solve it.

Beeps when starting

Finally, as we all know, most PC cases include a piezoelectric speaker that we can connect to the motherboard so that it emits the usual beeps during POST.

Obviously these beeps are normal (and necessary) during system startup, but what would not be normal is that the computer starts to beep once it has already started and during use. As a note, the usual thing is that the computer makes a single short beep when starting up, three short and in a row in the event that you have a PCIe 4.0 graphics card connected to a PCIe 3.0 card, but if it emits any number or type of beeps other than this or if the beeps are generated during the use of the PC, then you should know that something is not working as it should.