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Old July 19th, 2006, 04:55 PM   #1
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Computer Fan (?) Question

My computer is making a high pitched, nonstop whining sound lately, and I'm hoping it isn't anything more complicated than a noisy fan. The thing is, can I easily replace a fan myself? I'd rather not leave my computer at a service place for three weeks for this. What else might create a constant whining sound? How can I better diagnose this? My other computers are totally silent by contrast, so I know something is off here.

Thanks!
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Old July 19th, 2006, 05:03 PM   #2
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Most of the fans are easy to replace, but first, you need to figure out which one it is. If it is the power supply or the cpu fan, it can get tricky.
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Old July 19th, 2006, 05:18 PM   #3
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Yeah, I'm no expert in this, unfortunately. Has anyone had a similiar problem like this with a noisy fan? To my untrained eyes and ears it might be from the larger one.
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Old July 19th, 2006, 06:43 PM   #4
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Power down.

Then: is the fan dusty? Blow dust out of the case with a blower. Or unscrew the powersupply (after unplugging) and blow it out.

Things wear out. That is why you can replace components on a PC. You can replace the power supply or you can replace the CPU cooler.

Your graphics card also has a fan. Try unplugging it (switching to the onboard graphics) and see if that is the fan that is causing problems.

You need to research for each component. Jot down the part numbers.
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Old July 19th, 2006, 07:21 PM   #5
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Barry,
The fan on my graphics card did that, then pretty much stopped working. I took the card in with me to make sure the holes matched up on the aftermarket fan in the PC store, then fixed it myself. Like Keith said, that could be your culprit. If so, if I can do it, it'll be a piece of cake for you.
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Old July 19th, 2006, 08:06 PM   #6
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Thanks, everyone. I'll be investigating all these suggestions. By the way, what should be the average temp of a computer? Mine hovers around 50. Do temps reflect functioning or non-functioning fans?
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Old July 19th, 2006, 08:35 PM   #7
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Temperatures depend on where the temperature sensor is, how the motherboard reports temperatures, and (if applicable) how the CPU reports temperatures. i.e. two computers can run be as hot as each other, but their sensors might report different things.

But 50C sounds right if it's your CPU.

Quote:
Do temps reflect functioning or non-functioning fans?
Well a visual check would suffice to see if your fans are working.

Temperatures can be tested with your motherboard's monitoring utility (get it from the motherboard manufacturer) or by stress testing your computer.
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Old July 20th, 2006, 12:18 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Keith Forman
Most of the fans are easy to replace, but first, you need to figure out which one it is.
A quick trick to find which fan is noisy is to stop the fan briefly and see if the sound goes away. I usually use my finger, but let common sense guide you!
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Old July 20th, 2006, 12:31 PM   #9
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Barry:

What type of a computer are you using? What are it's specs: processor(s), year purchased, OS version?

These questions may help determine if it is a mechanical issue (dusty blades, bad bearings, old fan, etc.) versus a firmware or design issue.

One of my Macs, for instance, was notorious for producing a high, whining noise from one of its fans. It was the make of fan that caused the problem and newer models used a different fan which "fixed" the problem. Some people have experienced fan whining and fan acceleration after updating their OS.

If yours is a constant whine, it may very well be mechanical in nature and not firmware related.
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Old July 20th, 2006, 04:44 PM   #10
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I have a PC, XP, Pentium 4 /3.01 Ghz from 2004. I'm certain it was mainly silent until recently; when I now shut it off for a time and restart it, the whine is not there, but then it gradually returns after several minutes. It can be a moderate whine at times, or a screechy whine.
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Old July 20th, 2006, 05:03 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeff Sayre
One of my Macs, for instance, was notorious for producing a high, whining noise from one of its fans.
In College, I was known for making a high pitched whine, every time I had to use one of their Macs.
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Old July 20th, 2006, 05:16 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Keith Forman
In College, I was known for making a high pitched whine, every time I had to use one of their Macs.
And it was even worse when you went to the computer lab (full of Macs) and everyone was whining.
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Old July 21st, 2006, 10:36 AM   #13
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Hi Barry... Not sure how much of a techno-geek you are, but keep in mind that, to the untrained ear, a hard drive may also make a whining sound that could be mistaken for a fan problem. Some drives will get noisy over time. If the drive IS the issue, I'd recommend replacing it as soon as possible, and maybe even getting a replacement from the manufacturer, if it's under warranty.
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Old July 21st, 2006, 10:50 AM   #14
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Barry:

Unfortunately I do not have an answer to your problem. I'm very familiar with fan noise issues with Macs but not PCs.
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Old July 21st, 2006, 10:51 AM   #15
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Barry,

I agree with Matt. When my hard drives start to go bad, the first thing I notice is an extra sound to my computer. And whenever you plan to open the computer case, first thing you do is backup! Changing the power source or case fan isn't too bad, but the CPU fan can be tricky, just because of the risk to the cpu beneath it and the motherboard when you are removing and replacing it.

Hope you've got it solved by now.

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