Facing a strange problem

Frank Shute frank at woodcruft.co.uk
Wed Aug 17 22:12:01 UTC 2016

On Wed, Aug 17, 2016 at 07:11:10PM +0000, Manish Jain wrote:
> Hi,
> I am facing a strange situation on my FreeBSD (10.3 amd64) box - some very 
> subtle hardware problem which I cannot determine what and which is causing me
> a lot of grief.
> I recently upgraded my motherboard, CPU and DDR RAM because the previous 
> hardware was making a lot of high-pitched noise. After installing the new 
> MB + CPU + CPU fan RAM, the high-pitched noise (which resembles a bad 
> bearing turning furiously) has not gone away. The pitch has changed, but there
> is an incessant noise which becomes pretty irritating after some time sitting 
> next to the PC.
> The noise is most pronounced as I hover and move among the categories in 
> the gnome3 Applications menu. I have no idea whether this has anything to do 
> with Radeon HD 8470D onboard graphics chip, which is currently unsupported 
> on FreeBSD and has to be driven with the vesa driver. But it is a 
> possibility because, as far as I remember, the noise was not present when 
> I was running Windows XP with the correct official graphics driver. If the 
> noise is related to graphics, then quite likely the source would be the 
> RAM modules - my system's video RAM comes from the main RAM.
> Other possibilities include the power supply unit and the cables. I am 
> currently ruling out the MB, CPU and CPU fan because all of them are brand 
> new. I suppose the hard disk can also be ruled out it is a solid state 
> disk purchased just 2 months back. Except for the mouse, all USB devices 
> too can be ruled too because I disconnected all USB peripherals (bar 
> the mouse, for which I changed the port from backside to front) and the 
> noise keeps coming unabated.
> Anyone who can help my identify the root cause would do an immense favour. 
> Short of buying a new computer, I am perfectly willing to spend some money 
> for new hardware that could put a fullstop to this messy noise. If the 
> noise is deemed to be from RAM, would installing a separate graphics card 
> solve the issue ? Suggestions are most welcome.
> Thanks for any help.
> Manish Jain

Hi Manish,

I feel your pain. I once had an AMD CPU who's fan would whine now and then.
Ended up replacing a lot of hardware at much cost because it was driving me

You've replaced a fair bit of the hardware, so I think we can probably rule
out those bits.

The SSD? I'm not an EE but I'm highly doubtful and I've never read about them
ever making noise.

In your situation, I'd be suspecting the PSU. I believe they can make a
noise, whether they have a fan or not.

The PSUs you get from the big box manufacturers tend to be pretty crappy.

Maybe invest in a decent PSU? It will rule out that as the cause of the noise
if nothing else.

Also a PSU tends to be a bit of hardware that you can carry forward as you
upgrade MB/CPU/RAM in the future.





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