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fan noise


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#1 millipede

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Posted 20 October 2012 - 02:50 PM

Random question here. I'm fixing some things on my friend's computer and I think the fan is a little noisier than it needs to be. I added 1 drop of oil but no change. I haven't checked the temps and I still have the case open but eh.. My question isn't so much about the fan noise as much as it is about how stinking loud it is at startup...
Why is it that some computers start up like an airplane taking off? This thing is SUPER loud when you first hit the power button and as it's booting it slowly winds down to a normal speed. Do all computers do this and some just happen to be louder than others? My friend's computer is a gateway 564GE which he's had for a few years at least. XP on it... He says it has always been like that, noisy at startup. I'm just wondering, why it is like that. I know it's not abnormal or something malfunctioning... but, well I'm glad it's not my computer because it's annoying. ha. Anyway, I am mostly curios as to why some are like that.
I think I was wondering more because the sound it's making right now, I'm starting to wonder if it will need a new fan eventually. This is the cpu fan in case that wasn't obvious.
Hmm... interesting. it has one of those sleeves so it draws air directly through the ports in the side of the case... I just put my hand on the sleeve and with just a tiny amount of pressure, that sound I'm hearing stops. I just tried putting the side back on and there's no change with that. Has me wondering if the blades are rubbing on something... I'll have to go check that.

Edit: I looked at it while it was off and on and I can't figure out the little extra noise the fan is making OR why it changes if I play with the plastic sleeve there. Oh well.

Edited by millipede, 20 October 2012 - 04:19 PM.


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#2 dc3

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Posted 21 October 2012 - 10:04 AM

There is a thermal sensor at the base of the CPU heatsink which is used to control the fan speed, the real time controllers for this are in the BIOS.

When the computer first starts the CMOS loads its information, then the POST (Power On Self Test) starts, finally the BIOS loads. Because the BIOS is the last to load there is a lack of real time controllers when the computer first starts up which would explain why the fan speeds up at startup.

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#3 Nanobyte

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Posted 21 October 2012 - 10:24 AM

It could be that the clearances in the fan are such that as soon as it starts warming up, they change and the fan runs more smoothly. Something that was rubbing doesn't any more, or large clearances become smaller and the fan runs truer. Could also be something hitting its resonant frequency. If you had a strobe handy(!) you could check the speed to see if it is changing speed as dc3 suggested. Fans are not that expensive.

The fan on my PS makes noises this time of year (not in summer or winter). Room temperature is just right to cause vibration. A sharp tap silences it for a few hours.

#4 dc3

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Posted 21 October 2012 - 02:49 PM

This thing is SUPER loud when you first hit the power button and as it's booting it slowly winds down to a normal speed.






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#5 Nanobyte

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Posted 21 October 2012 - 03:23 PM

as it's booting it slowly winds down to a normal speed.


I'm not sure if that was in response to my comments. Many people equate noise with speed. All fans are noisier on startup regardless of speed control because they are screwing through stationary air. Once they are running, the approaching air has speed and rotation so there is less noise. My PCs produces a 1/2 second whoosh on startup, not multiple seconds (or minutes) a boot requires. I've never heard a standard PC fan making the sort of noise level described even at full speed, but then I have never bought a Gateway. My main PC runs 4 fans at full speed all the time without excessive noise. Fans are usually in the range of 15-30 dB.

I would be looking for a dicky fan or resonance (such as is apparent with the sleeve). The friend should know whether the noise was always there.

#6 millipede

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Posted 21 October 2012 - 03:37 PM

I think I understand that nanobyte but I think dc3's explanation is what is going on. It starts fairly loud and slowly quiets. I could get a video of it so you can see and hear it if you'd like, but it's not a big deal. I'm not sure how much it bothers my friend but if it were my computer I'd be looking for solutions as I hate noise. When things aren't running well and if anything gets bogged down the fan starts winding back up nice and loud.
I'm not sure if he's looking for a new fan but, I know you can get some fairly cheap but if I want to keep that sleeve on there I need to make sure it's something that fits just right I imagine. I'll give him a call and see what he thinks. His main concern is having everything run properly and I think I've got that under control so far. :)
I was mostly just curios as to the reasoning behind it as I've seen a few computers start up that way.

Edit: Yep, I just called him and he doesn't care that it's loud when it starts as long as those fans are doing their job

Edited by millipede, 21 October 2012 - 04:01 PM.


#7 Nanobyte

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Posted 21 October 2012 - 04:02 PM

You could clean the fan blades while you have the PC apart. Accumulations can make them off-balance. As I said, if your friend says the noise has always been there then there is not a lot you can do (other than memo me never to buy a Gateway). You could check the sleeve (bell mouth?) is not touching the case. In our daily lives we mostly cure vibrations by jamming something in/sticking a weight on top but you have to be a bit more careful with a PC - don't want some folded card being sucked into the CPU fan!

Added thoughts: If touching the mechanical parts (fan and bellmouth duct in particular) makes the noise go away, there is certainly a mechanical issue. It may not be serious enough to warrant attention. Typically the vibration comes from a fan which is loosely mounted, has worn or cheap bearings, or unbalanced by dust or damaged blades. Air flow buffeting solid objects can also cause vibration but the whole point of a bellmouth is to smooth the airflow in. In this particular case, any quietening of the fan by speed control may simply be taking it out of the range where the vibration is worst. As I previously mentioned, parts warming up may have the same effect. If the noise was being produced by airflow, touching the mechanics would not change the noise significantly. That's my five cents anyway!

Edited by Nanobyte, 21 October 2012 - 05:01 PM.


#8 millipede

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Posted 21 October 2012 - 10:52 PM

So, he's okay with the noise but I personally would like it quieter. I'm tempted to order him a new fan anyway. We'll see.
I noticed that something besides the fan is a little louder than I'd personally like. It may be the hard drive, which is fairly new. The CD drive wont open so I'm not sure about whether there's something in there or not but I'll try to figure that out as well.
While I was checking the hd I decided to touch it(the case is still open) and it's hot. Hurt my finger kind of hot. So, I decided to try that hw monitor program that someone suggested I run on my wife's laptop.
Just a few readings from that program...
diode1 112
internal 102
diode2 102

Fanin0 1222rpm max 1690rpm
fanin3 566rpm

hd looks to be about 107F

I can't say you shouldn't ever buy a gateway as I don't really know but this thing sure has had its problems...

You mean I shouldn't put a bent card in there and listen to it rub on the fan like a card in the spokes of a bicycle? hehe




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