The power supply is probably the least interesting part of a PC, and because of this it tends to be ignored and often under budget. This is a mistake, because as we always say it is the heart of the PC and it is on this component that the operation of all other pieces of hardware depends. If your power supply makes too much noise or some noise that it shouldn’t, in this article we are going to tell you what you can do about it to reduce the noise it emits or eliminate it completely.
There are many reasons why the power supply can cause noise, and in fact there are several types of noise that it can emit. Therefore, in this article we are going to omit the type of noise and we are going to go directly to the causes, proposing different methods to try to mitigate or eliminate that noise that is surely driving you crazy.
Is the noise from the power supply coming from your fan?
If the noise emanating from your PC is coming from the source and is quite severe, your first line of action should be to open the case and check if the fan blades on the power supply are clear of obstacles. It is not uncommon for cables to be glued inside with tape, which has lost its adhesive power in the heat and has come loose, colliding with the fan blades and producing quite a significant noise.
It is also not uncommon for a cable inside the PC to have entered the ventilation grille of the fountain and is slightly colliding with the blades. If so, the solution is really simple, because you will only have to re-secure that loose cable.
However, if the fan obstruction is internal, things can get quite complicated. Unless it is strictly necessary and you have knowledge, we do not recommend opening the power supply, but in any case you should know that the reason why the source makes noise may be due to what we told you before about a loose cable internally, as well as from soot stored on the fan blades (cleaning it would be enough), or simply because the rotor has reached the end of its useful life (it would be necessary to replace the fan).
If the noise from the power supply persists without any sign of fan clogging, your bearing has likely worn out. Low-end power supplies often use sleeve-bearing fans to cut costs, and they are known to make unpleasant noises near the end of their life cycle. The problem can be solved by re-lubricating the bearings, but the ideal at this point is to change the fan with a new one.
Check the fixing screws
This may seem like a no-brainer, but it is not uncommon for a screw to loosen and more so in the power supply, since after all it has moving parts (the fan) that generate vibrations. It never hurts, therefore, to check that the screws that hold the source to the PC case are well tightened and that it is fixed and without any gaps.
In addition to this, if your box is one of those with the ventilation grid for the fountain on the ground, they often include rubber supports to precisely absorb the vibrations generated by it. Check that they are in place and that they are effectively holding the source (unfortunately for this you will have to unmount the source from their site).
Is the air grille blocked?
A PC component that draws air into it is usually equipped with dust filters. These intakes tend to collect dust and clog over time, and the fountain fan is no exception (it’s actually quite prone to clogging as it generally draws in air from the bottom of the case, and if you have it on the ground more so (never place the PC case on a carpet, really)).
Therefore, if the fountain is too noisy it may be because the fan is not able to absorb the air it needs, so it never hurts to check that the grill is not obstructed.
Check that the font is oriented correctly
This may also seem like a no-brainer, but it is a fairly frequent mistake especially by novice users. All desktop PC cases are designed to position the power supply in a specific orientation that creates optimal cooling by ensuring air is drawn in and out in the correct direction.
Mounting the power supply in a different orientation can cause severe problems, and one symptom of this is that the fan will make a lot of noise because it cannot draw fresh air from outside into the supply. This is not silly, since if the source suffers an excessive temperature you run the risk of catching fire (if it has a temperature protection system it will turn off before it reaches that, but with sources of doubtful quality, see you to know).
Electrical noise (coil whine) in the power supply
With all the everyday remedies already proven, we must also assess the possibility that your power supply has electrical noise, known as coil whine. This “whine” from the coils can be as loud as a malfunctioning fan, and is also difficult to diagnose. It manifests as a loud buzzing that tends to rise and fall with different levels of PC activity.
There are several techniques to try to reduce the coil whine in a power supply:
- If your graphics uses multiple PCI-Express power connectors, use a different cable for each connector (instead of both on the same cable) or try different cables.
- If your source is modular, try connecting the PCIe connectors of the graphic in another of its connectors (especially if the source has several + 12V rails).
- Connect the graphics card to a different PCI-Express socket on the motherboard (this may seem absurd but sometimes it helps to reduce or eliminate the coil whine).
In any case, if you are tired of the noise of your power supply and you are already desperate because you cannot solve it, you can always buy a new unit, and as always we recommend that you do not skimp on this component because in the long run you end up regretting it.