In this article, we’ll discuss a very common question “why is my GPU making Noises”, the different types of noises a GPU can make, and what you can do if your system makes noises that aren’t normal. We’ll also provide some troubleshooting steps for diagnosing the source of abnormal noises from your GPU.
GPUs are essential components of every modern gaming PC; they take over all 3D rendering processes from CPUs, which frees up these processors for other tasks whilst also increasing performance.
The GPU renders 3D objects and displays them on your screen with lifelike realism. Understanding how the GPU works are key to understanding why they make noises in the first place.
But before we look at what causes a GPU to make noise, let’s take a closer look at how it works.
What Is A Graphics Processing Unit?
A graphics processing unit (GPU) is essentially a dedicated graphics card designed to handle the demands of computer games and other real-time graphics applications. The 3D objects rendered by the GPU are encoded into pixels and displayed on our screen with lifelike realism.
To prevent artifacts such as “jaggies”, the animation is drawn 30 or more times per second, any time you play a PC game or watch your favorite movie. GPUs utilize the same types of memory as CPUs, but they work in very different ways to achieve faster processing speeds.
A GPU has its own processor that helps “convert” an image into pixels displayed on the screen. This process requires hundreds of millions to billions of calculations every second, which are then shared between other processors on the card itself.
GPUs use several parallel processors working at once, while traditional central processing units (CPUs) only have one main processor core. This makes GPUs superior to CPUs for rendering complex objects quickly and efficiently.
How Does A GPU Work?
A GPU consists of two components: The hardware control processor, also called shader cores or stream processors, which are responsible for processing all calculations related to 3D rendering.
The onboard memory referred to as video memory or VRAM, is used by the GPU to store temporary sets of data while it’s working on rendering images. GPUs can utilize either onboard dedicated GDDR5 memory (Vega architecture) or DDR3 system memory (Fiji architecture).
GPUs are placed on the graphics card, which is then plugged into your computer. Once your computer is turned on, it powers up both the GPU and the monitor. The power supply’s job is to ensure that enough electricity is available for each component that requires it.
When you start playing a game or watching a video, the CPU starts sending data to be processed; this happens while information from previous frames continues to run in parallel.
The GPU uses onboard memory (VRAM) as its “working space”, and then transmits completed images back to system memory (RAM). It can take several frames for our eyes to perceive fluid animation
Therefore, GPUs work at lightning speed; making calculations needed for rendering many sets of images per second one after another. Because many calculations and images must be rendered in parallel, the GPU is located directly on the motherboard and is not removable or upgradable.
GPUs emit heat when working at full capacity. Heat sinks work to dissipate heat from the components that produce it during intense workloads. They can also help prevent dust build-up over time which could impede proper heat dissipation. There are different types of cooling units for GPUs: active (fans), passive (copper blocks or aluminum), and hybrid (combination fans with block).
How Does A GPU Make Noises?
As we mentioned before, GPUs make sounds as they process sets of data into pictures displayed on your screen; this occurs while your computer is running a game, video, or any other application that requires 3D graphics rendering.
GPUs emit different types of noises:
Fan noise: The fan in the GPU spins in order to maintain a particular temperature and prevent overheating. You will usually hear this when playing games or watching movies at full volume.
Coil whine: This occurs when coil holders vibrate against the PCB [printed circuit board], creating extra interference within electrical components such as transformers and coils, which produce buzzing sounds.
This typically only happens with high-end GPUs such as AMD’s R9 290X and Nvidia’s Titan series, but it could also occur with older cards due to age or wear and tear on specific components.
Static noise: This is not actually a sound emitting from your GPU itself. Static noise is a faint buzzing sound you get from nearby cables, such as power supply unit (PSU) cables or monitor cables. In most cases, this noise can be eliminated by purchasing modular PSUs and using shorter cables to connect components.
For example, if your GPU fans are running at high speed due to high temperatures, it could be because the GPU’s fan vents might be blocked and not allow enough airflow into and out of the system; thus resulting in overheating which causes the fan to spin faster in order to cool down components inside it.
How Loud Is A GPU?
Because GPUs contain thousands of microprocessors working in parallel to process complex images at lightning speeds whilst generating lots of heat in the process, they emit high-pitched whines and hums to help cool these components down.
The volume of the noise emitted by your GPU will depend on factors including fan speed, case ventilation, age, or brand. It’s also worth noting that if you have two GPUs in your computer running simultaneously, you may experience higher levels of noise versus having just one graphics card running.
Causes Of GPU Noises
As it is with all PC components, dust will accumulate eventually in your GPU. If the fan vents are not clean, more dust could get inside the card and cause coil whine. This can be easily fixed by tapping or blowing off dust build-up on your vents or by cleaning out vent grills with a can of compressed air.
Over time even graphics cards that run within acceptable temperatures will start to emit noises if their fans are dirty or inefficient. When running at full capacity while trying to dissipate heat from all the components, they tend to make more noise than usual.
Some people claim that using an open-case computer might reduce noise since hot air rises upward; however, this is only true for parts of your system which produce little heat, such as your CPU which needs to perform at minimal noise levels since it will be producing less heat. GPUs on the other hand need to cool down due to their high temperatures.
Improperly mounted fans could also cause noises in the long run; if they move freely without mounting they could lose traction and make an unpleasant vibrating sound. Mounting your fan correctly is usually quite simple, you just need to touch the heatsink with thermal paste where the fan connects in order for it to stick properly, otherwise, you’ll see gaps between the two surfaces when running intense programs like games, resulting in extra noise generation.
What Can You Do About Noisy GPUs?
Now that we’ve talked about some of the causes of GPU noises, let’s go over some of the things you can do to minimize them.
First, check if your GPU is clean by running a compressed air duster across the vents. If this doesn’t solve the issue or if there are visible gaps between your fan and heatsink where the thermal paste hasn’t been applied yet, it might be time for an upgrade. Check out these reviews on GPUs that produce low noise levels at high performance.
There are also other things to consider like motherboard compatibility issues which could slow down speeds without you knowing it (like PCIe Gen 2 vs 3). Some ISPs actually throttle certain connections; make sure to find out what you’re running first before blaming everything else!
If you don’t want any upgrades but still want lower noises, you can also look at external GPUs with built-in fans, which usually operate at low noise levels even when under maximum stress.
If you’re using an open case computer make sure to keep the dust build-up to a minimum on all of your components. Most cases come with air filters on their front intakes which either need regular cleaning or replacement every 6 months.
There are some cases that come with closed fronts for extra protection from dust which will help reduce any potential dust-related noises occurring inside your system over time.
Why Is My GPU Buzzing?
If your GPU is buzzing and you’ve already checked for dust build-up and made sure the fan and heatsink are securely fastened to each other, then it could be that there’s something wrong on a very basic level.
Make sure that none of your components are out of place – especially the RAM modules. It just so happens that high frequencies can produce sounds that sound like electrical buzzing.
Check inside your PC case if anything looks loose such as cables or cards; make sure these parts touch the motherboard without any spaces in between them, or else they’ll render themselves useless at transferring heat away from components at higher speeds (due to their increased resistance) and might also cause some unwanted noise generation.
How To Fix GPU Making A Buzzing Noise?
First, turn off your system and unplug everything from it. Open up the side panel of the PC case and use a flashlight to inspect which part is making those noises. Make sure no cables or cards are loose/touching other components / have been knocked out of place from dropping something over them. If you find anything, simply straighten these out so they look as if they’re fitted together again.
Finally, check all screws on the GPU – sometimes these come loose over time due to several reasons including rough handling during shipping or accidentally knocking into any metallic objects while inside a purse or pocket for example (if this happens to you frequently then maybe consider using a carrying case).
Tighten the screws back securely and replace your computer parts one by one until you’ve found the culprit. If everything looks OK and yet the noise still persists, it is most likely a problem with the cooling fan itself. In these cases, it is best to contact your local computer expert or manufacturer for further analysis.
There is also another way to fix this issue which can be done mostly if you have an Asus GPU by yourself. You need to download the latest drivers from the Asus website and choose “Support & Drivers” from their support page.
Select GPU from among your options and find the latest version of BIOS that will work on your card with a quick search online (try using simple keywords like “Asus R9 280X bios”).
Download the BIOS version you find and follow the instructions to update your GPU with it. This will most likely solve any issues that are related to drivers or BIOS versions, so feel free to try this solution out before anything else.
GPUs can make both high and low-frequency noises; it all depends on your model. The higher-end models run the fan at lower speeds thus generating less noise compared to lower-end ones, but they might also cost more money for this “luxury” of running quieter.
Still, if you don’t want any upgrades but still want lower noises and better temperatures out of your GPU, you can always invest in an aftermarket heatsink. Hope this article helped you, if you have any questions let us know in the comment section. Thanks for reading!