Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Losing your bearings? or a haunted pc?

If your computer makes strange noises (I don’t mean through the speakers) and not what your children or friends may be listening to on the computer. I mean whining, or grinding, or general poor health sounding noises. Maybe you’re losing your bearings!

Computers have many parts and only a few of them move, thus only a few of them can make any noise, so this makes it much easier to source out and troubleshoot the noise.

Chances are that one of the internal cooling fans is the culprit. There can be several cooling fans in your pc, and laptop. If they stop working, you’ll know it in a hurry. When the processor gets too hot, it has built in thermal protection to shut it off. However there may be cases where the cpu fan is working and keeping the cpu within its operating limits however other components are boiling up.

PC Cooling Requirements:

- CPU has its own fan

- Hard drive needs to be cooled, as it has NO internal fan.

- The video card – if newer - most likely has its own fan.

- The power supply has a fan

- The pc case itself will have at least one cooling fan, and maybe even another for airflow direction. It’s not uncommon for there to be three fans!


- 1 internal CPU fan

- Possibly 1 or 2 airflow fans inside the chassis

Computers have many parts inside from motherboards, mainboards, systemboards to modems and mice. The inside of a computer – although appears ominious and confusing, it’s pretty basic stuff. A case, a motherboard to accept all the physical connections such as memory, processors, cables, peripheral cards and ports.

Navigating inside your pc to locate the noisy fan should be broken down into specific areas to investigate.

In the case of a PC, the power supply itself is where the AC power cord plugs in. You will find a large fan there. If the noise is coming from the power supply, try gently tapping the pc case just above the power supply fan. The noise should intermittently stop and go. you can either replace the entire power supply for about $25 – 50, or have the fan itself serviced. The power supply is not intended to be serviced however, and not many PC repair shops will bother. If they do, they labour alone may be more than just buying a new power supply. Replacing a power supply should be done by an experienced technician. It is one of the most time consuming and difficult tasks.

If the case fan itself is making the noise, these are easily replaced for about $10. They usually have a few chassis screws, or plastic connectors. The power plug is also modular, and can be easily disconnected. These fans can be bought just about anywhere. Bring the old one with you though!

If the CPU fan is the source, you have another semi delicate task, and may consider having a service technician handle the task. CPU fans are either screwed to the cpu heatsink, or in the case of newer processors, are actually part of the cpu heatsink. Replacing them may not be so easy. If your CPU fan has 4 screws, most like it can be replaced. The heatsink holds the fan, and may have to be removed to gain access to the fan. Careful not to disturb the cpu, and the thermal compound on the cpu. If you can remove the fan, take it to a repair shop to find a suitable replacement. There Are different types.

Fan’s are also a source of fashion for computers. They have LED’s and frikkin laser beams these days and can light up your entire case!