Motherboard hell

I’ve been struggling with some new hardware for a month now, and I finally got things stabilized - but the one thing driving me nuts is this high pitched whiny squeal (like capacitor noise) that isn’t “real” loud, but due to its pitch/timbre is annoying as hell. It cuts thorugh any noise my 4 120mm fans make. It occurs when the HD is active, the mouse scrolls, or a major download from the net - and to a lower degree all the time. I switched (upgraded) PSU’s thinking that might be the problem - but that was not the cause.

Question is… I know people get this on some mobos… if I go through the RMA trouble to replace this one - think there’s a good chance it will be just as bad? I’d really like to smother my computer with pillows.

System Specs:

Asus A8R-MVP
2 Gig Patriot LL 400MHZ memory
Creative Labs X-Fi Xtrememusic
AMD FX-53 2.4 Gig processor
Fortron FX600-GLN 600W PSU

Is your motherboard properly grounded? Have you tried rebuilding it, adding just one component at a time?

I’m just tossing out random suggestions, but try moving the sound card to a different slot.

My system is on a very expensive surge protector plus a line cleaning APC Backup UPS than can provide 600Watts of power for ~45 minutes. Evertything is grounded properly.

I just upgraded from an Asus A8V Deluxe (no electrial noise) to this Asus A8R-MVP. Unfortunately this motherboard only has 3 PCI slots, and with an X1900XTX taking up an enourmous amount of space - it only leave one accessible PCI slot for the sound card. I’ve shut down all USB ports and still have the overarching electrical whine.

Oh I just thought of a better explanation of the sound. It’s like putting your head next to an old CRT tv.

Yeah I occasionally get that whine from televisions and other electronics. It’s pretty mind numbing.

Listen to loud rock music. Eventually you’ll lose sensitivity in that frequency and won’t be bothered by it any more.

Oddly enough, I’m in that category. My high frequency hearing is non-existent, and I am able to use whiny monitors that drive other people batty.

don’t knock it though, it convinved the wife that we needed the HDTV whe our sony started whining.


Had a similar problem once. It’s likely a DMA issue with your sound card. Move it to another slot. BooTx’s random toss is probably right.

Check your motherboard manual and find a slot that doesn’t share an IRQ with the hard drive controller or network card.

Hmmm, I have a problem… I only have 1 real accessible PCI slot (the one the sound card is in now : PCI Slot 3) - though maybe I could sandwich it up against my PCIe video card (video card takes up a most of the PCI slot-space). Can you look at the IRQ sharing and tell me if using slot 2 would make a difference? The chart is a tad confusing to me.

Hmm, slot 1 would be better, since it doesn’t share the LAN IRQ. Guess it’s blocked?

If you only have one other slot option, I’d just give it a shot. Might help, might not. When I had this problem, I actually ended up disabling the onboard LAN and putting in a PCI LAN card.

Just tossing this out there… have you tried a different hard drive with all other hardware staying the same?

Slot 1 is blocked. I haven’t tried with a differennt HD, but I have a spare so I’ll see. I dn’t think it will change since I hear the noise without HD access.

so you can be sure that the noise isn’t coming from the HD? (I understand you said that there is noise during non HD activity)

Yep positive.

If you’re certain it’s not your drive, it could be the voltage regulators. They look like little metal coils. Get the noise going then push a pencil eraser against the coils, see if the noise goes away. It can also come from capacitors; there are about a zillion of em, but you can try pressing each one with the pencil eraser too. If it is a capacitor, once you’ve nailed it down turn off your computer and nudge the sucker enough to bend it slightly. Lastly, try reducing your monitor resolution, sometimes the videocard can do it also.

Or you could just get a different motherboard, preferably not an ati piece of shit.

Sounds like coil whine.

Go to and search for it.

here’s what I remember from memory:

  1. Certain combinations of MB and PSU will produce coil-whine. Swap the PSU with another and people report the whine dissappears.

  2. Some people put some sort of non-conductive ‘goop’ or glue that made the motherboard coils sticky, so it would not vibrate anymore. Careful of voltage with anything related to power supply.

I discovered it comes from underneathe a heatsnk next to the back-end posts.