Helping people with computers... one answer at a time.

The noise could be from several culprits, but the first suspect should always be the fan.

I just installed a brand new motherboard for my desktop computer and now, it's making a very loud noise. It only seems to get loud when I surf sites and watch videos. Sometimes, it gets loud while idling. It was not doing this before I installed a new motherboard. Did I hook something up wrong? I can't tell if it's coming from the CPU or the fan, but I think it's coming from the CPU.

In this excerpt from Answercast #21, I look at a noisy fan that may be coming from extra heat being generated by that new motherboard.

Finding a loud noise

I would first remove the cover and start paying attention to where the noise is coming from when you hear it.

This is a desktop computer; so you should be able to leave it open while it's running. When it starts making this noise, you should be able to tell, pretty quickly, exactly where it's coming from.

Fan noise

My money's on the fan. Here's what I think is probably happening:

  • Your new motherboard is generating more heat.

As a result, the fans are having to kick in more often in order to cool it down. Typically, fans make noise. Maybe they're rattling a little bit more than they used to. Maybe you just have loud fans; I don't know.

But that's most commonly the cause.

I know that my desktop for example has some fan speed settings that are incredibly noisy when they come on. I rarely ever hear them because the native cooling of the machine works well enough that there isn't a huge issue; but when the computer really gets hot, those fans can come on at an exceptionally high speed and make a fair amount of noise.

So, that's the first thing that I would suspect; that it's simply a case of your computer getting hotter than it used to. The fans are kicking in when they didn't used to in the past.

Disk drive noise

Now it's also possible that you might want to pay attention to the disk drive. Certainly, I don't know, again, how noisy the drives are.

Drives are usually pretty quiet these days; but it's very possible that the drives themselves are doing something. When you're surfing sites, watching videos, it's possible that you are low on memory.

  • Maybe your machine is swapping to disk a lot.

That would cause a lot of disk activity and potentially a lot of disk noise. Unfortunately, it could also cause a fair amount of heat, which takes us back to the fan issue.

CPU noise?

Finally, I'm not sure if there's anything when you say the CPU. A CPU is a silent device.

There's nothing on it that makes noise other than electrical noise. On the other hand, you may have a separate fan attached to the CPU. That would be another cooling fan to pay attention to and see if maybe that is causing noise... because your computer is, once again, heating up more frequently than it used to before you replaced the motherboard.

Article C5395 - May 28, 2012 « »

Leo Leo A. Notenboom has been playing with computers since he was required to take a programming class in 1976. An 18 year career as a programmer at Microsoft soon followed. After "retiring" in 2001, Leo started Ask Leo! in 2003 as a place for answers to common computer and technical questions. More about Leo.

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AG Wright
May 28, 2012 6:14 PM

Make sure that fans are not touching a wire of any type. I have seen this quite a few times. The other two common things are dust stuck to the fan blades, especially if you have pets and the bearings can be going out on a fan. In he first place clean, clean, clean, clean and in the second it will need a new fan.

May 29, 2012 9:30 AM

What sort of a "loud noise". Long, long ago (almost 10 years in fact) I heard a noise when booting that turned out to be a very distorted synthetic voice coming from my computer speaker, trying to tell me, quite correctly as it turned out, that "Your hard disk may have a problem". For what it's worth, it was an AOpen AK73 motherboard, doing its best to be helpful, poor thing.

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