Strange noise coming from my PC

  ali888 05:11 20 Apr 2006


I was wondering if anyone might be able to help me here.

I have a PC desktop used as a web-server in the office. It was working fine til recently one day when i came to the office early in the morning, i heard a noise coming from the desktop box. The noise, if i can describe, is like the sound of siren in times of emergency. It's not beeping. Honestly, this is my first time i heard the noise like that.

Not sure what caused it to trigger that noise and happy if anyone encountered this problem before, might be able to share it with me.

BTW, the system is AMD Athlon(TM)XP, 1.61 Ghz, 256M RAM, windows XP Pro.

Thank you very much in advance

  terryf 05:22 20 Apr 2006

Seems like it may be fan related, take the covers off and see if you can pin-point the noise, could be a wire or cable has moved and is touching fan blades

  remind 06:04 20 Apr 2006

Possible overheating problem, or case-intrusion alarm, follow terrfy's advice.

  ali888 08:55 20 Apr 2006

Thanks a lot for your advise.

I have a feeling that it might be due to the fan. However, in general, do we need to change the fan if the PC has been around and in use for more than 2 years?

I'd like to check the temperatures of the CPU however, may i ask what the standard temperature for the CPU before it gets overheated. The reason i ask because i can find a temperature checker for PC on the internet to determine the temperature inside the box.

Thank you very much in advance

  bjh 09:11 20 Apr 2006

If it sounds like an alarm , it may well be an alarm! Most likely, an overheat or "missing fan" (ie broken fan)alarm from the motherboard. What make/type is the motherboard?

The best temperature monitor - certainly the easiest & currently well-supported is Speedfan
click here
and it would be well worth installing that, & seeing what it finds. It will also tell if fans are rotating (but a visual check is worthwhile).

If the machine is left off overnight, and when turned on, gives out the noise in a few seconds, it's likely to be a fan monitor. If it starts after a minute or three, it's likely to be overheating (probably because of a fan failure).

Let us know what you find.

  keef66 09:27 20 Apr 2006

My athlon xp 2100+ (1.7ghz)runs about 40c idle, 50c under load. Any hotter than 60c and I'd start to investigate the cpu cooler.

My pc once started emitting the ambulance like wail you describe. Scared the living daylights out of me! It was after I'd replaced the stock Athlon heatsink / fan (5000 rpm, noisy) with a much quieter Arctic Cooling version (1600 rpm whisper quiet)

The MSI mobo monitor had detected what it thought was a critically slow spinning fan, and was warning me about it.Had to change the settings in the monitoring software.

  spuds 11:40 20 Apr 2006

If its been working for a couple of years, and without any maintenance, then a check a dusting inside the case would not go amiss.Fans like the psu can have a very hard life, depending on daily/weekly/monthly usage.

  ali888 01:55 21 Apr 2006

Thanks guys for your feedback.

Now, from the program i got for free from the internet called sensors view.

After having installed it, it indicates that
CPU: 64C
SYS: 34C
HD0: 40C

SYS: 4592 RPM

I don't understand why the fan for CPU is 0 RPM.
However, this noise doesn't come off the box everyday. It just happens every now and then. I mean, if the CPU fan is broken, the noise should be persistent, shouldn't it?

The way i stop the noise is to turn off the computer for 1 minute and then turn it back on again. This stop the noise immediately.

Thank you in advance

  rdave13 02:09 21 Apr 2006

Sounds like a faulty fan. Remove the cover,usually left hand side, and ofcourse disconnect from the mains, then thoroughly remove the dust. Start the PC and visually check all fans are working.

To remove the dust gathering I use a new I" paint brush to loosen the dust and then blow with a vacuum cleaner in reverse.

  keef66 10:24 21 Apr 2006

If the cpu fan wasn't spinning, your Athlon would've fried itself by now. Since the pc still runs, I suspect the cpu fan is the one doing 4500rpm. This kind of software often mis-reports things like that. Alternatively the cpu fan may have only 2 wires and lack the third sensor wire, so the software thinks it's not spinning (though this is more often the situation with case fans)

As Rdave13 suggests, take off the side panel, start up the pc and look to see how many fans are present and that they are spinning. The crucial one is the cpu cooler which sits atop a sizeable metal heatsink attached to the motherboard.

If the software is accurately reporting the temp of the cpu I still think it's a bit on the high side, and it could be that the alarm is the result of it exceeding a 70c threshold set in the bios.

Simplest solution would be to replace the heatsink / fan,, ensuring you use good quality thermal paste or pad between the CPU and the heatsink.

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