Clicking from motherboard

  alythman 09:19 04 Aug 2007

Hi all, if anyone can help me here I would be grateful! I have just purchased a new Gigabyte motherboard, GA-M57SLI-S4 rev 2.0, a new AMD Athlon 64 X2 4800 dual-core processor, a Nvidia Geforce PCI-E 7300 GS Graphics card and a 320Gb Seagate Barracuda Sata drive and an Audigy 2 sound card, running Windows XP Home edition. The problem I am having is this, everything seems to be running fine, but every now and then I hear a loud click, like an electric switch coming from inside the tower. I have update all of the drivers for all hardware, but this sound continues to annoy me. I cannot pinpoint the exact location of this sound, but I am almost sure it is not coming from the hard drive which is the nearest part to me. If anyone has any ideas as to how I can resolve this, please let me know. Thanks in advance for your time!

  Gongoozler 09:30 04 Aug 2007

Have you tried the rolled up paper method of locating the source. Tricky for such an intermittent problem, but it can be very effective. Roll a sheet of A4 paper into a long tube. One end against your ear and use the other end to locate the noise source.

Possible noise sources - hard drive, case fan, graphics fan, CPU fan, chipset fan, PSU fan, wire touching any of the fans. Does your computer have any relays? Uncommon but possible. Could the noise be purely mechanical due to expansion of a hot component? I've never come across this causing a noise in a computer but it would cause a very intermittent noise.

  alythman 09:36 04 Aug 2007

Thanks for the quick response, yes I have tried the rolled up paper tip, but the sound is so intermittent that the source is very difficult to pinpoint. All the fan appear to be free of any wires touching them. I have a 500 watt power supply that blows towards the CPU fan and a case fan vlowing across the CPU as well as the CPU fan itself operating and, although I can't be sure, it seems like the area I would guess this sound is coming from, is the CPU area. SOmeone sugested that it may be ball bearings scraping, but it doesn't sound like that!

  Gongoozler 10:13 04 Aug 2007

This one could be very tricky to resolve. You can eliminate the hard drive by simply unplugging it. The computer will then go through the POST process and then stall because it can't find an operating system. If you leave it in that state you can wait to see if you get any more clicks. As for the fans, for a continuous noise such as is more common in fans you could simply stall the fan for a few seconds, but that isn't an option in your case. The only thing I can think of is to replace the CPU fan. You should be able to do this while leaving the heat sink in-situ. The fan is probably held onto the heatsink by 4 self-tapping screws.

An idea just occurred to me. If the fan is temperature controlled, and if there is any slack in the mounting, it might make a loud click as power is applied.

  alythman 10:19 04 Aug 2007

Ho Gongoozler, I have just installed an aaplication update and I got a click as the hard drive and cpu wentinto motion. I am not at all sure what you mean by the mounting, are you talking about the heatsink being loose? I have checked this and it is solid and difficult to move. The theory you have about the cpu fan sounds very plausible, so maybe I should invest in another one. The fan is temperature controlled automatically by the BIOS and I haven't touched any of these settings, so your idea may just ring true.

  Gongoozler 12:13 04 Aug 2007

Hi alythman. What I was suggesting about the loose mounting is that if there is any slack between the fan rotor (the bit with the blades on) and its frame or the heatsink fins, then there could be a click as power is applied to the fan. I've never heard it happening, but it's just possible. I very much doubt that there's any looseness between the heatsink and the CPU, or the CPU would overheat in seconds. This sort of clicking is most commonly due to a hard drive problem. Listen to some of these click here

  Totally-braindead 13:31 04 Aug 2007

The two most common sources of the clicking are the hard drive or the Northbridge fan on the motherboard. I don't know what it is about the Northbridge fans but I've had 4 of them fail over the years they seem to be really cheap and nasty, and thats on boards from 3 manufacturers.
The last time I had this I was 100% certain it was the hard drive, sent it back and got a new one and guess what, the noise was still there. I then replaced the Northbridge fan with a Zalman Northbridge heatsink(no fan) and that was it, they are about a fiver but you might need to remove your board to fit it.
Of course it could be the hard drive.

  alythman 09:02 05 Aug 2007

Thanks both for your help so far! I am going to try the hard drive theory with an IDE drive using an IDE controller card to see if the clicks occur still, that then would eliminate the hard drive from the equation. Totally-braindead, I don't seem to have a Norhtbridge fan, or any other on the motherboard, but I did think about replacing the CPU heatsink and fan as a precaution. One of the ways the click occurs is when I download updates from WIndows and they start the installation I usually get two or three loud clicks, then the computer restarts itself. Maybe it is the hard drive after all!

  Gongoozler 10:13 05 Aug 2007

I initially suspected the motherboard chipset fan as well as other fans (see my first posting), but fan bearing noise is usually a continuous whining or rumbling. The only intermittent clicking noise I have come across has been caused by the hard drive head moving across the disk. In early computers this noise would have been normal, but these days it usually signifies impending failure.

  alythman 10:17 05 Aug 2007

Thanks Gongoozler for all of your help! I am about to install an IDE drive through a controller card and see if I get the clicks still. I will post the resulting situation.

  Gongoozler 10:18 05 Aug 2007

Another way that you can find if the hard drive is the problem - The hard drive can safely run at any angle, so if you unscrew the hard drive from the case you will probably be able to run it out of the case - possible resting on a cardboard box. You will then get a better idea if the clicking is coming from it.

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