Buzzing noise when computer reaches 40% load [Solved]

Hello Tek Syndicate,

My girlfriend's brother is having a problem with his PC, I've been selected to fix it. So, let me start with the specs of the computer that I remember.

CPU: i5 3570k
Cooler: Big Honkin coolermaster air cooler
Mobo: Asrock Z77 Extreme 4
Ram: 16 GB (Not sure of the speed)
GPU: GTX 560
PSU: Rosewill...not sure of the wattage (I remember it being overkill)
OS: Windows 7 Home (No bueno)
HDD: 500 GB Seagate mechanical

His symptom is simple,when he gets to about 40% usage (task manager) he gets a buzzing sound in his headphones and the computer freezes. When I was over to look at it on Saturday I started simply with a dust clean out which it hadn't been cleaned out in a while. So I did that, after the dust cleanout we tested the computer again, we had Elswood playing on steam, youtube open in firefox and maybe one other application, same problem. He doesn't have flash installed because he read somewhere that it's a way for a hackers to get into your computer, but I tried to tell him that if he kept it updated that the risk would be minimal. He also didn't have Java updated, did that and the problem persisted.

So here's what I see:
*Windows has to be upgraded to pro for him to take advantage of the RAM he has.
*I'm not going to pressure him, but I think he needs an SSD to take advantage of all the processing power he has and Sata 3
* I think I'm going to recommend a nuke and pave to see if it's software related, install pro myself, update and make sure the drivers and such are up to date. See if the problem persists.
* I'm kind of screwed because I don't have a spare power supply or mobo to test if either of those is bad since I don't trust Asrock boards and Rosewill PSU's

So, my questions are, am I on the right track? Has anyone else had this problem before? Any advice is very helpful. Thanks for reading a long winded post.

Warm regards,


Sounds more likely to be related to hardware than software, but thats not to say that a bad driver cant be making hardware behave funny. I would start with fresh graphics drivers, if that doesnt help the problem move on to pave and nuke. Before you nuke the OS, go grab the newest BIOS for your mobo and throw it on a thumbdrive so you can flash your BIOS prior to doing a fresh install.

After that, if it still persists, remove the graphics card and fire up on the integrated graphics to see if it's the graphics card whining under load. If that doesn't work, move on to the cpu cooler fan. Maybe slap the stock cooler on if you have it still just to test it out. If none of this works that kind of only leaves the PSU as the problem by process of elimination.

Windows home for 7 is fine for now and not the main issue so leave that aside for a while.

Ssd is also secondary to the problem at hand and not necessary but nice to have, nothing else unless he is doond production and NEEDS one. Again leave aside for now.

Nuke and pave should be a last resort, finding out the problem and how to fix it would be better as it could be a hardware issue in which case nuke and pave will not fix it and leave with reinstalling to do.

We will come to the PSU Mono part in a bit.

Okay so first up boot into safe mode try to stress it and see if it is software related that way as you will be I'm minimal drivers to get the system running with no extra stuff interfering.

Run memtest, see if it is the ram.

Run smart tests on the hard drives see if it is them.

Remove all non essential components from the system, extra hard drives, GPU if you have on board graphics can be taken out for now,
And test to see if it still happens.

It could very well be the Motherboard or PSU from the buzzing if it is heard through the headphones. You may not have a spare one but could you temporarily use the one from your PC just to test.

When was the last time he did a full reinstall of windows? to eliminate bad drivers or any other corrupt software it would be the easiest way to proceed. Also if the problem persists after the reinstall you could start looking at the hardware more closely.

Pave and nuke is easiest way to eliminate any chance of software problems, which should most certainly be done before you start even thinking about diagnosing hardware.

Also, before you do the fresh install, you have an opportunity to flash the most up to date BIOS for the mobo before the new OS goes on.

Just reading your quick description. It sounds like one of your fans is creating vibration most likely causing a hardware connection issue. I would re-seat the GPU and CPU if I were you.

Gentleman, just wanted to thank you for your quick responses. I'm going to start by reseating the GPU RAM and CPU. The cabling job inside the computer isn't the best right now despite a modular power supply so I'm going to clean it up a bit to see if a wire is touching something it shouldn't causing a ground. Hopefully this solves the problem. If not, I'll probably run Memtest and run windows from safe mode without the graphics card installed to see if the problem still persists. I guess if it does then that means I have to then start diagnosing hardware. Unfortunately if I have to I'll take the PSU out of my rig to help me test it if needed. Ideally I'd like to see him with a more reliable PSU (Rosewill) and a better motherboard than Asrock; from what I understand they're bottom of the barrel to middle of the road at best. Thanks again for your quick responses, will keep you posted!

The Asrock Z77 Extreme 4 is a exaly a sollid board..
I would suggest to listen where the noise might come from.
I had something similar in the past, and in my case it was the psu.

Thanks Angel for your suggestion. Will let you know how it goes. Should this thread be moved to hardware?

yeah i dont think that windows is buzzing ☺

I'd start with the RAM. Loading 64-bit windows is what you want. Not just pro. You might actually be able to go to the Microsoft site and dl the ISO image of the 64-bit OS and use his product key as long as it's still the home edition. Regardless of what you find he needs 64-bit OS to game in 2015. Most games require more RAM than 32-bit even acknowledges.

While you're doing that open up the side and listen for noises. The audio loop is part of the system taking a shit and can be trouble shot with the 64-bit windows, but the other 3 are mechanical in nature easily tracked with the side panel removed in operation. It's good to take a listen anyhow even if the only noises were from windows having a stroke. Choppy fan under load (possible if you've never heard a shitty fan in your life), power supply failing (it's get's dusty in there too), or HHD grinding (because they are super mechanical and make a wide range of funny noises when provoked. Like Michael Jackson's "Billy Jean"). It's better safe than sorry and you got plenty of time on your hands running through updates.

When he's back up and running make sure he puts hwmonitor on and tell him to run it for 1 hour with every new game to make sure he's not getting any thermal throttle or shutdown. I personally game with video fans at 80% and the rest of the system falls in line without any mods.

Another issue that can cause similar problems is duplicate software that reference and take ownership of registry and bios settings. Tuners and anti-virus are the big ones... everyone wants to be flashy tuner guy or freebee cure-all... sometimes they collide like firewall titans.

Rule of Thumbkin:

CPU < 60-65C
GPU < 65-70C
MB and other recorded temps < 50-55C

Let us know what you find. We could all be off track and he just likes really taxing porn.


I appreciate the advice. Like I said, I think it's best to start with simple stuff like software that can be easily replaced or updated. I will use your tactic of opening the case and letting it run while updating. I'm pretty sure that it was coming through the headphones because my gf's brother had them on when it first started happening. It happened again and I had them on and heard it personally. The first time it froze at 40% the computer "recovered" and continued to run. The second time not so much. But I will let you guys know what I did tonight after I get done; I will only have about 2 hours to work on it before I have to go to work. It's going to be a more tedious process too because he's at the back of the house on WiFi and the router is at the other end of the house.

Again, I just want to thank you all for your help. I really appreciate it!

Upon further investigation, my gf's brother told me his problems started when the router was updated for the house. I updated the network adapter's driver and everything seems to be running ok. Thank you guys for your help!

that would be the last thing I'd actually expect... but if everyone's happy, I'm happy. Happy Friday everyone :D

I figure rather than going ape shit and testing everything, start with the stuff that's easy to implement. I left out that critical detail of that the problem didn't start until a router upgrade. So....for now it works for him. But we are going to do some upgrades to his rig. First of all, his custom heatsink fans don't spin at all. So we're going to slap on a hyper 212 evo. Then when we find a good sale on a Samsung SSD, we're gonna nuke and pave and start fresh with the SSD. Hopefully with the SSD and Sean's guide over on, we should get him running at a nice pace instead of the slowsky pace he's running at now. Thanks all for your input!

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