PSU boom & Graphic card coil whine

tquattro

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Yesterday I received the following parts:
-Intel Core i5 4690 3.5GHz box
-GIGABYTE GeForce GTX 970 OC Mini-ITX 4GB DDR5 256-bit(good discount because opened package)
-motherboard Gigabyte GA-B85M-DS3H
-RAM Crucial Ballistix Sport 8GB DDR3 1600MHz CL9 Dual Channel Kit
-power supply: Zalman ZM700-LX 700W
-case: Zalman ZM-T4
I got together all the parts and all worked great until today afternoon, when after 10-15min of playing FarCry4 the screen went black, the message "no signal" appeared on screen, then 2-3seconds later I saw an orange flash behind the PSU along with a big bang. The PSU's dramatic death also took out the home fuse for the socket were the unit was connected. I had an old 450W PSU, and installed that and started the PC without the GTX970 and fortunately it started without issues, then I got the courage and plugged in the video card again and it appears to work fine. One small issue, the video card sounds somewhat like an old HDD when I start FarCry4 or Furmark(probably in all GPU intensive apps, but I haven't tried others), but no weird sounds when just browsing and stuff(I'm posting this from this desktop). After some googling, it appears that coil whine is quite common on gtx970 cards, some say is ok but it surely does not sound ok. At first I thought the sounds come from the underpowered PSU, and tried my brother's 700W unit... the whine was still there, but a bit less noticeable. Also, yesterday at one moment I thought I heard a weird noise coming out of the case but until I got near it, the sound disappeared.

Another thing, yesterday the screen would go dark for a second then came back on(like when you change the screen resolution) two-three times... had two instances of this: first time on dvi+vga cable and second time, about an hour later, when using an HDMI cable(during this time windows updates were installed in the background, so maybe they had something to do with the "blackouts"?).

I'm trying to understand what happened, before shipping back parts for replacement. A faulty video card or a faulty PSU? Could it be the motherboard? Anyone else had a "whining" video card? Could a video card whining coil make the PSU blow up in style?
 
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Vette Boss

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Coil whine is often a combination of your motherboard, PSU, and videocard. Changing those can often lessen the amount of whine you get. Do some research and figure out which PSU and videocard combinations produce less noise. I believe MSI and ASUS cards use higher quality chokes specifically,to reduce whine.
 

tquattro

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Sounds like fun troubleshooting ahead. But could a video card coil cause that spectacular PSU failure? Now, the video card seems to work fine with the old 450w PSU, except the whine.

Edit: Oh, and the PSU didn't just blown the internal fuse... I can clearly see, trough the fan grill, a blacked out area around this part(which is for "Secondary Protection IC: Built-in Over-voltage, Under-voltage, Short-circuit Protection Functions"):
 
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eizbaer

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coil whine should not cause the PSU to blow up, it's (usually) a product of totally regular operation. and since the GPU seems to be working fine with the 450W unit, i'd much rather blame the zalman PSU and say something was wrong with that part that blew up. if the part that was responsible for protecting the PSU blew up... that somehow didn't do its job, did it? :D
 

tquattro

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Then I should send back only the PSU(and maybe replace it with another model/brand*) and if the whine persists(it's quite loud now)with the new PSU will also send back the videocard to get it replaced.

*the PSU I got appears on the seller's webpage with a "100% reliable" badge, meaning "over 100 units sold with 0 warranty claims"
 

eizbaer

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could still just be them being lucky :dunno:

also, coil whine is a major problem in gtx970 cards afaik. replacement might not fix it for you... but trying can't hurt.
 

ZeDestructor

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Coil whine isn't that big of a deal with 970s: they should be RMAd if they whine iirc.

Could be when the PSU died it blew one or two inductors (often called coils cause they're basically coils of wire :p) or VRMs, and the increased load on the rest is causing the whine.

Get a new PSU, then check, it could also be the coil whine is from your 450W PSU not providing as nice regulation and causing increased loads again, and whine. If it persists with a new PSU is when I would RMA the card.
 

tquattro

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^That's exactly what I'm gonna do. The whine really started after the PSU blew up.

Thank for the input, guys.
 

tquattro

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Sent the blown Zalman PSU back and got a new PSU, Seasonic M12II EVO Bronze 620W:


The coil whine is mostly gone, I hear noticeable whine only over 400-500FPS, but not always(for example the most noticeable whine I get is when running 3dMark IceStorm tests where it averages around 1500FPS with peaks around 2500FPS). From what I read on this issue, I think the noise levels are relatively normal.

But I'm still thinking that I should send it back(I still have 5days to change my mind) and replace it with it's bigger brother GV-N980WF3OC-4GD (not the G1), if they have the 1.1 HW Revision in stock.
Advantages if I do this:
-a bit higher stock clock
-better cooling(and maybe a bit quieter than mine with only one cooler)
-rev 1.1 appears to be less susceptible to coil whine
Disadvantages: only one, it would cost me around 50-60$ extra

Do you think it's worth it?
 

Vette Boss

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You should contact Gigabyte support, before you go trading your card up to a more expensive one. Most companies will RMA if the coil whine is excessive.
 

tquattro

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Oops! I meant this card GV-N970WF3OC-4GD, not the gtx980. I know they do RMAs, but currently I don't have excessive coil whine and I would like the upgrade to a "full-size" board from my mITX one, mainly for better cooling(also for the rest of advantages from above)... but I don't know if for the extra 50-60$ is worth it,
 

maxtortheone

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I've had coil whine with my Gigabyte card since day one iirc. Nothing happened in almost 4 years of using it. Also, ugh, that PSU turned to shit fast. Reminds of those videos Seasonic and Corsair have on their sites with PSUs blowing up at full load.
 
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