Why Your PC is Loud and How to Reduce the Noise

Why Your PC is Loud and How to Reduce the Noise – The two major components of excess noise in computers are fans and the hard disk. Computer fans are used to move the heat produced by the processor, motherboard, and graphics card out of the computer.

Whenever the fans are loose, too small, or not powerful enough, they can create noise. Hard disks can also make noise as the platters spin and the head seeks data. Loud noise is generally a very bad sign and should be dealt with immediately.

Computers aren’t particularly noisy devices because they don’t have many noise-producing components. Under normal usage, you should only hear a gentle humming that indicates everything, especially the fans, is operating smoothly.

If your laptop has a noisy fan you can fix it with these simple steps:

  1. Kill processes to keep the fan quiet
  2. Mac users: reset SMC and PRAM
  3. Keep your laptop cool
  4. Clean your laptop
  5. Use software to control your laptop fan speed
  6. Replace your laptop fan
  7. Get an expert to check the noisy laptop fan

However, unusual sounds can be alarming and indicate an underlying problem inside the system. It could be even worse if the noise came up suddenly although the PC was working fine before.

Why Is My PC So Loud? – Causes and how to fix

Computer fan issues generating noise

The primary source of computer noise is fans. Since CPUs and GPUs generate high degrees of heat, they need dedicated cooling solutions to ensure efficiency. The noise you hear from your computer is primarily due to these fans operating normally to cool down your computer.

However, different factors can affect these fans, leading to unusually loud noise. Some of these factors are temporary and go away on their own, while others need to be fixed.

1. Dust Buildup

Whether your computer is in a dusty place or inside a cabinet, it can attract dust like other furniture items. The fans make the issue particularly worse because they draw cool air inside the computer and send out the warm air.

The dust in the air can get in and build up over time, clogging the vents and even the fan blades, preventing the fan from spinning fast enough to cool down the PC.

Thus, in addition to the regular maintenance work that you perform on your PC, you need to clean the innards completely to make sure dust buildup isn’t heating the system. You should also check your CPU and GPU temps regularly to ensure the fans don’t need to work harder. You can use third-party apps or the Task Manager to monitor your PC temps.

2. Poor Ventilation

Another issue that can prevent the fans from working properly, thus heating the system and affecting the fans, is poor ventilation. When fans work harder, they sound louder.

Even if you have the best cooling solution in place, it can’t work properly if there’s not enough air circulating near the computer. That’s because the fans need to absorb cool air inside the computer unless you have liquid cooling that uses a different form of the cooling system.

Thus, place your PC in a well-ventilated room and avoid putting it inside a cabinet or a desk. Don’t cover the vents with books, cloth, or any objects in an attempt to reduce dust entering through the vents. Also, if your room is hot, turn on the AC or move it to a place with cooling equipment.

3. Physical Damage

Fans are components that are constantly spinning and have a limited lifespan. The noise from the fans can sound different, indicating different issues.

For example, if the noise is like regular fan noise, only louder, it’s from a different source than when the fan makes clicking noises.

Since fans contain bearings that spin to keep the fans moving, any damage to these bearings can lead to unusual sounds.

You need to inspect the fans closely to see if the bearings are out, in which case, the only solution is to replace the fan. If you decide it’s time to replace the fans, look for fans with a form factor that fits your case.

Otherwise, you won’t be able to close the case panels because the fan blades will rub against the panel and create noise.

Another thing to consider is the fan’s power requirements, which have to be within the power limit put out by the computer’s PSU. Finally, look for fans with high cooling capacity and low decibels.

5. Intensive Programs

When you run CPU- or GPU-intensive programs such as games on your PC, the fans work harder to keep the system cool. If your PC suddenly gets loud after running an intensive program, there’s nothing to worry about because your fans are doing their jobs properly.

However, if your fans don’t stop working even after closing the heavy program, you must consider other cases. The most probable cause is a background process still running and occupying the CPU resources.

That’s particularly the case if you’ve recently installed a new program that causes a system overload since it runs in the background without you knowing it. Since the CPU is still working, the fans should also work hard to cool it down.

Check these background processes and end them if they’re not necessary. You can easily access these apps via the Task Manager and go to its Processes tab. Right-click any of these programs that you don’t need and click End.

To avoid PC overheating due to intensive programs, minimize multitasking and close any program you don’t need. Close your browser when you’re done and avoid opening too many tabs simultaneously.

You could also try restarting your PC to see if it helps reduce fan activity. Rebooting helps end any unnecessary or corrupt processes that keep the CPU engaged.

How to make your computer quieter

There are three levels of steps you can take to quiet your computer, depending on what part is making the noise.

First Step

Make sure there are rubber feet on the bottom of the computer and that they are resting on a flat surface. If the rubber feet are missing, you can get replacements, or put the computer on a piece of carpet or another soft surface. If the room is warm or the computer is otherwise overheating, there are cooling pads that can help cool the computer and absorb some of the sound and vibrations.

Sometimes it helps to move the computer under the desk or into a more closed location to muffle the noise. This can be tricky because you don’t want to increase the insulation around the computer, which will cause the fans to run longer and harder. If the fans are the source of the noise, then this will aggravate the problem. If you move the computer, make sure there are at least two inches of empty space on all sides of the computer for cooling. 

Second Step

If the easy solutions didn’t help the situation, you’ll need to dive deeper. Take the back of your computer and check all the attachments; screws, gaskets, and grommets. If there are any screws loose, tighten them. Replace any worn or missing gaskets and grommets.

While you have the back of your computer, use a soft brush and a can of compressed air to blow the dust out of the computer. Don’t force the compressed air into the fans, it can damage them. Carefully blow the air around the fans.

If the source of the noise is the hard disk, consider upgrading to a solid-state drive (SSD). If your hard drive is making anything more than occasional clicks, there’s a good chance that the hardware is failing. It’s important to move your data before the drive fails, or it could be unrecoverable.

Third Step

If the steps above don’t help, you’ll need to get serious. Replace your old fans with large new fans. You must know the physical size of the fans you currently have to order new fans that are the same size. This ensures that they will fit into the space necessary. Whenever possible, order a fan that will move more air and has a lower decibel rating.

If your power supply is overheating, likely because it can’t handle the additional load of upgraded components, consider a new power supply with a fan to help with cooling.

You can also add sound insulation to your computer. You must be very careful about this, however, as adding insulation can also result in more heat trapped, causing the fans to work harder. 

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