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Share your experiences with coil whine

Associate
Joined
2 Feb 2021
Posts
206
Hi Guys

Returning after a long time (8 years ago) lurker here, and long time PC enthusiast.

Like many of you, I have started the long journey to find a Geforce 3080/90 at the start of last year. At first it was almost impossible to get a card without going to the Scalpers, but I eventually managed to find a few reliable ways of staying ahead.

Due to my job (+ personal interest) I actually come across a lot of different high level graphic cards, and coil whine has always been my sore point due to my watercooled wall mounted setup. I have actually returned 2-3 cards this generation so far due to what I could consider to be bad coil whine. I have also spent a lot of time trying to poke at the PCBs to find the sources in attempts to do DIY fixes (with some success).

With the recent high priced cards, I find it unacceptable to still have high levels of coil whine given people pay over £1600-1800 for a card that buzz, just imagine if you bought an iPhone Pro and it buzzes loudly, Apple turn around and say, that's normal, accept it.

If you got time please share your experiences with coil whine, I would be very interested to hear what you have, I understand each person have different tolerances and perception on coil whine, here are my personal ones.

Worst offending Apps:

3D Mark Wildlife
Witcher 3 Wild Hunt - vSync off

Ratings 0-10
1 - Coil whine detectable when place ear right next to graphics card.
10 - Coil whine easily noticeable even with speaker volume on moderate through a case.

3090FE - 6 (Returned)
3080FE - 5 (Returned)
Asus 3070 TUF OC - 6 (Returned)
MSI 3070 Ventus OC - 1
Palit 3070 Gaming Pro OC - 2

MSI 1080 Armor OC - 9 (Inductor Modded to 1)
EVGA 2080 - 0 (EVGA)
Asus Strix 2080Ti - 3

Asus Expedition 580 - 5 (Inductor Modded to 1)
MSI 5870 Armor - 1

For those who are interested here is what I have found during my DIY fixes for coil whine, a lot of these methods may invalidate your warranty, so do it at your own risk

1. Most of the time coil whine is due to a single offending inductor, these ones can usually be replaced. (order from somewhere like rs-online, but for experienced users only as it can brick your board.

2. Less invasive method, cover all the inductors with thermal 0.5mm pads, not just on top but all around the coils, I've found this acts as a muffler covering up the coil whine, and so far had no heating or component failure issues.

3. If the inductor has any openings, I have had good results injecting nail varnish in the holes, I did this for an old Radeon graphics card where the bottom of inductor had a gap in it.

4. I am guessing heating and re-melting the potting inside the inductor may also work, however I have never found the right temperature range to do it.

Myth:
1. Change PSU will help your coil whine - Unless you have a midcore PSU, changing it won't really affect coil whine, I've got 4 higher tier PSUs, G3 650, Leadex 850, RM850x, Prime-Tx 750, swapping between these PSU had not much changes to coil whine volume.
2. Do a 24/72 hour burn will reduce coil whine - I have personally tried this, with limited success, I have found coil whine can lessen when card reaches higher temp, however when cooled down the coil whine comes back. In terms of intensity, there are differences, but I have never had a card reduce coil whine to 0 due to burn in, in the same way I have also found coil whine increased after burn in.
3. Every card has coil whine - Not true, I have had cards that has absolutely 0 coil wine, all fans
4. Coil whine is caused by high FPS - Not true, certain games like witcher 3 will have coil whine at 70-90 FPS. Coil whine during high FPS is usually high pitched, while coil whine on lower FPS games are usually a buzzing noise.


Final point, after poking around inductors for the last 2 years I firmly believe if manufacturer's actually bother testing inductors for resilience frequency they could eliminate the problem very easily, as most cases only 1 inductor is found to be the culprit, however most seems to want to brush this under the carpet as something that should just be accepted.
I would encourage anyone to return their cards under RMA if they find their card noise rather than simply live with it, especially for a card costing more than a grand, you should expect much higher quality. After enough people returning I believe only then the manufacturers will take notice.
 
Associate
Joined
5 Jan 2016
Posts
33
The old advice for coil whine was to use a hot glue gun and coat the troublesome coil in glue. I've never done this, and don't exactly recommend anyone else tries it except under strict scientific test scenarios.

Anecdotal experiences: I've had coil whine on 1 Radeon GPU (HD7850) but experienced coil whine on all my Nvidia cards to date (GTX 670, 970, 1080Ti).

Make sure you are using 2-3 individual PSU cables for the graphics cards, not the daisy chain cables, and as per usual make sure you have a quality power supply.
 
Soldato
Joined
9 Mar 2015
Posts
4,434
Location
Earth
I have returned 2 3090FEs and kept the third one, heck you may have got my first two or vice versa from your list :p First two did have way too much whine, even on best PSU's. Third one is fine thankfully and as a bonus OC's very well.

1 x 3080FE had whine and second one did not.

Prior gens have been hit and miss, some did whine but nothing like my first two 3090 FEs so were tolerable. Expectation was a R9 Fury and R9 nano, both did squeal a decent amount.
 
Soldato
Joined
16 Jul 2010
Posts
4,272
Not noticed any coil whine with my 3090FE. I have Seasonic Ultra Prime 750w PSU though, so a quality PSU.
 
Associate
Joined
2 May 2015
Posts
182
Location
Oxford
I must be one of the lucky ones... I have never had a PC with coil whine. The other option is that I am already half deaf :p
 
Associate
OP
Joined
2 Feb 2021
Posts
206
Coil whine is definitely one of those unique experiences once you had a really bad one, you start to notice.

If you have your graphics card in your case with 3-4 fans, it would be very hard to notice unless you know what to listen out for, if you are running an open case, silent rig, or simply like to have the PC displayed in a wall in front of you, then it becomes very annoying.

The worst feeling probably comes from the fact you paid good money for a subpar product, I would feel better if all 3080s had the same level of coil whine, but that is not the case, it is mostly luck of the draw.
 
Associate
Joined
3 Feb 2017
Posts
689
Location
Mondas
I must disagree with the power supply statement. I had a seasonic that was horrific with cool whine. I also tested it with 2 graphics cards that were AMD and nvidia and it made both cards squeal. RMAed it to an EVGA and they were fine.
 
Soldato
Joined
5 Feb 2009
Posts
13,811
Location
N. Ireland
I must disagree with the power supply statement. I had a seasonic that was horrific with cool whine. I also tested it with 2 graphics cards that were AMD and nvidia and it made both cards squeal. RMAed it to an EVGA and they were fine.
Yea, most of the op’s ‘myths’ are demonstrably anything but.
 
Soldato
Joined
13 Jan 2004
Posts
20,687
My Gigabyte Auros 2080 WaterForce has the worst coil whine in a GPU I have ever owned.

On your 1-10 scale I'd rate an 8. Any high FPS situations or heavy load results in audible coil whine. Wearing headphones masks it so not returnes.
 
Man of Honour
Joined
13 Oct 2006
Posts
83,144
I have rarely had coil whine - oddly my 3070FE was exhibiting it in Windows 10 but not Windows 7 but after 50-100 hours of gaming it seems to have gone away.

Once encountered it quite badly on a friends PC so I'm definitely not insensitive to it - lent him one of my spare PSUs and it went away - the PSU worked fine in another system so seemed to be the combination that was causing an issue.
 
Associate
Joined
13 Jan 2018
Posts
1,057
My 3090FE has coil whine but I wear headphones or a VR headset when gaming so don't find it an issue.
I think that this card though is the worst I have had for coil whine much worse than my 1080ti which only seemed bad a v.high fps.
 
Associate
Joined
19 Sep 2009
Posts
2,315
Location
Riedquat system
Most of my cards in the last 10 years have had a little whine with the GTX 295 being the worst offender, have yet to notice on current 3080 though.
 
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