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PC upgrade - a diary

For anything relating to music-making on Windows computers, with lots of FAQs. Moderated by Martin Walker.

Re: PC upgrade - a diary

Postby blinddrew » Sat Oct 31, 2020 4:40 pm

Been having a lot of blue screen of deaths over the last couple of days. I think I've narrowed it down to installing Microsoft Teams (for work). Removing that seems to have fixed it. Nice to see that MS are still as co-ordinated as ever.
Slightly vexingly it's got a pretty loud hum at 120Hz, it disappears entirely when I close up the my cabinet (so fine for recording) but it's enough to intrude on listening with it open.
I don't know if I'm being unreasonable in my expectations here but we're talking borderline not fit for purpose. :(
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Re: PC upgrade - a diary

Postby Martin Walker » Sun Nov 01, 2020 4:25 pm

A loud hum at 120Hz Drew? Quite possible in the US, but not so likely in the UK.

If you're referring to a mains hum then this is more likely to be 150Hz (3rd harmonic of the UK mains frequency (unless you've got a really distorted mains signal, in which case it could be 100Hz 2nd harmonic ;) )

If it's a mechanical transformer-style hum then you can probably reduce it by placing your new PC on some Sorbothane rubber feet.

If on the other hand it's a large metal side panel vibrating in sympathy with hard drives then attaching a self adhesive damping panel as used in cars will deaden it.


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Re: PC upgrade - a diary

Postby blinddrew » Sun Nov 01, 2020 4:48 pm

Definitely 120 Hz and no fundamentals below that. With the cover off my cabinet it's registering 57/58dB (C-weighted) at the mixing position, which is much louder than my old machine and is really far too intrusive to mix with.
I've dropped Scan a line though so we'll see what they come back with.
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Re: PC upgrade - a diary

Postby merlyn » Sun Nov 01, 2020 5:09 pm

It could be a fan. There will be a few fans -- power supply, case fans, CPU cooler, and a fan on the graphics card.
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Re: PC upgrade - a diary

Postby blinddrew » Sun Nov 01, 2020 5:48 pm

That's my assumption, but it happens from start up with virtually no load on the CPU and all cores down at healthy levels (sub 30 degrees) - but I don't know what temperature fans start kicking in.
I've fired a note off to Scan though so we'll see what they come back with.
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Re: PC upgrade - a diary

Postby Martin Walker » Sun Nov 01, 2020 9:46 pm

Strange coincidence that it happens spot on a US mains frequency harmonic though ;)

If you suspect a fan, I'm really surprised that Scan might have fitted one that was as audible as this at all time (i.e. even when idling at lower temperatures).

To me that might suggest a continuously rotating graphics card fan (again, an unlikely choice for a Scan machine), since most system cooling fans nowadays tend to be temperature-controlled vari-speed devices.

When you mention a 'cabinet with a cover', have you got your new PC inside some sort of wooden casing? If so, it might be that some PC component is causing some part of this to resonate in sympathy, in which case a little internal bracing might do the trick.

Is the noise still there at the same frequency when the PC case itself is in free air?


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Re: PC upgrade - a diary

Postby blinddrew » Sun Nov 01, 2020 10:23 pm

I think the cabinet must be having some kind of an effect, the noise was there before but is louder now. It's seriously rigid* though and, when closed, almost completely soundproof. Perhaps a bit of padding underneath the unit might help but it feels like I shouldn't need to be doing this - I didn't with my previous machine and that was running a lot hotter.
I shall await a response from Scan, I'm sure they'll be responsive.


* 12.5mm MDF and 12.5mm acoustic plasterboard on all sides, screwed and glued!
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Re: PC upgrade - a diary

Postby Martin Walker » Mon Nov 02, 2020 2:20 pm

blinddrew wrote:* 12.5mm MDF and 12.5mm acoustic plasterboard on all sides, screwed and glued!

Well that shouldn't resonate!

Quick test - place a cushion or two under the PC inside your cabinet and see if that cures the noise. If so, a little decoupling such as four Sorbothane rubber feet should certainly help.


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Re: PC upgrade - a diary

Postby MOF » Tue Nov 03, 2020 11:02 pm

Strange coincidence that it happens spot on a US mains frequency harmonic though ;)

A transformer would vibrate at that rate though.
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Re: PC upgrade - a diary

Postby Martin Walker » Wed Nov 04, 2020 1:48 am

MOF wrote:
Strange coincidence that it happens spot on a US mains frequency harmonic though ;)

A transformer would vibrate at that rate though.

Only when plugged in the US ;)


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Re: PC upgrade - a diary

Postby blinddrew » Wed Nov 04, 2020 10:43 am

Well Scan have come back and said the noise level is normal - which is a bit disappointing as I'd hoped the new machine would be quieter than the old one. I'm still getting regular BSOD's at start-up as well, which is frustrating, so I'm waiting to hear back on that.
Beginning to wonder if I shouldn't have just stuck with Dell. :(
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Re: PC upgrade - a diary

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Wed Nov 04, 2020 11:07 am

blinddrew wrote:Definitely 120 Hz and no fundamentals below that.

Could it be related to the spinning hard disc? I had problems with HDD noise in my Scan computer. The drive was originally mounted directly onto the caddy frame in my case, but even after installing anti-vibration mounts it still generated more acoustic noise than was acceptable. In the end I swapped it out for a solid state drive and I've had no further problems.
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Re: PC upgrade - a diary

Postby blinddrew » Wed Nov 04, 2020 11:18 am

I think technically it could, but it's present even when there's no activity on the HDD and everything's running off the SDD. But I don't know if it goes completely inert in these situations or if it's always running in the background.
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Re: PC upgrade - a diary

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Wed Nov 04, 2020 11:56 am

It (probably) always spins...
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Re: PC upgrade - a diary

Postby blinddrew » Wed Nov 04, 2020 12:04 pm

This is beyond my ken! ;)

Trying to make sense of sorbothane options on Amazon, I'm wondering if two packs of shoe heel inserts might actually be the simplest option! :crazy:
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