Having a loud GPU can be very distracting when playing a game. What’s even worse is that a loud GPU has more than one fix and can sometimes be hard to identify what’s wrong with it.
In this article, I will be going through various different scenarios that could be causing your GPU to make that loud annoying noise, and I will be showing you how to fix it.
Here’s why your GPU could be making a lot of noise.
On average your GPU could be making noise due to loud fans caused by dust or high GPU temperatures. The noise can also be made due to coil whine made from vibration in the GPU’s coil. In general, limiting your frame rate will help reduce the noise by putting less stress onto your GPU.
This will help for most GPUs, but if the noise level is still consistently high after limiting your frame rate, then you might have a more serious issue on your hands.
How Does Limiting the Frame Rate Reduce Noise?
The reason why limiting your frame rate reduces the noise in your GPU is because it allows your GPU to not work. This will make temperatures drop and will allow your GPU fans to not spin as fast, which is what is creating the noise most of the time.
If GPU coil whine is causing the noise. Having your GPU slow down will cause fewer vibrations in your GPU coil stopping or lowering that high-pitched whine noise.
There are a few ways to limit your computer’s frame rate. You can first go into a game and change the max FPS (Frames Per Second) to 60, or you can enable V-sync on your monitor. However, enabling V-sync will cause a slight delay, which can worsen the performance of your computer.
Reasons For a Loud GPU
If you don’t want to decrease your performance, but want to get rid of that annoying noise in the background caused by your GPU. Then, you should try to find the root of the problem.
A loud GPU can be caused by an increase in temperature, fan speed, a dirty or faulty fan, or even coil whine. Each can be fixed in various ways, such as sound-dampening, lowering performance, or cleaning the GPU. This may sound like a lot of work, but these are all very simple tasks with multiple ways of executing them.
How to Lower GPU Temperature
One of the main causes for a loud GPU is a temperature increase, which forces your fans to spin a lot faster than they should. This may not sound too bad, however, if your fans are performing at top speed 100% of the time, they can begin to wear out, creating an even louder noise than they are already making.
To lower the temperature of your GPU, you must first try to lower the temperature of your Pc. High computer temperatures are most commonly caused by poor airflow inside the computer. Make sure the flow of air in your pc has a consistent flow in a single direction, this will cause cold air to be brought in on one side, and warm air to be blown out the other.
This may sound like common sense, but many people think they can have an effective cooling system just by installing a bunch of fans inside your pc.
If your pc doesn’t have a consistent flow of air, the inside of your computer can create hot pockets. Hot pockets are small areas in the pc where the air doesn’t reach and can rise up to unsafe temperatures potentially damaging parts of your pc.
Also, having bad airflow can cause dust to build up in your pc because it is not being blown out and away.
A more serious case would require you to take your GPU apart, and apply a new layer of thermal paste to the heatsink. A poor application of thermal paste could be what’s causing the heat to stay in your GPU without being cooled off.
Here is an article I’ve written on How Often You Should Re-Apply Thermal Paste. This should give you an idea of whether or not you should replace your thermal paste on your GPU.
If you have good airflow and a clean set of fans the next thing to do would be to lower the fan speed manually. This can be done by going into your BIOS and manually setting the fan speed, or an easier way would be to download a program called MSI AfterBurner which is used to overclock your GPU. You will not be overclocking your GPU, as this will cause temperatures to rise, but you will be using a setting to adjust your fan speed.
Adjust Your Fan Speed With MSI AfterBurner
Install MSI AfterBurner
If you haven’t already click here to install MSI AfterBurner.
Open MSI AfterBurner and Allow it Access to Your Computer
Once installed, open the program up. Your computer might give you are warning when you open the program. This is just because you are giving it access to change the settings of your graphics card/GPU.
Once opened it should look something like this.
Everyone’s looks a little bit different because AfterBurner changes the way it looks depending on what version you are on or if you changed some settings around.
Adjust The Fans by Clicking “Auto”
To change the fan settings press the “auto” button, which is located beside the fan speed under the last number on the right side.
Adjust The Fan Speed
After the button is clicked you can adjust the fan speed by dragging the slider, or double-clicking the number beside fan speed and typing your desired speed. While you are adjusting the fan speed you should listen to the sound of your GPU and check the GPU temperature to make sure the GPU is not too loud or hot.
Hit Done a Click Save
When you have found your ideal fan speed click the checkmark, and in the bottom right corner click a number and a save icon. That way your GPU fan settings will be saved.
Set to startup
The final step is to allow your pc to run AfterBurner on startup, so your fans will automatically start at the speed you set it, which will keep your GPU quiet the whole time your computer is on.
Clean Your GPU and The Fans
Another very common issue that causes GPUs to become louder over time is dust. The dust build-up is very hard to prevent, and that is why it is very important to have good airflow in your computer. If you have poor airflow in your pc, or it’s in a place that has a lot of dust, or it has built up dust over time. Then, it’s time to start cleaning!
There are various ways to clean a GPU. This article will tell you how often you should clean your PC.
You can either give it a light clean that won’t take that much time, but you might miss a few hard-to-reach spots, or you can give it a deep clean, where you take the GPU apart and carefully get rid of all the dust.
After Your GPU is clean, your GPU should sound as quiet as when you first got it however, if it is still making a loud noise this may be because the bearings in your GPU are worn out.
The solution to this would be to either purchase a new set of GPU fans, a new GPU, or apply a bit of oil to the bearings inside your fan. Knowing what bearing type your fan has will also help you know how much oil you should apply.
How to Fix GPU Coil Whine
The loud hissing noise coming from your GPU is completely safe and is not because your GPU is damaged. This noise happens in every GPU and is caused by the GPU coil vibrating. Most of the time the sound from the vibration is too high-pitched for the human ear, which is why we can’t hear it most of the time. However, sometimes you just get unlucky and get a GPU where you can hear the vibrations coming out of the coil.
Underclock Your GPU
To fix this, if you haven’t already, underclock your GPU. This will slightly decrease the performance, but it will also slow down the vibrations and decrease the noise.
You can underclock your GPU by going into MSI AfterBurner, and reducing the power limit, core clock, and memory clock of your GPU to a negative number.
Turn on V-Sync, FreeSync, or G-Sync
Turning on V-Sync, G-Sync- or FreeSync, will help reduce the sound of coil whining a bit. Although it will not get rid of it fully, this might be your only and best option.
Here is a video by JayzTwoCents comparing the noise level of coil whine when your GPU has one of the three Sync options on.
Contact the Manufacturer
The last thing you can do to reduce the noise of coil whine internally is to contact the company who made your graphics card to see if they will swap yours out for a new one. Keep in mind that many companies don’t allow this because they don’t see it as an issue, but there is nothing wrong with checking just in case they do allow it.
Wait it Out
A lot of the time coil whine can just go away, and this could take up to a couple of days to a couple of weeks if you have a tight budget or don’t want to give up your GPU for any amount of time. All you need to do is plug in a pair of noise-canceling headphones and wait until the coil whine goes away.
Please keep in mind that there is a chance the coil whine in your GPU may never go away and you may have to deal without it until one of these methods works or you buy a new GPU.
Make The Switch to Water Cooling
Water cooling can instantly lower the noise of not just your GPU, but your whole pc. The main reason for a GPU being so loud is because of the fans that are cooling it. So, if you take those away your GPU won’t be generating any noise, especially if it’s making noise due to a faulty or old fan.
Keep in mind that water cooling can be very expensive and if you have that much money it might even be a better choice to just buy a new graphics card. However, if you like the idea of water cooling you can overclock your GPU without worrying about the noise and temperature because your radiators will be doing all the work and making most of the noise, which is a lot quieter than a loud GPU.
If your GPU is very loud and making a lot of noise, you should check the fans first to see what the problem is. The most common problem is due to your GPU overheating or having an excess amount of dust inside of it. These are some very easy fixes and can be solved in a matter of minutes. If your GPU is still making noise after that limiting the frame rate and changing the fan speeds might be something you have to resort to. This may sound very complex to someone new to computers, but if you follow the steps listed above you will be just fine.