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I've had the Viao E-series now for 3 months and for about the last month it's started to make a really high pitched noise from the bottom left corner of the base.

The noise is audible but not loud (if that makes sense), but if your using it to read something on then it's certainly obvious and annoying.

I've also noticed that the noise changes/fluctuates when I browse files, the Internet, etc...basically when I use it. Once I've stopped clicking/dragging about it goes back to it's one pitch squeaking again.

Is it broken (the CPU/motherboard/graphics card/etc)? Or are they all like this? Should I send it back or am I just being overly critical/anxious?

Any words of wisdom (or even soothing ones) are much appreciated.



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up vote 2 down vote accepted

It sounds like magnetostriction in the power supply inductors somewhere. I had a desktop motherboard that did exactly this. The noise was actually modulated by CPU usage which modulated power draw (I'd move a window, and it would quiet down). It's not the fan if it changes pitch rapidly (e.g., less than a second).

This is the same principle that causes CRT TVs to make a high-pitched whine (that many adults cannot hear).

Unfortunately, the solution in my case was to slightly bend the wire on one of toroidal power inductors on the motherboard (I poked them until I found the offending part), preventing it from moving as much. Since the inductors in your laptop are not exposed, and are likely shielded, I think your out of luck.

Maybe warranty?

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Incredibly comprehensive answer - thanks. I was considering sending it back but then again I might end up with the same thing. – RocketGoal Jul 12 '10 at 9:58
It's generally pretty uncommon in computers. I'd recommend trying to warranty it if you can. I've only seen one computer that did this, and it's the one I mentioned above. It mostly depends on how annoying you find the noise, though. – Fake Name Jul 13 '10 at 6:24

I would suspect the fan - as the CPU loads changes, the temperature changes which can adjust fan speed.

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Kinda late on this, but Sony admitted that they had shipped some defective fans and added a 2-year extended warranty on fan noise for some models.

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