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Yesterday I encountered a strange phenomenon... in the middle of a long running SQL query (one and a half minutes in, say) there was a sudden high-pitched whirr from my PC. I stopped the SQL query, and the noise stopped. I tried it again a couple of times and exactly the same thing happened.

Is it the CPU? The hard disk? Any ideas?

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... a year later my hard disk completely died. – Hainesy Apr 2 '12 at 10:14
up vote 2 down vote accepted

Probably the motherboard or a thermocouple increasing the CPU fan speed due to increased heat generated by the CPU.

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You can do one thing. Remove the area where the cpu fan is located. Then remove the fan which comes along with the heat sink and then apply thermal paste which shall improve the conductivity. Also there is a possibility that dust may have crept inside you cpu fan so clean it with dry air.

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