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I've noticed a strange clicking sound coming from my PC recently. I've been everywhere on the internet searching for a solution, and I can confidently say my hard drive is not at fault (it's in perfect health, does not slow down, and the sound doesn't seem to come from its area). The clicking starts up when my pc isn't under much load and when it is under load equally - I've been monitoring task manager and AMD overdrive for quite some time now, and the clicking seems independent of every component.

I've checked inside the case as well, and the clicking is not caused by wires hitting a fan, or anything hitting a fan.

When I try to locate the sound, it seems to be coming from the back of my PC, which means it could be the PSU, the CPU, the motherboard itself, or the GPU. The GPU (see below for specs) is about 8 months old, and every other part came as part of the prebuilt (Asus M11BB [or m11aa] is what control panel says my PC is).

The clicking is also independent of fan speed, and is a low clicking sound of about 3-4 clicks a second. The click sounds almost like the click of a mouse, but shorter. When the click happens (every few minutes, regardless of load), it is constant and invariant. I don't expect immediate solutions, so please ask me if you need some specific specs or something.

Here are some general specs:

Processor: AMD A8-6500 APU with Radeon(tm) HD Graphics, clocked to around 3.95 GHz (it says it goes to a max of 4100 MHz in AMD Overdrive)

Video Card: AMD Radeon (TM) R7 370 Series (ASUS STRIX - 4GB, factory overclocked)

RAM: 6.0 GB (I'll probably replace this in the next year or so)

Operating System: Microsoft Windows 10 (build 10586), 64-bit

Sometimes, hitting the top of the PC (lightly) can make the sound stop. After watching a plethora of YouTube videos on coil whine, I can say right now, it is most definitely not coil whine, and is coming from the pc itself, not the speakers. One last thing: I've unplugged everything but the power cable, and the clicking persists.

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  • "I've unplugged everything but the power cable, and the clicking persists." - but not the hard drive eh?
    – Xavierjazz
    Sep 1, 2017 at 18:15
  • @Xavierjazz what I mean is, I've unplugged everything from the back of the PC
    – Daniel H.
    Sep 1, 2017 at 19:01
  • the clicking persists how much time after you unplug the cables ? Could be a small electric arc somewhere, should persist a bit but ultimately fade off after the power supply empties its electric energy. And of course, if it is the case, it doesn't seem good. do backups ASAP
    – Pacopaco
    Sep 1, 2017 at 19:33

2 Answers 2

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Given your description and the assessment that it's not coil whine (and unless you've got a cheap PSU, you can generally rule out coil whine to begin with), it's probably mechanical. My first guess would be that a bearing is slightly out of alignment in one of the fans. Given the low rate at which the clicking is occurring, my guess is it's probably a large fan (they usually spin slower, so the sound would not happen as frequently), and given that system load doesn't affect things (and the reasonable assumption that you have fan speed scaling enabled and working correctly for your CPU and GPU fan), I would guess that it's either the PSU fan, or possibly a rear mounted case fan.

My second guess would be the piezo-electric transducer that you find in many systems these days in place of an actual internal speaker. If there is some interference on the traces to that from other parts of the board, you can get stuff like this happening, though I've never seen it with any ASUS boards I've worked with, and it's usually pretty easy to isolate as the source with the case open.

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  • I know this is a super old thread but it turns out it was a wire inside the PSU brushing up against the PSU fan. I fixed it (maybe just temporarily) by moving the wire with a pen through the grating on the PSU
    – Daniel H.
    Jan 9, 2019 at 23:11
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Where hitting the top of the computer makes the clicking go away, the cause is most likely caused by the physical movement of something. Clicking sounds in my systems have been caused by one of 4 things.

  1. Imminent HD Failure - Backup now and update the backup daily. Save the files you are working on every few minutes to another drive. The clicking may be the read and write arms moving erratically.
  2. Where the clicking is intermittent it still might be a wire hitting a fan blade - If you haven't already, check for the clicking with the cover open.
    Check the wires in the power supply.. This may seem unlikely but it has happened to me twice. The fan was blowing a wire against the case. Check for wires trapped on the exhaust side of a fan.
  3. Check the mounting screws on everything, fans, motherboard, hard drives, CD/DVD drives, CPU mount, cabinet frame parts, power supply mounting screws, power supply fan and other screws.
  4. I don.t recommend this being done with any hard drives in the case. try hitting the case with the heel of your hand and or shaking the case. Very last resort.

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