We all know SSDs are the latest-and-greatest in storage technology.
Massively faster then the older HDD, because there is no physical arm for a servo to move to read the correct data off the drive.
In fact, there is no physical movement at all: It's all Solid-state.

It's even in the name Solid State Drive.

So why when I open a new application, or shut down some process, do I hear the SSD 'grinding', like it used to in the good old HHD days?

I've got great hearing, but I'm pretty sure I can't hear electrons squeezing through narrow tracks, or transistors switching on and off...

EDIT There is definitely no HDD or hybrid drive in the machine.
It's very faint, like the sound when you pass throught the RF anti-theft devices in libraries and stores.
It definitely occurs on data access..

  • It's probably your second non-SSD drive in there, or your CD drive that you can hear. Also some hard drives are hybrid, which means they have both mechanical and solid state parts inside,
    – gWiz
    Nov 20, 2020 at 16:22
  • I have heard a a slight hum on some cheap Chinese SSDs. Probably due to the low cost electronics.
    – Keltari
    Nov 20, 2020 at 17:06
  • @Keltari It is a factory Dell Inspiron 7591 - 6 months old. Perhaps it has some cheap chinese junk installed from factory.... Nov 20, 2020 at 17:10
  • 2
    A hum from a cheap capacitor is very different when saying it’s a grinding sound. Understanding what SSD you have exactly would be very helpful. It would also be helpful to know what other drives you have installed. “very faint, like the sound when you pass throught the RF anti-theft devices” - That’s a bad capacitor, and it’s absolutely NOT your SSD, its probably just near it.
    – Ramhound
    Nov 20, 2020 at 17:25
  • 2
    Probably "coil whine".
    – Daniel B
    Jan 29, 2022 at 9:51

7 Answers 7


The noise comes form the SSD changing power states, which is happening a few thousand times per second, which causes a piezo electric effect (small movement due to electricity) in the drive, creating an audible noise. To resolve, you can turn off the C-state power option in the BIOS.


SSDs don't have mechanical parts and don't make any noise at all. The only possible reason an SSD would be making noise is:

  • your system has some major electrical issues.

  • the SSD is really an SSHD: these are mechanical hard drives with a bit of flash memory as cache - a hybrid. These will make typical mechanical hard drive noises.

  • you bought a cheap external USB or other drive from an unreputable buyer and there's really a mechanical hard drive in it.

If you are 100% sure the noise is coming from the SSD drive, and have checked the model to make sure it is a true SSD and not an SSHD hybrid or other, you should troubleshoot your computer hardware starting with the power supply and incoming power to the system.


I've also heard this noise on SSD only computers. Most computer towers have switching power supplies. Switching power supplies sometimes made audible sounds, especially when it's load is changing quickly. And if you listen closely, the sound is very similar to the typical hard drive "ticking" sound.


Just an idea: apart from suggestions by LawrenceC, could it be you're mistaking a hdd spin noise with noises from a CPU fan?

  • It is instantaneous with activity, not a delayed reaction to effort. I really doubt it is processor related. Nov 20, 2020 at 22:34
  • ok, was just an idea. I was asking because my Laptop which also only hosts a SSD drive sometimes makes those load spinning up noises that I previously only knew from HDD drives. I finally found out that it's the fan doing a short spin for a few seconds then goes quit again... Nov 23, 2020 at 17:12

Suggestion: Do a big file copy so that you hear the noise, then unplug the power adaptor and listen. Mine goes silent when I do this, then the noise returns when I plug the supply back in. It's probably some magnetostriction effect in the power supply.


I worked 35 yrs on Noise problems, not that it makes me an expert. But I just finished re-building my PC with fairly high-end components. I'll save the bore, but even with 2 SATA SSD's and 2 M.2 NVMe's there is this very faint and intermittent clicking/ticking noise even with all the fans turned off. This noise is NOT fan-related ....absolutely sure. The noise I'm referring to, which is what most of the queries on this topic are noting, is due to either the cpu and/or the SSD's despite no moving parts. This noise comes and goes with cpu/disk activity....like when it's crunching instructions (e.g., file transfers, web page opening, OS updating etc. I think my noise is emanating mostly from the 'big' Noctua NH-U12A cpu cooler. The cooling fins afford a lot of surface area to amplify what is digitally going within the cpu. Believe me, I used to measure this stuff!! Anyway, it's nothing to worry about. Be thankful that your ears are working that good. OH...btw, when you button up your PC with its case covers, the sound is not near as noticeable...at least on my machine. Kind regards!


For additional info I am sharing a Dell Knowledge Base Article:

Some portable systems equipped with solid state drives (SSD) emit an audible squeal when the system is idle or under light use. This is normal behavior.

In order to save energy when the Central Processing Unit (CPU) is idle, the CPU can be set to enter a lower-power mode, also known as a "C-State". The intent of lower power modes is to cut power use inside the CPU. In certain situations, a high-frequency buzzing noise can be heard from the system. This buzzing noise appears with a change in processor activity, SSD load, or if Universal Serial Bus (USB) devices are attached.

The noise comes from the processor’s power circuit and can only be heard when the processor is in C3 (clock-stopped or sleep) power state. The noise is generated from the processor's power circuit, which is caused by a phenomenon referred to as the Piezoelectric Effect. When a specific voltage is applied to these solid state components, they begin to resonate producing sounds that fall within the range of human hearing (15 – 20 KHz).

This is the noise that is heard from the system, and is not indicative of a problem or failure.

If the system BIOS has a C-States option, disabling this option should help eliminate the noise.

NOTE: This buzzing noise exists to some degree on all laptops but some users perceive this as abnormal because it is different from the other more familiar noises systems make.

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