3080ti - Unbearable coil whine through speakers

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Superjoe

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I've had an EVGA 3080ti Hydro Copper for several months now. I've noticed slight coil whine from it before but faint enough that anything covers it up and not really an issue, nothing I haven't heard from a GPU before. However, this week I replaced my motherboard and also flashed new vBIOS through EVGA Precision X so that I could enable ReBAR. Now when I fire up a game I can certainly hear the coil whine from the card but now it's pumping through my speakers and it's brutal. I capped my framerate through nVidia control panel at 120fps and it got better, but it is still coming through the speakers. Has anyone else experienced that before? I've NEVER had it come through the speakers like this.

I have a Sound Blaster Ae-5 using the analog outputs, but it's the same if I switch to the onboard audio. It's only an issue in games, desktop/youtube/media apps are all fine. I have tried everything I can think of, to include a fresh install of Windows. I'm assuming it is an issue with the vBIOS flash but I don' t know what to do at this point other than attempt an RMA. I'd be very grateful for any suggestions any of you have.

System Specs:
5900X
ASUS ROG Strix X570-E Gaming WiFi II
ASUS ROG Thor 1200W PSU
 

Superjoe

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After posting I remembered that my video card has two BIOS’ so I switched over to the other one that hadn’t been updated and the issue persists, so I’m inclined to attribute this issue to the new motherboard. I searched a bit more on the net and found posts about VRM noise from motherboards which I‘ve never heard of… I guess that could be the issue? Maybe when I get home from work I’ll run Prime95 to try to max the board out without utilizing the GPU…
 

evhvis

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Probably power related issues. The more powerful GPUs are known to sometimes contaminate the power lines on the motherboard and cause interferance to the point where it influences the audio to the point where it is noticeable. Do you get it no matter the powerdraw on the GPU or does it disappear if the GPU is drawing 150w or so in an old game? Does turning off ReBar help or is it still the same?
 

Nobu

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If it's through speakers then it's electromagnetic interfereance. Could be a bad ground or poor shielding around your audio components.

Coils will always be emitting rf, but your other components should be shielded well enough to mitigate that noise.

If your hdaudio cable goes near the gpu, try disconnecting it or rerouting it.
 

Mchart

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Unfortunately, this is why internal sound cards have become largely worthless. You're better off getting an external USB DAC if you want to maintain sound quality, or output digital only from your sound card to something else that's doing the analog conversion outside the case.

There isn't much you can do. This is why higher-end internal sound cards have their own power connector, so they have their own ground and can shield themselves from a lot of this stuff. Although, as I said, you're better off just getting a USB DAC these days.

Keep in mind, the vast majority of these sound cards these days are literally just USB devices on a board w/ a PCI-E to USB bridge chip on them.
 

Superjoe

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Probably power related issues. The more powerful GPUs are known to sometimes contaminate the power lines on the motherboard and cause interferance to the point where it influences the audio to the point where it is noticeable. Do you get it no matter the powerdraw on the GPU or does it disappear if the GPU is drawing 150w or so in an old game? Does turning off ReBar help or is it still the same?

Turning off ReBar didn't make a difference. I set the BIOS back to defaults to make sure it wasn't anything I did in there. Been reading that sometimes this can be solved by disabling C-states or spread spectrum tuning but I still have to try that. It seems to be tied to the overall load on the system so it could still be my power supply but given that I just changed the mobo and didn't have the issue before I'm leaning towards that. A replacement board (same model) is being delivered today for me to throw in.

If it's through speakers then it's electromagnetic interfereance. Could be a bad ground or poor shielding around your audio components.

Coils will always be emitting rf, but your other components should be shielded well enough to mitigate that noise.

If your hdaudio cable goes near the gpu, try disconnecting it or rerouting it.

I did disconnect the hdaudio cable, no difference.

Unfortunately, this is why internal sound cards have become largely worthless. You're better off getting an external USB DAC if you want to maintain sound quality, or output digital only from your sound card to something else that's doing the analog conversion outside the case.

There isn't much you can do. This is why higher-end internal sound cards have their own power connector, so they have their own ground and can shield themselves from a lot of this stuff. Although, as I said, you're better off just getting a USB DAC these days.

Keep in mind, the vast majority of these sound cards these days are literally just USB devices on a board w/ a PCI-E to USB bridge chip on them.
I'm not saying you're wrong, but I'm not ready to accept that. My Sound Blaster has been nice to me for quite some time, and in my 30 years of building PC's I've never experienced this, whether it was the onboard audio or a dedicated card. When I get home from work I'm going to put my ear to the PSU and the back of the CPU and see if I can really pin down where the noise is coming from. Perhaps my PSU is dying, but it's only a couple years old with a pretty easy life. But I think I'll know for sure in the next 24 after I replace the mobo again.
 

kamikazi

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Are you plugged into a UPS? Ask me how I know. I couldn't tell where the sound was coming from. I first experienced it when playing Flight Simulator 2020. Turns out, it was my UPS screaming for mercy when I hit 780 watts being drawn from it. Perhaps your new mobo is more power hungry and just put you over the top.
 

pendragon1

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got any old vga cables? strip out ferrite bead or buy a clip on and put it on the audio cable. or try moving your speakers off the same power bar/strip/ups
 
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Just throwing this out there since it happened to me in the past in a very old house. Is the wall outlet you are using properly grounded? I had a similar experience years ago because all but one of the few three prong outlets in the house were not grounded and only had the neutral connected. I know it's not likely, but it is something to check given the description.
 

Armenius

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Unfortunately, this is why internal sound cards have become largely worthless. You're better off getting an external USB DAC if you want to maintain sound quality, or output digital only from your sound card to something else that's doing the analog conversion outside the case.

There isn't much you can do. This is why higher-end internal sound cards have their own power connector, so they have their own ground and can shield themselves from a lot of this stuff. Although, as I said, you're better off just getting a USB DAC these days.

Keep in mind, the vast majority of these sound cards these days are literally just USB devices on a board w/ a PCI-E to USB bridge chip on them.
Any internal sound card worth its salt will have substantial RF shielding these days, even the cheaper ones. I use an AE-5, myself, and don't have this issue with a 3090. I can't imagine that the sound card itself is the problem.
 

michalrz

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Unfortunately, this is why internal sound cards have become largely worthless.
Not entirely correct, and might end up being an unnecessary cost.
When a system is whining, everything is whining. If there is even a shared ground but the +voltage is from another supply, it might still whine.
USB DACs also can whine. Some internal cards don't whine.
Welcome to EMI hell, OP.
It can even be a completely different component in resonance with the GPU causing interference to exit via the soundcard (due to a low impedance output).

Got inputs? Mute them.

got any old vga cables? strip out ferrite bead or buy a clip on and put it on the audio cable.
This guy. Changing outlets and shuffling power sources around also.
Thick-ass instrument grade cables wherever low voltage analog signal travels (not necessarily some audiophile crap, just something non-crap, shouldn't cost you any limbs and might help).
Thicker power cable.
Really, it's a monstrosity of a check-list and all bullet points at some point in time were the cause for some configurations.
 

NattyKathy

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My salvation from EMI audio hell was getting some TOSLINK DACs. It's made my audio setup a bit more complicated, but now my EMI generator of a laptop isn't ruining my audio anymore.
 

3dprophet

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Really interesting problem. Never heard of coil whine being transmitted through speakers.

Do you have a surge protector or UPS? Sometimes they cause ground contamination. I would try without it.
 

Superjoe

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Okay, I swapped the new mobo for an identical replacement and the issue is the same. Tried a new power supply, no change. Tried ground loop isolators on my 3.5mm cables, no change. Took the computer power off the surge protector and ran it straight into the wall, no change. It must be poor shielding design in the motherboard. It's the only thing I changed when this problem started.
 

Superjoe

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But the card is definitely making noise under load that it wasn't making a week ago. I've started a discussion with EVGA to see what they suggest, but I'll probably end up RMA'ing it.
 

michalrz

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? was that agreement? that could also be it, seen ground loops plenty of times.
Yeah, sorry, it's the Enrgish, it sometimes is too weak. Agreeing 100%

Never heard of coil whine being transmitted through speakers.
Yeah, basically the whine enters the audio path early on, probably already at the DAC chip's output (before it's amped by the rest of the soundcard), and then it gets amped again by the speakers' amp.
And because different amps have different response curves, one can have the misfortune of the whine becoming even more pronounced and unbearable, like in OP's case.

Mchart's suggestion about using an external card does hold merit, but the DAC has to be 100% galvanically isolated from the computer.
There are optical USB isolators, and that'd actually be fool-proof method. USB DAC and an optiisolator. 60 bucks is what I see for a random one.
 

Jim Kim

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But the card is definitely making noise under load that it wasn't making a week ago. I've started a discussion with EVGA to see what they suggest, but I'll probably end up RMA'ing it.
Keep us informed on what fixes it.
Thanks
 

Superjoe

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Keep us informed on what fixes it.
Thanks
Will do, it’s certainly one of the stranger issues I’ve had to troubleshoot. I’ve got to make a video later when I get home to share with EVGA support so I’ll link it here too.
 

Superjoe

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Alright, here's a vid demonstrating the sound leakage. I always keep my speakers set to 50% and use the system volume slider to adjust from there. None of this noise was present a week ago.



I tried to film the noise coming from the card itself but it's harder to capture with the pump and fans running. It's not LOUD loud, but it's noticeable and grating. We'll see what EVGA says
 
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Just a thought, as I've learned over many years to troubleshoot, I always check the easiest things even when they seem to be unrelatable. Have you tried different speakers by any chance?
 

Silentbob343

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Just a thought, as I've learned over many years to troubleshoot, I always check the easiest things even when they seem to be unrelatable. Have you tried different speakers by any chance?
So stupid it's brilliant.

My girlfriend knows a couple that replaced a refrigerator in their garage because the old just stopped working one day. Delivery guy picks up the old fridge and brings in the new one. Plugs it in and nothing...weird. He checks the breaker and it's tripped.
 

Superjoe

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Yeah, tried another set of speakers. Same issue. Even if it weren't bleeding through the speakers like it is, the whine from the card itself is pretty obnoxious. EVGA support started an RMA for me so I'm going to get it drained and shipped out tomorrow.
 

michalrz

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Yeah, tried another set of speakers. Same issue. Even if it weren't bleeding through the speakers like it is, the whine from the card itself is pretty obnoxious. EVGA support started an RMA for me so I'm going to get it drained and shipped out tomorrow.
Easily the worst I've heard personally.
 

Jim Kim

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Yeah, tried another set of speakers. Same issue. Even if it weren't bleeding through the speakers like it is, the whine from the card itself is pretty obnoxious. EVGA support started an RMA for me so I'm going to get it drained and shipped out tomorrow.
I'm old and not so [H]ard anymore. I see drained and think something is mistyped.
Checks make/model and sees Hydro. ah ha.🌊
🚰
 

WilyKit

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Electrical noise is why I’ve went with external USB sound cards for the last several years.
 

matt_to_the_max

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Hi Superjoe,

I had the same issue as you except I have an external USB or toslink DAC. I spent at least a month trying to figure out ways to remove the noise/wine. When I upgraded my RTX 2070 Super to a RTX 3070ti (and later a 3080ti) I would hear an annoying wining sound that would vary in pitch very similar to the video you provided. When I used the USB connection from the DAC I would hear the wine as well which is crazy because you'd think the USB signal would be clean at 5V, but apparently my Shciit Modius DAC doesn't have good noise/voltage filtering for the USB input. Thus, I switched the connection type to toslink from the back of the motherboard to the DAC and the wine went away completely. As you probably know the toslink connection performs the transmission of audio signals in the form of pulses of light, thus you aren't going to have any issues with a GPU that is causing EMI through the motherboard/PC. After a while I wanted to use USB again because from my personal setup I already had a USB cable routed through my desk and didn't want to route the toslink cable through so I bought an iFi Defender+ USB Audio Ground Loop Eliminator. It still didn't filter out the wine/nosie by just using USB power from the back of the motherboard. It only worked properly without noise when I connect a separate 5V power supply directly to the iFi Defender USB device. This makes sense because the power supply is external to the computer and is providing a clean 5V to the iFi Defender. So the moral of the story is, these power hungry GPUs will wreak EMI havok on your entire PC regardless if you have a dedicated sound card or external USB DAC. I would suggest buying a decent USB or toslink DAC and make sure it is fed clean power from an external power supply, not from your PC itself.
 

Superjoe

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I appreciate the input, but I think most people here are missing part of the point. I totally understand EMI and interference with an analog audio signal. This system worked for ~6 months until the noise started. Without moving or changing anything. So something went wrong/failed. Unfortunately EVGA said they couldn't duplicate the issue and returned my card to me saying it must be something else causing the noise. The fact that I can hear matching noise coming DIRECTLY from the card, it starts as soon as the card is rendering 3D and the intensity changes with framerate tells me it is the card. EVGA please explain to me how something else in the system can make the GPU coils whine... for fucks sake.

There is nothing left in my system to replace, I've tried literally everything except the CPU. The only thing I can't do is put the GPU in a totally different system. So I guess I'm just fucked and there's not much more to say about it. Again, I appreciate everyone's help and suggestions but I'm too frustrated to deal with my PC for the time being. Gotta take a beat and maybe send a very Karen survey response to EVGA in hopes of getting some attention, lol.
 

Jim Kim

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I appreciate the input, but I think most people here are missing part of the point. I totally understand EMI and interference with an analog audio signal. This system worked for ~6 months until the noise started. Without moving or changing anything. So something went wrong/failed. Unfortunately EVGA said they couldn't duplicate the issue and returned my card to me saying it must be something else causing the noise. The fact that I can hear matching noise coming DIRECTLY from the card, it starts as soon as the card is rendering 3D and the intensity changes with framerate tells me it is the card. EVGA please explain to me how something else in the system can make the GPU coils whine... for fucks sake.

There is nothing left in my system to replace, I've tried literally everything except the CPU. The only thing I can't do is put the GPU in a totally different system. So I guess I'm just fucked and there's not much more to say about it. Again, I appreciate everyone's help and suggestions but I'm too frustrated to deal with my PC for the time being. Gotta take a beat and maybe send a very Karen survey response to EVGA in hopes of getting some attention, lol.
Well that blows.
 

Superjoe

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Well I can finally confirm with absolute certainty it is indeed the video card. I bought a 3060ti off the forums here to have something else to throw in and the audio issue is gone. Hallelujah, now I just have to get EVGA to RMA the 3080ti.
 

Mchart

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Well I can finally confirm with absolute certainty it is indeed the video card. I bought a 3060ti off the forums here to have something else to throw in and the audio issue is gone. Hallelujah, now I just have to get EVGA to RMA the 3080ti.
Probably a good thing. If the card was causing that much noise back through the motherboard due to faulty power regulation/whatever who knows what type of damage it might do long term.
 

kamikazi

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That sucks. EVGA has a pretty good reputation with working with customers. Shame they are blowing it this time.
 

Superjoe

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I did send them a slightly bitchy message after getting the card back last time asking what their “testing” involved and how another component in my system could cause coil whine in the video card:

YOUR QUESTION​



I simply cannot accept this. What does the testing protocol consist of? Does it involve benchmarking the card at very high load/framerates? Because it sounds to me like they just plugged it in, booted it, and shut it off without actually putting a substantial load on it.



The sound is clearly audible from the card under load as I've demonstrated in previous videos. The sound starts the moment that the card begins rendering 3D and the intensity of the sound varies with the framerate being rendered. I've also run Prime95 on my system to put the maximum load on the CPU/memory/power supply without the GPU and the sound is not present.



I've already replaced everything else in my computer trying to track this down. Can you please explain how another component in my system would cause the coils on my GPU to whine?





YOUR ANSWER​

Hello,

Thank you for reaching out. Each card is run under the Heaven and/or Superposition benchmarks for 1-2 hours. Unfortunately, coil whine is a symptom of electricity flowing through the coil and causing a vibration at a frequency you can hear. The coil whine can be caused anywhere from the voltage and lines from outside your house all the way to the actual card itself. A replacement can sometimes help relieve the symptoms, but due to the nature of coil whine, we cannot guarantee any improvement in the coil whine with a replacement. We apologize for the inconvenience. Please let us know if you would like to move forward with a replacement.

Regards,
EVGA


So they do test it, but I'm sure they're not hooking speakers up to the system. I wouldn't either, this was a pretty wild issue. I could only find a couple similar issues scouring the net but the only one with a known fix was the PSU.

What irritates me is the last line. Yes I want to move forward with a replacement. I thought I was f'ing getting one last time. With insurance it's not at all cheap to ship this card to EVGA (thankfully I'm in Las Vegas and they are in southern California), plus I had to buy ANOTHER video card to be absolutely sure before sending it in again. Now I'm just crossing my fingers that I get another Hydro Copper version and not an air-cooled model.
 
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I did send them a slightly bitchy message after getting the card back last time asking what their “testing” involved and how another component in my system could cause coil whine in the video card:




So they do test it, but I'm sure they're not hooking speakers up to the system. I wouldn't either, this was a pretty wild issue. I could only find a couple similar issues scouring the net but the only one with a known fix was the PSU.

What irritates me is the last line. Yes I want to move forward with a replacement. I thought I was f'ing getting one last time. With insurance it's not at all cheap to ship this card to EVGA (thankfully I'm in Las Vegas and they are in southern California), plus I had to buy ANOTHER video card to be absolutely sure before sending it in again. Now I'm just crossing my fingers that I get another Hydro Copper version and not an air-cooled model.
Yeah it's good to always have a set of spares to test when problems like these arise. Though if I were you I'd have bought something cheaper than a 3060 ti.
 
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You are the customers that are hard if not impossible to please.. looks like they are trying to help you and just want complete confirmation. Just get the new card, see if your issue is resolved and move on. Looks like you are just making this whole process difficult for everyone including yourself.
 
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