What is Coil Whine? How can you fix it on your laptop?

Coil Whine – I had no idea about this term before I bought my new Asus Zenbook 14 UX433 laptop last week. The moment I booted up my laptop, I heard this weird scratching sound coming from my laptop. It was definitely not the sound of the fan and for the first boot, it just didn’t sound right. After hours of researching over the internet, I found out that my laptop is experiencing Coil Whine – one of the most frustrating phenomena in the electromagnetic technology. Almost a week into experiencing Coil Whine – I think I am now eligible to answer most of the questions surrounding coil whine. So let’s get started.

What is Coil Whine?

Coil Whine is the scratching or whining sound that is produced by your laptop or PC when the current is passed through electromagnetic coils. As the current flows through these coils, they resonate and vibrate making a weird noise. Now, in theory, coil whine doesn’t indicate a faulty component. In fact, it is how a component like GPU or CPU physically works. In some cases, it is extremely silent, in other cases it’s unbearable. But bottom line, you shouldn’t be worried about it.

What Should You Do?

The first thing which you should ideally do is try to isolate the exact component that is making this noise. In most cases it’s the GPU but in my case it was both the CPU and even SSD. People will tell you that SSD can’t make any noise as there are no moving parts but sometimes, they do.

Once you have isolated the component, replace it if you can and see if it helps. A lot of the times just changing that particular component solves the issue. Further, your computer’s PSU (Power Supply Unit) has a big role to play in coil whine so make sure the PSU is up and fine or try replacing it if required.

If replacing is not an option and you are still under the exchange period, get your PC or laptop replaced/exchanged for a different device as coil whine is generally model specific and not unit specific.

Read Also: Why Thunderbolt 3 is a must on your Laptop?

If you are out of the above two options, you can try diagnosing your device at the partnered service centre and see if they have a possible solution for this. A widely used solution is putting hot glue and other insulators to reduce the vibration, but that is highly unrecommended given the nature of the solution.

Some users have also suggested undervolting your CPU if the coil whine comes from the CPU. For me, that wasn’t an option because I plan to edit my YouTube videos on my laptop. On the other hand, some users have reported that constant high CPU intensive work can actually help reducing the whine.

I am not sure how successful are these alternatives as it highly depends on the device. Perhaps the best solution for it is just get your device replaced.

Are there any Software fixes?

Although this sounds odd because Coil Whine is actually a hardware phenomena, some users have actually fixed coil whine through software.

One of the most common methods is to update your BIOS, if at all there is an option on your laptop or PC. Updating BIOS can help reduce coil whine because a lot of the times it will stabilize and limit the current flow when not required. But this requires acknowledgement of the issue from the manufacturer.

If you are experiencing coil whine while gaming, you can try fiddling with your GPU settings and limit the max FPS.

In my case, whenever the CPU on my laptop would be at a particular frequency, the coil whine would kick in. The other day, I could literally hear coil whine while scrolling through Chrome because my laptop would bump the CPU frequency everytime I worked on the touchpad. Funny!

I will have a separate article on what ASUS did about this whole issue. So stay tuned for that. Till then, if your laptop or newly bought GPU has coil whine, let us know in the comment section below.

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