My X51 makes an unnerving fan noise, like a quiet machine-gun. Possibly from GPU fan

AnubisOne

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Dec 26, 2014
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My device: Alienware x51 R2, AMD r9 270, Core i7, 16gb RAM, 1TB HDD
I got the unit today as a Christmas present, no apparent damage and its performance is fine. However, right when I booted up the x51, it started making a strange, unnerving fan-like noise and hasn't shut off yet. It sounds like a quiet machine-gun noise. It is just loud enough to be heard anywhere from inside my room. I linked an audio file so you can listen and think of what it is. I do not believe the issue to be the system's main fan, because I hear that kick in sometimes too. My theory is that the noise is from the graphics card's fan system, or even the HDD. I played a few games on it and the noise got louder. Has anybody heard of this issue and is there a way I can fix it? I have some knowledge of computers but I am hesitant to tear it open just yet because I am new to the x51, but I am concerned that it could damage the system eventually.
Thanks!

MP3:
https://onedrive.live.com/redir?res...9004&authkey=!AOoiIA6GrYFsLqo&ithint=file,mp3
 

Godzilla

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Jan 5, 2015
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Hi AnubisOne,
I have the same rig as yours and got it right before Christmas and yes mine made the same noise as yours. I wouldn't be opening up your system because
1). it would void your warranty and
2). there's nothing really to worry about from that noise.
What your hearing is the fan on the GPU and apparently the AMD r9 is just a noisy card. I have owned both NVidia and AMD cards over the years and some AMD and nvidia models are just noisy then others. I have logged quite a few hours on my x51 R2 since I got it and eventually the noise from the GPU will quite down. In fact I hardly hear my GPU fan anymore and I suspect after you break your rig in you will notice the rattle sound becoming less and less. Hope this helps.
 

2002whitegt

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Jan 8, 2014
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Hi AnubisOne,
I have the same rig as yours and got it right before Christmas and yes mine made the same noise as yours. I wouldn't be opening up your system because
1). it would void your warranty and
2). there's nothing really to worry about from that noise.
What your hearing is the fan on the GPU and apparently the AMD r9 is just a noisy card. I have owned both NVidia and AMD cards over the years and some AMD and nvidia models are just noisy then others. I have logged quite a few hours on my x51 R2 since I got it and eventually the noise from the GPU will quite down. In fact I hardly hear my GPU fan anymore and I suspect after you break your rig in you will notice the rattle sound becoming less and less. Hope this helps.

Opening your x51 will not void your warranty, if you damage anything while replacing parts then your warranty might get voided. I've linked a thread from the official Dell forums regarding the warranty.

http://en.community.dell.com/support-forums/desktop/f/3514/t/19493011

http://en.community.dell.com/owners-club/alienware/f/3746/t/19483291

The noise you are probably experiencing is coil whine, some gpu's make it while others don't. I've heard of people saying it quiets overtime, but in my experience with a GTX 670 that had coil whine it never really went away, but aside from the annoyance of the sound there was no negative side effect to the noise.
 

Godzilla

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Jan 5, 2015
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Thanks for those links 2002whitegt, good to know information about the x51 warranty . My statement about the warranty was based on my personal experience (20+ years) that most PC manufacturer's do not recommend mucking around in your still under warranty PC's. I have owned many rigs over the years and many have a tamper tag applied to the case sides just for this reason and if you broke that seal your warranty was null and void. But back to the x51, assuming AnubisOne spent $1200 ~$1300 on his x51 (like I did) that to me is an investment on a electronic device. And if it's under warranty why would you want to take a chance on voiding the warranty to fix a problem that turns out isn't a problem after all? This is why I responded to AnubisOne's question, to just say "hey I have the exact same rig, for just about the same amount of time and it's nothing to worry about".
Cheers
 

2002whitegt

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Jan 8, 2014
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No problem man, Alienware is pretty good with allowing users to upgrade parts on their machines, but yes in this instance, opening up the case will do nothing for the sound, it's unfortunately part of owning a small form factor pc. I gave the 670 that had loud coil whine to my brother, and it's basically silent in his bigger case.
 

AnubisOne

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Dec 26, 2014
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Solved it: So I ended up opening it (before reading the above warning). It turns out that the power cable connected to the GPU (AMD R9) was not secured by its plastic clip. I could see a small part of the cord's fabric worn away a bit because it had been coming in contact with the GPU fan every time it rotated. After the fix, that strange sound went away.
 
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