Article ID: 000032539 Content Type: Troubleshooting Last Reviewed: 03/28/2022

Why Is a High-Pitched or Whining Noise Coming from Computer CPU Location?


Intel® Core™ Processors


Explanation of causes and tips to address the issue


Encountering high-pitched noises or whining from around the processor when moving the mouse or during heavy Central Processing Unit (CPU) workload.


The CPU itself cannot generate any noise because the hardware and compoments on the CPU are not capable of that. This is called "Coil Whine" that comes from the inductor on the motherboard or graphics card, or in the power supply.

The reason for this comes from how the inductor works:

Inductor 1Inductor 2

This image shows example of inductors on motherboard:

Inductors on motherboard

An inductor is a passive electronic component that is capable of storing electrical energy in the form of magnetic energy. Basically, it uses a conductor that is wound into a coil, and when electricity flows into the coil from the left to the right, this generates a magnetic field in the clockwise direction. Coils of wire in a magnetic field vibrate when subjected to alternating current. They vibrate more strongly when the current in the wire is increased.

When the vibrating frequency goes up to the range that the human ear can hear, that causes the sound reported.

As for how to fix this, there's no definite way, but there are some methods we can try to improve this:

  • Replace the modular power cable on the power supply unit if using modular cable.
    • This is because some of the cable come with the power supply that will have a capacitor on it, and some do not.  Capacitors is a good factor for current stability which could solve the coil whine issue in some cases.
  • Replace the power supply unit.
  • Replace the motherboard.

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