Audio Wave

Identifying Common PC Issues by Sound


Diagnosing PC hardware issues can be a complicated task and occasionally involves identifying the source of a strange noise using audio clues to tell us more about the possible causes of an issue. Most motherboards emit beep codes on boot and when there are issues with a hardware component. CPU cooling failures can sometimes be detected by the loud ramp-up of the system fans in response to higher-than-normal temperatures. Faulty fans with broken bearings may tick or grind with frequencies that relate to their size and RPM, and faulty video cards can produce excessive electrical whining noise called coil whine… or that could be a ground loop in your speaker system! There are many different types of sounds that your PC can make, and all of them help us identify exactly what is going on. To make it easier to differentiate, we thought it would be helpful to share some examples of some of these sounds for your reference.

What is this Sound my PC is Making?

Motherboard Speaker & Other Beeps and Alarms

Post Beep

This short chirp/beep signals that your motherboard has successfully initialized core components. This is not a warning or sign of any issue.

VGA Error Beep

One long beep, followed by three short beeps, usually indicates video issues. For detailed troubleshooting of this error code please read our help guide on this.

RAM Error Beep

Five short beeps in rapid succession indicate the system has halted during the RAM training phase of POST, pointing to a memory issue. Check RAM seating or remove DIMMs.

UPS Overload Alarm

This sound is not coming from your computer but is actually an alarm sound emitted by an uninterruptible power supply unit, meaning it is not able to supply enough power.

Sounds Emitted by the Speakers

USB Connection & Disconnection

The noise Windows makes when a USB device is connected (first sound) or disconnected (second sound).

Ground Loop Feedback

This buzzing noise from the speakers can be caused by the electrical grounding from your PC looping back into the AC power input for the speakers. This is possible with externally powered speakers only and can be fixed with a ground loop isolator. See our article dedicated to this topic.

Bluetooth Disconnected

This series of beeps is emitted by the speakers or headphones, not the hardware itself, and indicates a Bluetooth device has lost connection. See our article covering Bluetooth connectivity issues.

Electrical Noise

GPU Coil Whine

GPU’s can emit a whining noise under intense computation loads. A slight amount of noise is normal, but excessively loud coil whine can be the result of a faulty GPU.

Mechanical Noise

Fan Defect or Obstruction

An obstruction of the fan blades can produce a ticking sound with variable frequency depending on the speed of the fan. If you hear this, check the inside of your PC for anything making contact with the fan blades. Similar sounds can also be caused by failing fan bearings.

AIO Air Bubbles

All In One liquid cooling systems can accumulate small amounts of air overtime and that air may occasionally make it’s way through the loop in the form of bubbles that produce this noise. If you hear this only occasionally, there is no cause for concern.

Damaged Hard Drive

Mechanical HDDs are more susceptible to failure due to mechanical damage as opposed to SSDs. When an HDD fails, a telltale sign is the loud clicking noises they make. It’s important to note that a perfectly healthy drive also will make a noticeable amount of noise, but a broken drive will make much louder and stranger noises.


These sound clips represent a common few noises that you may have heard from your PC and we hope these examples will enable you to identify potential issues with your system. Not every mechanical failure will produce an identical sound, if you hear a strange noise from your Puget Systems PC that isn’t on this list and suspect a hardware issue, reach out to our support team and send us a clip.

Need help with your Puget Systems PC?

If something is wrong with your Puget Systems PC. We are readily accessible, and our support team comes from a wide range of technological backgrounds to better assist you!

Contact Puget Systems Support

Looking for more support guides?

If you are looking for a solution to a problem you are having with your PC, we also have a number of other support guides that may be able to assist you with other issues.

Puget Systems Online Help Guides