Inspiron 8600 Quiet High pitched noise - Really irritating

Hi Everyone,

I have recently purchased a Dell Inspiron 8600. Everything is fine with it except:

There is a really irritating high pitched noise. The noise is  constant and prominent when the power is plugged in, and sporadic when it isn't Although it is not loud, it is so irritating. It sounds like it is coming from the screen, but i am not sure. 

Any ideas ho to fix it?

I realise its not really an audio problem, but didn't know where else to post it.

Help much appreciated.




Message Edited by dkh99 on 06-11-2004 05:46 AM

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22 Replies

Re: Inspiron 8600 Quiet High pitched noise - Really irritating


Thank you for using the Dell Community Forum.

The first task to do is to find where the sound is coming from.  Remove all of the system components that you can, battery, floppy drive, CD/DVD drive, and any PCMCIA cards.  You will have to leave the hard drive and memory for testing purposes.  After all the components have been removed, try to locate the aproximate location of the noise.  Please post back with your results.

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Re: Inspiron 8600 Quiet High pitched noise - Really irritating

Hey... I'm a Inspiron 8600 owner and face the EXACT same problem!

I've posted another thread somewhere in Power Management but no one replied. Maybe it is a new batch of problems on the 8600s.

Basically, here is what I've found out so far... Dell techies seem to have no idea what I'm taking about when I contacted them... Smiley Sad

I've downloaded i8kfangui, and set to read processor speed by 'realtime calculation' and found a correlation between processor speed and the noise. When the laptop is plugged in, the processor speed goes max (mine is 1.6GHz) and the noise is constant. When running on batteries, only when I'm running processor intensive tasks (when the speed reaches 1.6GHz again), the noise comes back. If you listen closely, it is somewhere at the bottom left corner of the screen, i.e., near to the processor!

The processor fan wasn't running and I'm quite sure it is not the hard drive's fault although a technician insisted that he would come to give it a try.

Some other observations:

1. I removed hard drive, miniPCI cards, all the CRU (customer removeable units) from the laptop, booted it and the somehow the sound was gone! Maybe the processor speed is back to 600MHz instead of 1.6GHz...

2. The sound is most noted when Windows is loaded. i.e., if windows is not running, you probably wouldn't hear the sound. if it is running, you'll most likely to hear it.

3. The sound is like on the post... not terribly loud but can be annoying in a quiet environment like a library...... Smiley Sad

If anyone has the same problem, has any suggestions or solutions, please let me know. I'll be happy to know the answer as the sound is driving me mad!

Thanks in advance.. Smiley Happy


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Re: Inspiron 8600 Quiet High pitched noise - Really irritating

hi there,

i have noticed the same problem  (which only appeared last night after updating the driver to latest versioin) but mine tends to give high pitch sound if i raise the volume.  If i keep the volume very low just for my self it works ok. as soon as you raise the volume (if u were listening to music) sounds becomes irriatable there seems to be no bass.  I have sent an email to tech support let see how good they are with their products. i will update u lalter.  I want to add though i didnt notice any fan noise or noise from screen or any other component. it seems come right out of speakers 



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Re: Inspiron 8600 Quiet High pitched noise - Really irritating


it seems like my problem is more due with the processor (i think) rather than the speakers.

I muted them, tried connecting some heaphones, but the sound is still there. Sometimes the sound is a buzz sometimes it can sound a little like a noise originating from an instable electrical connection, although it is rather soft but can be annoying....

anyone has ideas to whats wrong?


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Re: Inspiron 8600 Quiet High pitched noise - Really irritating

Hi there.

I've sent in my laptop 8600 for repair for both the processor noise and a power-on issue. They returned it, with a new motherboard but the noise problem is still there although I do not hear it as often as before but can still be annoying! I wonder how can the TECHNICIAN overlook this when the sound is so loud!!!

Whenever I move the cursor using the touchpad (haven't used an ext. mouse yet, will try it soon...) or scroll up/down in webpages, the sound comes back.

I would see if I can live with this defect although the chances are I'm going to return it for another repair because I just can't stand it. The problem is that I would need the laptop for overseas travel and I can't send it in this week.

When I receive it back after 2nd round of repair, I'll keep you all posted.

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Re: Inspiron 8600 Quiet High pitched noise - Really irritating

I have the same problem. I did find a pattern though. It seems that when the power scheme is set on "always on" the sound is much louder. If I put it on "laptop/portab;e" mode the sound is much lower but still there. I think it's because the other mode uses only a third of the processor power and therefore you get less noise. Anyone else tried this?
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Re: Inspiron 8600 Quiet High pitched noise - Really irritating

Thank God... I thought I was the only 8600 owner who was hallucinating.... lolz

Yes, When you set the power mode to Always On, the sound comes louder and when it is set to Laptop/Portable, the sound can either be still there or intermittent (to my experience).

I browsed thru the forums and I only found this problem to be popping up rather recently. So, I think it could be a manufacturing problem OR a problem with the new batch of motherboards.

My motherboard had power-on issues and this noise problem, so I sent it in. When the system came back, the power-on issue was resolved but the noise problem was not really fixed. In fact, sometimes, it got even louder than before I sent the system in for repair!

The problem with this noise thing is that the noise is not that loud. So, if you have other desktop systems running or someone talking in the same room, you would probably not hear the noise (90% of the time) unless you press your ear at the Q,W,E,R keyboard area. Given the fact that the repair labs are full of other technicians and other running desktop computers, it is going to be hard for the technician to notice that small noise.

Anyone who has other similar stories and if you have fixed the problem, plz let us know.

Inspiron 8600: P-M 1.6GHz, 855PM Chipset, Intel Pro 2100 Wireless, 128MB ATi Radeon 9600 Pro, 60GB 4,200rpm HDD, 2 x 256MB DDR RAM, DVD-ROM/CD-RW Drive, 15.4 WSXGA+, A08 BIOS, Win XP Pro.

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Re: Inspiron 8600 Quiet High pitched noise - Really irritating

Hello all

I'm very dissapointed to hear that the high pitched noise is still persistant in the newer laptop models. I have an Inspiron 4100 purchased around the beginning of 2002, and it has the same high pitched noise as you guys. And older model laptops have had the same problem.

I'm not sure if it's all laptops, but it is a common problem. If you do a search, you will find many threads with the same type of problem described.

The worst part is, Dell doesn't know what the solution is, and all the recommendations don't solve the problem either. I recommend everyone who is having the same problem, call in Tech support and complain untill they find a solution, or admit to some kind of workmanship defect.

Here is a rundown of the problem at hand:

1) High pitched noise coming from the laptop (more specifically the processor area or the processor itself)

2) Laptop may not make the noise (off a fresh bootup) but then noise will appear when a certain application is running (example Micrsoft Msgr) or when visiting certain website (most likely website that contain flash). The noise usually stops when you close IE or the software.

3) It is definitly related to a power/processor load issue. When you change your power management from "Always On" to "Portable/Laptop" the high pitch noise becomes quieter.

Three common solutions that Dell recommends are the following, although they do not solve anything. You can try them just to amuse the Dell Tech to thinking they are trying to help you:

1) Remove all parts that aren't required (example: CD Rom, Floppy etc...you can even go all out and remove stuff like modems and NIC cards). See if the problem stops (It won't)

2) Disable S.M.A.R.T in the bios.

3) Send it in for a motherboard replacement (This one is really good if you want a new motherboard, hopefully them won't replace your new one with a refurbished one). Unfortunatly users in the past have not had their problems solved with this either.

So basically that's it guys. If you call in, maybe you should recommend these things to the tech support and show them you've done your homework...and that you know these won't solve the problem.

Someone once recommended to me in an older post that replacing the thermal tape between the hinksink and the processor might fix the noise. Unfortunatly I never tried this out...a bit to risky for a little noise, but hey, you never know. In the meantime, under normal work conditions, I recommend you set the powersettings to Laptop. It will make the noise sound lower.

Anyone finds out anything new, please let us know. The irritation will one day translate with the laptop getting thrown against the wall

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Re: Inspiron 8600 Quiet High pitched noise - Really irritating

I had the exact same noise on my Inspiron 1100.  The Dell techs were clueless as to what it was.  They wanted me to reinstall Windows to try to fix it.  That would have been totally useless.  I wrote to Microsoft and they helped me trace the problem to my antivirus software.  As it turns out, Computer Associates EZ-Armor antivirus software has a service that runs that is supposed to let the computer user know as soon as a virus is detected.  I turned this service off and the noise vanished.  I wrote to the software engineers as Computer Associates and they told me that rather than have a pop-up window that will notify me of a virus, I will get a blue screen with the appropriate findings.  For anyone who has the super annoying high-pitched noise coming from approximately the qwer key area, try the following:  Click on run under the start menu;  Type MSCONFIG;  Click on the services tab;  Check the box that says "Hide Microsoft services";  See if there is something there called Vet Messanger;  If so, click the box and restart your computer.  That worked for me, the annoying Flash website, Windows Media Player, and Instant Messanger noises vanished.  If you don't have the Vet Messanger, try clicking the other boxes one at a time until you find the problem.  I hope this helps for people who have the same noise I did.  I was about to throw my computer across the room.
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