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Thread: Noisey (electrical) BFG 8800 GTS 512MB graphics card - RMA, or refund?

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    Noisey (electrical) BFG 8800 GTS 512MB graphics card - RMA, or refund?

    Hi,

    I wonder if someone from Scan or Hexus can help me here?

    I've finally just completed my new PC build. All bits ordered from Scan over the last six months or so. The final piece was the graphics card, which I had delivered yesterday: a BFG 8800 GTS 512MB. The box was damaged on arrival, but it didn't seem badly so; still, looks like it took a whack at some stage in it's life...

    Now the reason I bought this card is that my computer is in a quiet HTPC case (a Zalman), and I thought the GTS would be great as it's known for having a quiet fan and it's own exhaust vent for moving out the hot air off the card and out of the case. Well...

    The card I've received is indeed quiet in the normal Windows (XP) desktop. The fan seems to run at about 30% and is near silent. Even when I fire up a computer game - Crysis and Half-life 2 are the one's I'm currently testing with - the fan remains quiet. However, the card makes a lot of 'electrical noise' when in a game - i.e. when the card is being taxed - but this varies from place to place in a game.

    Crysis is a classic example. If you load up Crysis and then just sit on the opening menu, the card really buzzes/squeaks. If you roll the mouse up and down the animated menu options, it buzzes and squeaks in sync. with the animation. If you choose the Quit option and the Yes option, the pitch of the buzz/squeak goes up and up and up, until finally it goes quiet again once you are back at the Windows desktop. I can reproduce the same noises - although not as bad - walking around the opening train station section in Half-life 2. Point yourself in one direction, it's fine; point yourself in another direction, the buzzing starts. Weird! Any very annoying.

    Anyway, it seems like the noise is coming from the power regulation section at the rear of the card - as if one of the capacitors is broken (I'd say "or a coil buzzing", but I can't see any on the card.) Has anyone had a similar problem like this? The noise isn't VERY loud, but in a quiet case, it's loud enough to be a pain in the backside. And my concern is that it shouldn't do this at all (no graphics card I've owned in the last 20-odd years has ever sounded like this), and the faulty component will just get louder and then eventually fail.

    Now, what I want to know are what are my options?

    I REALLY, REALLY DO NOT want to keep this card; it's far too buzzy/noisey. I could return it to Scan under an RMA, but my concern is that someone there just throws it in a PC, fires up the Windows desktop, and then proclaims "no problem found", and just returns it to me. At which point I send it back detailing all the above problems (again) and when/where they occur - i.e. when the card is in a game, particularly in the Crysis opening menu (and strangely it gets quieter once you load a saved game and start playing!) Would Scan's test team have access to a game like Crysis and be prepared to test it in the way I have been doing?

    I guess if I return it in under 7 days - which I will - I could just ask for a full refund instead, under the Distance Selling Reg's? That would avoid a potential RMA "hell" that I just don't want to get into! I also don't want to be seen as if I'm "accepting" this card in any way, i.e. losing my rights under the DSR. I really don't know what to do, as I've never had to RMA/refund anything before. All I do know is after one day with this particualar card, I'm not happy with it at all!

    Any advice on how best to proceed much appreciated.

    Cheers,

    Nomadd
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    Re: Noisey (electrical) BFG 8800 GTS 512MB graphics card - RMA, or refund?

    I have had this happen with an ATI X1900xt and a HD 3870, I just came under the assumption that it was completely normal.
    I think its something to do with the clock rate, as I know that when overclocking the card, the higher the clock the louder the noise (and also I guess the voltage does increase).
    I know what you mean when you say its annoying though, I got rid of the x1900 because of the noisy fan, now I have a quiet 3870, but that just makes the buzz more noticeable. not that it really bothers me at the moment though, my pc doesnt even work at the mo.

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    Re: Noisey (electrical) BFG 8800 GTS 512MB graphics card - RMA, or refund?

    Quote Originally Posted by smurple View Post
    I have had this happen with an ATI X1900xt and a HD 3870, I just came under the assumption that it was completely normal.
    I think its something to do with the clock rate, as I know that when overclocking the card, the higher the clock the louder the noise (and also I guess the voltage does increase).
    I know what you mean when you say its annoying though, I got rid of the x1900 because of the noisy fan, now I have a quiet 3870, but that just makes the buzz more noticeable. not that it really bothers me at the moment though, my pc doesnt even work at the mo.
    Cheers for the reply. I just managed to get through to Scan's RMA Dept. and the guy told me that they can test it under Crysis. He's arranged someone to come and collect it on Monday. I also got him to note that the box was damaged on delivery and that I don't want the card back if they test it and find "no fault". He says if that's the case, I'll just have to repay the return carriage costs - which is a pain if that happens, but I'd rather live with that than a card that's juts too noisey (and faulty, as far as I'm concerned.)

    Oh well, let's see what Scan say and how things go next week. Fingers crossed. Still, I really can't believe a card with such a quiet fan should be so electrically whinny?

    NB. The card does come with a default overclock of 25MHz, but even clocked back to "normal" GTS clocks it still shows thew same problems...

    Nomadd
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    Re: Noisey (electrical) BFG 8800 GTS 512MB graphics card - RMA, or refund?

    I have just bought the BFG 512MB 8800GTS aswell and that one you have, if there is 'electrical noise' is definitely faulty.

    There is a whoosh of air on boot up (like the old ATI card used to have) but after 5 seconds of power on its silent.

    Send it back fella.

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    Re: Noisey (electrical) BFG 8800 GTS 512MB graphics card - RMA, or refund?

    Quote Originally Posted by Blitzen View Post
    I have just bought the BFG 512MB 8800GTS aswell and that one you have, if there is 'electrical noise' is definitely faulty.

    There is a whoosh of air on boot up (like the old ATI card used to have) but after 5 seconds of power on its silent.

    Send it back fella.
    Hey, thanks for that. Really nice to know that this card is a "good one", if, er, you manage to get a "good one!"

    Like you say, I get the whoosh from the fan on boot-up, but once the BIOS clicks in, the fan quietens down and is literally silent. That's why I was so annoyed by the "electrical noise", as apart from that, the card is perfect for my needs (and at a nice price, too.) Here's hoping for a replacement next week.

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    Re: Noisey (electrical) BFG 8800 GTS 512MB graphics card - RMA, or refund?

    Sorry to say this, but sadly its fairly common on graphics cards.

    You will hear it change more based on what's on the screen usually. Try opening paint, making the canvas as large as the visible area and painting it between black and white with the fill tool to see if it changes much.
    This is common across both ATi and Nvidia as it can be caused by two separate parts on the card.

    The first (and most common) is the capacitors. Its not unusual for these to make noise, and it certainly doesn't mean there is a fault if they do - it just depends on the type used. You will commonly hear a noise if you are giving a capacitor thats much higher rated and being fed a lower current. Manufactures do this because the cost different is negligible and in theroy, they will last longer. It also helps just in case the card gets a nasty feed of unclean electricity.

    The second is the Inductors that have been used. These will look like a little square, about 1.5cm by 1.5cm or usually just a 'coil' if it has no cover. The noise off these is can be caused by the frequency of the power thats going into them. Again, sadly, depending on what has been used by the manufacturer, they may make noise and be perfectly fine
    This in turn can lead to magnetostriction (google it if needed) of other close parts.

    If you don't have knowledge of electronics, just google the words - there is loads out there on the subject

    Ahhh....the fun of noise and electronics, don't get me started

    edit - then again, of course it could just be broke
    Last edited by Agent; 18-01-2008 at 02:31 PM.
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    And by trying to force me to like small pants, they've alienated me.

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    Re: Noisey (electrical) BFG 8800 GTS 512MB graphics card - RMA, or refund?

    Hi

    Reading your post it seems you have already been provided with a returns number for the card? it's difficult to say from reading the above whether the card is at fault or not, obviously the best thing is for us to get it back and test it.

    If you have any problems please feel free to drop me a PM with your RMA/Invoice details

    Regards

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    Nomadd (18-01-2008)

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    Re: Noisey (electrical) BFG 8800 GTS 512MB graphics card - RMA, or refund?

    Quote Originally Posted by Mark@SCAN View Post
    Hi

    Reading your post it seems you have already been provided with a returns number for the card? it's difficult to say from reading the above whether the card is at fault or not, obviously the best thing is for us to get it back and test it.

    If you have any problems please feel free to drop me a PM with your RMA/Invoice details

    Regards
    Cheers, Mark.

    Yep, I've just got the RMA number and return details via email. Scan are sending someone to pick the card up on Monday.

    I've enclosed a letter that details the issues I've had with the card. Hopefully it can be exchanged as faulty. If not, I'll just accept a refund minus the return postage as was agreed with the Scan guy who I spoke to on the phone. The only other thing I've highlighted is the damage to the BFG box it came in, as it was delivered in just some bubble-wrap and a Citylink plastic delivery bag. I've put it in another external box myself, along with the original bubble-wrapping, as I don't want to be charged a "restocking fee" for damage to the packaging that wasn't my fault.

    Anyway, let's see what next week turns up.

    Cheers,

    Nomadd
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    Re: Noisey (electrical) BFG 8800 GTS 512MB graphics card - RMA, or refund?

    Quote Originally Posted by Agent View Post
    Sorry to say this, but sadly its fairly common on graphics cards.

    You will hear it change more based on what's on the screen usually. Try opening paint, making the canvas as large as the visible area and painting it between black and white with the fill tool to see if it changes much.

    [snip]

    edit - then again, of course it could just be broke
    Yeah, I get what your saying (30 years Computer and Electronics experience, myself), but this seems a bit beyond the "norm" to me.

    I've tried the old paint trick, and flicking between full black/full white makes no difference - the card is completely silent in Windows. It's only games where I have a problem - and of course that's the main reason for buying a card like the 8800GTS.

    Crazy thing is, you can load Crysis to it's opening menus, and the noise is as bad as it gets. However, load a game, play a bit, and then exit to the same menu and the noise has literally gone! Exit to Windows and start the game up again, and once the opening menus appear, the noise is back again. Same thing happens in Half-life 2, but not as bad; although HL 2 seems to be worse than Crysis when you wander around inside the game.

    It's a weird one, that's for sure!

    Nomadd
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    Re: Noisey (electrical) BFG 8800 GTS 512MB graphics card - RMA, or refund?

    Quote Originally Posted by Blitzen View Post
    I have just bought the BFG 512MB 8800GTS aswell and that one you have, if there is 'electrical noise' is definitely faulty.

    There is a whoosh of air on boot up (like the old ATI card used to have) but after 5 seconds of power on its silent.

    Send it back fella.
    yea i get that whoosh too, i used to think it was my fans but its definately the card. I haven't got any squeeks here so it must be a fault.

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