Is this harmless coil hiss or is my GPU about to explode?

Hello all, hope everyone is well.

I’m having an issue with my GPU. I’m on Blender 2.91.0/Windows 10 Home 64 bit. The machine has a GeForce RTX 2080 Ti with 12gb of memory, and now whenever I render with GPU I get this somewhat scary sound like a bomb is about to go off.

In the video it’s rendering a 1200px x 900px image with volumetrics at 1000 samples. It had been rendering for about a minute before the whine really kicked in.

I always stop it before it can complete because it sounds bad. Rendering with the CPU works just fine, obviously much slower. Rendering the same image but at half size (or half samples) works fine too. This machine hadn’t got a lot of use in the last few months, so not a lot of rendering had been done.

I checked the connection and seating and it’s firmly in there. Beyond that I can’t diagnose it.

Does anyone have any experience with this?

Does it do the same with Eevee?

If you got this card early on, I do recall that Turing once had a reputation for being a bit more prone to failure than Pascal was (which caused things like the now infamous “space invaders” issue). If the whine is getting worse, and if it is not caused by dust buildup or by the fans wearing out, then it is possible that the capacitors or something else is in fact failing.

Actually, I had not even thought to try Eevee.

Now that I have, I can report that it will not render the scene at all with Eevee. Blender only outright crashes. Or it freezes, then eventually crashes.

I removed the volumetrics and then Eevee did render the scene. The GPU seems to object to the volume cube I’m using in the scene.

Also, before I started rendering regularly again, there had been a decent buildup of dust. I had cleaned it out before I started using it again, but I guess maybe the damage was done?

Cleaned off the old and changed to a new thermal interface(paste) as well? But that wouldn’t really cause coil whine anyways, just best practices…

Coil whine can have different causes, or rather there’s always some coil whine so that shouldn’t concern you. One thing to note though:

When switching to water cooling it’s common for gpu coil whine to become more pronounced, not only because the system will overall be more quiet but also depending on the new coolers design you might have the vibration from the coils transferring to and be somewhat amplified by the cooling block.

Depending on if you remounted your cooler badly it might have something to do with that in which case you might want to reseat the cooler. So there maybe no reason to panic yet.

But I would recommend using something like HWiNFO to check your temperatures(also VRM not just GPU core temp) while you are running a load that is causing this coil whine.

Well guys, this one is embarrassing…

Increasingly desperate, I decided to pull the card completely out. As I was going about it I discovered a small piece of foam wedged in between the card and the motherboard.

I bought the computer from Digital Storm about a year ago, and they had some packing foam inside the case, which I thought I had removed completely.

The foam had become petrified from the heat over the past year and I guess there was no more “give” in it, thus when that GPU really started going it produced that awful noise.

Whatever the physics behind it, removing the foam piece restored order to the realm. I’m lucky it didn’t catch on fire after all this time.

This didn’t change my Eevee issue, but that has something to do with my volumetrics settings I guess.

So it’s working again, but I’m still cleaning the egg off my face…

Thanks everyone for your help.


Glad to hear you’ve solved it.