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EclecticTastes
Sep 17, 2012

"Most plans are critically flawed by their own logic. A failure at any step will ruin everything after it. That's just basic cause and effect. It's easy for a good plan to fall apart. Therefore, a plan that has no attachment to logic cannot be stopped."


Problem description: When I open up certain PDFs in Adobe Acrobat, something inside my laptop starts squeaking (it's hard to pinpoint, but if I were to guess, it would be towards the left-rear of the laptop). The squeaking has a steady rhythm when I stay on a page, but if I start flipping through pages, the squeaks happen in time with them (i.e., if I hold down the right arrow key to rapidly flip through pages, the noise happens just as rapidly). The volume of the squeaking seems to be connected to the per-page file size (rather than the total file size of the whole book). My guess is that this means my HDD is squeaky in some fashion, but it only seems to happen when I'm reading PDFs, and not with other types of files.

Attempted fixes: I gently jostled the laptop in case something was loose, but I'm hesitant to attempt any actual physical adjustments. I also opened the same PDFs in Chrome and the noise is greatly reduced.

Recent changes: Not that I'm aware of. That said, the problem could have been present from the moment I first booted the laptop, as I've checked all the PDFs I've read through between getting the laptop earlier this year and today, and they were either completely silent, or made so little noise that I could easily have missed it.

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Operating system: Windows 10

System specs: Lenovo Thinkpad T15, Model 20S6CTO1WW, Core i7-10510U 1.80 GHz processor (quad core), 16 GB RAM, 1TB HDD, approx. eight months old.

Location: USA

I have Googled and read the FAQ: Yes. Due to a very poor signal-to-noise ratio on the search terms involved, I couldn't find anything remotely relevant to the issue.

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Gromit
Aug 15, 2000

I am an oppressed White Male, Asian women wont serve me! Save me Campbell Newman!!!!!!!


I can't picture any way it could be your hard drive squeaking when only accessing specific PDF files, especially when I think that one uses solid state drives with no moving parts.

It seems more likely a fan with a bad bearing is coming on, but I don't know why PDFs would be doing that. Are they graphics-heavy or something that might be taxing your graphics card and making its fan spin faster?

EclecticTastes
Sep 17, 2012

"Most plans are critically flawed by their own logic. A failure at any step will ruin everything after it. That's just basic cause and effect. It's easy for a good plan to fall apart. Therefore, a plan that has no attachment to logic cannot be stopped."


Gromit posted:

I can't picture any way it could be your hard drive squeaking when only accessing specific PDF files, especially when I think that one uses solid state drives with no moving parts.

It seems more likely a fan with a bad bearing is coming on, but I don't know why PDFs would be doing that. Are they graphics-heavy or something that might be taxing your graphics card and making its fan spin faster?

Given that none of the various video games I play on my laptop cause any issues (I'd imagine that Fallout 4 would be a little more taxing than a PDF), I can't imagine it's a graphics card problem (also, the fans that I'm aware of sound like they're more to the right of the laptop, whereas the squeaking seems to be more towards the left). I did confirm that it's SSD, so, yeah, that's my own faulty human memory mistaking what I've got under the hood, but that just makes the whole thing more of a mystery. And it seems unlikely to be a fan simply because the squeaking matches the timing of me flipping between pages exactly. That said, as I mentioned, there's a clear correlation between the graphical complexity of the individual pages and how loud the squeaking is, so it appears to me that some component responsible for displaying the pages is the source of the noise, but I don't have remotely enough knowledge of computer engineering to guess at what part that might be (the noise could even be piezoelectric rather than mechanical, for all I know).

Gromit
Aug 15, 2000

I am an oppressed White Male, Asian women wont serve me! Save me Campbell Newman!!!!!!!


EclecticTastes posted:

And it seems unlikely to be a fan simply because the squeaking matches the timing of me flipping between pages exactly.

There are very few moving parts inside your laptop. If it isn't a fan bearing then you're left with it being the ghost of a dead mouse.

AeroZ
Nov 9, 2016



I'd say it's the usual coil whine. I got a Lenovo T14 (i7-10610U) and it makes electronic weird sounds as well. I can hear it if it's quiet or I put my ear real close to it.

EclecticTastes
Sep 17, 2012

"Most plans are critically flawed by their own logic. A failure at any step will ruin everything after it. That's just basic cause and effect. It's easy for a good plan to fall apart. Therefore, a plan that has no attachment to logic cannot be stopped."


Gromit posted:

There are very few moving parts inside your laptop. If it isn't a fan bearing then you're left with it being the ghost of a dead mouse.

Alright, I looked up the schematics for the T15, and it seems there are fans on both sides of the laptop, so it may be the fan, but, this is a laptop, so both fans should always be running (and neither squeak under normal circumstances), so that doesn't explain why one fan would squeak specifically when a PDF is being viewed. Especially since the only variable is the volume, while the rhythm is always steady and predictable. It squeaks in perfect 4/4 time when lingering on a page, and squeaks in synchronicity with any page-turning (though, it only squeaks if the page loads on-screen; if the PDF reader skips it, it won't squeak for that page). Pages with larger individual file sizes seem to cause louder squeaking. Also, I've discovered that recently-viewed pages won't cause the noise when they're flipped to. What this tells me is that the noise is triggered directly by loading new pages, as well as keeping the page rendered onscreen. What if the fan's spinning is somehow being interrupted or caused to stutter? It still doesn't make sense from a "how does reading a PDF do that?" standpoint, but it would at least explain what's happening.

Gromit
Aug 15, 2000

I am an oppressed White Male, Asian women wont serve me! Save me Campbell Newman!!!!!!!


Good point from AeroZ. At this point you need to work out if it is a physical squeak or an electrical whine as that might clue you in on what is making it happen.

EclecticTastes
Sep 17, 2012

"Most plans are critically flawed by their own logic. A failure at any step will ruin everything after it. That's just basic cause and effect. It's easy for a good plan to fall apart. Therefore, a plan that has no attachment to logic cannot be stopped."


Gromit posted:

Good point from AeroZ. At this point you need to work out if it is a physical squeak or an electrical whine as that might clue you in on what is making it happen.

How would I go about testing it? I don't exactly have the means to have an expert open it up to take a look, and the only thing that seems to trigger it is PDFs. Putting my ear right up to the laptop, I would say the noise sounds more electrical, though with this sort of squeaking/chirping noise, it's not easy to properly distinguish. It also makes more sense, given how it works (I'm guessing, the affected PDFs cause enough charge to pass through the affected component to cause the noise, and the charge passes through each time a page is first loaded, and change in volume is because simpler pages and/or Chrome's PDF reader send less charge). I've looked up articles on coil whine and the like, and it doesn't look like anyone's experienced quite this sort of issue, so at this point I'm just curious what part, specifically, is the issue, and why.

AeroZ
Nov 9, 2016



EclecticTastes posted:

How would I go about testing it? I don't exactly have the means to have an expert open it up to take a look, and the only thing that seems to trigger it is PDFs. Putting my ear right up to the laptop, I would say the noise sounds more electrical, though with this sort of squeaking/chirping noise, it's not easy to properly distinguish. It also makes more sense, given how it works (I'm guessing, the affected PDFs cause enough charge to pass through the affected component to cause the noise, and the charge passes through each time a page is first loaded, and change in volume is because simpler pages and/or Chrome's PDF reader send less charge). I've looked up articles on coil whine and the like, and it doesn't look like anyone's experienced quite this sort of issue, so at this point I'm just curious what part, specifically, is the issue, and why.
If I remember I'll record my T14's sounds to you on monday. I think you have the same sounds and if you do then I don't think there's any actual issues with the hardware. Just annoyance. To be honest even my Ryzen 5 3600XT setup does those weird sounds. At least my desktop is under my table and I can't hear the sounds if I don't go under the table to listen.

HKR
Jan 13, 2006


OP this is likely electromagnetic noise caused when your screen is displaying predominantly white backgrounds. Does the same noise happen if you watch a video that suddenly fades to white? What about if you full screen a pure white image?

If this is the case, sadly there is no easy fix unless you can change to background color of your PDFs. It isn't the result of bad or failing parts.

EclecticTastes
Sep 17, 2012

"Most plans are critically flawed by their own logic. A failure at any step will ruin everything after it. That's just basic cause and effect. It's easy for a good plan to fall apart. Therefore, a plan that has no attachment to logic cannot be stopped."


HKR posted:

OP this is likely electromagnetic noise caused when your screen is displaying predominantly white backgrounds. Does the same noise happen if you watch a video that suddenly fades to white? What about if you full screen a pure white image?

If this is the case, sadly there is no easy fix unless you can change to background color of your PDFs. It isn't the result of bad or failing parts.

No, it's not about the amount of white, and in fact the PDFs that cause the most noise are in full color. Given that I often use Google and also post on SA, my screen is frequently mostly white, and it doesn't cause any noise.

Edgy Bees
Sep 9, 2013


AeroZ posted:

I'd say it's the usual coil whine.

I'll second this one.

Coil whine can happen for any number of reasons but the main one is generally load related. It's possible that the PDF reader you're using is doing something strange with 3D acceleration or whatever and is just rendering.. well.... essentially nothing, really fast. This happens a lot for gamers in titles that have unlimited framerates on some in-game menus. You hit the menu and then you can hear audible whine from the GPU because it's doing a lot of work trying to render a simple scene thousands of times per second instead of the usual 60-240 ish FPS.

I would try using a different PDF viewer and see if that solves the issue. Or if there is an option to set the laptop GPU into some kind of power-save mode it may decide to cap the overall framerate targets for some hardware accelerated tasks.

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EclecticTastes
Sep 17, 2012

"Most plans are critically flawed by their own logic. A failure at any step will ruin everything after it. That's just basic cause and effect. It's easy for a good plan to fall apart. Therefore, a plan that has no attachment to logic cannot be stopped."


Edgy Bees posted:

I'll second this one.

Coil whine can happen for any number of reasons but the main one is generally load related. It's possible that the PDF reader you're using is doing something strange with 3D acceleration or whatever and is just rendering.. well.... essentially nothing, really fast. This happens a lot for gamers in titles that have unlimited framerates on some in-game menus. You hit the menu and then you can hear audible whine from the GPU because it's doing a lot of work trying to render a simple scene thousands of times per second instead of the usual 60-240 ish FPS.

I would try using a different PDF viewer and see if that solves the issue. Or if there is an option to set the laptop GPU into some kind of power-save mode it may decide to cap the overall framerate targets for some hardware accelerated tasks.

Yeah, it seems like, for some unknown reason, Adobe Acrobat causes it more than browser-based PDF readers (I've tried Chrome, Firefox, and Edge, and while they produced a quieter noise previously, I just tested them again with the "loudest" of my PDFs and couldn't hear anything at all beyond the usual internal noises laptops make, so I assume it fluctuates a bit). I've also recently found posts online of similar problems, caused by all manner of annoying-but-harmless issues, like weird interactions with power saver features in BIOS. Guess I've gotten as much of an answer to this mystery as I'm going to get without actually disassembling my laptop. Good to know it's nothing serious, and I'll just open the affected laptops in a browser going forward.

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