There’s A Bee In My…

ASUS A8NE motherboardMy new computer is dying. There are three fans in it: one on the CPU, one on the video card, and one for the motherboard’s chipset (NVIDIA nForce4). A month ago a loud buzzing sound started emanating from the computer case, sounding like a big-ass bee stuck in a glass jar; and then a few days later the computer froze with the BIOS message: Chip fan is running at a low, unsafe speed. I turned it off then back on, and the buzzing went away.

The buzzing came back today. This time I took the case apart and good clearly see the cooling fan for the nForce4 chip was spinning irregularly, almost stopping every second; and it’s loud; annoyingly loud.

I emailed ASUS, the motherboard manufacturer, the following:

The nForce4 ultra chip fan on the motherboard has recently started making a loud buzzing sound, with the BIOS giving alerts that its RPMs is low. I disabled the chip fan warning alarm, but the buzzing continues; it sounds like a loud bee stuck in a glass jar. Looking at the fan itself, it’s obvious that it isn’t spinning at a consistent rate.

I bought and installed the motherboard in May, 2005 and had no problems until this started to occur about a month ago. The system is behaving normally except for the loud buzzing sound the fan is making.

Does this require warranty work? Is there anything I can do to fix it? No changes have been made to the system since I first installed the motherboard.

I look forward to your response.

So if SWT is down, it’s probably because my PC’s motherboard has melted.

Update: ASUS sent me a free replacement motherboard in the end. See my comments below for how their excellent service dealt with the situation.

Another Update (Jan. 17, 2007): The fan failed AGAIN. It started humming loudly, and looking at it you could see it slowing down, trying to spin quickly. This time I replaced it with a heat-sink – no more damn fan to deal with.

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32 Responses to There’s A Bee In My…

  1. Jody says:

    They replied:

    You may contact RMA department at the number below for a replacement of the chip set fan.

    Thank you for your support of our products!

    If your ASUS product needs to be repaired or exchanged, first try to exchange the item with your vendor. If this is not possible, you will need to contact our RMA department for assistance. There are three ways to contact them:

    1) If you have Internet access, you can visit this website:

    http://helpdesk.asus.com

    Click on the ASUS RMA Online link, and request an RMA

    2) Send an e-mail to:

    RMA@asus.com

    Please include your name, mailing address, telephone number, and the serial number of your product.

    3) If you are in the USA or Canada, call our RMA department at 510-739-3777 option 3. Please have the serial number of your ASUS product handy when you call.

    Please do not respond to this email. If you need further assistance in this matter please contact our RMA department.

    That number is in California. I’ll call tomorrow.

  2. ChrisO says:

    I think that’s the northbridge fan. at least that’s what it’s called on my board. i had the same problem. I unplugged the fan from the motherboard and TADA, no more noise. i’m sure it’s safe! :(

  3. Danny Hebert says:

    I just ordered that exact same board, I had that exact same problem with my aopen board till I dabed a q-tip full of baby oil in there… now seems to be working great… and smells baby fresh in there :)

    Sucks that your already having problems with it.
    Nice to know that asus will send you a new fan for it though.

    –Danny

  4. Jody says:

    Baby oil?! Seriously? I’ll try it, although it’s kinda gross if you think about it too much. Thanks.

  5. Pender says:

    You have to put 4,000psi of pressure on the baby before the oil starts to come out.

    The northbridge fan on my ABIT board was always the shits, did the same thing you’re describing, only with mine when the thing overheated it made the computer reeaaaal slow (as if it were timeslicing, not multitasking), then it started to crash all the time with BSODs. Eventually I got fed up and slapped a 60mm fan on there (2x the size of the original fan) from one of my spare ancient CPU fan/heatsink combinations. I haven’t had a problem since. I only have one screw on the thing, but it’s fairly secure and there’s not a lot of room it could move, even if it wanted to. I just have to be careful not to punch TOO hard when I punch the case in anger and/or frustration.

    Pretty much any spare fan should do.

  6. Jody says:

    I replied to their email with:

    Per the instructions below, I”m contacting you about getting a replacement of the chip set fan (see details below, including my motherboard”s model and serial number).

    Since my motherboard is still under warranty, I”m assuming they”ll be no charge for the replacement.

    Please let me know how you”d like to proceed.

    They replied within a day asking for my home address to ship the replacement fan, which they say will be shipped within 2 days. Cool.

  7. Jody says:

    Well, the fan died but the computer still works, although XP doesn’t see the DVD drive anymore. I hope the replacement fan arrives soon.

  8. Jody says:

    The replacement fan arrived while I was away, so that was good service. I plan on installing it today, so SWT will be done for around 30 minutes while I try not to break my computer. I’ll take pictures!

  9. Jody says:

    It’s the wrong fan. I just emailed ASUS the following email:

    Dear ASUS support,
    I received the replacement fan in a timely manner; however, it’s the wrong fan. The fan on my motherboard (A8N-E) is held in place by two black pins on opposite corners (see attached). The one you sent me is slightly bigger and its pins are on the side of the fan, instead of the corners (see attached).
    How would you like to proceed?

    Click on the “see attached” links to view the images I sent them.

    Shit.

  10. Jody says:

    ASUS replied today:

    Dear Sir:
    The fan that you receive is our new design. The fan will need to be installed at a 45 degree angle. The pins will insert into the same holes as the previous fan. The new fan will not sit corner to corner with the chip.
    Thank you,
    C001

    Well then. I’ll try installing it tonight.

  11. Jody says:

    The new fan is in. I had to use needlenose pliers to pry it out, but I don’t think I damaged the motherboard (since SWT is up). However, the system still doesn’t see my DVD drive, which it did before the old fan died. I sent ASUS the following email:

    Thank you. It installed successfully; however, I have a problem: my system no longer sees my DVD drive. Note that is stopped recognizing it when the old fan stopped functioning about a week ago, when the new fan was in transit.
    Could this be a result of the chip, that the old fan failed on, burning out?
    Suggestions?

    We’ll see.

  12. Jody says:

    They replied:

    Hello,
    Please let me know if you need a new fan sent to you or we can send you a rma number to send in your product.
    Best Regards,
    RMA Department

    Damn. Take my computer apart and send them my motherboard?! I’ll be with a computer and worse: SWT will be down for that time! Shit.

    Suggestions?

  13. Jody says:

    I sent them the following reply:

    Hi,
    You put be in a bit of a bind: the fan works fine, but because it failed before I received your replacement, the chip it was supposed to be cooling appears to be partially fried. The computer still works except the system on longer sees my IDE devices (DVD writer) nor USB ports.
    I can’t afford to have long downtime for this computer; it’s my web server; sending the motherboard to you is not an option; the downtime would be too long.
    I appreciate your excellent service so far and I hope we can work out something agreeable to both of us. What do you suggest?
    Sincerely,
    Jody Cairns
  14. Jody says:

    They replied today:

    Dear Sir:
    I sent you a seperate email with an RMA# and our advance replacement forms. If you would like to proceed with the advance replacment option, please complete and return the forms.

    Goddamn it! If I do this I’ll have to put SWT on my old computer until I get the replacement motherboard.

    I replied:

    Should I remove all components that were not attached to the original motherboard, such as the CPU?

    I just realized I may NOT have to return the motherboard though; this may only a request to get a replacement without having to return the original defective product. I’ll see how they respond to my question first.

  15. Chriso says:

    dude, it’s an advance RMA! You give them your credit card number, they send you the new part, and when you get the new one, you ship back the broken one.

  16. Jody says:

    So that’s what “advance” means. Really?!

  17. Chriso says:

    that’s what it used to mean anyway, 3 years ago when i had to replace a hard drive and didn’t have anywhere to back up that 100 gigs!

  18. Jody says:

    I sent them another email:

    Okay, I think I misunderstood. After I send you those forms, you’re going to send me a new motherboard, then I’m going to send you my old motherboard.

    Correct?

    I thought I had to send you my old motherboard before I received a replacement one.

  19. Jody says:

    They replied:

    Jody,
    You said that you could not afford downtime which is why I offered you
    the advance replacement service (with credit card deposit). For standard
    RMA service, you would need to send in your product first and the turn
    around time is 10 business days.

    Thank you,

    Chrissy

    Nice. Thanks, Chrissy. I replied to them:

    Thank you for the clarification and service.

    By the way, my site has been getting lots of search hits related to “asus”, “motherboard”, “fan”, and “noise” keyword combinations, hitting my post describing this incident:
    http://steelwhitetable.org/blog/2005/11/05/theres-a-bee-in-my/

    Your superb service is being noticed.

  20. Jody says:

    I faxed them my Advance Replacement forms today. Let’s see how long it will take for them to send me a new motherboard. I have to send back my old motherboard within 14 business days after receiving the new one else I’ll be charged for the new one.

  21. Jody says:

    The new motherboard arrived today. It was shipped Dec. 22, according to the shipping label. It arrived by FedEx. SWT will be down tonight or tomorrow night while I replace its innards.

  22. Jody says:

    I replaced the motherboard, as noted in a later post, and everything worked out great.

    I emailed ASUS one final email:

    Just wanted to let you know I successfully replaced the motherboard and everything appears back to normal. I’ll be shipping the old motherboard back tomorrow.
    Thanks you for your great support.

  23. CBI Elite says:

    Asus and their good service. When will they learn that they’re supposed to treat their customers like crap? WHEN? :sarcasim:

    I’m one of those you mentioned that found this article (?) using the keywords “new asus fan” in Google. My A8N-SLi’s chipset fan started dieing MONTHS ago, and with the aid of a fan controller I managed to save it from death. But now it’s stalling, not starting sometimes, etc so I emailed Asus. They replied within like 7 hours and gave me the email address of the person to contact for fan replacements. I did so while mentioning my mailing address, and they replied in no more than a day saying the new fan is on its way.

    Good job Asus, just good friggin’ job. Never been so satisfied with a computer parts manufacturer, EVER. Oh, and glad they offered you the advanced replacement option for your mobo…ya know, even that’s hard to find nowadays. GG!

  24. bone says:

    How do u remove the chip fan mobo? Mine is the 2 pins kind aka the old one.. and I can’t remove it.. anyone? I don’t get it lol :(

  25. Jody says:

    I used a flathead screwdriver to pop open the clamps that held my fan on. It took a bit of elbow grease.

  26. woebe says:

    by clamps what do you really mean?

    http://upload.npcfighter.de/files/36/671fan-asus-sent.jpg

    the 2 black buttons? didn’t it break by doing that?

  27. Jody says:

    Mine has silver clamps on the bottom, not black buttons. I think we have different fans.

  28. Jody says:

    The fan failed AGAIN. I replaced it this time with a heat-sink. I updated the post at the bottom.

  29. Daz says:

    Hi,

    I’m having similar troubles with my motherboard (Asus A8N-E, nForce4) – i’ve lost the box with my serial number on it so i’m not sure how helpful Asus will be with me. Is there anything that I could just buy that would do the job?

    Where did you get your heatsink from?

    Thanks,

    Daz

  30. Jody says:

    The serial number should be on the motherboard somewhere, or along its edge where you plug the mouse and other interfaces in.

    I got my northbridge heatsink from a local computer shop, so they shouldn’t be hard to find.

  31. Falk says:

    Hi,

    just encountered that exact same problem at work with my Asus A8N-E mobo. It already features that new fan you showed in one of your attachments up somewhere in this thread. The computer is about 1 year old. I guess I go for the baby oil then – I think I have some left from my two daughters…:-)

    Great thread you have here, I appreciate this very much.

  32. Notsosmart says:

    I have / had the same problem. Every time when i’d turn on my pc for the last year i would get a lot of computer bleeps and the warning “computer chip fan speed too low” would pop up on my screen. I did not pay much attention to it, allthough i knew it was bad news.

    I checked the fan a couple of times and it seemed to be turning OK so i left it alone.

    Untill last weekend…

    My pc stopped working. When i press the power button, the processor fan starts and the light on my dvd player blinks a couple of times like it always does but there it stops. My screen stays black and i don’t get that bios beep.

    When i opened my pc again i noticed that the fan of the nforce chip didn’t turn anymore so my guess is that the chip is completely fried.

    The End.

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