Problem with high pitch noises

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Information on strange high pitch, low volume noises emitted by ThinkPads.

Problem description

Even though ThinkPads are known as very silent notebooks, they tend to emit different, mostly high pitch noises in certain circumstances. The noises are of low volume and hence not realized by everyone or at least tolerated by most people. However, there are those with "bat like ears" that hear them and might be annoyed by that.

Affected Models

Noises have been experienced in the following situations:

situation noise description affected models

ThinkPad suspended to RAM

constant high pitch noise

ThinkPad connected to power and switched off, with battery fully charged

constant high pitch noise

moving windows or just the mouse in xorg

strange noise like a rapid series of very short high pitch noises adding to a constant kind of whistling (only as long as the movement goes)

Affected Operating Systems

  • Linux, all flavours


Similar phenomena was experienced with models from the T2x aera, like i.e. on the T23. On these models the problem was related to the graphics circuitry and occured especially or only while making use of DirectDraw funktions. IBM was able to fix it through a BIOS upgrade.

It is likely that the noises discovered on recent models are related to the graphics chip as well.


None so far.