And here you can listen to a video from HardwareCanucks that provides a good example of the coil noise:
When AMD launched the AMD Fury X card, one of the difficulties that AMD
had was the annoying pump whine that permeated through the initial run
of testing samples as well as the first batch of retail samples. AMD
claims that a fix has been put in place for this but honestly we
haven’t been able to get a hold of any other product from
later production runs to validate that claim.
Because of that calamity I
was disappointed to power on the R9 Nano for the first time on our test
bed and hear the sound of coil whine from the card. This
wasn’t the same problem as the Fury X, obviously, but instead
the clear sound of inductors generating a buzzing sound that varies as
the frame rate in the game changes. In a loading screen that is hitting
400 FPS? You are going to get a high pitched whine from the card.
Playing a game at a modest 45 FPS? The sound will be a much gentler,
lower pitched buzzing similar to that of a bumblebee.
The annoyance of this coil / PWM noise is going vary from user to user
I’m sure, but the consensus in the office is that because the
noise varies with the frame rate of the game it is MORE noticeable than
the pump whine we found on the Fury X cards earlier in the summer.
Our only gripe comes from the dreaded ‘coil whine’
– the R9 Nano is much louder here than the Fury X, a card we
re-tested during production of this feature. It sounds akin to a
constant buzzing, something that may be unique to our particular review
In the acoustic department, our main gripe with the R9 Nano is actually
the coil whine we experienced throughout testing which was often
considerably more obvious than any system fan noise. For such a premium
graphics card, we would expect the use of better components and greater
quality control to prevent coil whine, or at least to dampen it to some
extent, and we hope that when retail availability proliferates AMD
ensures coil whine is fixed, or at least minimised.
Coil Whine/Noise as it is commonly called is very much an issue on the
R9 NANO. At above average framerates its almost a rattle and then as
the FPS escalate it really turns into a near whistle. It’s
the worst case of this phenomenon we have heard to date and it was
close to causing the R9 NANO not to get any sort of
AMD has only sent us two Fiji based cards and the Fury X has really bad
pump whine and the Nano has choke whine. We know that AMD put a ton of
time and effort into making the build quality on this card one that was
said to be premium, so it’s really shocking to see that
another noisy card was delivered to us by AMD to review. The choke
noise on the AMD Radeon R9 Nano isn’t nearly as bad as the
pump whine on the Fury X, but it’s something we
don’t expect to see on a $649 video card here in 2015 where
premium components are readily available.
Major Coil Whine: This is seriously annoying, but only in an open test
bed. Inside of a system it will be much better, but I need to question
this. Is AMD having issues with the Fiji-based cards? Because the Fury
X had serious whine from the cooler too, but the R9 Nano
doesn’t have a watercooler or a pump. What gives?
However, we noticed significant coil whine across our suite of games,
particularly in Total War: Rome II. This may be sample-specific, but it
would grate us long term if this was the case with all cards.
It's worth noting that AMD's Nano reference sample generated a serious amount of coil noise. People complained about the Fury X coil noise but for us it wasn't that bad. The Nano really screams, however.