Intel’s new Kaby Lake processors were made available this past summer, and they are just starting to show up on new PCs (no Macs yet). According to Tech Radar, the The Core i7-7700K is the flagship processor. However, there have been reports that just about every PC it has been installed with has been making a “coil whine” noise.
One Reddit poster described the problem when getting his Dell XPS 13.
“As per title my new Kaby Lake 9360 arrived today (i7-7500U / QHD / 16GB RAM / 512GB SSD). Unfortunately it has bad coil whine, both while sitting on the Windows 10 desktop, touching the screen or any time the SSD is being accessed.”
The user even linked to a YouTube video where you can hear the noise. Needless to say, owning the new XPS 13 would be quite annoying in a completely silent room. Other users have complained about the same thing.
Now, let’s turn to Lenovo’s new Yoga 910 that has the i7 Kaby Lake processor. I recently reviewed this and said it was close to being the perfect laptop. I praised the industrial build and the beautiful screen. The big turnoff for me was the noise, which sounded like a whiny fan. It was so loud that I could hear it with the regular table fan on in a room. After reading the Lenovo forums, I found out I certainly wasn’t the only one with the problem.
The new Razer Blade Stealth also has the new Kaby Lake processor that causes the coil whine with the other PCs.
“So I just got my new Razer Blade Stealth today. It’s the one that runs the Kaby Lake chip. I got the 256gb QHD version and there have been problems from the get go. There is noticeable coil whine. Whenever I touch the touchscreen, the coil whine increases,” says Nogameyeslife from Reddit, whose coil whine problems are confirmed by other Razer Blade Stealth users.
There is a minor solution to the coil whine problem — at least with the Yoga 910 and the XPS 13. If you go into Power settings, then go to Advanced Power settings, choose the “Power Processor Management” button, and set the max CPU power to 99 percent instead of 100, the noise will be greatly reduced. It won’t completely go away, but it will be tolerable.
Setting the power to 99 percent doesn’t hurt the performance. It does prevent your computer from going into Turbo Boost, which you barely use even when the power is set to 100 percent. I hope that Intel and the different computer makers can get this issue fixed before it blows up in their faces (figuratively, not literally — I have to be careful what I say after the Galaxy Note 7 situation).