Is it bad for my computer to be running all the time? And by all the time I do mean all the time, like I never turn it off. I don't pay for hydro, as its included in my rent, so cost is not an issue. But I've had this Dell for four years now, and can't say I see any adverse affects.
+ Reply to Thread
Results 1 to 30 of 46
-the processor and heatsink will accumulate dust and aventually cause overheating
-the cooling fans will get noisy and fail earlier
-hard drive life is reduced in some cases
-the continuos heat will dry out caps in the powersupply
-the ram and temp files will not reap the benefits of a reboot
-long term available IPs are a hackers joy
If the system has adequate cooling, there is less liklihood of hardware failure if the system remains running.
Normal power surges (turning the unit on and off) will create some cumulative damage to electronic components. Think of how your incandescent light bulbs usually blow when powered on.
Hard drives when continously running might actually last as long as their MTBF. Starting rotation on power up draws more power and strains drive motors to a greater extent. MTBF calculation does not take this into effect.
Fans and power supplies are the cheapest parts of a system. I agree caps might dry out if the system is inadequately cooled but fans undergo more stress on startup.
Periodic reboots are a good idea.
A running system is more vulnerable to malware effects than an off system.
Wastes energy -- affects your pocketbook AND our planet. Boo!
Hardware dies, and is rated on "hours used".
If you have to ask this question, the answer is ABSOLUTELY NOT!
Only servers need 24/7 uptime.
There is no such rating as "hours used" in any technical sense. There is a rating for MTBF - mean time between failures, which is usually in hours and that is a theoretical calculation which does not take into account hardware start and stop stress. It is purely a function of the components used in the hardware. Continuous operation more closely approximates MTBF rather than intermittant operation.
Doesn't affect the OPs pocket book. He's not paying for electricity - he says so.
DOES affect the planet - though perhaps not in the OPs case - his power is hydro generated..
Well LS at least you got one thing right. (Almost).
The more you use it the more it will wear out, or a failure.... that applies to anything.
Originally Posted by LOWTECH
Many types of electrical equipment like the light bulb will fail more frequently if they are constantly turned on and off.
Your statement is more often true for mechanical equipment, but even automobiles will fail more often if only driven for very short distances and then turned off. Cars drive at highway speeds for long distances have fewer mechanical problems than lower mileage cars which are driven for short periods at lower speeds.
Assuming you can save up the life of various types of equipment by foregoing their use is often foolish and wrong.
People that think this is a bad idea have their minds made up on it. I work in IT and as a normal course of business we do this ALL THE TIME. Yes, I really mean that. Our desktop PCs run ALL THE TIME. They get turned off when we lose power. That's it. I've run PCs at work for years like this with ZERO problems.
I have 2 PCs at home. They run all the time. I often have them do tasks for me at night while I sleep because it is convenient for me to do so. I've had to replace a few power supplies, but I have no hard disk failures. My PC that I use for my main internet connection has been running all the time for over 6 years now and it still works. I've had to replace a few power supplies and I have upgraded to a bigger disk drive, but my original CPU and cooling fan still work.
If you have a reason for running your PC all the time, the reality is that it will be OK. oldandinthe way is 100% correct in his posts. If you want to turn off your PC to save power, be green, or something similar, that's fine, but will it make your PC magically last longer? Nope. Not in my experience.
My IT guy says, let 'em run. After years of experience, the PCs that have lived the longest were, in my case, the ones left running. Power supplies had to be changed out, and once or twice, a Western Digital harddrive had to be replaced (never had that problem with the Seagates or Maxtors). The only times I had massive failures (mobo, cpu, etc) were when that had been shut down overnight and restarted the next morning.
Still, I'm bothered by unnecessary power consumption, so I compromise: letting them run 3 or 4 days before shut-off. Office computers get shut down over the weekend.
Yes, but with that money you save from keeping them off you can buy a new computer.
XP has an option to reprogram the sleep key to hibernate. Use hibernate to reboot your computer it should only take a minute.
Originally Posted by oldandinthe way
One of my computers comes out of hibernation in 20 seconds. Another one is barely out of POST in that time!
Yes filaments are fragile, but that is separate from their behavior when presented with power fluctuation. The analogy is extremely accurate. The chips which make up a computer are flimsy areas of sand. Power is not applied evenly at startup and these surges do cause failures. Many other components in the machine have similar vulnerabilites - like the motors on hard drives - they have flimsy wires in their windings which can fail in the same way as the light filament. They also draw far more power at startup than while they are running, increasing the possibility of a power supply failure as well as a drive failure.
Ask someone who has a technical background, perhaps an electrical engineer. You'll find out that you are challanging FACT.
It does not help the MTBF.
A comment on hibernation. Hibernation is at best a compromise.
Although hibernation eliminates many software delays, hibernation is normally coupled with spinning down hard disks and other activities which when returning to the running state provide the same stresses as powering on.
Originally Posted by lordsmurf
It's a mixed bag. It does use more energy to leave a computer on all of the time. That one is cut and dry and isn't debatable.
As for the hardware. There are different issues depending on the components. Fan bushings and bearing do wear out sooner when left on all of the time. Heat sinks and fan blades do get congested with dust quicker. Recently I fixed a friends three year old computer that had been left on all of time. His complaint was that "the computer completely died." When I opened it up, I couldn't believe what I saw. There was a huge amount of dust inside. The processor heat sink was 100% clogged with dust. I don't mean just dusty; the heat sink vanes were completely clogged. Not surprisingly the processor was dead.
As for solid state devices, it does shock them when they are powered on. It does NOT hurt a hard disc drive to leave it on all of the time. It is ONLY when a hard disc drive is being shut down and turned on that it is being stressed. The spindle bearing is not a ball bearing; it is an air bearing. When it is spinning. there is no mechanical contact in the bearing. Nothing is wearing out in the bearing while it is spinning. The other shock that a hard disc drives undergoes is the "landing" and "take off" of the read / write heads when it is turned off and on.
All things considered, I believe it a good idea to turn a computer off when not in use. If there is a need to leave it on all of the time, it is VERY important to open the case a couple of times a year and blow out all of the dust.
I do power my machines off when not in use. I pay for electricity.
If I were in the OPs situation where I did not pay for energy and the energy I used was hydro, I would leave my machines on.
If people who want to do what's "green" do so they should be willing to accept as their satisfaction the "virtue" of the deed. They should not expect that it is also better for their equipment.
As for cleanliness, it is next to godliness and I believe in vacuuming out my systems twice a year. Even if they do not run 24/7. I also lubricate my fans at the same time.
At .14/kwh, I'm not leaving anything on unless absolutely nesessary.
I am running my video cap P3 continuously for last 5 years except switching off for a a minute or so to cold reboot when sometimes freezing completely.
I only had to replace the cooling fan for the cabinet once till now.
My P4 has been running almost 24 hrs / day for last 3 years, again no failures till date
What oldandintheway says is true to some extent.
There is something called Failure Curves. Some items have a Bath Tub curve, a large number of such items would fail within a few hours after starting up. The ones which do not fail would perform for a long time (could be as much as a decade) before approaching their MTBF and start failing. Most of the electronics stuff belong to this Bath Tub Failure type.
Ark is correct. Many electronics have a high infant mortality rate - early failures occur. Typically the manufacturing process has been designed to include a "burn-in" period where these defects are found and the equipment repaired. (Some modern consumer electronics do not seem to have this testing which is why buyers experience DOAs).
Later failures can occur before or after the calculated MTBF depending on patterns of use. Individual components may have differing conditions which will influence when they fail. The calculated MTBF attempts to account for the number of components and their failure liklihood. I cannot remember ever seeing a calculated MTBF for an entire computer system. Probably because no computer manufacturer actually has a parts list and the data for all of the components they use, and because no one has sufficient clout to make them do it.
There might be some data for milspec computers, if anyone still makes milspec machines. To my knowledge milspec computers are always powered on.
Personally, I haven't seen a significant difference between the life of the always-on and the sometimes-on, assuming that the equipment in question is kept reasonably cool. We've had cheap computers in our climate-controlled computer room run for over ten years without problems. We have inexpensive (Via) computers at field sites that regularly power-up, do their thing, and shut off; very few failures there. Good ventilation and good surge protection make a real difference. Avoid cheap power supllies!
One of My low energy light bulbs has been switched on and off about 10 times a day for the past 4 years and still keeps going.....
I don`t leave my Hi Fi, TV or my Video or all the lights in my house on all the time ....nor do I leave my Computer on.
If I did the cost would be quite a big increase, just because someone says my items will last longer if I do so........dosn`t mean it is clever to do so.
The heat and fire risk while out of the house with all those items switched on is not worth the worry or expense.
The same applies wether it is one item on all the time or several items ...switch off safety first...... my home is worth more than a computer fire.
My friend had an office computer smelling of burning one morning, who knows if it would have caught fire or not but I suppose it has happened.
Originally Posted by Lucifers_Ghost
Originally Posted by LOWTECH
I don't pay for hydro, as its included in my rent, so cost is not an issue.
hydro? I must be getting old- so many things wrong with this statement... :P
Fire is indeed possible, I've seen the results twice. One was due to lightning strike, the network card exploded and caught fire. Second fire originated somewhere in the PC, was found by owners within mnutes as the wallpaper started to go.
It is well known among technicians that the most common failure timing is right after turning the PC on. Surge protection and dust removal are important, but the correlation between hitting the power switch and something going "pop" is clear.
The numbers are not based on a few experiences, but drawing from a large database.
As for the energy savings, a PC at rest equals an average lightbulb or two.