Is your computer on/off when your not using it?

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67GTA
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Is your computer on/off when your not using it?

Post by 67GTA » Fri May 30, 2008 9:27 pm

I have always wondered if it was best to leave a computer on or off when it's not being used. Is there any hard proof that one or the other is best? I have heard arguments from both sides. Some say that when a computer isn't turned off, that it prematurely wears out the components. Others say that the constant start up is worse. I leave my desktop on constantly, and use a screensaver. My laptop gets shutdown when it's not in use, simply because of the battery. I would really like to know everyone's opinion on this.
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Re: Is your computer on/off when your not using it?

Post by ed@Mint » Fri May 30, 2008 9:45 pm

Well... I personnally turn off my computers for the simple reason that i sleep in the same room of my desktop and it makes too much noise.. :lol:
But i wouldn't mind letting i run all night long, especially because with my ISP my downloads count for 50% during the night, so if i download 6Gb of stuff betwen 12pm and 7am, it will only count as 3Gb for my monthly quota.
Concerning my laptop, i turn it off because i don't download with it.

You could just turn the monitor off during the night instead of using a screensaver...

Concerning the hardware, well, unless you have 12 hours night sleeps, it shouldn't make such a big difference... :lol:
As there is an additional use time per day, i would think the lifetime may be slightly shortened.
But most people replace their hardware before it really breaks down anyway...
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Re: Is your computer on/off when your not using it?

Post by rivenought » Fri May 30, 2008 9:49 pm

My main desktop computer is rarely ever turned off. I do turn the monitor off when the system is not to be used for extended periods of time.

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Re: Is your computer on/off when your not using it?

Post by miket » Sat May 31, 2008 5:30 am

Hi !
67GTA wrote:I have always wondered if it was best to leave a computer on or off when it's not being used. Is there any hard proof that one or the other is best? I have heard arguments from both sides. Some say that when a computer isn't turned off, that it prematurely wears out the components. Others say that the constant start up is worse. I leave my desktop on constantly, and use a screensaver. My laptop gets shutdown when it's not in use, simply because of the battery. I would really like to know everyone's opinion on this.
This is an interesting question.

When I worked on the London stock exchange we found that the machines that were left on 24/7/365 never seemed to have any H/W faults, however
the machines that were turned "off" at the end of each day's trading had no end of H/W faults at startup time, this was mainly down to the initial surge
when being switched on. Things like PSUs, screens, motherboards, memory and even hard drives would just give up at switch on.

Then there is the "green" argument, unnecesssary power consumption etc etc ....

Mike.

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Re: Is your computer on/off when your not using it?

Post by Ookami » Sat May 31, 2008 11:45 am

Well, either way the argument goes, I leave my computer on unless there's a specific reason to turn it off. It doesn't use a horrendous amount of power, and I know my hard drive is already a little faulty from improper startups, but I really should try harder to be more green. When I grow up I might get one of those special mini wind turbines you can connect to your house, and run my computer solely off that.
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Re: Is your computer on/off when your not using it?

Post by rivenought » Sat May 31, 2008 1:17 pm

In my custom-built desktop systems, I only use the 80+ Seasonic power supplies. They are quieter and are really super-efficient. While not dark green, I am trying to be light green, at least.

Ookami, I have seen both solar panels and wind turbines for powering a laptop. From what I could gather, they do work, tlthough they are a tad expensive.

There was an article in a recreational vehicle magazine a year or three back that showed a laptop plugged into a 12v automotive outlet. That RV (caravan?) power system was hooked into a solar array and a wind turbine. The lights, fans, entertainment system, and computer were all powered by batteries that were charged by alternative energy.

I am subject to use my main computer at any given time during the day or night, so that is why mine stays powered up. I did read about spin-up and spin-down cycles on hard drives. Mine just spins.

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Re: Is your computer on/off when your not using it?

Post by xvedejas » Sat May 31, 2008 3:31 pm

I'm pretty violent with my computer's power... I turn it off several times a day, and often by just turning off the power supply (I'm too impatient...) but it's been a year and with no sign of damage, so I'm fine.

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Re: Is your computer on/off when your not using it?

Post by choupique » Wed Sep 17, 2008 10:52 am

I leave my build on 24/7 - recent hurricanes just broke several months straight :(

I always did turn my computers off. But that changed with my newly built current PC. During this build, silence and low power came first(antec cases are great!), and running linux with new cool running amd cpu helps a lot. 80+ psu helps also. I set linux to auto power down the widescreen monitor after a couple hours saving some power.

I use the computer as the family's music stereo, DVD player, weather station, back-up television, and it even makes a really good alarm clock in the morning. When not at work, the computer is used by my children (all their textbooks are online now) and wife checks email/surfs often as well. Turning the PC "OFF" is not an option anymore. :D
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Re: Is your computer on/off when your not using it?

Post by curt_grymala » Wed Sep 17, 2008 8:10 pm

Another thing to consider is the OS you're using while you're leaving your computer running constantly.

With Linux, it's rarely an issue to leave your computer running for months on end. However, Windows really can suffer seriously if you don't actually shut it down every once in a while (not just a restart, but an actual shutdown). That, coupled with the fact that Windows requires you to shut down your computer (or at least restart) with almost every update it tries to install, makes it difficult to leave a Windows box running constantly.

Generally, however, unless I have a specific reason for shutting off my computer (imminent thunderstorm, people coming over that I don't want messing with my computer, etc.), I leave it running most of the time, whether I'm in Windows or Linux. Usually, other than the reasons mentioned above, the only reason my computer stops running is to restart into an alternate OS.

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Re: Is your computer on/off when your not using it?

Post by sputty01 » Sat Sep 20, 2008 9:04 pm

Im agreed with AvanceIT here, I think theres fairly common knowledge amongst anyone who has spent a long time around large numbers of computers that leaving your computer on 24/7 actually improves the lifespan of hardware components, by turning it off and on frequently the internals expand and contract with the changes in temperature causing more ware than leaving it turned on... obviously your going to be killing more trees and all that stuff and they are designed to be turned on/off so its not like its THAT bad for it, but just for comparisons sake :)

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Re: Is your computer on/off when your not using it?

Post by sputty01 » Sat Sep 20, 2008 9:11 pm

xvedejas wrote:I'm pretty violent with my computer's power... I turn it off several times a day, and often by just turning off the power supply (I'm too impatient...) but it's been a year and with no sign of damage, so I'm fine.
Id be careful with that, switching it off at the power supply causes some serious wear on the hard drive assembly, it causes the heads to snap back rather than perform a smooth spin down cycle, potentially cutting its life to around 2/3 years... depending of the make/model of course.

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Re: Is your computer on/off when your not using it?

Post by exploder » Sun Sep 21, 2008 11:22 am

I leave my main machine on all day but I shut it off at night when I go to sleep. Hardware is more likely to fail when the system is first powered on. When I worked at New Venture Gear, my pc was always left on. My work pc ran like that for three years strait. We had servers that had been running for five and six years without being rebooted. The server room was kept at a constant 60 degrees Fahrenheit and the vents were directly under the server cabinets. We also had filtered air, so there was very little dust to deal with.

The computer room in my house gets warm sometimes and I have to consider the cost of electricity. I have the screensaver set for ten minutes and the power save feature set to turn the monitor off after 20 minutes. I do not have filtered air at home either. Dust and heat have quite an impact on components. I blow out my computers every four months.

It is my opinion that if you have control over the environment where your computer is, that it is best to leave it on. I have a pc right now that my Wife brought home from work, it was out on the manufacturing floor and left on for at least five years! It was the greasiest, dirtiest machine I have ever seen in my life! The machine failed and her company replaced it. After a few hours of cleaning I got the thing running again! I had to use scotch brite to clean the case! The thing that kept this machine going was that it only had a rear case fan that pulled air over a very custom designed heat sink. The machine was designed to survive in a harsh environment. A typical home pc could never have survived the amount of oil and dirt I found.

I think that laptops should be turned off when not in use. Laptops get hot and no one wants to take them apart to clean them very often, at least I don't. My Wife destroyed a fairly expensive laptop by leaving it on all of the time. She ruined the I/O controller on the mainboard and the cost to replace the board is almost as much as just buying a new laptop.

Just my thoughts on this subject.

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Re: Is your computer on/off when your not using it?

Post by ridler2013 » Tue Dec 02, 2008 9:29 am

I turn it off when I go to bed... Even if it's a machine it also need a time off so you can use it for longer period of time... And of course you need to care of it! :D

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Re: Is your computer on/off when your not using it?

Post by phil » Tue Dec 02, 2008 11:37 am

My computers are shut down when not in use.

I run several computers for business use. The two most used are an AMD Athlon 64 3000 (35W) and a Sempron 64 3000 (45W) with Cool 'n Quiet enabled so they run 90% of the time at 1000 MHz. Prior to using these processors I under-clocked the processors. Power in Belize is quite expensive and full of transients (each computer has a UPS). I have studied the shutting off vs continuous running for several years. Moderately rated (not gaming kind) computers shut down often do not seem to suffer much if at all compared to those left on. Some of the hard drives I have been running are 10 years old and most hard drives failures I have experienced were a result of worn out bearings. The only cpu failures I have had for many years have been the result of dust accumulation in the heat sinks or fan failures. The only power supply problems I have had were caused by failed fans.

I now follow the practice of using only mid-tower cases with at least two case fan, hard drives directly in the flow of air from the fans and spaced one drive space apart and gpus with the very large heat sinks without fans. And I have the temperature of both cpu and gpu showing on the desktop panel. None of my computers draw more than 100 W of power. I run case fans at low speed by re-connecting them to 5V instead of 12V thus decreasing noise without much decrease of air volume.

I am located in the tropics near the sea coast where the ambient temperature in the computer room averages 26 degrees C. and the humidity rarely goes below 60% . Dust from mowing grass is a serious problem because with windows open it gets into the computer area.

All data files are backed up constantly as projects are worked on. No data has been lost since 1982 when I first started using stored computer files instead of paper backup.

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Re: Is your computer on/off when your not using it?

Post by MALsPa » Tue Dec 02, 2008 12:55 pm

I leave mine on except for when I leave for work or when I'm going to be away from home for more than a few hours. And I leave it on overnight because it's common for me to get up in the middle of the night and go straight to the computer. :)

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Re: Is your computer on/off when your not using it?

Post by Zwopper » Tue Dec 02, 2008 1:23 pm

My main computer, my Fujitsu Siemens Lifebook T4215 is on 24/7 if inspiration strikes in the middle of the night, and it acts as an mp3 player during the night - headphones of course so my wife can sleep! :wink:
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Re: Is your computer on/off when your not using it?

Post by kenetics » Tue Dec 02, 2008 3:14 pm

We have 6 computers on our home network. If we left them all on at night my power bill would be a lot higher. I have never had a hard drive failure at home and we always turn off our computers. We live in the lightning capital of the US and I feel it is safer to turn them off. I would also worry about fan failure and the extra accumulation of dust if they ran all night. Besides, if my computers don't get at least 7 hours of sleep at night, they get awfully grumpy. :mrgreen:
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Re: Is your computer on/off when your not using it?

Post by muttonhunter » Tue Dec 02, 2008 10:43 pm

Most of my hardware failures have been at startup, so I prefer to leave mine on 24/7,except for lightning storms and rebooting after changing some hardware. Luckily my electric bill is included in my reasonable rent.
I'm ok with running two boxes 24/7 because I have them Folding@home day and night.
since both my elderly parent suffer alzheimers i feel like i am doing something useful with my computer, also learning to set up folding was a good learning process for me.

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Re: Is your computer on/off when your not using it?

Post by timh » Fri Dec 05, 2008 2:18 pm

@ night I turn the monitor off but ‘transmission’ has a lot to do so the machine is running all night long and its also my jukebox. :D
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Re: Is your computer on/off when your not using it?

Post by GoustiFruit » Sat Dec 06, 2008 8:53 am

I usually turn it off when I expect not to use it for more than one hour. Else I keep it on, and only turn the monitor off if for example I need to seed. My machine is almost 4 years old, been started/stopped/rebooted at least once a day since the beginning and never had any HW problem with it.

For a possible future computer, reasons to keep it on:
- quiet enough (passive cooling)
- low power consumption

Reasons to shut it down when not in use:
- faster boot (hopefully we'll see real-live machines booting in less than 5s)

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