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Turning off computer at night


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#1 fish0

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Posted 17 January 2011 - 11:17 PM

I need to know what type of benefits I would gain if I turned off my computer every night. I don't particularly care about power conservation, and I know the security risks involved. I want to know how it effects the hardware and performance. Will my computer maintain factory speeds longer if I turn it off every night? What's the risk of components like the HDD, power supply etc. failing? And what if my computer is running memory-intensive processes 24/7, will I conserve long-term computer performance by shutting those processes down or turning off the computer completely at night?

I'm interested in details if you are willing to give them.

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#2 Platypus

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Posted 17 January 2011 - 11:50 PM

Long uptime is a potential cause of reduced performance, however it's hard to say whether a daily shutdown would provide any benefit over a longer cycle time - days or weeks. It's an unresolved debate whether component lifetime is likely to be better with continuous operation (reduced temperature cycling, spinup stress on HDDs etc) or reduced operating time (Mean Time Between Failures). However if you are running Windows for example, continuous operation without idle time inhibits some self-optimization features like background HDD defragmentation, and increases memory fragmentation, which isn't a problem in itself but could give some lagging when changing tasks if memory compaction (garbage collection) is triggered.

Other self-optimization that will be missed won't be important if you use extremely long uptimes, such as boot file optimization and prefetch/superfetch strategy never being established or updated. That would just mean that operation mightn't be as snappy on the rare occasions when the system is rebooted and all your usual applications are being loaded up again.

As an example, a friend of mine found his Vista laptop was running very poorly, when I investigated I discovered he had always hibernated it since new, which gave the effect of continual uptime. (It was used in a closed environment that never required any updates of any kind.) When I cold booted it, it went through the out-of-the-box introduction routine! After several reboots and time to do its housekeeping, it was a different machine.

Another potential difficulty that comes to mind is if updates are not installed because the system is never rebooted, but you've mentioned being aware of security risks. However for myself, I doubt if being turned off every single day would give a discernibly different outcome to being rebooted say once or twice a week when it comes to long term performance. But if you try to have far longer uptime like months, I could well see it degrading, although this could also vary according to Operating System.

Edited by Platypus, 17 January 2011 - 11:56 PM.

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#3 fish0

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Posted 18 January 2011 - 12:11 PM

Thank you, that's just what I was looking for.

#4 Allan

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Posted 18 January 2011 - 12:15 PM

There have always been two schools of thought on this. One is that the biggest shock to a system is when you turn it on and electricity surges through the various components. The other is that leaving it on all the time causes unnecessary wear and tear on some components (ie, hd) and of course adds to the electric bill. I know some true experts who never turn off their systems and others who turn it off at close of business every day. Personally, I turn off all systems at the end of the day.

In the end, there is no right or wrong. You decide what your preference is and it will be fine.

#5 Eyesee

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Posted 18 January 2011 - 02:10 PM

Personally I always shut my systems down when they wont be used for an extended period of time ie overnight.
But then again, I'm old school.

Mom used to always harp at me when I was a kid "Turn the lights off when you leave the room." "Shut the TV off when you arent watching it." etc etc
Thats probably why I do it.
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#6 s1lents0ul

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Posted 18 January 2011 - 02:52 PM

I do just like Eyesee, for the same reasons...
==]--s1lents0ul-->

#7 MrBruce1959

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Posted 18 January 2011 - 03:48 PM

Since you requested that the mention of power consumption not be mentioned as the reason, I will leave that out of my assessment.

As most mentioned here already, there is pros and cons to the conclusion we can draw here.

Leaving a computer on 24 hours, 7 days a week, can cause components to break down much sooner.

The electrolytic capacitors located through out the computer can be stressed by prolonged heat exposure, they eventually leak and lose their value rating.

At the same time, when current passes through them each time the computer is started up, a current surge can also stress the component each time the computer is powered up.

Heat is the number one source of component failure, it can affect any component located inside the PSU, the motherboard, hard drive, or optical drives.

Since this is found to be an exact prognosis, keeping the computer on continuously for days on end, subjects the hard ware to prolonged heat stress and in return, causes premature component failure.

If we want to look at this scientifically, and try to come up with a reasonable answer to the question, it is better to cycle the computer off when it is not in use, then it is to keep it running continuously day to day.

The effects of cycling the computer off and on each day, has less bad effects than leaving it running continuously day to day, because the stress is a lot minimal compared to continued heat stress.

Also, when a computer is powered up all the time, the hard drive is active most of this time doing idle processes, this can cause wear on the heads and continued heat stress to the hard drive controller board.


So to conclude my assessment, it is better to cycle the computer off when it will not be used for more than an hour or two.

Bruce.
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#8 Baltboy

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Posted 18 January 2011 - 06:25 PM

For me the bottom line is the rating of the parts versus what it is doing. Most computer parts that wear all have lifetime ratings in hours for continuous usage. Hard drives, capacitors, ssd, and others all have these ratings. If you are doing like you said and it is running something 24/7 like Seti@home then it is worth keeping the computer on all of the time. If it is just setting there idle for ten hours while you are a work then you are wasting valuable hours off of you computers life.

Personally I tend to turn it off now since I don't usually do anything from the time I go to sleep till I get home from work so why leave it on. However when I ran Seti 24/7 on a Win 98 machine it stayed on for well over a year at a time. That computer lasted me like four or five years before I built a new one. I ended up donating it to a local university because they needed a computer that had an ISA slot for a proprietary hardware/software setup. As far as I know it is still in use there. With the exception of the hard drive a computer should last for a good ten to fifteen years (averaging here) if built with quality components and not overclocked. But if you are like me you will be building a new one long before you reach that point! :crazy:
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#9 caperjac

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Posted 18 January 2011 - 07:26 PM

I agee with Bruce.and most other comments
i have owned computers for going on 13 yrs now and always turn them off when not in use ,sometimes 3 or 4 times a day ,and never had one die from doing do

Edited by caperjac, 18 January 2011 - 07:29 PM.

My answers are my opinion only,usually


#10 MrBruce1959

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Posted 20 January 2011 - 07:07 AM

like Seti@home then it is worth keeping the computer on all of the time.


I used to run SETI myself 24/7 on all of my computers, that is until they set up their servers to be off line more than on line and I had to wait two weeks before I received another task to run.

I switched to using Einstein@home for a while because if this, however, I have recently disabled BONIC all together since I spend most of my computer time burning 100s of VHS video Tapes content to DVDs.

Now back to the subject of this thread.

I have to agree with you here Baltboy in your post you made above, in fact, we have all made some very good points in this thread that I have to agree with.

Bruce.

Edited by MrBruce1959, 20 January 2011 - 07:09 AM.

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#11 the_patriot11

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Posted 20 January 2011 - 09:11 AM

I typically shut my computers off any time that Im asleep (at night) or away from the house for extended periods of time. If im home and awake, at the very least my primary system is on and running. The way I look at it-the longer to computer is running the more it is being used, use shortens life span, so shutting it down at night is pretty common place. Back in the day I could see it with the older systems, when circuit boards arent what they are now-when getting hit by power after extended periods of being shut down could feasibly fry them I can see leaving on-but newer systems with modern circuitry its not going to hurt them to shut them off, at all, so if I can extend the life and lower my electric bill then it gets shut off. And, on top of that, Ive never had any computer ever fry from being shut off-even the old ones.

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#12 killerx525

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Posted 20 January 2011 - 07:56 PM

I never leave it on when it is idle because of heat and my mum will pull the power plug out <_< I'm heavy downloader so what i do is set my downloader to shutdown the computer when all downloads are completed which saves me a lot of power and not getting raged by my mum for using to much power because of my laptop.

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#13 the_patriot11

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Posted 20 January 2011 - 08:42 PM

You did tell her that laptop power supplies dont use that much power, heck running my 750 watt in my primary system all day doesnt raise my bill that much lol. But, that being said it is always wise to respect ones parents.

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#14 killerx525

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Posted 20 January 2011 - 09:11 PM

I think in Australia the power usage rates are more expensive. Actually how does a laptop uses? My laptop has a mouse plugged in and a laptop cooler which as 3 fans.

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#15 the_patriot11

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Posted 20 January 2011 - 09:41 PM

Not entirely sure, but not a whole lot, especially low end laptops-I doubt most 15 inch laptops draw more then 300 watts. On the same note, I would definetly recomend a laptop be shut down or hibernated when not in use-and power isnt the reason, they dont have the cooling of a desktop and the chances of them dying a early death from overheating are much higher.

Edited by the_patriot09, 20 January 2011 - 09:42 PM.

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