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Leave computer On Or Turn it Off?


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#1 tiverty

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Posted 03 January 2007 - 03:34 PM

Well the title pretty much summs it up, leave your computer on or turn it off when you are not using it. I can think of two things for each:

Leave on: Computer could wear itself out?

Turn off: The small mechanical metal peices in the computer when hot expand and when cold contract, so if you turn your computer on and off the peices would wear itself out.

so which is it? Both seem to wear out the computer, if thats the case, which is best? :thumbsup:


Moved from the XP Forum. ~acklan~

Edited by acklan, 03 January 2007 - 03:45 PM.


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#2 acklan

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Posted 03 January 2007 - 03:48 PM

Yep this is one of those old horses that never seems to die.
I have 3 computers that, except for moving twice and the occasional reboot, have been on since '99. I have several other that are turned off regularly. I see no real difference.
The newer computers may change that though. They build up so much heat, it could be a problem.
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#3 resp

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Posted 03 January 2007 - 03:49 PM

Leaving it on 24/7 365 days a year will wear the parts out faster than turning them off can, and while your parts may be semi hot, they're definitly not cooling THAT fast to snap them at any time

If your vid card runs at say.. 70║C and your room is at say 20. If you turn off your computer once everything has slowly and safely shut down, Its not like your card is going from 70 to 20 in 3 seconds, It'll take its time to cool off, as that's the way convection works, (right term? *shrug*)

There is no way that any part in your computer cools Fast enough to create cracks.. Unless you're like me, And have your window open 90% of the year, In canada, where nights hit -20... But even then, I have my case open all the time..kind of cracked my glass on my siding after having it off too long, so yea...

If you were to say
leave it on everyday, every hour, every minute, Without restarting once..first you're going to notice a degradation in performance, as well, the memory has never had a chance to reset itself, and everythings clogging up, So you're machine is going to get slower,

Second thing that'll happen is your parts will start heating up more and more, To the point of where something WILL snap
even if you have a semi cool room that you have it in, or an openly vented area, if your have your case closed as 95% of users do, inside there, is getting a hell of a lot faster than outside area, So your parts will in effect wear themselves out completely

up to you, shutting down doesn't do as much harm as you may think

#4 cohrt

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Posted 03 January 2007 - 07:45 PM

Not using the computer or laptop even for relative a short span of time (15 min.), close it.
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#5 protozero

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Posted 03 January 2007 - 08:16 PM

All you guys have some pretty good points. I find my computer runs much better after turning it off. And my computer doesn't usually go over 40C. And there's another thing you should consider, how much electricity you're wasting, unless your computer has hibernation mode. But I find if I'm going to bed or out for a few hours and nothing's running on my bit-torrent I turn it off.

I've also read something that it's a bit stressful turning your processor on and off and that it can handle long term operations, but I don't remeber that article and don't find it true.
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#6 1101doc

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Posted 04 January 2007 - 02:11 AM

And XP likes boots anyway...
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#7 Wildabeast

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Posted 04 January 2007 - 03:33 AM

A few years ago, I use to leave my puter on and it seemed like I needed to defrag a lot more often. Now I turn it off when ever I leave it and my defrags don't come around as often. :thumbsup:
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#8 TheTerrorist_75

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Posted 04 January 2007 - 05:22 PM

Mine gets turned off when it is not going to be used for the rest of the day or I leave the house. I am now a firm believer in this due to watching my power supply turn into a plasma cutter a couple of weeks ago. The flames scorched my printer and started some papers on fire. If I hadn't been sitting next to it and quickly pulled the plug things could have turned ugly.
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#9 acklan

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Posted 04 January 2007 - 05:55 PM

:thumbsup: Oh my!
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#10 dc3

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Posted 05 January 2007 - 01:51 AM

Most computers when left alone will either hibernate or go to standby mode and there are problems related to both of those with long term use. Both can produce slow response times, system instability, even the loss of data. The University of Minnesota Law school has a laptop program that suggest that if you are not going to be using the computer to shut it down. By the same token, your utility companies and many business's have computers running 24/7.

As for computers wearing out, some components in the computer like hard drives, optical drives, and fans will wear out if for no other reason than hysteresis. But other than capacitors that will eventually experience a dielectric breakdown most other board level components will last for decades. Most board level components failures are voltage or heat related. Those of you who overclock know first hand about these issues.

Another issue that was brought up are thermal cycles, turning it on and off does cause thermal cycles, this is thermal-hysteresis. This does occur, but extremely slowly in most cases, we're talking about years with electronic components, overclocking is a good example of the deviation from the norm. I suspect that you would be hard pressed to find an appliance in your house that doesn't have a quiescent voltage running circuitry so that the start ups are shorter, these also help reduce thermal cycles.

My opinion on this...it's a coin toss.

Edited by dc3, 05 January 2007 - 01:52 AM.

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#11 Lilchef

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Posted 05 January 2007 - 05:06 AM

When you first turn on a PC there is a surge of electric that causes wear to the parts.

Having said that I always turn mine of when not in use to save on electric bills :thumbsup:

#12 Archer-of-Death

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Posted 05 January 2007 - 08:37 AM

I turn mine off as much as I can to go do stuff. Mostly because my 4600+ lags from heat because of the heatsink.

#13 usasma

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Posted 05 January 2007 - 11:05 AM

We've got 8 computers at home now - with at least 2 that stay on 24 hours a day. I've seen no appreciable difference in the repair rates between them.

The most significant thing that I've noticed is that my systems break more often than the rest of the families! I attribute this to my incessant fooling around with the hardware.
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#14 dc3

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Posted 06 January 2007 - 01:43 AM

When you first turn on a PC there is a surge of electric that causes wear to the parts.


Any electircal surge that your computer experiences when you turn it on is extremely short and insignificant.

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#15 ToDrag

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Posted 06 January 2007 - 05:02 AM

True: an age-old question.
A long, long time ago in a galaxy far, far away (actually it was a bulletin board in '92 or so) I read someone who said the when you turn on a computer, an electrical charge would leave a very slight film on the hard drive. A few years later, with the onset of Symantec (sp?) I read the same thing and that running 'scandisk' would clean it off.
Since then I have read again of this mysterious film, and that 'defrag' would also help eliminate it.
It could also be a lot of nonsense, I really don't know, but it is interesting.
I have a desktop and two laps and they stay on unless there is a good reason to turn them off. This has been my practice in my 23 years of using and owning PCs. For what that is worth. good day!
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