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dumb question about pc swtiching on and off


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#1 damindor

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Posted 03 January 2014 - 09:00

Here is a question is it harmfull for a pc to be constatly swithced on and off like several times a day or constantly rebooted over and over




#2 +Chicane-UK

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Posted 03 January 2014 - 09:02

Nope. They're designed to be used in this way. There are arguments that it's more wearing on mechanical hard drives (not SSD's) to regularly go through the power up cycle rather than just being left running but.. given the relatively short lifespan of computers these days anyway before they get upgraded, this is probably not much of a concern. 



#3 rfirth

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Posted 03 January 2014 - 09:15

Is it harmful? Probably. It stresses the hard drive to have it constantly spinning up to thousands of RPMs, then spinning back down. You also have the thermal stress of heating up your computer and cooling it down repeatedly. That's bound to cause some tiny fractures from the differential heating.

 

However, it's probably not worth thinking about.

 

given the relatively short lifespan of computers these days anyway before they get upgraded, this is probably not much of a concern. 

 

Relatively short? I'd say it's relatively long these days. Nobody is rushing out to upgrade like they used to.



#4 +snaphat (Myles Landwehr)

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Posted 03 January 2014 - 19:47

Is it harmful? Probably. It stresses the hard drive to have it constantly spinning up to thousands of RPMs, then spinning back down. You also have the thermal stress of heating up your computer and cooling it down repeatedly. That's bound to cause some tiny fractures from the differential heating.

 

However, it's probably not worth thinking about.

 

 

Relatively short? I'd say it's relatively long these days. Nobody is rushing out to upgrade like they used to.

 

I have never seen any proof that turning computers off/on reduces the life span. I'd generally think that thermal cycling stress is at much larger differentials than what you are going to see in a CPU unless your CPU is running in dangerous temperature ranges. Generally speaking, Silicon itself has a fairly low thermal expansion co-efficient at normal temperatures (and negative co-efficient at vacuum temperatures).



#5 T3X4S

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Posted 04 January 2014 - 08:18

For every person who says that constant rebooting causes damage, there is another person who will say it doesnt.

What I can tell you is I had 2 employees who were going through HDD like crazy (4 HHDs in 4 years) - I knew it wasnt because he was getting bad HDDs - something he was doing was killing those drives.

He would hold down the power button and hard power off the computer everytime he was done working - why ?  who knows - he wasnt very computer literate.

All I can tell you is I saw him do this one day and ASSumed this is the reason for him chewing up HDDs.



#6 Raa

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Posted 04 January 2014 - 08:23

If you're doing a reset without power down - no damage at all

 

If the computer is powering off/on and you have a mechanical hard drive, then you may shorten the drive's lifespan.



#7 Aheer.R.S.

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Posted 04 January 2014 - 08:26

I have 3 hard drives in this machine, it's in the region of 9 or 10 years old, only my C: drive failed, the other 2 still seem to be working fine

Now there may be a shortening of life when using an SSD drive being powered up and down a few times a day, but so fay it's holding up fine too



#8 soldier1st

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Posted 04 January 2014 - 09:56

When you first power on a pc, it initially uses a bit more power, as everything needs a rush of power, but if you have a heat problem, the fans will run faster thus using more power, and excess heat can burn things out faster.  a hard drive has a MTBF(like other things do), but that can change depending on usage. If your gonna be away for a few days, then power down the pc, as then your waisting power for no use. I've had only 1-2 hard drives die in an 8-9 year period on one pc but i kept the pc well cooled & cleaned. A friend once told me " The next time you power down, the pc may not start again". Since i got told that i keep it on, unless i'm not gonna be around for awhile(i used to turn it off every night).

 

T3X4S: If you don't shut down properly or you suddenly lose power, you could fry the hard drive or any other compoenents. Not too long ago a cable tech was doing some work for someone i know and for some weird reason, he unplugged the pc's power cord(it was running at the time and it went poof) and after that, the hard drive was fried(the guy had no reason to touch the pc). He tried to get the cable tech to take responsability and pay for the repairs, but the company said they weren't responsible for the damage(an employee of theres caused it afterall) and the guy lost all his data, luckily i made him a copy of his data so he may have lost 1-2% of the data that he had after i made the backup.



#9 Torolol

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Posted 04 January 2014 - 10:28

in old day there was this PARK program/utils that as its name imply parks the HDD down,
moving the needle into safe zone, and slowing down and eventually stops the HDD plate spinning,
and that rites of using such program were done before finally pushing the power-switch to turn off the computer,
as there no soft-off at that time.

#10 Grunt

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Posted 04 January 2014 - 10:50

If you turn a lightswitch on and off frequently, eventually the lamp will blow.

Every time you turn on something electrical, there is a surge. Constant surges break things that aren't made to handle that microsecond of over-voltage/over-wattage/over-ampage.

 

Obviously, there is electrical mechanics voodoo in place on your PSU, Mobo, and other components to prevent/mitigate damages from this, but nothing is 100%.

 

That's my thoughts on it. I'm not an electrical engineer and I do no design or make the complex electronic devices inside computers, so I may be wrong.



#11 cork1958

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Posted 04 January 2014 - 11:13

As said by Grunt;

 

"If you turn a lightswitch on and off frequently, eventually the lamp will blow.

Every time you turn on something electrical, there is a surge. Constant surges break things that aren't made to handle that microsecond of over-voltage/over-wattage/over-ampage."

 

Dead nuts, right on!!

 

Question is, if you know you're going to be getting back on computer sometime later in the day, why in the world would you want to shut it down? That's what sleep mode is for.

 

I guess if the weather is bad outside and you're afraid of the power going out, I could understand that, as I have done that before myself.



#12 +snaphat (Myles Landwehr)

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Posted 04 January 2014 - 18:33

If you turn a lightswitch on and off frequently, eventually the lamp will blow.

Every time you turn on something electrical, there is a surge. Constant surges break things that aren't made to handle that microsecond of over-voltage/over-wattage/over-ampage.

 

Obviously, there is electrical mechanics voodoo in place on your PSU, Mobo, and other components to prevent/mitigate damages from this, but nothing is 100%.

 

That's my thoughts on it. I'm not an electrical engineer and I do no design or make the complex electronic devices inside computers, so I may be wrong.

 

That's just because incandescence bulbs have a small filament and heat up to 300-400F quickly. The filament gets weaker overtime due to heat stress and thermal expansion and eventually sending a high voltage and current surge through it is going to cause it to break for the reasons rfirth mentioned. This is not analogous to how components on a computer work though. Your mobo/processor is only ever going to see relatively low voltages due to power regulation in the PSU. You get higher temperatures with high load because of high current draw, but the wattage is spread out over a large area compared to a light bulb and temperature deltas (temperature change over time) is in a completely different category altogether as a result. What this means is that you are never going to see a component break because of thermal expansion because you are in ranges where silicon doesn't exhibit much thermal expansion (as I stated in a previous post) and because temperature change is rather slow anyway.

 

Heat stress from running at high temperatures is a different story though. If you aren't running within the temperature junction your components specify then you can always damage the components that way. Heat in general is also well known to affect mean time to failure for components.

 

 

Question is, if you know you're going to be getting back on computer sometime later in the day, why in the world would you want to shut it down? That's what sleep mode is for.

 

I guess if the weather is bad outside and you're afraid of the power going out, I could understand that, as I have done that before myself.

 

Why is entering a sleep state really any different than turning a computer off? All components (including the CPU and HDD) except ram and the circuits used for wake events are power gated (turned off). So if the heat cycling stresses were realistic you'd get them in that scenario also. I mean we are talking about a heat differences of 1-2W vs 65W+.



#13 +shift.

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Posted 04 January 2014 - 18:58

I've pretty much left my computer running 24/7 only having it be restarted or shutdown due to power outages / vacations for the last 5-6 years with no apparent issues.

 

HOWEVER, my parents have done the opposite turning it off every night with also no apparent issues. 

 

Even if there was a possibility of a computer having a shorter life span being turned off or being left on there wouldn't be enough conclusive evidence.