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Old 07-20-2005, 12:53 AM   #1
Registered: Jul 2005
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Power up/down and your (computer's) health

Hello all,

I have another clueless newbie question about prolonging your (computer's) life.

Someone told me that when computer equipment fails, this most often happens (hopefully after a long and useful life) when you power it up for the 1001th time and due to some tiny piece of dust which has gotten into the case and settled somewhere it shouldn't be, the power-up surge arcs and bzzzt! Accordingly, he advised me that leaving the computer on for long periods of time not only will not significantly reduce its shelf life (all other things being equal, which they might not be--- see the "ungrounded outlets" thread), but frequently turning it on and off might be a bad idea.

But while trying to find information about another issue (see the thread on "ungrounded outlets") I cruised to my local electric utilities website, which claims that turning your computer off whenever its not in active use will extend its life. So which is it? Is turning it off after each login session a good idea? What about turning it on/off roughly once per day (or when a lightning storm is approaching--- see the "ungrounded outlets" thread)?
Old 07-20-2005, 01:02 AM   #2
Gay R0b0t
Registered: May 2004
Location: Sydney, Australia
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As far as I could gather:
- leaving your computer on too much will cause the machine to wear out faster, due excessive constant componant use.
- turning your computer on and off to freqently can also be an issue, but it is to do with cooling. As your pc cools, the metal hardware will contract (expands while heating up) and every time you pc heats and cools the metal expands and contracts which can cause cracks to develop and damage to occur.

So the answer is, leave it on if you are only going to be away from it for an hour or two, but if its any longer i suggest shutting down. Either way, its entirely up to your usage patterns and hardware life requirments. Will the electricity bill of leaving it on be larger than the amount you save from squeezing all the life out of your hardware?
Old 07-20-2005, 01:31 AM   #3
Registered: Jul 2005
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Who cares about long computer life? The thing will be obsolete junk in a year or two at most. Here in the swamp, computers rarely go more than 6 months or so without some kind of major upgrade/rebuild or total replacement. Everything here is for sale.

At the speed computer technology advances, you must surf or die. If you want to keep up at all, you gotta be constantly selling off parts or whole machines to (partially) pay for buying newer parts or machines.

If you keep anything too long, you can't even give it away. Don't get attached to that stuff. Sell it quickly, while it's still worth something, and buy new(er) parts.

It's best to have a crazy friend with too much money that likes to surf at the bleeding front edge of the wave. That way you can buy his used parts, which at that point will be still quite new and cool, but not stupidly expensive anymore. This is my situation

I've found that by selling stuff fairly soon, I can usually recover around 2/3 or better of the cost of newer, more advanced parts.


I used to leave my boxes on 24/7, but found that fans die prematurely and the box collects too much dust inside. These newer machines move a LOT of air thru the box to keep cool. Air comes with dust. You gotta open em up and clean em often.
Old 07-20-2005, 03:36 AM   #4
Registered: Feb 2004
Location: Southampton, England
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Originally posted by futz
It's best to have a crazy friend with too much money that likes to surf at the bleeding front edge of the wave. That way you can buy his used parts, which at that point will be still quite new and cool, but not stupidly expensive anymore. This is my situation
Too true!!! that's how I got my 3200+ Athlon 64, mobo and 1GB RAM for 100!!!
Old 07-20-2005, 06:20 PM   #5
Registered: Jul 2005
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Er, thanks, guys, but I want answers to the questions I asked.

I don't have money or time to burn (or rich friends) and my goal is to make my present equipment last as long as I do (maybe a few years, OK?). Not everyone is young and healthy, blah, blah, blah, but ill people might want to stay connected also.


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