View Poll Results: I restart my PC

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  • Once per day

    75 46.58%
  • Once per week

    23 14.29%
  • Once per month

    7 4.35%
  • Once per year

    0 0%
  • Only for maintenance

    56 34.78%
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Thread: Do you keep your PC on 24/7 ?

  1. #61
    Join Date
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    Ubuntu 13.04 Raring Ringtail

    Re: Do you keep your PC on 24/7 ?

    Quote Originally Posted by 1clue View Post
    OK serious question to the first person I've come into contact with who can probably give a reliable answer:

    What is an expected time line here? If I shut down every night and wake it up every day, 365 days a year, how many years before I have a significant risk of hardware failure? I'm guessing that the lifespan we're talking about is larger than my desire to have the computer.

    And is it different for a laptop or desktop?
    Lots of variables there, so there's no definitive answer. You're talking about a lot of different components, all with different failure modes. Sorry if that sounds like a vague answer, but it really isn't straightforward. The failure of one type of component will be largely independent of the other components.

    If you're really keen, you'll need to check out studies of large samples of the various components. I know Google published some interesting stuff about hard drive failures in their data centres a while back, it's public domain but if you've got access to academic libraries they'll be the best places to get data.

    You can get a (very) rough idea of how long something will last from things like MTBF (mean time between failure) numbers. Use these with a LARGE pinch of salt. An MTBF will the amount of time at which 50% of a sample will have been expected to fail, and often will be the manufacturer's predicted figure rather than the observed one. Also, in the real world it's not a linear scale, things in general follow what's called a bathtub curve:


    Every component will have it's own particular curve. As you can see taking a mean of this curve doesn't give a particularly useful number. You'll normally have a high rate of failure for new stuff (which is why you get a warranty), but then after things bed in reliability improves (which is why buying refurbished or ex-warranty gear is a fantastic idea, you get more reliable kit for half the price!). Then once stuff gets totally thrashed out the failure rate goes up again. I'd expect to see mechanical devices with moving parts follow a more predictable pattern, so that means optical and hard drives. Fans are reasonably reliable these days, because the bearings have got a lot better. But in general it'll be hard drives, optical drives and PSUs that go first. You may also see electronic bits like RAM go within a couple of years if you don't follow proper ESD procedure installing and handling them.

    Whether it's better for reliability to shut down or leave on? Hard to say, because the two things effect different stuff in different ways. Some components are going to fail due to number of hours running, some are more likely to fail to to thermal cycles or start/stop cycles. Extremes of either behaviour will probably hurt reliability. Shutting down once a day is well within expected use patterns though, so don't worry about that. It's been designed to give you a good couple of years under those use conditions, minimum.

    As for laptop vs desktop, I would expect a desktop to be hugely more reliable. They're better cooled and not bashed around as much. I work in an engineering environment and our laptops are knackered within about a year tops, while our desktops keep on trucking.
    Last edited by Paqman; September 3rd, 2012 at 08:45 AM.

  2. #62
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
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    Florida, USA
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    132

    Re: Do you keep your PC on 24/7 ?

    In my own house, paying an electric bill and such, I usually put it in Suspend at bedtime unless I'm doing one of the following:

    • Defragmenting my NTFS volumes in Windows
    • Going through a really slow download
    • Anything else that could take a couple hours without needing my attention


    The only reason I did that was to keep my electric bill down. Big desktop power supplies do eat up electricity.

    Now, in a college dorm room (where I'm at now), or in a house where the electric bill is part if my rent and thus have same rate no matter how much electricity I use, I leave it on all the time unless I'm switching OS's. My computer has an excellent air-cooled cooling system, and it never runs hot, no matter how much I'm pushing the system
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  3. #63
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
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    996
    Distro
    Ubuntu 12.04 Precise Pangolin

    Re: Do you keep your PC on 24/7 ?

    Quote Originally Posted by 2XL View Post
    I build my machines for maximum performance and expect as such. Also, my PC is in use pretty much all day every single day, either by me personally or I'll have it doing a task. And when it's not in use, I like it at the ready all the time because I'm very ad-hoc with my usage. With no sleep pattern or time commitments I use my system at literally any time of the day or night.
    Still does not explain why you wouldn't use suspend. It comes fast rather quickly. I take more time typing password to unblock the screen than in returning from sleeping. I mean, there is always the claims about thermal shock reducing expected life, but this is the first time it is as extreme as reducing the life to 6 months.
    And lastly, the amount of times I have lost hardware due to turning on and off a PC is ridiculous.
    No disagreement there.

    My parents' PC has lasted about a decade and it is turned off and on without much issue. My old PC is currently a decade old and still in use by a cousin of mine. My current PC is newer. To be honest this is the first time I hear of PCs having failures after 6 months of getting turned on and off.
    Last edited by vexorian; September 3rd, 2012 at 09:08 PM.
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  4. #64
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    Mar 2009
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    Re: Do you keep your PC on 24/7 ?

    @Paqman,

    Thanks for the explanation. I know just enough about it to realize your explanation is probably about as simple as it will get. What you basically said is that both sides of that argument are right, as long as you're sane about it and don't get too extreme with either uptime or frequent reboots.
    Help stamp out MBR partition tables. Use GPT instead!

  5. #65
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
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    Ubuntu Development Release

    Re: Do you keep your PC on 24/7 ?

    Quote Originally Posted by IWantFroyo View Post
    I turn on my computers to use them. I turn them off when I'm done.

    I do it simply because I have no reason to keep them on, and when I do, the electricity bill is a nuisance.
    Dittos!

    The same applies to my Bunn coffee maker. It's designed to run 24/7. but...
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  6. #66
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    Aug 2009
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    Ubuntu 10.04 Lucid Lynx

    Re: Do you keep your PC on 24/7 ?

    I tend to update my pc's once a month and thusly reboot them once a month [so I never actually shut them down].

    My Android phone I reboot once a week tho, because it tends to hang up on things that you can't fix with just a reboot. [it being awake for instance]
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  7. #67
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    Jun 2005
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    Re: Do you keep your PC on 24/7 ?

    Poll answer didnt really fit the poll question. IMHO

    I tend to keep mine on all weekend and while I am at home during the week. Reason being all my maintance is scheduled for around 3am throughout the week. However since I do lower my AC (raise temp up) to cut cooling cost while we are at work 9 hours a day. I now find myself shutting my PC down during those times unless I am downloading something huge. So basicly if I am home, its on. If I am not, its not. I dont like shutting down and restarting the PC alot. I always been told the power surge on startup damamges the circuts over time. I dont know how true or false that is, but it made since to me. So I try to avoid needless boots and reboots. But if booting one up 5 or 6 times a week damamges one then there are other issues involved IMHO..

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  8. #68
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
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    Ubuntu 13.04 Raring Ringtail

    Re: Do you keep your PC on 24/7 ?

    Quote Originally Posted by Bandit View Post
    I always been told the power surge on startup damamges the circuts over time.
    Not so much a "power surge", but the thermal strain caused by going from cold to hot (or hot to cold) does mechanically stress all the solder joints. However, normal operating temperature for solder is a sizeable percentage of melting temperature, which means it degrades by being left running too. Semiconductors also rely on some quite oddball structural features at a microscoping level, and these will break down over time. Nature is cruel like that.

    So some failure modes are dependent on on/off cycles, and some on number of run-hours.

    Bottom line: you're damned if you do, and damned if you don't. I would say don't sweat too much about number of start/stop cycles from a reliability point of view. Other factors like the temperature you run it at will make much more difference IMO. Electronics hate being hot.

  9. #69
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    Re: Do you keep your PC on 24/7 ?

    Spinning up is one of the more damaging things for rotating parts because they are undergoing rotational acceleration.
    Magnetic hard drives are the most susceptible to this type of damage because the drive plates are heavy and fragile.
    Motors are also under the highest electrical load during spin up which can damage their electrical components.
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  10. #70
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    Re: Do you keep your PC on 24/7 ?

    Quote Originally Posted by Paqman View Post
    Not so much a "power surge", but the thermal strain caused by going from cold to hot (or hot to cold) does mechanically stress all the solder joints. However, normal operating temperature for solder is a sizeable percentage of melting temperature, which means it degrades by being left running too. Semiconductors also rely on some quite oddball structural features at a microscoping level, and these will break down over time. Nature is cruel like that.

    So some failure modes are dependent on on/off cycles, and some on number of run-hours.

    Bottom line: you're damned if you do, and damned if you don't. I would say don't sweat too much about number of start/stop cycles from a reliability point of view. Other factors like the temperature you run it at will make much more difference IMO. Electronics hate being hot.
    Good Info..

    I got my system nice and chilly.. Strangley the CPU is at 30c and the mobo is 32c?
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