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What is best for my computer

  1. Mar 31, 2004 #1

    Ivan Seeking

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    For a number of reasons I have always kept my computer [laptop] on, 24 7's. Now I can just as well turn it off at night. I have been told that the number one cause of hardware failures for electronics in general is solder joint failure. Temperature changes help to encourage problems if bad joints are present. Maybe over time and many cycles, temperature changes are highly significant for loose contacts? I assume that leaving the computer on would minimize temperature fluctuations. Next, I suspect that for computers the cooling fans would tend to fail relatively frequently - a function of the on time and a root cause for CPU and power supply failures?

    So, to what extent is the foregoing reasoning true, and in order to achieve the greatest life expectancy should I leave my computer on or turn it off at night?
     
    Last edited: Mar 31, 2004
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  3. Mar 31, 2004 #2

    chroot

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    It probably really doesn't matter anymore. Computers are made well enough these days that it'll just be obsolete before it physically breaks down. Turn it off, or leave it on, it's up to you.

    - Warren
     
  4. Mar 31, 2004 #3

    Ivan Seeking

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    Are you actually saying that I have a choice that is not superseded by the requirements of the hardware? I don't think this has ever happened! :biggrin:
     
  5. Apr 5, 2004 #4
    I think it would be more likely fail due to a component overheating. Also maybe its not so much the fluctuation in temperature that does the damage just the heat drying the solder out making it brittle?
     
    Last edited: Apr 5, 2004
  6. Apr 6, 2004 #5
    Solder joint failure is an issue only with utterly crap manufacturers.
    Switch-on/off event is tough for harddisks and monitors due to sudden changes in currents and thermal change. Hard drives are specially prone to fail during the cooldown. Everything else doesn't really care. Laptops are definitely designed for frequent on-off cycles, and don't get very hot, so don't bother, although I'm not sure about LCD's lifetime. Fans usually don't fail suddenly, they become noisy before that.

    I personally would be most worried about hard disks, as their failures are most troublesome. While at warranty, abuse PC the most (but staying reasonable!), helps to expose weakest parts. After few months go into gentle pet-handling mode.
    Offing for the nighttime still seems safe and reasonable thing to do.
     
  7. Apr 6, 2004 #6

    wolram

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    i know it is a bit of topic, but i work on machines that operate in
    extreme conditions, wet and cold, they can work perfectly OK all
    day, come morning they can be a ***** to get going due to corrosion
    of contacts ,connections etc, but if they are left running they just
    seem to go and go.
     
  8. Apr 6, 2004 #7
    I agree that you don't have to worry about the solder joint issue. Theoretically it does wear down, but not to a significant point that your computer would break down, maybe like after 20 years. More important for laptops are heat issues. It's always best if you have your laptop on some kind of surface where air can flow all around the laptop. I've know a few laptops to burn up their RAM or reboot because the bottom was overheating. But overall if you buy a recent well made laptop you shouldn't have any problems.
     
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