Tech talk October 2014

R_JN14_laptopPower ON or Power Off ?

I often get asked about whether to leave the computer on or turn it off at the end of each day.

There are many views on this subject and most all of them have valid points. Some believe that leaving a computer on will wear out components much faster while others believe that shutting a computer down each day does more harm.

The 2 mains points to consider here are: –

  1.  Power use
  2. Component longevity

Power use

Typically a computer desktop system would be using around 200 watts of power an hour – that’s 4.8 Kwh a day if you leave your computer on 24/7. With a typically power cost of 26 cents per kWh of (before discounts etc.) you are looking at $1.25 per day on average or $36 dollars a month. Laptops generally use less power than desktops and on both sleep/hibernation settings also play a big part in power use.

Component Longevity

Mechanical hard drives are the main concern here. When your computer is turned on the hard drive will experience a surge of electricity that will spin its platter to a speed of approximately 10,000 rpm. In theory the more times you do this the greater chance there is of failure but I feel you’re more likely to lose your hard drive due to power spikes/lags than by turning it on/off and having in on 24×7 offers a greater chance of that happening.

Final thought, there isn’t a right or wrong choice here…..if your computer is a long term item and power use/cost is important I would switch it off when it’s not going to be used for an extended period (overnight etc.). If you turn over your computer within its warranty period and are not concerned with the cost of power then by all means leave your computer running 24/7 if you so desire.

As always good backups are critical to ensure you can recover from any component failure.

By Michael Ludlam