Hey guys, kind of a weird question Im asking but I am wonder/considering running my system 24/7. I realize this may not be a question that requires advice but Im wondering if there are any downsides, I've heard that most HDD wear and tear is from starting up so Im wondering if this may help, also temperature has never been a problem for me so that's not a big deal.
Intel® Core™2 Duo Processor E8400 3.0Ghz/ Cooler Master Hyper 212+
Evga Geforce GTX 460 EE 1gb
Intel DG43GT M-ATX Mobo
Kingston 4GB DDR-2 800mhz
Corsair 750W PSU
Windows 7 Pro 64bit
Components like the PSU and CPU, Memory, Motherboard all have a limited lifespan. And by running your PC 24/7 it can shorten the lifespan. But in all honesty, if you aren't OCing(or specifically giving extra volts) the components won't fail while the hardware is relevant. Also since it's a quality PSU, it will probably last long enough to outlive it's use as well.
I tend to agree, other than power consumption the most problems I've ever has is starting computers. Power switches are notorious for giving out after a number of cycles on and off which of course you can avoid by hooking them up to a power strip and using that to power on and off all your parts. What I did was get something like this:
Now mine is actually a square box that my monitor sits on top of and has a label for Computer/Monitor/Printer/speakers/Accessory 1/2/3 etc and I just power on what I use. For instance my comp is set to hibernate so I leave the computer power on all the time, the monitor I will switch off or set for sleep after 1 hour and the rest like speakers/printer I will only turn on when needed.
Heard of a guy who didn't turn off the computer for like 2 years straight, and the first time that he ever did, it crashed. Electronics is a funny business, some may work like forever and some barely make the first test, despite they being made exactly copies of each other.
Mechanical stuff like HDs and fans will wear out eventually. In my experience the less they are on the longer they last. Electricity is expensive enough on the east cost that my computer costs 5 cents per hour to leave on in a non low power state, that does not sound like much but it adds up to $36 bucks a month. I recommend turning it off or putting it to sleep when not using it.
That being said running it 24/7 should be fine and should not in itself cause a failure. As always be sure to check the fans for dust build up once in a while and you should be fine.
Most electronic components have their lifetimes limited by On / Off cycles rather than continuous run times. This is primarily due to continuous thermal cycling which causes all those tiny little wires on all those components to expand and contract. My desktops are never turned off. My home server has been running 24/7 since 1999 with only two shut downs to swap out HD's every5 years. That doesn't mean they don't thermal cycle ..... cycling from full use / power to sleep mode also causes thermal cycling but as the heat swing is far smaller, the impact is far less.
This is one of the issues with laptops .... the thermal cycling, bouncing around and extra heat from their small form factor combine to make an even bet that the thing won't outlast the 3 year warranty period.
In the end, I don't think the impact is that great either way in the desktop environment as long as the thing doesn't oft get below room temperature. Yes, the one that experiences the greater cycling will likely drop dead faster but for the most part, consumer electronics should make it to their 3 year warranty. However, when a vendor offers less than the industry standard warranty, I'd avoid that component like the proverbial plague.
Our supplier at work used to tell us that most of his service calls for repairing PC's were at his customers that turned their machines off every day. He said that the people that run them continuously had fewer problems.
In my own experience I've not had many problems either way, except for one machine that I left on continuously at home and it had bearing and fan problems, and CRT monitor problems.
For the past 10 years my company has run our computers 24/7. In the 4 years or more that we keep a single computer running we have had very few problems. We've had some hard drives fail, but other than that we have only had to replace one failed power supply. We need access to our computers on weekends and at all hours of the day so that is why we run them continuously.
At home I have decided not to run my computer continuously, mostly for noise/heat/electricity concerns. My strategy is to turn the computer on when I need to use it, and leave it on until I'm certain that I won't need it again later that day, then turn it off.
When you turn on a computer, all the components heat up, causing them to slightly expand from the heat. When you turn it off, they cool down, and contract. Cycling off and on over time causes them to expand and contract over and over, which MIGHT cause solder joints and other things to eventually crack or fail. Ever seen an old concrete highway? The sun/snow cause that.
Other point of view:
As others said, there is a limited lifetime to each component, turning your computer off when not in use extends life, etc etc.
Everyone has their opinion, no one knows for sure. Go with whatever you want. Save electricity by turning it off. Leave it on all the time. Either way.
Also, there are tons of projects that can use your computing power for useful stuff when you are not using it. Folding@home is the one I use. There are others.