Leave on 24/7?

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by tony3d, Jul 10, 2012.

  1. tony3d macrumors 6502

    Apr 6, 2006
    Is it best to keep your computer running 24/7? A friend of mine at Fermi Labs swears by it. He clams server grade workstations are designed to run 24/7. He said he hasn't had any problem for 2.5 years. He claims the surge from flicking the power switch puts far more stress on componets, and hard drives, than just letting it run. He is an engineer in digital electronics at Fermi. What do you say?
  2. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere


    May 16, 2008
    It's perfectly fine. There are dozens of "sleep or shutdown" threads where you'll find many Mac users run months at a time without shutting down.

    Should I sleep or shut down when I'm away?
    If you guys always sleep and never shut down...
    MacBook Pro: Sleep or Shut Down?
    Is it 'bad' to never shut an iMac down, but instead sleep it?
    Do you shut down or sleep your MBA?
  3. mobilehaathi macrumors G3


    Aug 19, 2008
    The Anthropocene
    Never had a problem. I've kept machines on for years.
  4. stiligFox macrumors 65816


    Apr 24, 2009
    I keep my MacBook Air on for weeks at a time, only restarting for updates and the like.

    I'd say go for it, it won't hurt your Mac. :)
  5. tony3d thread starter macrumors 6502

    Apr 6, 2006
    Ok then. This new 3.06 12 core really flies! Seems to be at least twice as fast as my 2008 dual quad on programs that utilize all 12 cores. Lightwave really rips with the right settings.
  6. thekev macrumors 604


    Aug 5, 2010
    While I feel they should have pushed Sandy Bridge out the door with this update, it's good to hear that your new machine addresses your past problem of lacking the processing power to bid on aggressive deadlines.
  7. throAU macrumors 601


    Feb 13, 2012
    Perth, Western Australia
    My mac mini has been continuously powered up, barring transport from house to house and power outages and the hard drive upgrade, since 2009.
  8. sim667 macrumors 65816

    Dec 7, 2010
    Ive only turned my machine off on the few occasions ive been abroad since 2008
  9. goodcow macrumors 6502a

    Aug 4, 2007
    Considering the cost of electricity in NYC (approx. $0.28/kWhr) and the BTU output, I leave my Mac Pro off as much as possible. Sometimes I actually wonder if I should get a Mac Mini for my casual computer usage and turn the Mac Pro on only when I need it for "heavy lifting."

    But at work, where we have Mac Pros constantly rendering video and managing other Mac labs, they're on 24/7/365.
  10. Spacedust macrumors 6502a

    May 24, 2009
    Mechanical drives will die in about 1,5-2 years if you won't spin the down.
  11. Lance-AR macrumors 6502

    May 7, 2012
    Little Rock, AR
    What is the MTBF for drives that spin up and down each day? What about power management spinning the drives up and down?
  12. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere


    May 16, 2008
    That is completely false. I have external drives that have been running 24/7 for 4 years with zero problems.
  13. Schismz macrumors regular

    Sep 4, 2010
    Uhm ... no. They won't. Without searching statistical information and percentage of failure rates and using the super-scientific anecdotal observations of my own equipment which is left on 24/7 and never allows the drives to spin down ... they don't. By year 5 or 6 you're going to have some errors, but by year 5 or 6 you're likely to replace them anyway and upgrade to something else.
  14. rantingrich macrumors regular


    Aug 10, 2009
    Southern Illinois

    I don't leave mine on unless its rendering. Would you leave your car running? I am not nearly as smart as most of you. BUT I would never leave anything running that had moving parts. In my Opinion :p
  15. Photovore macrumors regular

    Dec 28, 2011
    I do most of my work on the MBP, but the MP is always on just in case I need it, even if a week goes by without me touching it. They sleep pretty well; nothing is moving most of the time. I've heard it sigh and wake itself up for 20 seconds and then go back to sleep.
  16. 24Frames macrumors regular

    Mar 23, 2012
    He is about 15 to 20 years out of date on this.
    Firstly it is complete unnecessary, modern electronics are designed power down when not in use, or to be switched off.
    Secondly it is environmentally unfriendly and potentially expensive on the electricity bill.
    Thirdly it will collect more dust, increasing the likelihood of failure.

    A little knowledge is a dangerous thing.
  17. Melbourne Park, Jul 12, 2012
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2012

    Melbourne Park macrumors 6502

    Mar 5, 2012
    There's the classic story, of the Mac Plus with an internal drive (no, not an SE20) that ran continuously serving the Apple dealer's internal messaging, for over a decade. They had a power out one night, and the thing wouldn't start. Turned out the hard disk drive wouldn't rotate - the spindle seemed welded in. By leaving it on, they got years more out of the drive!

    However, things do change. And the wear in drives is much more likely to be dependent upon how much the heads have been accessing the platters. And the amount of time the drives are active and hence rotating. While they are idle, they are not moving, hence not wearing.

    Of course, there are also motherboard issues. Once a common problem was "dry solder". I don't know if that still happens???

    The argument for leaving things on is both current surges, and also having more stable temperatures.

    For long life, the best thing would be to have the boot drive solid state ie SSD, and to put a UPS in between the power and the computer. And them probably, it just might last longer turned on that off.

    I doubt its worth it though. And with an SSD, a machine boots quickly too ... which would likely encourage more frequent shut downs and hence start ups. But curiously, that is when a lot of the stress comes - the thermal expansions happening from going from perhaps quite cold, to average operating temperatures.

    I think too, that electronic devices fail in the short term, or last. So for a new Mac Pro, IMO its best to leave it on for the first month anyway. Just to encourage the very unlikely but still possible fault to reveal itself earlier, rather than one month after the warranty has expired.

    Now ... how can we make our monitors retain their new looks for a decade???
  18. thekev, Jul 12, 2012
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2012

    thekev macrumors 604


    Aug 5, 2010
    Somehow the idea has stuck around in spite of it being grossly out of date. In the context of the OP's use, he may have been asking due to the need to render things during evening hours. The Xeons should be capable of handling this.

    That's partially a matter of perception. Device failure rates don't really work this way, and a stress test such as Prime 95 would be a better way of vetting a new machine.
  19. relbbircs macrumors regular

    Nov 26, 2007
    Nonsense. My 2008 octo-core, now replaced with a 2012 hex-core, ran essentially 24/7/365 with zero drive issues on three mechanical drives. (Very minor down time, the longest being during power outages from storms.)

  20. thekev macrumors 604


    Aug 5, 2010
    Modern machines do have energy saving features that spin the disks down whenever possible. Beyond that it's not a guarantee of problems. The drive manufacturer approves things for however many hours. Beyond that the likelihood of failure or other problems (increasing bad sectors, corruption, etc) can be much higher when examined on a macro scale due to component wear. There is always a distributed rate of failure, and anecdotal references to such things mean very little.
  21. wonderspark macrumors 68040


    Feb 4, 2010
    My input on this thread is that I've run my Mac Pro almost every day, 8-24 hours a day, 7 days a week for about 48 weeks a year, and I shut down most nights after working. About one day a week, I leave it on all night while it's rendering or backing up, but otherwise, I shut down for the night. Further, my energy settings are "never sleep computer" and unchecked "put disks to sleep when possible." Only my monitors sleep.

    I also clean it out about once every two months. I open it up, remove all the drives, cards and CPU tray, then vacuum and air-can everything, so at worst there is the finest layer of dust inside.

    This has been my routine since December 2009, and after 2.5 years now, I'm still running two of the original Apple/Hitachi 1TB HDDs in a RAID0 for scratch, and I have quiet fans and no heating issues, even when it's over 90ºF in the house.

    It hasn't been a decade, but it's safe to say that shutting down the system 99% of the days it's been running hasn't hurt my system.
  22. Lancer macrumors 68020


    Jul 22, 2002
    The only time I shut down my 2005 G5 PowerMac is when I need to install an update, work on the hardware (RAM upgrades, new DVD burner) or if it's being moved. Oh and if I'm going on holidays or will be away for more than the night.

    Other than that when I'm out I put it into deep sleep mode, same at night when I go to bed I put it to sleep and it's usually one of the first things I wake up when I get up. It probably runs 18 hours a day if I don't go out.
  23. Mactrunk macrumors regular

    May 12, 2005
    I turn my MP off every night.
    My reason is to save electricity.
    Even at idle with energy saving features enabled, I'm sure it is consuming a fair amount of juice.
    Anybody know how much?

    I've seen this debate for years, and heard good arguments for both sides.

    I decided to go "green" and save a few bucks a year.
  24. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere


    May 16, 2008
  25. Mactrunk macrumors regular

    May 12, 2005

Share This Page