Leaving Computer On

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by Thidranki, Feb 20, 2008.

  1. Thidranki macrumors member


    Apr 7, 2005
    I have a Macbook Pro connected to a 750GB Seagate FreeAgent Pro drive. I keep my music library on it because it's too big to fit on my internal 120GB hard drive, among other things (time machine, videos, etc.).

    I was wondering if it is in any way harmful to the computer if I left the computer running all day and all night with the hard drive on and running while downloading via Transmission for many days? Perhaps I should throw a restart in there every once in a while for good measure?

    (notice: the computer never sleeps when transmission is downloading)

    Thank you!
  2. canucks-17 macrumors regular


    Jan 8, 2008
    From what I have heard, it is not bad. I do the same, as I also use Transmission. I'm sure your MBP will wear down faster than someone who shuts their down but it can't be too drastic.
  3. GSMiller macrumors 68000


    Dec 2, 2006
    This is one of those topics where you'll get different answers from different people. Some will say it's better for your computers, others will say it's worse, and others will say it won't make a difference. My personal opinion is everything will only last so long, but why worry about it wearing out if you're using it for what you intended when you bought it. I will leave my iMac on for a few days at a time for the same reason you do your MacBook and I see no difference in performance. Macs don't get bogged down like PCs after they're left on a while.
  4. GoKyu macrumors 65816


    Feb 15, 2007
    New Orleans
    The machine itself wouldn't "wear down" so much as the hard drive would...which is pretty easy to replace, and these things have MTBF of 10,000+ hours, usually.

    I leave my machine on all the time - the only time I ever shut it down is if:

    1. something's wrong with it

    2. I'm going away for several days and *don't* need (or won't have access to) anything on the hard drive.

  5. Flyer0815 macrumors 6502

    Dec 11, 2007
    As with any electronic device, one that is run constantly will burn out faster than one that isnt used as much. You could have great luck and the unit could last for years... no one truly knows absolutely how long it will last.. but it is safe to state that the life will be shortened to some degree.
  6. JNB macrumors 604


    Oct 7, 2004
    In a Hell predominately of my own making
    Though that may not be as true as you think. Thermal expansion & contraction could arguably cause as much if not more shortening of useful life than continuous running as a steady state. Particularly as components are operating on a near-atomic scale, predicting performance is no sure bet.

    Whether anyone has taken two identical pieces of equipment and run them comparatively, I don't know, but I think that the difference is still so far beyond the useful production life of the equipment as to not really matter. If you do either method, and after five years it's still running just fine when you replace it, who really cares?

    I'd say that as long as the ambient environment is relatively stable, it shouldn't matter, but if that environment runs to extremes with regard to temperature and/or humidity, constant running is likely less stressful on the equipment. YMMV.
  7. redshift20 macrumors member

    Jul 27, 2006
    Somewhere, Al Gore is weeping... :(

    Seriously, if you NEED it on 24/7 to do what your thing, then leave it on... it won't hurt it. Otherwise, I always recommend that people turn off their computers. Even with powersaving, a computer that is left on and not used is a waste of energy.
  8. Flyer0815 macrumors 6502

    Dec 11, 2007
    Very good point and good reasoning in your post.... I guess i was thinking more of the mechanical parts like the hard drive..... While the MTBF of most hard drives is well beyond the realm of most normal users, leaving the unit on and running cant be good in the long term for the moving parts of the HD... Of course HD failure isnt that big of a deal, since they can be replaced in a MBP relatively cheaply with a little patience and a guide from iFixit :)
  9. kuwisdelu macrumors 65816

    Jan 13, 2008
    There are two schools of thought on this kind of thing:

    1. Keeping your computer on all the time is hard on the electronics and will wear them down quicker than if you turned it off and rebooted when not in use.

    2. The power up and power down procedure as well as stopping and restarting the hard drive more often are harder on the electronics than simply leaving it on, and so keeping it running is actually better for it.

    Obviously, there is no clear answer, otherwise the debate wouldn't exist. But since there's no clear answer, you should be fine. One thing is sure, you're better off with Unix (OS X) than Windows, as Unix was designed to run 24/7 if needed.

    So really, the only drawback, as redshift says, is the power usage, but that's ultimately your call. Your computer should be fine.
  10. Hankster macrumors 68020


    Jan 30, 2008
    Washington DC

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