Turn it off or not?
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Old 12-21-2016, 11:35 PM   #1
liquid_air
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Turn it off or not?

Probably a question that's been asked at some point before and I missed it, but when you have been toying around with your gear for a while and decide it's time for a break and you intend to come back in a few hours, do you leave your rig powered on? My concern here isn't the electricity consumption, but what might be better for your gear. We are mostly talking newly manufactured analog gear and it may be a different answer for that tube compressor I have.

Any informed guidance/answers?

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Old 12-21-2016, 11:49 PM   #2
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Re: Turn it off or not?

Well it would really depend on which gear (cheap components, defects faulty solder points) but you shouldn't have a problem from a continuous supply of electricity for any amount of time as long as dust or failing parts aren't involved. While it probably is not the answer I think you're looking for, I can say in my experience, turning hardware on and off is what wears components out after long periods of time. In fact the only machine I can think of that died, died upon start, and I'm guessing of course, but I believe it was the sudden surge on a fragile circuit.

So my short answer is no.

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Old 12-21-2016, 11:51 PM   #3
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Re: Turn it off or not?

I'd leave it on, personally. I have about four computers running 24-7, all of which use the same sort of caps and resistors and ICs and transistors and whatnot as any other modern tech, audio gear included. They're made to last forever, or until you buy and new one and throw it away. The heat generated by the voltage spike of power up/power down is likely more damaging than it just sitting there idly, but even then the circuits are moderately protected from that.

The exception might be things like tubes, which have a short lifespan and are exceedingly fragile compared to their more modern counterparts (as well as being horribly more expensive). Even then, I'd worry about a lot of on/off action for the same reason as before - lighting those filaments up and then cooling them repeatedly isn't great. You know how light bulbs tend to go when you turn them on? Yeah, that initial voltage spike can be brutal to thin little wires...

In general, I'd not leave things on all the time, but I don't think there's any reason to be anal about shutting everything down because you're stepping out for a few hours here and there. In the end, I doubt it really makes much difference to the longevity of the equipment.
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Old 12-21-2016, 11:56 PM   #4
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Re: Turn it off or not?

You leave 4 computers on 24/7?

Holy shit I'd hate to see your electric bill. That is, unless somehow those computers are making you money by being left on...what other purpose does having 4 computers and then adding the fact that they're never off serve?
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Old 12-22-2016, 12:09 AM   #5
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Re: Turn it off or not?

One is my desktop/workstation, one is a file server, one is a virtualization server, and one is this little piece of shit I use as a testbed for things I don't want on the rest of the computers. They're all designed around low power usage except the desktop, but it's major power draw comes from having a graphics card (the rest don't), and thus the usage is only bad when the card is doing stuff, which is mostly not at all since I gave up gaming.

The file server and virt host runs my home automation, my backups both local and cloud, my routing (pfSense), the wife's Plex and my music streaming, video surveillance, as well as a whole host of other crap for work and learning (lots and lots of databases, mostly). I could turn my desktop off, but I'd just turn around and turn it back on, as I use it daily. The piece of shit Optiplex probably just needs to be thrown out instead of being turned off, but I'll chalk that one up to lazy.

All in all, it probably adds $15-20/mo to my bill. Considering that I use most of those things for work at one point or another, that I write it all off on my taxes, and I'm paid stupidly well to be able to do the things I do for a living and having that stuff facilitates that ability means I'm generally ok with it. Honestly, replacing all my old CFL and tungsten bulbs with LEDs more than made up for the computers.

It's also worth noting that any computer made in the last 5-10 years has some pretty bitchin' power saving tech going on. Even serious workhorse machines can idle at low power due to things like STEP. It's not until you get into the big rackiron with dual or quad CPUs and dual 1300W PSUs and stacks of RDIMMs that power usage becomes noticeable. If you're constantly turning your computer off and it's not a) completely old as balls or b) a rack server, you can probably just leave it on and you'll not notice it.

Last edited by Artificer; 12-22-2016 at 12:21 AM.. Reason: mee spel gud
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Old 12-22-2016, 05:31 AM   #6
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Re: Turn it off or not?

Welp consider my question answered. You are connected, I'll say that!

I also replaced all the CFLs with LEDs in the place I'm at. Technically we have one desktop and two laptops (one's mine- hardly ever used- it's mostly for if I need it elsewhere and does not fucking keep a charge for shit...one's the wife's who really doesn't use hers all too much) so our electric usage is negligible to begin with. The AC unit in our place is the main power suckage culprit since it's always fucken 80+ around these parts.

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