Jump to content
Search In
  • More options...
Find results that contain...
Find results in...
lexidobe

How do power cycles damage computers?

Recommended Posts

Posted · Original PosterOP

Hello everyone, I am wondering how exactly power cycles (turning on and off) damages a computer over time. Is the damage simply from heat cycles, or is the damage also caused by possible power spikes from starting up? I have also heard that the capacitors on the motherboard, PSU, graphics card, etc wear out a little every power cycle because they go through a charge and discharge cycle. Is there any truth to that either? Thanks

Link to post
Share on other sites

the only thing would be temperatures , and mechanical drives having to spin up

heat is very unlikely as going from room temp to lets say 65c isn't that much of a change to cause long term damage from temperature changes.

the hard drive having lots of startup cycles is slightly an issue as the motors works a bit harder to get the disk up to speed than it does just to maintain speed. even so , it's common to find drives with 3000 startup cycles and still run fine.

other surface components shouldnt be affected by power cycling , capacitors ect.... Capacitors specifically will get old and leak long before power cycles have an effect on them.

if the machine has any mechanical relays (VERY unlikely) like a car , those can wear out from lots of usage but again thats not likely on a computer

Link to post
Share on other sites

This is one of those questions where the only real answer is "it depends"

because power cycling in on itself is not a bad thing but there are factors in a computer that can make it a major pro or a major con.

Its nearly impossible to judge the lifespan of a piece of hardware based on power cycles alone.

I mean that hardware could last years when being powered on and off or it can last 10 seconds.

Rule of averages does not eliminate if a issue will pop up or not, its literally heads or tails and this why this sort of thing is best not thought about and just use your hardware until it dies.

Paranoia about this sort of thing only leads to panic and the number 1 rule in the hitchhikers gude to the Galaxy is:

 

Dont Panic

Link to post
Share on other sites
15 hours ago, lexidobe said:

 I have also heard that the capacitors on the motherboard, PSU, graphics card, etc wear out a little every power cycle because they go through a charge and discharge cycle. Is there any truth to that either? Thanks

It's not the caps themselves that get "damaged" from constant charging and discharging.  It's the components in the path of delivering the charge to those capacitors that can burn up over time.

Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted · Original PosterOP
6 hours ago, jonnyGURU said:

It's not the caps themselves that get "damaged" from constant charging and discharging.  It's the components in the path of delivering the charge to those capacitors that can burn up over time.

Thank you. So there is some truth to the myth that power cycles are stressful for computers?

Link to post
Share on other sites
6 hours ago, jonnyGURU said:

It's not the caps themselves that get "damaged" from constant charging and discharging.  It's the components in the path of delivering the charge to those capacitors that can burn up over time.

But it is also the caps themselves as well. They can go and often it is the caps.


Remember to give me those smiley face things or tick or the i if i do a good post.

Team Blue, so understand I will be unreasonable to Intel V AMD Arguments even if i ever buy a AMD rig, i will still be anti AMD. Me saying AMD is OK is a big thing to me so be happy and go away.

Alienware 17r5

500D SE sexy rgb build incoming.

Widescreen build incoming for music production featuring zen 3

A few negligible workstation builds

Gaming Routers are Stupid, I have a problem about spending too much money on a Motherboard.

/pcmasterrace /widescreenmasterrace

 

Audiophile, EL8 Titanium go to drivers for weight to performance ratio.

Music Setup Cubase 10 PRO, Adam A8X, Adam Sub8.

 

I dont ask stupid questions, I just word them stupid so you think its stupid.

im not stupid your stupid calling me stupid stupid

Why are you still reading this this is prob all wildly outdated as i just found out how to change signature and ill prob never be bothered again hahahahhahahahaa.

 

The word "Gaming" and anything around it is cringe. E.G

 

I'm a gamer les go play fortnite. In cringe 9 year old voice.

I want a Gaming Computer to play fortnite. In cringe 9 year old voice.

 

Gaming is dumb enthusiast is cool.

 

Whitebread / Brownbread

Coffee/Tea

PoachedEgg/FriedEgg

IHaveTimeToKill/KillToTimeHaveI

Idk how many lines this is im not counting im prob breaking rules #rebel

Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, lexidobe said:

Thank you. So there is some truth to the myth that power cycles are stressful for computers?

Yes, there is some truth to that.

For power supplies in particular when the unit has been off (switched off at the wall or at the back of the PSU) the capacitors will discharge. When power is restored the primary hold up capacitor will try to charge, which will cause a spike of high current through the primary side of the PSU - this is known as "Inrush current". As JG said everything in the way of the capacitor can be damaged by that spike of high current. PSUs will often feature 'inrush current protection' in the form of a NTC thermistor to help spread the charge out over a longer period of time and reduce the spike in current.

 

Quote

Inrush Current

Inrush current, or switch-on surge, refers to the maximum, instantaneous input current drawn by an electrical device when it is first turned on. Because of the charging current of the APFC capacitor(s), PSUs produce significant inrush current as soon as they are turned on. A large enough inrush current can cause the tripping of circuit breakers and fuses, and may also damage switches, relays and bridge rectifiers. As a result, the lower the inrush current of a PSU right as it is turned on, the better.

https://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/how-we-test-psu,4042.html#p7

 

Not an issue if you're just turning the PSU off occasionally when you want to change hardware or move the PC to a different room, but if you're turning your PSU off at the wall every time you go to sleep and turning it back on the next morning then the regular discharges and associated spikes when charging can cause additional wear and stress on the unit.

This capacitors will only discharge if you're fully cutting power to the power supply itself by switching the switch at the back of the PSU, switching it off at the wall, or unplugging the cable. If you simply "Shut Down" via windows then the power supply will stay charged and this isn't an issue.


CPU: Intel i7 6700k  | Motherboard: Gigabyte Z170x Gaming 5 | RAM: 2x8GB 3000MHz G.Skill Ripjaws 5 | GPU: Gigabyte Aorus GTX 1080ti | PSU: Corsair RM750x (2018) | Case: BeQuiet SilentBase 800 | Cooler: Corsair H100i AIO | SSD: Samsung 970 Evo 500GB + Samsung 840 500GB | HDD: Seagate Ironwolf 8TB + 2x Seagate Ironwolf 6TB | Monitor: Acer Predator XB271HU + Samsung BX2450

Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, The Torrent said:

But it is also the caps themselves as well. They can go and often it is the caps.

True.... but very uncommon for a quality unit.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Don’t worry about it.

 

I powered my PC on and off multiple times a day and it lasted 9 years only had to replace it as the 9 year old AIO leaked (my fault I think too) after a maintenance tear down.

 

It also had a 9 year old SSD in it that that worked as good as new.

Link to post
Share on other sites
5 hours ago, Spotty said:

Yes, there is some truth to that.

For power supplies in particular when the unit has been off (switched off at the wall or at the back of the PSU) the capacitors will discharge. When power is restored the primary hold up capacitor will try to charge, which will cause a spike of high current through the primary side of the PSU - this is known as "Inrush current". As JG said everything in the way of the capacitor can be damaged by that spike of high current. PSUs will often feature 'inrush current protection' in the form of a NTC thermistor to help spread the charge out over a longer period of time and reduce the spike in current.

 

https://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/how-we-test-psu,4042.html#p7

 

Not an issue if you're just turning the PSU off occasionally when you want to change hardware or move the PC to a different room, but if you're turning your PSU off at the wall every time you go to sleep and turning it back on the next morning then the regular discharges and associated spikes when charging can cause additional wear and stress on the unit.

This capacitors will only discharge if you're fully cutting power to the power supply itself by switching the switch at the back of the PSU, switching it off at the wall, or unplugging the cable. If you simply "Shut Down" via windows then the power supply will stay charged and this isn't an issue.

I was wondering about this, my old rig died because of a tensión spike causing the PSU and the multi socket adaptor to die (my instalation is really crappy), from then on I always cut current during night and when I am not home just in case. I dont know what's worse 🤔.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now


×