Power off every night or Sleep long term?

With my next pc build well underway, ive been overtaken by the incredible urge to smartify (not a real word) most of my appliances, where practical. That is make things work with echo (alexa).
Nanoleaf aurora lights, digital clocks, smart brewers, and finally i want to be able to power on the pc while approaching it so that by the time im sitting its up.

With Alexa this is possible but only if in the sleep or hibernation states.

My question, to this lovely community, is if in this day and age there are any cons to leaving your desktop on long term?

Surely it gets enough reboot time when installing/updating os. And the spike in electricity should theoretically be worse than the frequent ongoing low charge of electricty running through your components.

Im no engineer so hopefully some of you can shed some light.

Do components age while computer is in sleep or hibernation mode? Does the powersupply fail faster? Does the memory fail faster? Or is this whole idea just pointless to begin with since i can just hit the power button and be at my desktop in around 10 seconds anyway?

Any ideas/thoughts welcomed.

If you're going to be gone for six or more hours, I usually recommend hibernation. Anything less I recommend sleep. Much of the claims about these things impacting the life of your hardware is generally false or inconclusive.

It's possible Alexa will support powering on the PC while turned off through Wake-on-LAN.

https://www.reddit.com/r/amazonecho/comments/53u1cl/using_alexa_to_wakeonlan/ might be good to look over.


Powering off your PC? Pffff what a rookie.

The main reason to sleep/hib/power-off are power savings. Do you pay your own electrical bill? If so, you can save a few bucks a month by not running your pc while at work or while sleeping.

Most computers while idling are going to use about 100-150watts. Add the monitor (another 20ish) and it's measurable on your power bill.

As far as wear/tear... I would put forward that excessive reboots most likely REDUCE the lifetime of your hardware. (But we're talking levels very difficult to measure.) Power supply will be degraded by repeated heat rinsing... aka, lots of heat-cool cycles. Hard drive will "wear-tear" by extra read and writes each boot.

In windows, the overall health of your PC will benefit from occasional reboots.

Personally, I've never used sleep or hib because they've never been reliable for me and because hib uses loads of disk space. I shut my computer off at night only because it's in my bedroom and I don't like the fan noise. It boots so fast in linux it's not worth the instability of "sleeping" so I don't bother. That's just my unique situation though. If my computer was in the other room, I'd prolly just let it run around the clock and cough up an extra $6/mo for power.

Yes, i've read that. However that brings up the question that ive asked this forum since Alexa cannot power the pc from a full shutdown.

Since Alexa requires the pc to at least be hibernating to even access Lan, i want to know if there are any cons besides light bill (which i pay myself, with my adults monies) to keeping it powered on around the clock.

This comment puts me at ease. I was really worried about burning down my 3k+ system im working on.

1 Like

Thanks for this. You along with the others have made me feel better about not powering off my pc unless doing updates and just routine cleaning/check ups.

It's pretty commonly known that constantly flipping the light on and off uses more energy/hurts the bulb much more than constant moderate use because the initial surge of energy. I assumed this also worked with pc components.

Still welcoming others to chime in.

I leave my main workstation and my Linux laptop boxes on all the time, unless there is a heavy storm coming in from the south during the spring/summer months, which plays havoc and takes our power out about 75% of the time, as the storms coming up the hill cause a lot of localized lightning.

When my boot drive was a HDD, I used sleep mode and never had any problems (with linux). Now, I still do but honestly besides dealing with full disk encryption, it boots fast enough to not matter, and except for kernel updates, I have no reason to reboot for anything really. If I want to reboot into windows for a game (which I hope to never do again shortly), thats my reboot to switch to the updated kernel right there. With windows however I've always taken the approach of fully shutting it down at least once weekly, if not daily, but thats probably not as necessary anymore.

As to hardware health, I've never had a problem I thought was related to not shutting it down completely, but I'm not sure how I'd know. I'd suspect cheap ( <=$50 ) motherboards might have a higher rate of failure if they are technically on 24/7, since in sleep mode, something has to still be running. I suppose that'd apply across the board, but unless you hold onto your hardware a really long time, I wouldn't worry about it. I ran my last two motherboards (one is still in use as a file server) for at least 4 years and what put them out of service was a failed sata controller or something, which I strongly doubt had a lessened lifespan by being in sleep mode rather than outright off at night (and that board in fact has been running 24/7 since it was "retired" and is doing fine, minus the sata controller it came with).

Just my experience, so its not worth much.. A sample size of two isn't enough to say conclusively, but my experience has been that sleep mode is fine. Everything gets the chance to spin down and cool off for a few hours, which I suspect is what matters most. Outright off I doubt matters.. Reducing the heat a bit and limiting the hours fans and HDDs are spinning probably helps extend the life of the hardware plenty.

Common misconception.
Mythbusters found the "waste your money" times to be turning a light off/on within:

Incandescent: 0.36 seconds
CFL: 0.015 seconds
Halogen: .51 seconds
LED: 1.28 seconds
Fluorescent: 23.3 seconds

As far as leaving the computer on... I crunch BOINC projects (a lot of PrimeGrid) and I overclock so basically stress testing 24/7 and I'm not the least bit concerned that I'll "wear out" my computer before the time I would be looking to build a new one. So leave it on, put it to sleep, whatever - you'll be building a new one long before it wears out.
(assuming decent hardware ect. YMMV justanopiononnotresponsibleforanythingeverfineprintfordays)


I use sleep on my computer because it uses half the power compared to when it is off. All second hand parts from about 4 years ago. I wouldn't worry about failure as long as the parts aren't extremely cheap. The only problem I've ever had with sleep in the past is the graphics card or network card not waking up, but I haven't experienced that with newer hardware.

uhh... sorta? It's not a surge of energy, it's the change in temp. Incandescent bulbs last almost indefinitely if they can hold a consistent temperature. The stress on the filament from turning on/off is what takes most of their life.

I personally keep my system on 24/7. It's my alarm clock, main file server, and control center. In addition, I usually remote control it to either upload files for access from an external network or to just use a program remotely. My PC is basically my right arm. To even have it asleep would negatively affect my workflow.

1 Like

My PC runs 24/7 mostly idle I dont run folding at home etc at all anymore.

I leave my main PC and my server running all night. It's in my living room, so it doesn't bother me at night. And even though it's got beefy hardware, I'm only drawing maybe 8 dollars a month extra. What really drains my bank account with my power bill is my Fish Tanks. Got 3 of them running and they over the course of a month take 20 dollars a month extra to run. Of course, that's what you get taking care of high end fish.

1 Like

If you don't need to have your compter online all the time shutting it down is surely a good thing because:

  1. You're going to save power;
  2. The components MTBF is measured in hours so if you keep it on while you're not using it you're basically wasting the lifetime of your components;
  3. I don't know if this matters but you're reducing the acustic impact on your sleep. I'm the kind of person that needs as much silence as possible to sleep well so might apply for you too;
  4. OSs might not appreciate being on for hours and hours on end so starting "fresh" every day is a good idea (to do so on Windows you have to disable the fast boot option from the Control Panel because if you don't you need to restart your PC to start fresh. Shutting it down it's like hibernation);
  5. Unexpected issues. You might have an unexpected issue while you're sleeping and everything might go to shit because of that (a power loss during the night can be annoying because if you're not using a UPS you'll find the PC shut down in the morning, but, if you're using one, you're going to be waken up by the annoying beep beep and maybe go to shut it down yourself).

That's it I guess. You can evaluete this cons and make your decision.

1 Like

Dang son. I aspire to be this efficient someday.

As @MetalizeYourBrain mentioned: The fast boot option does let your Windows only reboot once a month when patch tuesday comes around.

As for MTBF: If HDDs are not used, they are switched off. So they really don't matter.

If you want to be efficient and have a PC running at all times: I'd build another small one with one of those: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?item=09Z-01SB-00025 (not exactly this one but you get my gist). Something like that sips between 15 and 25 Watts at the wall and can be done without fans and moving parts. Depending on storage you could be good with 200-250$.

As for being on constantly: Well gaming machines with the always latest hard- and software might be not ideal for that.

Get a cheap/ free pic for Alexa and have that powered on. Make sure it's low powered