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How long do computers last before blowing up

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How long do computers last before blowing up

Unread postby carl606 » July 15th, 2010, 2:20 am

Just a thought i had, is their a difference between laptops and desktops in the sence of how long they last.
My desktop is 6 years old, though i have only had it for two years, but in those six years it has not had one problem.

I here laptops have a general life span of about three years, but some say theirs have been going for 5,6, and even 7 years
So is this just luck or do they break down for a reason (ie.you do not do computer maintenance..etc

Can you make them last longer, is their anything you can do to make them live longer. :)
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Re: How long do computers last before blowing up

Unread postby Sludge3000 » July 15th, 2010, 6:07 am

carl606 wrote: is their anything you can do to make them live longer.
Don't use it?

Seriously though, computers are the same as many other devices be it mechanical or electrical. The performance will always degrade slowly over time with the general wear and tear of usage. Laptops are generally known to not last as long for a couple of reasons. Firstly they are portable, which means they move around a lot more and are more liekly to be dropped and physically damaged. They also required specialist components making for them for their small form factor. Desktop PC's are generally made for either endurance or performance or a mix of both depending on what they are to be used for. My high end gaming PC still works fine after 6 years, it's just not very high end any more and so can't play the latest games and as such is currently in storage at my mum's house.

Unfortunately faults are also part and parcel of everyday life and depend on the components used and the manufacturing quality.

With regards to mainteneance PC's are a lot easier to get inside and clean whereas laptops (again because of the specialist components for a small form factor) can be very tricky to get inside to clean effectively and are much more succeptible to heating issues.

If you are looking for a long lasting laptop you could also check out something like the Dell XFR range which is designed to be dropped down stairs and for use in harsh environments. I hear some are also bulletproof ;)
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Re: How long do computers last before blowing up

Unread postby Gary R » July 15th, 2010, 6:41 am

My last laptop was 9 years old when it finally packed up a few weeks back.

All electronic equipment mainly fails at two points in its life cycle.

1. When it's brand new.
2. When one or more of its components have reached the end of their service life.

A brand new machine is using essentially untested components, and out of box failures are high. End of life failures are just down to the natural wear and tear on components due to use. In between there are the odd component failures, but for the most part electronic components are very reliable and usually last through their service life.

The most unreliable of components are usually those related with the power supply and associated circuitry, most notably electrolytic capacitors.

By far the greatest reason for short computer life though is the failure of mechanical components, and hard drives are one of the most common of them to fail.

There are two schools of thought on the best way to prolong the life of electronic equipment.

The first asserts that you should leave the equipment powered up at all times, since electronic components are put under most strain at the point of power up. Cold components have a higher impedance than when they're at working temperature, and as a result draw more current, and it's high current flow that causes most wear on electronic components. The continual cycle of on and off is what causes most electronic components to eventually fail.

The second asserts that by powering down your devices when you don't use them that you are putting less strain on any mechanical components. As most failures tend to be mechanical rather than electronic, I tend to subscribe to the latter philosophy.

Keep equipment clean, keep it cool, and keep it working in the manner it was designed to work in, and you'll generally get a long life from it.
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Re: How long do computers last before blowing up

Unread postby carl606 » July 16th, 2010, 12:19 am

Thanks sludge
I guess thats about it in a "nutshell" same as everthing else really.

I was talking to a friend who did have a failure on his laptop,(dell) so he phoned the local computer repair shop up to get a quote, and there reply was it won't cost you more than £50 + £30 labour charge.
I did take a quick look for him, and gathered it was the hard drive, so all in all he paid £80.

So thinking about this, when a laptop/desktop fails is it normally one componant that will need replacing at any one time.
And that the very main componants cost no more than £50 (ie. the hard drive being a main componant.

Or can a computer actually be beyond repair, due to failure

GaryR wrote:There are two schools of thought on the best way to prolong the life of electronic equipment.

The first asserts that you should leave the equipment powered up at all times, since electronic components are put under most strain at the point of power up


This was going to be my next question, about leaving the computer on , i always "moan" at the wife for always turning one of the laptops on unnecessarily...then turning it of then back on then of then back on. :)

If i know i am going to be using the computer for any reason, i will leave it on until i know i have finished what i am doing
so is this generally best practice rather than just leaving it all day long until you decide to use it
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Re: How long do computers last before blowing up

Unread postby Gary R » July 16th, 2010, 2:50 am

If I'm going to be using it on and off during the day I usually just leave mine powered up, you can usually set the power options so that it "hibernates" and minimises power use, but if I know I'm gonna not use it for a few hours or so then I usually shut it down and save the wear and tear on the mechanical parts (fans, Harddrive etc.).

With my laptop I also usually run it on the battery, the only time I switch to mains is when the computer screams at me to switch it on. Batteries are like people, they're all the better for regular exercise. If you don't regularly discharge your battery then it doesn't function as well. It's not so critical with some of the modern batteries, but it's still good practice.

I've always had long life from most of my kit, so I presume I must be doing something right.
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Re: How long do computers last before blowing up

Unread postby Sludge3000 » July 16th, 2010, 3:37 am

carl606 wrote:So thinking about this, when a laptop/desktop fails is it normally one componant that will need replacing at any one time.
Generally speaking, yes. Normally with PC's only one piece of hardware fails at a time (unless your really unlucky or have a serious power surge which fries everything) and so only one needs replacing at a time.
When I first built my old PC the motherboard was DOA so only had to get that replaced. Then after a while a Hard drive died so got that replaced. Then after a while the CPU fan went so replaced that. If there was a fault with the motherboard or power supply unit however this could also affect other components, especially if the fault occurs while the machine is running.

I also agree with Gary that if you know you are going to be using your computer all day it's probably better to leave it on all day. If nothing else, it's more time efficient as you don't need to wait for it to boot each time ;)
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Re: How long do computers last before blowing up

Unread postby carl606 » July 16th, 2010, 4:01 pm

Thanks guys Great information and tips their.....most helpful.
I'll show the wife this one... :)
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Re: How long do computers last before blowing up

Unread postby melboy » July 18th, 2010, 2:11 pm

carl606 wrote:How long do computers last before blowing up

Depends. Are you a gamer?

Playing Mission: Impossible will cause the PC to "self-destruct in five seconds..." :P
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Re: How long do computers last before blowing up

Unread postby carl606 » July 18th, 2010, 5:03 pm

melboy wrote:Depends. Are you a gamer?

Playing Mission: Impossible will cause the PC to "self-destruct in five seconds..." :P


:lol: Nice one melboy.
Not a gamer but a smoker, i did here PCs don't like smoke, though i carn't think why....not unless its coming from inside. :)
Seriously though i am a smoker, can this harm your PC in any way..(their is a joke in their somewhere)
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Re: How long do computers last before blowing up

Unread postby Gary R » July 19th, 2010, 3:13 am

Theoretically the tar in cigarette smoke could deposit as a conductive layer on the circuit boards and components causing cross tracking and shorting problems, but I think the density of smoke required to do that would be far in excess of what is usual from someone having a fag whilst tapping away at the keyboard.
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Re: How long do computers last before blowing up

Unread postby carl606 » July 19th, 2010, 7:14 am

Gary R wrote:Theoretically the tar in cigarette smoke could deposit as a conductive layer on the circuit boards and components causing cross tracking and shorting problems, but I think the density of smoke required to do that would be far in excess of what is usual from someone having a fag whilst tapping away at the keyboard.


ARR..yes gary, this could be what they mean , by saying try not to smoke in front of your computer.
But the artical did not go into detail as to why.

but I think the density of smoke required to do that would be far in excess of what is usual from someone having a fag whilst tapping away at the keyboard.


You should see my room , sometimes its like being in thick fog, as i can be on the computer for hours
Especially if i carn't find the answer to something, and go through 20 fags.
All that smoke blowing on the computer carn't be any good

But seriously i see your point.....a general build up of nicotine over the months could have "dire" consequences
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Re: How long do computers last before blowing up

Unread postby Gary R » July 19th, 2010, 7:59 am

Just open the window, that should fix the "problem". ;) :D
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Re: How long do computers last before blowing up

Unread postby carl606 » July 19th, 2010, 10:08 am

Gary R wrote:Just open the window, that should fix the "problem". ;) :D


Is that where i have been going wrong :lol:
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Re: How long do computers last before blowing up

Unread postby melboy » July 19th, 2010, 12:13 pm

carl606 wrote:You should see my room , sometimes its like being in thick fog, as i can be on the computer for hours
Especially if i carn't find the answer to something, and go through 20 fags.
All that smoke blowing on the computer carn't be any good

But seriously i see your point.....a general build up of nicotine over the months could have "dire" consequences


Carl, mate.... Never mind your PC - They can be replaced. ;)

What about your health?!? :shock:
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Re: How long do computers last before blowing up

Unread postby carl606 » July 19th, 2010, 4:48 pm

melboy wrote:
Carl, mate.... Never mind your PC - They can be replaced. ;)

What about your health?!? :shock:


That is a very good statement melboy..........to which i have no answer, but i am working on it.
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