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Pros & Cons of disabling Sleep (G5 OSX 10.4)

Message #1 - Posted 2005/11/09 - Nollaig MacKenzie

I want to set up regular backups on our G5s, and my life would be simpler if I could (truly :-) tell my wife that there would be no harm in turning off automatic going to sleep. Are there disadvantages to keeping her machine
awake all the time? She's not going to get exercised about the extra joules of electricity, but she might about harm
to the machine.

I already keep mine awake so BOINC projects can run all
the time. Be nice to convince my wife that she should let hers fold proteins 24/7.

TIA for any facts that bear on this.

Cheers, N.

Nollaig MacKenzie
http://www.amhuinnsuidhe.net

Message #2 - Posted 2005/11/10 - Paul Förster

Hi Nollaig,

I want to set up regular backups on our G5s, and my life would be simpler if I could (truly :-) tell my wife that there would be no harm in turning off automatic going to sleep.

... why not schedule it to wake up at a certain time in the night, do the backup and then let it run into the normal sleep interval?

Are there disadvantages to keeping her machine awake all the time? She's not going to get exercised about
the extra joules of electricity, but she might about harm
to the machine.

... disadvantages are higher power needs of course, then there are possibly fans that run longer and thus die earlier. Depending on how often she powers the machine on or wakes it up from sleep, this can have an impact on the hard disk. But letting it run all 24/7 can also have an impact on the hard disk. It depends on how you look at it. Generally, a hard disk in a desktop computer tends to live longer if not used in 24/7 mode. With company servers this is different. But they have different hard disks too. Mechanically, 24/7 mode is the best because the disk does not get cold and has to warm up which means a lot of stress. But the disadvantage to this is that one day it might not come up again if you switch the machine off. You see, 24/7 has two sides. You have to decide for yourself if it's worth it for you.

In my opinion, if you don't let the machine wake up automatically (at a certain time, per network signal, etc.) then you can leave it running anyway. It will probably not ruin you by sucking a little more power. But the advantage of having a good backup is definitely worth it.

And don't forget the restore test. Many people do a backup but only few do a working backup that can actually be restored...

cul8er

Paul
paul.foerster@gmx.net

Message #3 - Posted 2005/11/10 - TheDarkTrumpet

I agree with paul a lot on this.

Personally with my machine I disabled sleeping automatically, and if I am gonna have the computer do something all night (like I do some nights) then I let the display sleep only.

I don't think the HD issue is really gonna be a problem. People worry a lot about their HD burning out early - but the fact of the matter is that HDs most of the time last for years generally running 24/7. My server has a HD in it that never turns off - it's using a very old 5Gb HD, that's about 7 years old. By the time your HD on the mac is gonna die, you'll probably have upgraded to a new computer by then. Plus putting in a new HD shouldn't be a problem if need be at that time either (thinking years down the road).

Message #4 - Posted 2005/11/11 - Mark Haase

Previously, Nollaig MacKenzie wrote:

I want to set up regular backups on our G5s, and my life would be simpler if I could (truly :-) tell my wife that there would be no harm in turning off automatic going to sleep. Are there disadvantages to keeping her machine
awake all the time? She's not going to get exercised about the extra joules of electricity, but she might about harm
to the machine.

I already keep mine awake so BOINC projects can run all
the time. Be nice to convince my wife that she should let hers fold proteins 24/7.

TIA for any facts that bear on this.

Cheers, N.

You may shorten the life of the computer, but Apple computers generally run for so long anyways that they usually get really outdated years before they break down.

I would be shocked if the average G5 couldn't run for YEARS without shutting down or sleeping. Unless you're planning on donating to a museum, go ahead and turn sleep off. I never sleep my Mac, its now over 4 years old, and I rarely turn it off. Even when I'm on vacation I leave it running so I can grab files off of it remotely. I've never had a part fail on it either.

--

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mehaase(at)gmail(dot)com

Message #5 - Posted 2005/11/11 - morenuf

Previously, Mark Haase wrote:

I would be shocked if the average G5 couldn't run for YEARS without shutting down or sleeping. Unless you're planning on donating to a museum, go ahead and turn sleep off. I never sleep my Mac, its now over 4 years old, and I rarely turn it off. Even when I'm on vacation I leave it running so I can grab files off of it remotely. I've never had a part fail on it either.

What do you guys do about thunderstorms?? I have major thunderstorms here Spring through early Fall. I am reluctant to keep my computers powered up and running through such terrestrial fireworks. So I turn them off when storms approach as I often have power outages (however brief) and voltage transients (lights dim & blink). Just too risky to leave my computers on & connected to power mains.

Do you have UPS (uninterruptable power supplies)? Is that safe enough to survive electrical spikes, surges, transients and interruptions?

Morenuf

morenuf@nobodyhome.com.invalid

Message #6 - Posted 2005/11/11 - TheDarkTrumpet

Well, in the case of major storms, I do turn off machines...I haven't thought about that until now.

I have all my computers hooked up to surge protectors, but I heard that even though unlikely, they can fail - and I don't want computers cooked so I turn off everything but my server generally.

Most of the time power isn't an issue here, so turning off the computer is rare at best.

Message #7 - Posted 2005/11/12 - Mark Haase

Previously, morenuf wrote:

What do you guys do about thunderstorms?? I have major thunderstorms here Spring through early Fall.

Where I live we don't get a lot of bad thunderstorms. When we do have electrical storms I leave the machines on. Unless you're unplugging the machine from the wall, you're not going to save it from a direct strike. I'm no expert, but if lightning jumps 1000's of feet through the air I can't see why it wouldn't jump .5" across a switch.

I do use surge protectors to prevent damage from transients, but as well designed as the hardware is these days I'm not even sure that's necessary. A UPS is still useful for the battery backup, in case you're doing "mission critical" work, where mission critical could be anything that you earn a living on or otherwise highly value.

Luckily, a direct strike is pretty rare. If lightning strikes anywhere near a pole, the grounding cable on the pole will absorb most of it. The idea of it snaking back up through your house wiring and out your computer seems unlikely to me.

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mehaase(at)gmail(dot)com

Message #8 - Posted 2005/11/12 - morenuf

Previously, Mark Haase wrote:

Previously, morenuf wrote:

What do you guys do about thunderstorms?? I have major thunderstorms here Spring through early Fall.

Where I live we don't get a lot of bad thunderstorms. When we do have electrical storms I leave the machines on. Unless you're unplugging the machine from the wall, you're not going to save it from a direct strike. I'm no expert, but if lightning jumps 1000's of feet through the air I can't see why it wouldn't jump .5" across a switch.

I do use surge protectors to prevent damage from transients, but as well designed as the hardware is these days I'm not even sure that's necessary. A UPS is still useful for the battery backup, in case you're doing "mission critical" work, where mission critical could be anything that you earn a living on or otherwise highly value.

Luckily, a direct strike is pretty rare. If lightning strikes anywhere near a pole, the grounding cable on the pole will absorb most of it. The idea of it snaking back up through your house wiring and out your computer seems unlikely to me.

The cheap surge protectors are probably just "feel good" type protection, ie they might help sometimes but a direct hit by lightning on your house is going to do a number on your electronics & household. They are just cheap protection, as you say. Some say whole house surge protectors are better but expensive.

But my power (while generally reliable ) mains do dim & brighten the lights noticeably in severe thunderstorms. And on occasion the power does go out briefly (less than a minute) in the storms too. I had the power go out and back up within seconds only to repeat again minutes later while a storm approached (no doubt distant strikes on power grid). This did not make the computer very happy having to restart twice within minutes apart.

On rare occasion the power company must be doing some switching as the same thing, brief power outage occurs.

These are short duration, but I can't think these brief outages and restarts do a computer any good.

It is a risk and I still feel uncomfortable risking losing or damaging a computer I can't really afford to replace leaving them on and powered during severe thunderstorms. So I turn them off when storms approach in summer months. In winter I have left my OSX Macs running 60 or more days without a restart sleeping when not in use.

I don't have a UPS (with 4 computers cost adds up), just cheap surge protectors.

I just wondered how the rest of you deal with that.

Morenuf

morenuf@nobodyhome.com.invalid

Message #9 - Posted 2005/11/12 - Greg Buchner

Previously, morenuf wrote:

What do you guys do about thunderstorms?? I have major thunderstorms here Spring through early Fall. I am reluctant to keep my computers powered up and running through such terrestrial fireworks. So I turn them off when storms approach as I often have power outages (however brief) and voltage transients (lights dim & blink). Just too risky to leave my computers on & connected to power mains.

Do you have UPS (uninterruptable power supplies)? Is that safe enough to survive electrical spikes, surges, transients and interruptions?

I got a couple of UPSes for my apartment this summer, and despite APC recommending the wrong size one for my G4 from their website sizer, it's helped a lot.

I don't worry too much about lightning strikes as the apartment building I'm in has a transformer fed by underground cable sitting about a foot away from the building and almost all of the cable for the cable TV/high speed internet is either buried or sitting behind metal conduit. I also have a few tall buildings near me that seem to get hit more often than normal ground/tree/power pole strikes around me.

But I still have the UPSes. Had the power go out 5 times this past summer, didn't have UPS protection for the first one, but did for the remaining. It's nice to have your desktop computer shut down nicely when the power goes out... And to be able to run on high speed internet for at least a little while with a laptop/UPS combo to watch weather radar and such.

I have a small BE325 that powers battery protects the cable modem and router and surge protects my laptop and a BB725 that protects my desktop computer.

Otherwise my G4, except when I'm running the AC, tends to stay on 24/7. Laptop has the lid closed at night to sleep (mostly to cut down on dust on the lcd screen and it's easier than turning down the brightness so the lamp isn't being used all the time), but otherwise is also always on.

Greg B.

Actual e-mail address is gbuchner and I'm located at mn.rr.com

Message #10 - Posted 2005/11/14 - Mark Haase

Previously, morenuf wrote:

But my power (while generally reliable ) mains do dim & brighten the lights noticeably in severe thunderstorms. And on occasion the power does go out briefly (less than a minute) in the storms too. I had the power go out and back up within seconds only to repeat again minutes later while a storm approached (no doubt distant strikes on power grid). This did not make the computer very happy having to restart twice within minutes apart.

Well, in that case you do certainly have reason for concern. Working with embedded computers I've seen first hand what happens to processors during under/over voltage conditions...basically the processor sees a burst of junk. In your case, I think its quite likely that over time those transients could cause data corruption. I trust the the Apple CPU is high-quality, but it can't be designed for such extreme conditions. And cold cycling is harmful to any computer anyway.

I think you're smart to unplug the machines.

It is a risk and I still feel uncomfortable risking losing or damaging a computer I can't really afford to replace leaving them on and powered during severe thunderstorms. So I turn them off when storms approach in summer months. In winter I have left my OSX Macs running 60 or more days without a restart sleeping when not in use.

I don't have a UPS (with 4 computers cost adds up), just cheap surge protectors.

I just wondered how the rest of you deal with that.

There are some consumer-grade UPSs that perform the voltage regulation and have enough battery power to safely shut down the machine. For four machines even a cheap UPS adds up, though. Maybe buy 2nd hand? Either that or turn off all desktop machines and work on a wireless laptop during storms.

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mehaase(at)gmail(dot)com

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