[SOLVED] Lifespan of a daily computer, overheat and physical damage, what else?

danny009

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Apr 11, 2019
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Hi, what are the dangers and risks for a desktop computer in terms of lifespan? I covered most of the heat and physical damage after years, there is malware/virus risk too in general group of dangers but I'm unsure if a virus can damage my hardware. Of course we use a anti virus software. I just want to make sure everything is covered for a longer use of a computer we own, we do not change or purchase hardware often, that's why I'm asking. How one can do get most of their computers in terms of lifespan? Shutting down daily PCs we use for some time can any help?
 

Karadjgne

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A pc has 2 defined lifetimes. Physical and Usable.

Physical lifespan is determined by abuse. Whether that's temps, dust, extreme usage, OC, anything that pushes the pc physically away from expected 'normal' wear and tear. There are still fully functional Commodore Vic20's in existance, over 40 years old now, so realistic physical lifespan limits has yet to be established.

Usable lifespan is determined by software. Nothing else. Doesn't matter if it's add on apps, programs, OS, the pc as such and the software it runs and you as a user expected performance will determine when a pc is obsolete. An old Intel DX2-66 is still a viable machine, if all that's required is basic DOS tasking without expected time requirements, but don't expect it to handle a Windows 10 based render.

When considering the sheer amount of still functional pc's designed and built around DOS platforms, all the way upto Win98SE, physical lifespans are a minor concern compared to Usable lifespans unless subjected to 'out of norm' conditions.
 
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The only thing you can do really is simply to make sure the computer is sufficiently cooled. And by sufficiently, below its designed thermal limits. Lower is obviously better though.

At the end of the day though, we have computers that are 20 years old, still alive and kicking. We have computers that are probably older than most people on this forum that are still holding up. A computer is likely to be obsoleted by you long before it's dead.
 

danny009

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Apr 11, 2019
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The only thing you can do really is simply to make sure the computer is sufficiently cooled. And by sufficiently, below its designed thermal limits. Lower is obviously better though.

At the end of the day though, we have computers that are 20 years old, still alive and kicking. We have computers that are probably older than most people on this forum that are still holding up. A computer is likely to be obsoleted by you long before it's dead.
Thank you for a quick reply, can you also answer this so I do not have to spam another forum thread? My GPU is a GTX 1050 Ti with 4GB vram, do this card have a HDMI output? NVIDIA Control Panel shows HDMI image at its settings panel, I can't look at it right now physically due to PC case stand, if I get a 60Hz IPS screen, (1080p) my GPU can support it and boot it? Thank you
 

Karadjgne

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A pc has 2 defined lifetimes. Physical and Usable.

Physical lifespan is determined by abuse. Whether that's temps, dust, extreme usage, OC, anything that pushes the pc physically away from expected 'normal' wear and tear. There are still fully functional Commodore Vic20's in existance, over 40 years old now, so realistic physical lifespan limits has yet to be established.

Usable lifespan is determined by software. Nothing else. Doesn't matter if it's add on apps, programs, OS, the pc as such and the software it runs and you as a user expected performance will determine when a pc is obsolete. An old Intel DX2-66 is still a viable machine, if all that's required is basic DOS tasking without expected time requirements, but don't expect it to handle a Windows 10 based render.

When considering the sheer amount of still functional pc's designed and built around DOS platforms, all the way upto Win98SE, physical lifespans are a minor concern compared to Usable lifespans unless subjected to 'out of norm' conditions.
 
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danny009

Commendable
Apr 11, 2019
189
2
1,595
1
A pc has 2 defined lifetimes. Physical and Usable.

Physical lifespan is determined by abuse. Whether that's temps, dust, extreme usage, OC, anything that pushes the pc physically away from expected 'normal' wear and tear. There are still fully functional Commodore Vic20's in existance, over 40 years old now, so realistic physical lifespan limits has yet to be established.

Usable lifespan is determined by software. Nothing else. Doesn't matter if it's add on apps, programs, OS, the pc as such and the software it runs and you as a user expected performance will determine when a pc is obsolete. An old Intel DX2-66 is still a viable machine, if all that's required is basic DOS tasking without expected time requirements, but don't expect it to handle a Windows 10 based render.

When considering the sheer amount of still functional pc's designed and built around DOS platforms, all the way upto Win98SE, physical lifespans are a minor concern compared to Usable lifespans unless subjected to 'out of norm' conditions.
Very informative and detailed reply, thank you, I got my answers,
 

danny009

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Apr 11, 2019
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A friend is still using an Intel i3-2100 system which I must have put together for him around 9 or maybe 10 years ago
Nice, I'm also using an old 4th gen Intel CPU, dunno if yours is also 4th gen or around that time but in my opinion older Intel CPUs around that time actually the most consumer friendly processors Intel ever done if we can handle the heat in games which can be by easily getting a good cooler or lowering the graphics, what ı noticed in most recent years more Intel produce new CPUs regardless of their core and HT, more problematic they get, personally I'm still using a 4 core CPU and never found myself in need to get a new CPU in today. Something tells me that both Intel and AMD (but mostly Intel) milking their users by releasing unneeded powerful hardware. It's not like most people know how to use Windows 10 properly even,

Its so good to see older products and hardware still in works without serious issues, I dislike when tech gaints puts out new things every year or two.
 

Eximo

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Common maintenance tips:
  1. Keep the system clean of dust, consider 6 months to 1 year a good cleaning interval. More frequent if you have pets. (Filtered intakes are your friend)
  2. Consider fan replacement after 3-5 years of continuous use. If the system is shut down daily, fans my last longer (or ironically shorter, depends if the fans are ball bearing or sleeve, and their orientation...) Replace fans when they start to sound bad.
  3. Replace power supply based on its warranty period. 3, 5, 7, or 10 years. If the PSU has a 1 year warranty, consider replacing it with a better model. Better power supply less power conditioning the system board has to do.
  4. Replace important system hard drives every 5 or so years at the maximum. SSDs should last the useful life of the system.
  5. Backup regularly to an external drive or the cloud
  6. Hook the computer, monitor, modem/router, and anything else directly connected to your PC up to a power strip with surge protection. Power conditioner or UPS is even better.
  7. Disconnect system from power when heavy storms are predicted in your area (a precaution, in case the lines are hit or there are large power surges)
  8. Monitor temperatures, get a baseline summer and winter reading when the system is new. If temperatures increase and the system is clean, consider replacing thermal compound.
 

danny009

Commendable
Apr 11, 2019
189
2
1,595
1
Common maintenance tips:
  1. Keep the system clean of dust, consider 6 months to 1 year a good cleaning interval. More frequent if you have pets. (Filtered intakes are your friend)
  2. Consider fan replacement after 3-5 years of continuous use. If the system is shut down daily, fans my last longer (or ironically shorter, depends if the fans are ball bearing or sleeve, and their orientation...) Replace fans when they start to sound bad.
  3. Replace power supply based on its warranty period. 3, 5, 7, or 10 years. If the PSU has a 1 year warranty, consider replacing it with a better model. Better power supply less power conditioning the system board has to do.
  4. Replace important system hard drives every 5 or so years at the maximum. SSDs should last the useful life of the system.
  5. Backup regularly to an external drive or the cloud
  6. Hook the computer, monitor, modem/router, and anything else directly connected to your PC up to a power strip with surge protection. Power conditioner or UPS is even better.
  7. Disconnect system from power when heavy storms are predicted in your area (a precaution, in case the lines are hit or there are large power surges)
  8. Monitor temperatures, get a baseline summer and winter reading when the system is new. If temperatures increase and the system is clean, consider replacing thermal compound.
Hey thanks for detailed reply, unfortunately I'm unable to do most of these tips as I need to get a tech expert or go to store to do it, but we do have pets in house, we own a air blower so I'm using that time to time. My PC case is open for a clean airflow since my CPU cooler is stock and the pc case is from years ago, not a modern one, so I use air blower to clean from dust. In fact I'm going to do that again in tomorrow! Thanks for reminding me, its been a while, so thanks. I also watch the temps via HWinfo and MSI afterburner in games, even created a alarm to ring when temps pass a certain limit.
 

Eximo

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Only tools required to work on a computer are a basic philips screwdriver and your hands.

Any particular step you need help with there will be a youtube video for, so don't sell yourself short. Paying for computer maintenance is the most expensive thing you can do with a computer really.
 

InvalidError

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I still have a working P4 which I use 3-4 times a year to scan documents since my scanner doesn't have drivers for anything beyond XP or use some of the academic license stuff I have on it, though I haven't used most of it in a very long time. I also have a C2D that still gets daily use as my living room PC, though that is about to change now that I have upgraded my main PC and have a spare i5-3470 to re-home.

With a little bit of TLC and some luck with defects, PCs can vastly outlive their useful life. I also have two P3s somewhere, haven't taken them out of their box since the last time I moved, I bet they are still working too. Sadly, the next time I see them will be to chuck one out for recycling so I can reclaim its case and re-home my C2D.
 

Karadjgne

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Hook the computer, monitor, modem/router, and anything else directly connected to your PC up to a power strip with surge protection.
My only argument to this is quality. There's basically 2 different kinds of power strips, the cheap dollar store kind and the more expensive audio/video kind.
The first should be avoided like the plague. While most pc's and extras will only pull @ 5A at 120v, those cheap kind honestly offer no protection at all and are nothing more than a couple of metal strips with plastic tabs to maintain pressure with a 10A-15A automotive breaker/rocker switch. With use and constant heat, they fail easily and can/will not only provide a source of spikes and irregular voltage to the psu, but can also be a viable source of fire or other damages.

The second are the $50+ strips which have dedicated joule ratings, even insurance for repair/replacement upto $25k should voltage pass their protection and damage protected electronics. Purpose built for pc and other electronic items they use heavy duty spring mounted clips designed for a lifetime of use/wear and tear. These strips are the next best thing to a UPS, sometimes better.

Cheap power strips do absolutely nothing in the way of protection that your household breaker panel doesn't already provide and do absolutely nothing as far as voltage protection from household supply. They only add to possible/probable failure points.
 

Karadjgne

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My wife and I have that same 'argument' constantly lol. She likes the light-weight cheapo weed-whackers/blowers, costs about $100, and we went through 1 every year for the first 5 years of marriage. I then spent $250 for a commercial grade Echo, she objected based on the price, and I've had it for 15 years. 💪

Quality matters, even if initial cost is daunting.
 

InvalidError

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The second are the $50+ strips which have dedicated joule ratings, even insurance for repair/replacement upto $25k should voltage pass their protection and damage protected electronics. Purpose built for pc and other electronic items they use heavy duty spring mounted clips designed for a lifetime of use/wear and tear. These strips are the next best thing to a UPS, sometimes better.
There are no springs even in medical-grade Eaton and Leviton power outlets unless you count the anti-tampering shutters. They are just stamped sheet metal, albeit thicker gauge than regular grade outlets which themselves use thicker gauge metal than most power strips. Outlets also likely use better alloys for endurance than most power strips.
 

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