Sleep/Stanby and effect on RAM

Discussion in 'hardware' started by Raza0007, Apr 25, 2009.

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  1. Raza0007

    Raza0007 Registered Member

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    Just a few days ago I responded to someone under the "software category" about benefits/cons of sleep/standby and hibernation. It reminded me of a lingering question I had about the sleep mode and its effect on RAM for quite some time. I have tried to search for it on the net but could not find any relevant information, so I wanted to ask this question here hoping that someone can help me figure it out.

    During Sleep/standby the current session is saved to RAM and computer powers down. Only RAM remains powered on, as the data needs to be kept refreshed. So, if one puts their computer to sleep all the time, this would mean the RAM remains powered on 24/7. In my case for example, I have been putting my laptop to sleep since 24th sept 2008 and have not shut it down during this period. My RAM has remained powered on 24/7 since that time.

    My question is does keeping your RAM powered on all the time for months on causes RAM fatigue (if there is such a thing) or possibly RAM failure? Does it shorten the life of your RAM?

    RAM is a piece of technology and being an engineer I can not help but wonder that keeping your RAM powered on all the time will cause it to fail a lot sooner then it should.

    Any suggestion/comments will be welcome.

    p.s. I am using vista and I have not yet noticed any performance decline having my RAM powered on since 24th sept 2008
     
  2. prius04

    prius04 Registered Member

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    Apparently not, at least not from what I've seen. Prior to switching to using her laptop almost exclusively, my wife left the RAM "powered on" (using standby) for **several years** in her Dimension 8200 with no ill effects. In fact, the thing, which is now pushing 8 years old, is still going strong.
     
  3. Bill_Bright

    Bill_Bright Registered Member

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    Why would it? Since any computer can be used in a server and/or 24/7 workplace, all PCs (NOT notebooks) are designed for 24/7 operation, and so many computers, including those used here, stay on 24/7/365 with no ill effects. And note there are many, including me, that argue that running electronics in a consistent operating environment and constant/stable temperature is better than subjecting hardware devices to 1000s of heat up/cool down cycles.

    As dictated by the Laws of Physics, matter expands when it gets hot, and contracts when it gets cold. RAM modules, like all semi-conductor devices, use dissimilar materials bonded together. Dissimilar materials expand and contract at different rates and to different degrees. Over time, microfractures can form at or near the bonds, "fatigue" sets in (in affect, aging the component) and the device fails - like bending a metal wire back and forth, back and forth until it breaks.

    Products with the best design engineers, the purest raw materials, and the best production techniques can minimize these affects, but not stop them.

    Of course either way, the computer MUST be kept clean of heat trapping dust, shutdown periodically for cleaning and fan checks. And the case must provide adequate air flow to expel the heat. Two difficult, at best, tasks for ALL notebooks.

    Mine has been running nearly 24/7/365 since 2002, without any performance decline!
     
  4. Raza0007

    Raza0007 Registered Member

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    Thank you Prius04 and Bill Bright,

    This will clear the nagging thought in my head about RAM failure.

    I knew servers were designed to run 24/7 but I also knew that servers used a different RAM that is exclusively marketed for servers. So I just assumed they designed the RAM with better components to withstand 24/7 environment.

    My Dell Laptop uses branded RAM from Hyundai and Samsung. But the RAM appears to be one of the lowest cost ones offered by these two companies. Why would Dell choose to put low cost RAM in its premium line XPS Laptop is beyond me.

    Well, thanks anyway, I can now safely put my PC to sleep without worrying about causing harm to my RAM. I expect my laptop to last for at least 4 years and if it does this then it has served its purpose. Any time above this would be a bonus.

    Regards,

    Raza
     
  5. Bill_Bright

    Bill_Bright Registered Member

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    No, that's not true - at least not for servers that are "wintel" computers - that is, computers designed to run Microsoft Windows on Intel (or Intel clone - aka AMD) platforms. Server memory is exactly the same. It only means the makers (if a good company) stress test the RAM modules more thoroughly to weed out any faulty modules, to match up pairs that test well together, label for server use, then charge higher prices.

    It is important to note that ANY computer can act as a server. Yes, there are dedicated servers that use dedicated server motherboards and CPUs, and special RAM, but again, any computer can act as a server and be expected to serve 24/7.
     
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