Is it dangerous to run a processor at 100% for a long time?
Question by Usman Mubashir /

I use BOINC software to help scientists with need processing power and I was wondering whether it is safe to let my laptop run for days at full throttle?


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Answers (21)
  • Anish Parameshwaran

    Initially, you won’t feel much of a difference, but it will wear down after some time and this may result in slower clock speeds and/or overheating.

  • Julia Samson

    The replies so far addressed the issue of heat and the chips – and the replies are right on track.

    But the biggest issue has been overlooked – the battery. You should be concerned with heat and the battery, and the design of the battery charging system. Unless it is designed to handle it, running a laptop for extended periods plugged into “house” power will cause significant heat build-up and, most importantly, will degrade the battery and significantly shorten its life. And we all know how expensive batteries are.

    Laptop battery electrical design varies from manufacturer to manufacturer. Your manufacturer can tell you what is best. My Apple Airbook is designed to be run off battery, then charged only for a short period until the battery is charged, then run off battery again. [This datum comes from the Apple engineering via AppleCare.] Many laptops are designed to allow running off “house” power for extended periods. A 2011 Toshiba has this design. You can usually tell this is the case if, when running like this, the batteries themselves do not feel hot.

    Another big heat generator is the display. Let your display completely blacken (or even better power off) when not used. Windows has energy savings controls that may help with this. If you can’t turn your display off, you may want to attach a separate monitor, have the operating system use only the separate monitor (if this is possible), then turn the monitor off at the monitor’s power button. This will prevent heat build-up, power drain, and screen burn-in.

    Most laptops are designed with two types of cooling fans. There are some obvious ones, usually places near air holes, that can be heard, and you can typically hear them turn on and off. You can also feel the air flow increase and decrease as the fans come on and off. The second type of fan is small and is glued onto the chip itself. Typically CPUs have these, and often graphics card CPUs have them too. These small fans can fail without you knowing. Some laptops offer diagnostics that will monitor the fans and let you know if they, or the temperature probe fails. If your laptop does not have a diagnostic that monitors the fans, and performs a shut-down if an over-tempurature occurs, install one. This will protect your investment.

    A good rule of thumb when checking for how hot is too hot – if you can’t hold it comfortably it is too hot!

  • Abhishek Ambre

    Running your processor at full speed will shorten the life span eventually. But still if u want to prolong its degradation try installing a liguid cooling system which will keep ur system much cooler rather than regular fans…….

  • Chris Hoffman

    Bear in mind that this will also increase your electrical bills!

  • Alex Perkins

    In the right conditions, no not really. It will reduce the lifespan of the CPU some, but if you coll it enough so that max temps stay below 70°C then it should be okay.

  • Aditya Bhat

    no if u have enough cooling and enough air circulation
    nothing will happen to your laptop

  • Anupa Somasiri

    If you have sufficient cooling and a good PSU, then it will be fine. But keep in mind, that laptops are not very great at running BOINC.

  • Indronil Mondal

    as long as they dont over heat everything will be fyn

  • Dimal Chandrasiri

    There is no effect immediately! But you’ll definitely ware out the processor! If you are stressing the Processor to it’s limit, use a good cooling method.. A water cooler maybe! that would help the processor to be in a good working temperature and would less damage with heat!

  • Junil Maharjan

    It might heat up too much.

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