DON'T TURN IT OFF. FIX OTHER PROBLEMS TO MAKE A REAL DIFF.
While it saves energy and the screen to let your monitor hibernate when not in use, your CPU is a different story.
All electronic circuits create small amounts of heat. The more "work" they are doing, the more heat. All the semiconductors (transistors and I.C.s) in the electronics warm up when turned on. Since these devices use different metals and all metals expand and contract at different rates, there is a certain amount of stress created every time those semiconductors warm up and cool down. The term is Thermal Cycling, and it will, over time, cause an otherwise good part to go bad. Consider your own experiences. How often has something worked when you shut it down, only to not come on later? How often have you flipped a light switch, only to have the bulb blow? On the other hand, how often have you had something just die while you were using it, or a light bulb blow while it was on? Probably never.
Visit the computer room of any big business where they employ professionals to maintain mountains of equipment. Even tho they are using a lot of power when letting the gear run all night or weekend, that's what they do. And they keep those rooms COLD to keep the thermal cycling even lower. Don't cram your CPU inside a piece of furniture; it's got to breathe to survive.
Power consumption is directly related to how hard your CPU is working at the moment. You can actually watch this by hitting Control-Alt-Delete once and clicking the Processes tab. When you aren't using the computer, you'll see there's nothing much going on. So, you aren't using any power to speak of. And, unless you are using it, your hard drive isn't spinning, either.
As for hackers, most programs can "wake up" a hibernating computer. Or, they just keep pinging you until you go on line. Your only real defense is a REAL defense like firewalls and hacker programs. Playing hide and seek by shutting down wont work. You have to be right 100% of the time. They only have to be right once.
If you want to save energy, consider this: That second fridge burns about $10 worth a month. The 60 watt light bulb you leave on all night is running you over $4. All those "wall warts" - the little transformers you stick into outlets to freshen the air, run calculators and about everything else - pull full power all the time. Just feel one for your calculator after you haven't used it for a day; it's still warm and sucking money out of your wallet.
Your computer is chump change compared to the above.
Then there's the biggies; anything that converts electricity into heat or cold. It's 60-80% of your power consumption. I'm talking heat/cooling, cooking, and hot water. Two or three degrees won't kill you; wear sweats when home and program your thermostat to 58 any time you are away in the winter or 80 in the summer. Above a certain point, every 2 degrees is worth as much as 10% for those who like oven winter or deep freeze summer temperatures in their homes. Try more fruits, cereal, and sandwiches. You'll be saving money, the planet, and your health. Also, your hot water heater set on 110 degrees (or less) will save a fortune for you and the planet. If you have to add any cold water when you take a shower, ask yourself why. You've got the water heater so hot you have to cool it down? Duh.
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