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I bought a new computer recently and I'm very pleased with how quickly and accurately it renders. In my line of work, however, I find that sometimes my queued render tasks add up to more than 20 hours. Naturally, while rendering, my new computer runs pretty warm. My question is if this heavy workload will decrease the life of my computer.

I would like answers to give an assessment of both mobile computers, such as tablets and laptops, and an assessment desktop computers.

Specifically, my new computer is a Microsoft Surface Pro 4. I've been using a USB fan to help keep it cool during these extended render tasks. Should I continue this practice or am I wasting my time?

  • Have you actually noticed any significant overheating? Not just as in 'the computer gets warm', but actual performans drops due to the heat or temperatures above the save operating temperature as stated by the manufacturer? Use CoreTemp to monitor your CPU temperature. If you are worried about damages caused by overheating, you can also set it to warn you or shut the system off entirely once it reaches a critical temperature – MoritzLost Feb 1 '17 at 23:40
  • @MoritzLost I set the tasks, then walk away. I don't monitor anything. The only way I'd know is if there was a crash or error or something. I'll take a look at CoreTemp. – user24601 Feb 2 '17 at 0:46
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First answer to "My question is if this heavy workload will decrease the life of my computer."

Simply YES, BUT any work on a computer will decrease its life, but it does depend on the work being done and how intense it is, but on the other hand, computers are designed to work in different ways and workloads. Desktop Workstations like the HPs and Mac Pros are designed to run massive tasks and just chug away at the data, which is why you will see the pros using them in the big studios as they power they offer is fantastic. They can have 12 cores, tons of Ram, brilliant GPUs etc which a tablet cannot.

Now you can still get high powered desktops from the likes of home builds and retailers which will handle data happily and run all the time.

Tablets (including the Surface) are really designed to be a portable solution that is not a laptop and even though they have loads of power and do the job they are not really designed to sit and chug away at data for hours on end as the little fans and main boards are so close together and the heat that is generated can affect the components over time.

If it was me in this situation I would do my work on the Surface but I would have a desktop (HP, Mac Pro, home-build, etc) to send the work to render on over night and or all day and having the ability to upgrade or add in new GPU's more Ram multiple processors/cores will cut down render times about also increase your work as you can render on the desktop and still produce more work on the tablet.

Other option is sending the files to something like and online render farm to render them out and send back the finished product but this is a bit of a more expensive option specially if it is just smaller project and not rendering films like Pixar's Cars or Disney's Moana.

Obviously this all involves spending more money and have extra kit but it might prolong the life of the tablet and cut down render times etc.

Now this is all great in saying this but putting things into practice can take a long time to work out a good flow, I'm still improving my flows daily while I'm working.

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In general, no you don't have to worry about it. Manufacturers will test their equipment including doing thorough thermal tests. In the case where you build your own computer, it might be a concern, but for the MS Surface, it's not. Most modern computers will actually either slow down the processor if it starts to overheat, or simply shut off the device.

There are rare cases where the manufacturer doesn't test thoroughly or some odd bug makes it possible to cause overheating in some odd circumstance. Also, if something obstructs the computer's fan causing it to slow or stop, you could get overheating. But for a new computer operating under normal conditions it should be fine. Mobile and tablet computers tend to be even better about this because they often lack fans.

Using a secondary fan is fine. Large network centers with lots of servers are cooled with huge air conditioners to keep things running smoothly. Whether a single table fan will help much or not, I can't say off the top of my head, but certainly keeping it in a climate controlled room helps.

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