If I start a software process that uses 100% CPU, and keep it running many days, is it going to crash the computer in a short time (one month)? I don't think so but I see some guys talking about these and I don't believe it, because, of course, the fan keep the processor cold.
closed as not a real question by Linker3000, Tom Wijsman, Sathya♦ Jun 28 '11 at 11:35
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Yes, or no!
There's too many variables to give a definitive answer - yes, processor overheating is a possibility, but it also depends on the robustness of the code, its data management routines (garbage collection), robustness of the system board, memory timing, power stability. system cooling effectiveness.....it's a 'try it and find out' situation.
All computer components are built to tolerances and have certain inbuilt "error rates". Running a computer on a heavy duty cycle for a long period of time will increase the chance that you hit one of these errors during the course of your program running.
As an example it is not unknown (though it is relatively uncommon) for bits to instantaneously "flip" in DRAM modules and as a result ECC memory is recommended for high-uptime servers as it can correct the data "in-flight" before your program has anything to do with it.
In a study by Google they found that in DRAM memory sticks there were up to:
That equates to somewhere around 330 memory faults per month.
If you care about running a process for a long period of time then you'll need to keep it cool (as temperature can also affect bit-flip action), make it as rock solid a system as you can (premium components) and make sure that wherever possible error correction is in use.
When you say crash, if you mean physically damage, then that is highly unlikely - It would really require there to be a significant hardware fault, and in that cause your computer would likely be heading for a failure anyway.
If you mean cause the software, or operating system to stop functioning correctly, or stop all together then that is more possible.
If you genuinely have the CPU nailed at 100% then there will be very little opportunity for your operating system to perform the little house-keeping tasks it would normally run periodically and so over time your computer could start to malfunction.
Also, if your program is using 100% of the CPU, this could also indicate that your computer may not be up to the task, which could cause the program itself to fail.
Ultimately, though, it's going to be hit an miss. Computers do crash, even when not overloaded, overloading them makes it more likely but not certain.
Yes, it could happen. However, no, it's not supposed to. If the equipment has a weak point, you may well find it. If it's all up to spec though, it shouldn't be a problem.