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I read recently this HTG article and I agree with the author in general. But I find myself sometimes reading a non-trivial article, or debugging some tricky bug in my code, and in these cases, I either stare at the screen or have a paper where I write down stuff, and always look at the screen but don't do anything. So the moment the screen saver starts, I move the mouse to continue my work. I think this is better because turning the screen off and on will be worse, but I'm not quite sure, so:

Is it better to let the screen switch off and instantly on again, or to leave the screen saver to avoid the off-on?

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2 Answers 2

I normally disable screensavers or set them to black.

If your talking about a visual screensaver, realistically your just using the CPU drawing images when no one is looking and wasting electricity and keeping the chips hot.

About the only reason to use a animated screensaver over a black screensaver would be to insure that it's obvious to anyone that the computer is on.

If your screensaver is just a black screen (Not a powersave mode) then I can't see any reason why turning the screen black and then back again would cause any issue. The screens are designed to update 60+ times persecond and playback games/video.

If you actually using a powersave mode where the screen turns into standby and the backlight turns off. I don't know about any problems with turning them on and off again (unless your doing it thousands of times a day). Most embedded screens in phones and tablets turn off all the time so I doubt it's an issue.

I have yet to have a LCD screen die on me, still have a Samsung 191T which dates from around 2002 the backlight is failing but it lived in direct sunlight for several years). You would have to be abusing them quite a bit to have an effect (For example running a program that flickers between all the possible colours 60 times a second for years on end).

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Next time please read the article first. You repeated most of the information that is there. You get a point for the smartphones that all the time turn the screen on and off, but I was looking for a little more founded answer. -- Thanks anyway. –  Kahil Nov 26 '12 at 12:54

It was back in the age of CRT monitors that screen savers actually were ScreenSavers

In CRT Monitors, if you display the exact same image for a long time, the colors tended to "burn in" and cause a ghost image when you are looking at anything else. This is why they had screen savers and why the screen savers tend to be active ( moving/changing).

Nowadays, the main use for them (in my opinion) is to hide your screen from prying eyes with something other than the boring lock screen.

Getting back to the present. Sounds like your case just needs an increase in the screensaver timeout. In my opinion the difference between screen off/Screen saver is not comparable to the distraction that it causes when you are deep in thought.

I dont really know about LCD power cycling and its effects on life/power unfortunately.

(edit): It seems I have mostly just repeated what the article said.. Apologies for that.

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