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Thread: How long can a computer last?

  1. #1 How long can a computer last? 
    Forum Freshman tombyers's Avatar
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    I am working on a project to protect against data rot even in an extreme circumstance such as a severe worldwide depression or war or natural disaster leading to partial or total collapse of the global industrial infrastructure. Since a chip factory with a decent clean room costs billions, we could go for decades or centuries without manufacturing new computers. How long could we keep a computer going with a warehouse full of spare parts? Will any of those parts degrade on the shelf?


    Tom Byers
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  3. #2  
    Time Lord
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    I think it's the capacitors that self-destruct on the shelf, much as batteries do.


    A pong by any other name is still a pong. -williampinn
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  4. #3  
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    How are you storing the data?

    I once worked on a big project to store financial records on 12" optical disks. We went to great lengths to "prove" that the disks would last at least 25 years and were very un-prone to physical damage. After 10 years parts for the drives were no longer available....
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  5. #4  
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    Quote Originally Posted by schip666
    How are you storing the data?

    I once worked on a big project to store financial records on 12" optical disks. We went to great lengths to "prove" that the disks would last at least 25 years and were very un-prone to physical damage. After 10 years parts for the drives were no longer available....
    What did you do, then?
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  6. #5  
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    Well, computers on Voyagers and Pioneers lasted for decades. Voyagers are still alive by the way.

    Typical flash memory has data retention of about 10 years. CD and DVD manufacturers claim 100 years for their production. But you should preserve CDs and DVDs in good temperature and humidity conditions. Flash memory survives up to 2000000 rewrite cycles.

    So I'd pay more attention to software issues. Pay attention on problems similar to Y2K problem (Check BIOS clock(!) -- Well, This is more like a hardware related issue.).

    By the way, are you going to design your PC's from scratch or just use general purpose IBM compatible PC's?
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  7. #6  
    Forum Freshman tombyers's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BlasW
    By the way, are you going to design your PC's from scratch or just use general purpose IBM compatible PC's?
    Very early stage of thinking at this point but likely not designing from scratch. Will depend on funding.
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