Yep. Perfectly fine. The newer laptops have a proggy with the OS that allows you to fine-tune the innards of the laptop.
I've used some of mine for 14 hours straight while I was doing paperwork or answering hundreds of emails.
I've got a Toshiba, which I'm on at the moment, that I use often because it's very durable. Got it in late 2006, and it's on around 12 hours a day, from light work to sound, video, and graphic processing. What's your desk's material?
Wood keeps the heat, especially if it's particle board with the veneer stuff.
If it's glass, the glass spreads the heat and the laptop is just slightly warm when you lift it up and touch the underside.
Think of it this way. Do you know those space shuttle tiles? Well, those tiles are made of a fiberglass like material that's when heated up, you can still grab it by the corners and only the middle inside is super hot. Regular glass or if you want to get fancy, be it borosilicate glass, you won't have heat issues. Your ambient air temperature also matters, humidity, what dust is in the laptop, etc. After 2 years of solid use, my Toshiba, when I attempted to clean it a month ago, barely had any dust in it. Clean the surface your laptop is on a few times a week, and you don't have to worry about dust.
I answered a similar question to another gentleman a few weeks ago who was surprised his laptop started heating up when he placed it on his bed, despite it having a side vent. I explained that the laptop takes in air from the bottom, which is why the back is raised a bit on rubber pegs, passed it over the CPU with heatsink, and then the exhaust fan pushes it out the side.
A laptop can last you up to 7 years if you really take care of it.
they CANbe on 24/7 these days, but the life of your laptop will be much longer if you at least let it go into a suspend mode when you are not using it, and even better if you shut it off. But to answer your question, yes, these days, you can leave them running 24/7 and still have a computer that will last 2+ years.
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We use HP/Compaq Laptops here with docking stations, good for development on the go Other than during transit there on for upto 5-7 days at a time, We can even go as far as using a laptop as a linux development server in our early days. So yeah they are quite durable, The main problem you face is heat. an AMD wont perform as well as an Intel Laptop as AMD's are notorious for getting very hot.
Low power laptops such as Atom Notebooks (Which i have for personal use) has been left powered on overnight on the carpet floor (Accidently obviously) but it didnt seem to hurt it at all.
I have a Lenovo R500 and T400 (both with Win XP) that I leave on 24x7. They are my main computers, and never ever get turned off unless I close the lid and take it wherever I'm going (and then turn it on again).
I've been doing this for years with various Lenovo/IBM laptops, and have never had a problem.
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My old laptop was a Dell that I left on for about a year once. The fan started to malfunction and it would shutdown from overheating. That was also one of those models that sucked up a lot of air from underneath and clogged up its heat-sink.