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Screensavers Considered Harmful
originally posted: November 12, 2008
Once upon a time, when computer displays were all crummy CRT's, there were problems with images getting "burned" into the display if they were left up too long. So screensaver programs were invented to keep the contents of the display changing when the computer is idle.
No modern computer displays still have significant burn-in problems, so the need for screensavers is almost completely gone. Unless your computer is more than 15 yers old, your screensavers no longer does anything at all to save your screen. But people kind of got used to them, and they look pretty, so many computers still have them.
From an energy point of view, screensavers are all bad. First many of them generate quite elaborate displays that require a lot of computation to generate. Most modern computers consume more energy when they are computing harder, so this is a loss. Furthermore, most computers have the ability to put their screen into a powersaving mode or turn it off entirely when the computer has been idle for a while. This is a much better alternative that can save a significant amount of energy.
In fact, powering down the display when it is not in use is also likely to lengthen the lifetime of the display. So if you really want to save your screen, this is a much better alternative.
I can think of only a few cases where a screensaver might actually be a good idea:
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