Gaming For PC (GFPC)

How Long Does A GPU last? [Ultimate Guide]

how long does gpu last

Table of Contents

A graphics card (GPU) is one of the most important components when it comes to your computer’s gaming performance. How well you can run the latest AAA titles will largely depend on the performance of your GPU. 

With the global pandemic interpreting the usual supply chain and a global chip shortage, the prices of GPUs are at an all-time high. And gamers worldwide are worried about how long their current GPU will last. Let’s look at the average lifespan of a GPU and a few tricks to improve on it. 

How Long Does a Graphics Card Last?

lifespan of a graphics card

There is no definite answer to this question as to how long a GPU lasts will significantly vary between different brands and the quality of components that are being used. But in general, most top brands offer a minimum of 3 years warranty period. 

In most cases, if you do not overclock your computer GPU and use a good cooling system paired with a power supply that adequately supplies power to your GPU, you can expect your GPU to last between 3 to 6 years on average. 

One of the main reasons GPUs get damaged is overheating. GPU produces an insane amount of heat during graphics-intensive tasks like rendering and gaming. If not cooled properly, the card may get damaged and overheat to stop working altogether. 

So if you want your GPU to last, make sure to invest in a decent graphics card cooling solution. Also, check the thermal paste from time to time; when hardened, the effectiveness of the thermal paste diminishes, and you may need to reapply the thermal paste. 

AMD and Nvidia graphics cards are also susceptible to damage when used for an extended period. For gamers, this may not be an issue because they are unlikely to operate their devices for an extended time. But if you are using your device for other purposes or if the same device is used among multiple people.

An electrical fault is rare among graphics cards but not unlikely; there is not much we can do for Electromigration damages, but using a high-quality motherboard will definitely help.

Does the GPU go bad when not in use for a long time?

No, GPU generally does not get worse when not in use for an extended period of time. But if kept in extreme temperatures like in a hot or extremely cold environment, the GPU may start showing degradation in performance, but we are talking about extreme temperatures like above 120 degrees Fahrenheit, which is well beyond average room temperature. GPUs also do not slow down when not used for an extended period. So you do not have to worry about your GPU getting bad slowly over time. 

How Long Do GPUs Last when Gaming?

Gaming GPU lifespan

It depends on the type of games you are going to play on your computer. Playing AAA titles on high settings for a prolonged period will put a strain on GPUs. This may cause them to run hot and the fans to work hard to cope with the extra heat. The high temperature will also cause the thermal paste to harden without proper maintenance, so you can expect your GPU to last between 2 to 5 years with moderate gaming. 

But most modern GPUs are made with gaming in mind and are unlikely to stop working after a set time suddenly. So, ensure proper cooling, and if you experience any frame drops when gaming, consider checking on the thermal paste to see if it needs to be replaced. 

Tips for GPUs to last longer

For a GPU to run smoothly, there are some standard practices that you can follow. Some of these tips are subjective but are widely popular among gamers. 

Invest in a high-quality motherboard: Motherboards are underrated when building a gaming PC. This is mainly because the performance of a computer-primarily depends on the process and GPU, and many of us cheap out on a decent motherboard. 

But this is where all of the components of your computer will be connected, and using a cheap motherboard may cause electrical issues within your GPU. So, if you want your GPU to last for a long time, do not cheap out on motherboards. Here is a list of high-quality DDR3 motherboards worth checking out

Built-in Power Supply may not be ideal: Many of us use the built-in power supply that our computer comes with the casing; they are usually of lower quality and may not be adequate to supply power to the GPUs, causing them to malfunction. So, if you want your GPUs to last, consider investing in a high-quality power supply from reputed brands.

You should get a water cooling kit: Extended gaming sessions will cause the GPUs to overheat, significantly reducing your card’s lifespan. One way to avoid this issue is to invest in a high-quality water cooling kit. 

They will help keep the temperature down and help your GPU last longer. One thing to note is that many cooling systems have fancy RGB lighting attached to them. They sure look cool but do nothing to cool your GPUs. 

Ensure proper maintenance: If you really want your GPU to last, proper maintenance is really important. From the specks of dust blocking the air passages to the thermal paste getting hard and unusable, you should address these issues periodically. 

Don’t put your graphics card in water or somewhere hot, because the latter can cause the GPU to short out and the former will ruin the parts. You need to buy a PC case for it to protect it, just like you would for any other piece of electrical equipment. In addition to protecting it from damage, the case will make it look nice.

how long should a gpu last

Tweak settings: Modern GPUs have many advanced features that improve performance but may overheat the system. Turning some of these settings off may help your GPU to last longer. Exactly which setting you need to turn off will vary depending on your card.

Can A GPU Last Forever?

Graphic card lifespan

One question we often get is, will my GPU last forever if I take proper care of it? The short answer is NO. 

GPUs are not designed to last forever, and no matter how good care you take, after an extended period of time, the internal circuit within the GPU will start to malfunction. But don’t you worry because theoretically, it will take more than 10 years for the GPU to come of age, and till then, you can use it hassle-free. 

How often should you change GPU fans?

Depending on the type of climate you are in, a GPU fan can last around 3 to 4 years. But this greatly depends on how well you maintain the product and the average speed you run the fans. Running GPU fans at top speed will put an extra constraint on your fan, which may cause it to malfunction. 

Is it bad to run GPU fans at 100%?

No, as long as your GPU does not throttle and you ensure adequate cooling, it may not be a bad thing to let the GPU fan run at 100%. Lots of professional gamers and mining gigs allow their GPU fan to run at 100% without any sign of degradation. 

But it is important to ensure that the temperature is under control. There is specific software like GPU-Z, and HWiNFO that notifies you if the temperature gets too hot. 

Signs of a damaged GPU

It can be a bit painful, but no matter how careful you are, eventually, your GPU will start showing its age and start showing signs of damage. Here are signs of a damaged GPU.

Random crashes: Your games will start crashing randomly and frequently, especially after using them for some time. A restart may solve the issue at first, but the frequency of random crashes will keep increasing before it stops working.

Sparking, burning, or funny smell coming out of GPU: When old age, GPUs may start sparking and burning. A funny smell may also start coming out of your GPU. 

This may even run the risk of starting a fire, so if you smell something funny, turn off the computer system immediately and check where the smell is coming from.

Computer won’t turn on: Another sign that your GPU is damaged is if it refuses to turn on. This is often known as no post

Artifacts in gaming: Funny as it may look, another sign that your GPU is getting bad is artifacts while gaming. 

If you start noticing any of these or a serious degradation in gaming performance, your GPU may need to be upgraded or replaced. Lowering your graphics settings is another testing option.

You can further verify if your GPU is damaged by plugging it into a different computer and checking its performance. You may also use run tools like HWiNFO to check system performance and errors. 

Final Words – How Long Does A GPU Last?

how long does gpu last

To put it simply: a computer’s graphics are rendered by its Graphics Processing Unit (GPU). GPUs can fail because they are fragile and require a lot of energy to run, but if properly cared for, they can endure for decades, if not centuries.

Many people have difficulty comprehending the complex mechanisms that go into computer hardware, yet understanding these mechanisms is critical if you want to keep your equipment in good working order and avoid costly repairs.

You can save money and keep your computer functioning perfectly if you are familiar with all of the components within a computer and how they work, as well as how to care for them and troubleshoot them.

About four years is the typical lifespan of a GPU. However, a GPU’s performance might decrease far more rapidly when subjected to intensive gaming. Graphics cards have a finite lifespan, which can be shortened or prolonged depending on a variety of circumstances. In addition, a computer’s GPU will degrade more rapidly if it is constantly under stress.


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