Do you want to know how long does a Graphics card last and how to extend its life? You are on the right spot to know answer of this question.
A graphics card is key in any gaming PC, but its price is what makes us wonder how long it lasts or what its useful life is.
We are going to answer this question, as well as tell you what you can do to make them last longer.
It is one of the most expensive components on the market, so we want it to last longer than others or, at least, to give its maximum performance.
See Also: How to Update your Graphics Card Drivers
This requires certain care and good maintenance, as well as the predisposition of a well-ventilated PC case. We answer the question of how long a graphics card lasts by taking several factors into account.
How Long does a Graphics Card Last?
Our opinion is that, if nothing unusual is done, a graphics card lasts an average of 5 years, and can last more than 10 years or less than 5. It will depend on several factors:
- Use that we give him: A person who plays sporadically will use it less and, therefore, it will last longer.
- Specific model: There are models that have come out more reliable than others, and it is that assembler brands that give more failures than others. EVGA has always been known for having good reliability, although it is not free from failures, as happened to its RTX 3090 with New World, for example. Therefore, we are more inclined to a specific model than to the assembler itself.
- Overclock: An overclocked GPU will last less yes or yes, although you have to take into account the type of overclock that is done. An extreme overclock with increased power limits and voltages is not the same as a much lighter one (which doesn’t matter, that being said).
- Temperature and Maintenance: In case the GPU is normally at high temperatures… it will degrade much sooner. In turn, if maintenance is not done, nor is it cleaned, nor is a ventilation curve made, the future of the GPU is more-less than written.
- Fans: It is the component that fails the most according to Puget Systems, and it has all the logic in the world: they do not stop working, except on some GPUs. So there will come a time when
We know that there are many conspiracies (and not so conspiracies) about obsolescence through drivers by brands.
See Also: How much does a Graphics Card Cost
But the truth is that we continue to see GTX 700 and RX 400 in many computers working perfectly. We’re talking about 8-year-old GPUs easily, so the average is just a number.
It is a different thing if we are interested in having such an old GPU in our PC, since gamers usually update it every 5-6 years, especially if they had a high-end model.
Many brands have their studies of target audiences, and the most demanding (enthusiastic) tend to change components more frequently because they always want maximum performance.
We go to Steam and the most used GPU is the GTX 1060, followed by the RTX 2060: 2 GPUs with 6 and 4 years respectively.
The mid-range public is served by playing at 1080p and 60 FPS (although less and less), while the most demanding has monitors of more than 144 Hz and high resolutions, they end up going through the box!
Therefore, one thing is the useful life of the component, and another very different thing is the utility that it gives us.
How to Extend the Life of your GPU?
We are going to address different ways or tips to extend the useful life of our graphics card, since many of you ask and we believe that it can be useful to you.
See Also: How to choose a Good Graphics Card
Monitor temperatures when Charging
The first thing to do is monitor temperatures, but not only when we are out of the game, but when we are in it.
It happens to graphics cards like processors, their temperatures and consumption vary when they are loaded or at rest (IDLE).
The best way to monitor temperatures in a basic and useful way is through HW Monitor, but if we want to monitor temperatures when under load, how do we do it? My advice is to install Riva Tuner Statistics, a plugin for MSI Afterburner.
Basically, it is a small tool that allows us to place the information we want about our components (temperature, load, consumption, etc.) in an area of the screen.
Come on, it’s an overlay that we can activate and deactivate within the game by pressing a combination of keys.
In this way, we will have immediate real-time access to the information of our components when they are loaded (playing).
If you don’t play video games and use professional tools that don’t require full screen, you can have HWMonitor in the background.
From this information, we can know either we need to cool our GPU better or not, as well as the overclock that some of you have practiced is the most appropriate.
See Also: Best Low Profile Graphics Card
This is the first step to take control over what can happen to your GPU and thus fix it as soon as possible.
Program an intelligent Ventilation Curve
We have tutorials on how to program a fan curve in MSI Afterburner on our GPU, although we recommend doing it on the CPU as well.
It involves programming the graphics card fans to spin at certain RPMs when they are at a certain temperature.
The curve is represented with an X axis (temperature) and a Y axis (RPM percentage of your fans), so: the higher the temperature, the faster the fans should spin.
The idea here is to dynamically cool the GPU so that when it’s cool, the fans don’t spin as fast and don’t wear out as much.
In this way, we kill 2 birds with one stone: we keep our GPU cool to extend the life of the memories and the chip, as we delay the degradation of the fan bearings.
Remember that fans are the component that breaks first inside a PC because they are continuously running.
Maintenance: Cleaning and Possible change of paste
Cleaning the graphics card is required from time to time to prevent it from spinning faster than it should, why does this happen?
See Also: How to Underclock Graphics Cards
Dust gets embedded in the fans, blocking airflow, the GPU heats up and the fans have to spin faster due to the dust blockage.
First of all, refer to the graphics card heatsink guide so you know how to properly clean the entire heatsink.
This is where the dust is stored, but below the heatsink is the jewel in the crown: the GPU (Graphics Processor Unit).
Unless we have practiced a powerful overclock or our GPU is many years old, it is not necessary to change the thermal paste.
The assemblers use a thermal compound prepared to last 5 years without problem, so take this into account.
However, if you want to change the thermal paste of the GPU, tell you that you have to do practically the same as with the CPU:
- Remove the heatsink.
- Clean the GPU surface with isopropyl alcohol to remove dried thermal
- Use a good thermal paste again, putting a small pea on top of the
Beware of Voltage Drops and Power Supply
One thing that is not taken into account is when there are voltage drops / surges or the power suddenly goes out.
The voltage drop occurs when you experience a drop in performance, and you may experience power outages intermittently.
When any component of your PC is damaged for this reason, you have to claim the damages to the home insurance, and not to the manufacturer.
This is important to take into account for possible claims, since the manufacturer is not to blame for your electrical installation being “defective”.
What solution do we give for this case? A UPS is very interesting for these cases, since it will provide power to our equipment in an auxiliary way in case the power goes out.
Thus, we can save the progress of what we are doing and turn off the PC safely, without damaging any component (including the GPU).
Proximity of Components
Finally, we must talk about heat and ventilation: with the components close together, it is more difficult to expel the heat. This is a fact, and you must take it into account when configuring a PC or installing a GPU.
There are many custom graphics cards with 3 fans whose dimensions require a large PC case and a good form factor (ATX at least).
This fact has been further aggravated when the RTX 3000 and RX 6000 have been released, having 3-slot designs.
If we have a Micro-ATX form factor (it is cheaper), we will have the components closer together, which will make it difficult to ventilate between them.
Inside the box you have to create an air circuit so that hot air comes out of the box and fresh air enters to cool the components.
It is not only necessary that the components keep a certain distance from each other, but that we have fans in the PC case that work properly.
And what do we do in Mini-ITX equipment? Reinforce case ventilation and install components focused on that form factor:
- Mini-ITX graphics
- SFX power supply (if ATX compatible, go ahead).
- Beware of AIO kits on CPUs because they use an entire compartment (the entire top panel) of the case to cool just one component.
- Quality fans.
- Choose a well ventilated box.
So, how long does your graphics card last? Try these above mentioned tips to extend your GPU life.
Faizan Ali is a Master in Computer Sciences and has been writing content for computing, gaming and mobile technologies since 2016. He has written content for number of online magazines, websites and blogs and now writes for “the buyers trend”. Feel free to contact him for any sort of writing for your technology related blog, website or magazine.