A CPU cooler is essential to every PC build and it is used to keep your CPU from overheating. It is very important that you have a proper working CPU cooler every time you turn on your PC.
So how long does a CPU cooler last?
Air coolers usually last around 5-10 years depending on how reliable the fan is. While liquid coolers last around 6-8 years before you will need to get it fully replaced. The heatsink of a CPU cooler should last almost forever.
There are many different types of CPU coolers so it is hard to fit the answer into a few sentences.
We will now go through all the different types of coolers and aspects of the CPU cooler’s lifespan.
How Long Does a Liquid Cooler Last?
Liquid cooling is the main choice for PC enthusiasts who like to tweak their PCs and make them look very fancy.
Liquid coolers are the best type of CPU cooler when it comes down to looks and temperature.
A liquid CPU cooler does a fantastic job at keeping your CPU cool all whilst looking amazing.
When we talk about liquid cooling there are two types of liquid coolers to look out for.
The first is AIO liquid cooling. AIO stands for all-in-one liquid cooling. These coolers are very easy to set up and are pretty cheap for a standard liquid cooler although they are more expensive than most air CPU coolers.
An AIO cooler should last around 5-6 years before needing any major maintenance or replacement. This is because these coolers are already made to withstand a lot and are completely sealed so the liquid coolant doesn’t need to be replaced.
Then you have your custom liquid coolers. These CPU coolers require a little more maintenance than an AIO cooler but make your rig look much cooler and can cool your PC down to very low temperatures.
These coolers will need maintenance every 1-3 years, but shouldn’t need a full replacement until around 4-5 years of use.
Even though these coolers require a lot more maintenance many people still prefer them.
How Long Does an Air Cooler last?
Next, you have the air cooler. The air cooler usually lasts around 5-10 years.
The lifespan of the computer fan is usually the first thing to go bad. Here is an article about How Long a Computer Fan Lasts.
The heatsink on a CPU cooler should last hundreds of years because it is just a chunk of metal that doesn’t need to process anything. Therefore, it will really never become worn out unless your try to do something to it.
When Should You Replace Your CPU Cooler?
You should really never have to replace your whole CPU cooler unless you want to upgrade to a better one that cools your CPU better.
However, you will eventually have to provide maintenance to your CPU cooler, such as when your CPU fan stops working, when you have to replace your thermal paste, or when your liquid coolant starts to leak.
To monitor your CPU cooler you should check-in and test it every 6-8 months, just to make sure that it is working and that your CPU is at a safe temperature.
This can be done with much different software, the most popular one being CPU-Z.
If you have a liquid cooler then you should replace the liquid coolant every year so that it stays fresh and you should also clean out the coolant pipes so that you can avoid them from clogging up from the buildup that the coolant leaves behind.
If you use an AIO cooler you can skip this step because they are usually made to last until they fully break and don’t require you to do a yearly cleaning.
The next thing you should look at replacing is your thermal paste. Your thermal paste is used to connect and transfer heat from your CPU to your CPU coolers heatsink.
It is an essential thing to have when using a computer so that your PC can stay cool.
A good set of thermal paste should last around 5-6 years, but you should read How Often Should You Replace Your Thermal Paste? To get more information about replacing your thermal paste.
It is also good to clean your CPU heatsink every once in a while to make sure no dirt is getting in between your heatsink and CPU because this will cause overheating if left alone.
Check out How To Clean Your Heatsink to get more information about this.
You should note that if you keep taking good care of your CPU cooler and always apply maintenance to your coolers whenever they need it, then you really don’t need to purchase a new CPU cooler.
If you take good enough care of your CPU cooler then you can use it for the rest of your life.