With GPUs being one of the most expensive parts of a PC, you probably want to have it running as long as you can. Your GPU might still be able to run after a few years, but the way games and programs are progressing it leads you to the question; how long does a GPU really last?
The lifespan of a GPU usually lasts around 7-8 years. However, games are becoming more complex making old GPUs unusable because they aren’t strong enough to run the program. A standard GPU will last you about 2 years before becoming unplayable due to the graphics requirements that GPU no longer meets.
There are so many different ways to determine how long your GPU will last because so many people play different games in different settings, as well as many people, like to modify their GPU to squeeze out extra performance. All these different factors determine how long your GPU will last.
What Causes Your GPU To Wear Out Overtime?
There are actually many different components to a graphics card or GPU that tend to wear out over time and even though this isn’t the main factor why your graphics card won’t be playable in a few years, there is still a possibility that this can be the reason why your GPU tends to have a shorter lifespan.
For one, there are many places on the GPU that need to be soldered over time the soldering in these places tends to melt or erode due to the high temperature that your GPU and PC produce. This is inevitable but there can be ways to delay this from happening.
the soldering tends to erode and melt after about 5 years of use. However, even with minor erosion of the soldering, your GPU will still be functional and able to use it like nothing is happening. As long as the soldering connects the circuits together.
To slow down and delay this from happening, make sure that your graphics card is kept cool to prevent it from overheating can delay the effects of melting the solder. That means you need to make sure you have very good cooling especially if you are overclocking.
Switching to water cooling if your GPU is put under a lot of stress is a smart idea.
If you decide not to overclock your GPU the undervolting it will allow it to be run at lower temperatures. This does reduce the FPS you will get out of games, but if you have a pretty modern up-to-date graphics card then it is not something that you have to worry about that much.
The GPU also has many different chips and circuits that can go bad over time such as your IC (integrated circuits), and VRAM chips which every graphics card has and needs to run. These can just go bad over time and there is nothing you can really do about it.
If you are lucky, or if you keep repairing the GPU which really isn’t worth it. You might be able to get up to 10 years of use before the GPU goes bad and is totally unusable, but this isn’t realistic if you are using it daily.
How Long Until Your GPU is Out Of Date and Unplayable?
Well yes, your GPU might be able to last 10 years without any issues, but what happens when your graphics card loses driver support and gets no more updates, or when games evolve to a level that your graphics card can no longer run.
This is usually what happens before your GPU fully dies on you. Most GPUs are deemed unplayable after 2-3 years because of how far games and programs have progressed. With each and every year, new games increase their texture quality and increase their polygon count on objects and characters which make the game look more realistic and run smoother.
Not to mention that many games implement realistic shadows and lighting that take a toll on older GPUs that weren’t made to render these types of objects which take tremendous power from even a newer graphics card to run.
As the resolution and quality of video games keep increasing the demand for better and newer graphics cards goes up because they are able to run them. As game developers find new ways to make their games look stunning GPU manufacturers find ways to make their graphics cards run these types of programs.
This means that as the newer graphics cards emerge and get better the older graphics cards are deemed unable and are eventually left behind because they can no longer compete.
It is a fact that the graphics cards made now are about 3-4 times faster than the ones made 10 years ago which makes sense due to how fast games are evolving and how the hardware has to keep up in order for the software to be playable.
It is just not possible for a graphics card that was made to render games that had unrealistic looks, pixilated backgrounds, and smaller maps, to be able to play games that have realistic actions look stunning, and have millions of objects rendering around your constantly.
How To Extend Your GPU Lifespan To Play Games Longer
Now not everyone is able to purchase a new graphics card every year so that’s why I am going to give you a few things you can do with your GPU to extend its lifespan so you can get the most out of it while it lasts.
The first is to have good cooling. This really is a no-brainer, but it is overlooked by many people.
If you don’t want your GPU to die on you, then you want to keep it at an ideal temperature so it doesn’t overheat.
The reason for this is that overheating can and will damage your GPU over time. Even if your GPU is above normal temperatures, but is not considered to be overheating, it is slowly eating away at the parts like the soldering mentioned before.
having your GPU at above-normal temperatures will slowly start to damage your GPU you might not be able to notice it right away, but later down the line, you can see some issues.
Next, is overclocking your GPU.
Overclocking your GPU can be both good and bad. It can be bad because it can lead to the overheating that we explained before because it is boosting the graphics card pasts its limits which makes the GPU inside work harder which produces more heat.
However, it can also be a good thing because if done correctly overclocking can help you boost your GPU so that you are able to play games at a reasonable frame rate for longer.
Here is a video on how to overclock your GPU:
Another way you can increase your GPU lifespan is to undervolt it. This way you know for sure that your GPU won’t become overheated. The only bad thing about this is that you will lose some performance, but that is something you really don’t have to worry about with newer GPUs.
However, as games become more powerful you will probably have to resort to playing them at either low frame rates, lower quality, or both.
For some, this really isn’t an issue as long as you are able to play the game, but if you are more of a graphics kind of guy then your only option is really to buy a new GPU every couple of years so that you are able to play those new games on top tier settings.
Also, check out: “How Long Does a CPU Last”