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How Long do CPUs Last Before They Become Useless

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How Long do CPUs Last

Almost any piece of technology you interact with today is powered by a CPU. Is has become the brains of any device. From laptops to computers, tablets, smartwatches, fitness monitors, you name it, everything has a CPU. So how long do CPUs last before they render your device useless?

How Long do CPUs Last

The answer is simple, yet complicated. IF you don’t like reading long debates, here’s a quick thought on how long does a CPU lasts.

CPUs last anywhere between 5 to 10 years. However, you will find a CPU can last enough time until you have no need for it anymore. Here are a few reasons.

How long do CPUs last according to their makers?

If you check what AMD and Intel are saying, you will find out the typical life expectancy of a CPU is under 10 years. That’s what the manufacturers are vouching for. However, it really depends on how you use it as well. 

If you never use more than 20% of what your CPU is capable of, there’s a pretty good chance the central process unit will outlive every other equipment in your system. Do you think 20% is low? It has been observed that a normal office user will never go past 15% CPU usage.

In most cases, you will swap your old CPU for a new one as time passes. Not because it’s old, but mostly because newer operating systems don’t favor old CPUs. It’s not just marketing, it has more to do with security and hackers exploiting old generations of CPU.

Why do CPUs last so long?

Imagine the amount of data a CPU has to process. Imagine how many calculations and permutations it has to do in a second. When they are built with this type of wear in mind, they are typically built to last a lifetime.

In most cases, you must have a friend who still uses the same PC he did 15 years ago. Because it still works. If you do a quick search online, reports from people still having their ‘90s desktop will emerge. Yes, they are very robust.

Won’t high temperatures kill CPUs sooner?

Modern technology has made a lot of advances. CPUs were not excluded. While you had to consistently monitor CPU temperatures in the past, today you don’t have to.

Today, temperature control is built-in. This means whenever your CPU detects it’s getting unusually hot, it just shuts down. This helps preserve itself, and your system as well. Temperatures above 90 degrees Celsius can actually melt your motherboard.

Manufacturers have the mindset to build CPUS that will last an eternity. It’s not because they want to, but because they have to. It’s the only way a CPU can handle millions of calculations in a second.

To offer a greater perspective, take Intel 8088 series CPU. They were put to use 41 years ago in the U.K for the telephone industry. They still operate today. While nobody expects their CPU to last 41 years today, it’s a great example of just how long do CPUS last.

Intel 8088 CPUs last for 41 years

What can decrease CPU life expectancy?

You learned that CPUs do last a long time. Now let’s see what might cause them to prematurely die.

In no specific order, here are a few reasons why a CPU might reach its end of life sooner:

  • CPU Overclocking
  • CPU Overvolting / Undervolting
  • High CPU Temperatures
  • Short Circuits (highly unlikely)
  • Water Damage
  • Static

Although CPU manufacturers warn against overclocking a CPU, users who did it report no potential problems in life expectancy. Nowadays, Intel and AMD sell CPUs that are specifically meant for overclocking. Do CPUs wear out because of this? In most cases, if done correctly, they won’t.

Final thoughts

So, how long do CPUs last eventually? As you can see, they will basically last exactly how long you still need them to last. In most cases, a CPU will outlive any possible needs to have from it. You will most likely replace it with a new system by the time it starts giving signs of underperformance.