The graphics cards in your computer are pretty important. They’re the brains that power everything from your games to your web browser. But how long do they last? How often should you replace them? And what can cause them to die?
We’ll answer all of these questions below.
What Can Cause a GPU to Die?
A few things will lead to a GPU dying sooner than expected. Some of these factors may apply more to older cards (like those from 2005), but it’s still worth knowing about in case any of them happen.
Overclocking a GPU is a great way to squeeze out some extra performance from your machine. It can also make your GPU unstable and prone to failure.
If you’ve overclocked your GPU and don’t know much about overclocking, be sure to check out our guide on how to overclock a GPU safely. Overclocking can also damage your GPU.
If your card is unstable after overclocking, you might consider reverting to stock settings instead. Even though you could get it up to speed again, there’s no guarantee that you won’t have issues later on.
You can also try turning off overclocking entirely. This usually requires some messing around with BIOS settings which aren’t always intuitive — especially if you aren’t familiar with how overclocking works.
If you’re having problems overclocking, you should probably just avoid it altogether.
Bad PSU/Power Supply
Your graphics card is built into your motherboard. As such, when it comes time to upgrade your computer, you need to pay attention to the power supply unit (PSU). Your PSU is the thing powering your computer while you’re using it — so your gaming rig needs a reliable one!
If you’ve recently installed a new GPU, then you might want to check its compatibility with your PSU. Most GPUs will work with any PSU, but not every manufacturer makes compatible hardware. Check your PSU’s specifications to see whether or not it supports your GPU.
When it comes time to buy a new PSU, you’ll want to stay away from anything less than 650 watts. While more powerful graphics cards require more power, most people don’t need anything more than that.
Power surges are caused by spikes in electrical current. In other words, your PC gets hit by a surge, and suddenly there’s an overload of electricity. It doesn’t necessarily mean your power supply is bad — it could simply be because of something else on your computer.
But if you think you may have had a surge, then you definitely want to check it out. See if your PC was hit by a power surge, and how you can prevent future ones.
Will a GPU Last 10 Years?
According to benchmarks, a GeForce GTX 1080 is going to run at peak performance for roughly four years before starting to slow down noticeably. That said, you should expect a lot of changes within two years.
In other words, if you bought a GTX 1070 back in 2017, you’d be lucky to get three years from now. But if you got a GTX 1080 back then, you could potentially get five years!
For reference, here’s how far each major generation has progressed:
- GeForce RTX 2060: 1 year
- GeForce RTX 2070: 2.5 years
- GeForce RTX 2080 Ti: 4 years
- GeForce GTX 1650 Super: 1 year
- GeForce GTX 1660: 2 years
- GeForce GTX 1660 Ti: 3 years
- GeForce GTX 1080: 5 years
- GeForce GTX 1070: 4 years
- GeForce GTX 980: 6 years
- GeForce GTX 970: 7 years
So, if you bought a GPU that was released in 2017 or earlier, you should have a solid five years of life left. The lifespan varies depending on the GPU, too. For example, a Radeon RX 570 will run at least until 2022, and it can even go for longer than that.
Note that these estimates are based on the performance of the latest cards. Older cards might run slower, which could extend their lifespan.
Do GPUs Wear Out?
Not really. At least not the parts that matter anyways. Sure, you can tell by looking at them whether or not they’re working properly, but they don’t wear out as a CPU does.
GPUs are made of a bunch of different components that aren’t meant to break. If you do have a problem with your GPU, you can send it back to the manufacturer to fix it. However, it’s hard to say if they’ll actually repair it without looking at it first.
How Often Should You Replace a GPU?
While a GPU typically lasts between five and eight years, there are exceptions. A lot of people will claim that you shouldn’t replace a GPU unless it’s broken. But according to the website Overclockers Club, it’s normal to replace a GPU every two years.
Most people who have a decent GPU will play a game once a month or so at best. This means that the majority of the time, the GPU isn’t being pushed to its limits. When it comes time to replace a GPU, you’re likely to notice that it’s running at a lower quality setting or is lagging behind compared to newer cards.
How Do You Tell If a GPU Is Dying?
There’s no specific indicator that tells you that your GPU is about to die. All you can do is wait and hope that it dies sometime soon.
But what if you want to know when it’s time to change your GPU? Well, you can look at the following symptoms:
- Heat: A hot GPU doesn’t always mean that it’s about to fail. But if your GPU is getting noticeably hotter than usual, then there might be an issue.
- Stutter: Stuttering is another sign that your GPU might be struggling.
- Poor FPS: Poor FPS indicates that your GPU isn’t performing as quickly as it could be.
It’s possible that your GPU is fine, and these symptoms are just due to you playing a game that uses a lot of resources. So, you might want to try lowering the graphical settings on your game to find out if that helps.
How Many Times Can You Reuse a GPU?
You can reuse a GPU multiple times if you take the proper precautions. You should clean out dust from inside the card and ensure that it’s plugged into a stable power source. Then, you should also wipe it with a cloth regularly.
You can also put an anti-static bag over the card and store it in a cool place. Just remember to never leave it outside in direct sunlight or near heat vents. Also, don’t forget to turn off the cooling fan!
You should be able to reuse a GPU up to 100 times.
After that, you might start to see signs of wear and tear, which is when you should switch to a new GPU.
How Long Does it Take to Upgrade a GPU?
This depends on how old the GPU is. If you’re upgrading from a very old GPU, it might take a bit longer. For instance, it took me about six hours to install my new Nvidia RTX 2060. But if you’re upgrading from a brand new GPU, it’s usually faster.
I upgraded from a GTX 1050 Ti to a RTX 2060, and it took me around 40 minutes.
How Do You Buy New Graphics Cards?
Now that you know how many years a GPU can last, you can figure out how many years you should hold onto a model before buying a new one.
One option is to keep track of how long your GPU lasted. If you haven’t changed your GPU in a while, you can compare its age to see how long it lasted. Or, you can look online to compare prices. But most retailers have discontinued older models, so it’s harder to get a deal on them. So, if you’re trying to save money, you might want to hold off.
You might also want to look for a discount or bundle. These can help you save some cash. Then, you’ll know exactly how much you have to spend on a new GPU.
Also, you can try to pick up a cheap secondhand GPU if you’re strapped for cash. There’s nothing wrong with doing that. Just make sure that you do your research beforehand to make sure that it’s in good condition!