If you are a gamer, content creator, or you want to look into the world of cryptocurrency mining, you are going to need to look at a dedicated graphics card, a much beefier, more powerful card compared to their integrated brethren.
For mining and gaming especially, you will need a hefty card. These processes will push your card to the max, meaning they need to be more capable of handling the load. But how long does a GPU last?
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What Affects The Lifespan Of A GPU?
Your GPU, or Graphics Processing Unit, is a component found in all computers and laptops. In charge of your visuals, like your display and the ability to play content in high quality, they are incredibly important.
One of the biggest causes of computer failure amongst high-intensity users is graphic card failure. When this happens, the card essentially destroys itself under high load. This can happen for a number of reasons:
Related: What Is GPU Scaling?
Overclocking The Card
Gamers and miners love to overclock their GPUs. For those that have never heard of overclocking, overclocking is essentially the removal of factory-installed safety limiters.
By removing these limiters, overclockers can push their parts further than normal. This comes at a risk, and if done incorrectly, it can cause catastrophic failure.
If you are considering overclocking your card, then make sure you know what you are doing. If it's your first time, we recommend buying a cheap low-power card as a practice piece and following precise guides found on youtube and the dedicated Reddit overclockers thread.
Computer science follows the same physics as the rest of the world. You cannot create power without an exchange. With computer parts, this exchange is heat.
The more powerful the computer, the more heat the parts are going to give off. This means that airflow is one of the key essentials that any computer builder will need to learn.
Good airflow allows your computer to draw hot air away from the parts, keeping them in safe operating temperature parameters. Poor airflow will mean your parts heat up and don't cool down. This will eventually lead to the part failing.
Overclocking The Components
Computers are similar to the human body. There are multiple key components that communicate and synergize together to enable you to use your computer. All it takes is one of these parts to start having problems for a domino effect to begin happening.
If you have overclocked your CPU to the point where it is working too hard for your GPU to keep up, your GPU is going to start overheating. Make sure you consider the implications of your actions if you plan to overclock any system.
Your PSU is your power unit, responsible for sending the required power to the required parts. If you have an old system and are upgrading parts, such as installing a more powerful GPU, you need to consider the power consumption. If your PSU can't provide enough power for your new card, it will struggle and potentially die.
If we can give one piece of advice to all computer users, it would be to make sure you use surge-protected extension cords and power outlets. Power spikes can cause parts to short circuit, rendering your shiny new card useless and dead.
How Long Does A GPU Last? (How Often To Replace)
Your GPU's life span is going to depend on several different factors, mainly the strength and quality of the card and the usage and care that you give it.
A strong gaming graphics card will last several years before needing to be replaced if installed correctly and cooled with a good airflow and heat sync system in place.
Cryptocurrency mining is the most demanding task you can assign to a GPU. Miners will usually run their graphics cards at 100% of their potential 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. This obviously speeds up the decline of the card’s lifespan and will require exceptional airflow strategies. A standard cooling system will probably not fulfill the cooling needs of most graphics cards during mining.
Mining graphics cards will rarely last longer than two years if ran full pace. The offset is that, of course, they are making you money in the meantime.
How To Extend The Life Of A GPU (Tips For GPU Maintenance)
Computer parts will always live longer and perform better when you give them the respect that they deserve. If you have a dusty old rig running 24 hours a day stuffed under your desk, it will run into problems.
The first and foremost thing you should do to extend the life of your GPU ensures it has good airflow and is free from dust. Next, install a good GPU temp monitoring program. A lot of high-end cards come with their own program for this.
This way, you can monitor your GPU over time, and when you see that the average temperature starts to rise, you need to investigate why. For example, it could be a clogged heat pipe, a failing fan that's not spinning, or a driver problem. Spotting this early will allow you to fix it before it becomes a problem.
When Should You Replace Your GPU? (Signs Of Failing GPUs)
Luckily, it is rare that a graphics card will die instantly, out of the blue. Usually, there will be signs that your card is struggling. At this point, you need to make a decision, do you try and fix the problem, or do you buy a new graphics card.
If your card is a few years old, it is usually a better idea to simply replace the graphics card.
Some signs that the end is coming can be loud noises coming from your computer, loud overworking fans, glitchy gameplay during gaming, a burning smell or a computer crash, or a blue screen of death.
When your card dies, it is a sad day, and the only real solution is to replace it; the sooner, the better.
Related: How To Fix GPU Sag Step By Step
People Also Ask (FAQs)
Can a damaged/Dead GPU be repaired?
It’s not impossible, but we have never heard of it being done. When delicate parts like GPU’s die, it’s usually due to melting parts that are impractical to repair.
Can a PC run without a graphics card?
In this day and age, there are not many tasks that will not require at least a very low-powered GPU. Many PCs run using integrated cards or dual CPU/GPU parts like what AMD offers, but without a graphics card, your computer will run like one from 1982.
How long will a 2080 tI last?
When you buy an expensive top-of-the-range card like the RTX 2080ti, you futureproof yourself for a lot longer than if you buy a lower-end model. How long exactly it will last is impossible to tell. The more demand you put on the card, the shorter the life span.
Miners will potentially see 2 years, gamers should be able to play top-end games for 2-3 years, and normal users will be able to see 3-5 years out of a card of this caliber.
Do I need to uninstall drivers before installing a new GPU?
Most new graphics cards come with integrated bios and driver installers; these will automatically delete and install the correct drivers for your card.
If you take anything from this article, make sure it's this: look after your parts, and they will look after you. The best way to ensure a long-living, healthy computer is to keep it cool, dust-free, and to look for warning signs before they become problems.
Andrew White is the founder of TechGearoid, a leading technology review & information website that is designed to help consumers make better decisions when it comes to their IT purchases. As a specialist tech writer (nerd) with over 10 years of experience, he enjoys writing about everything there is to do with modern technology & the newest market innovations. When he isn’t providing value for his readers, he’s usually drinking coffee or at the beach. Andrew lives in Sydney, Australia with his wife and family.