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How Long Does A GPU Last?

The CPU is important, but most of the time, it’s the GPU that will determine whether you can run a game or not and at what settings.

Solid, new GPUs are not cheap so it’s important to know how long a new GPU will last or if an old GPU still has some life in it. So, how long can a GPU last?

How Long Does A GPU Last?

A GPU will last from 5 to 10 years depending on its build quality, how much it is being used during that time, and how much maintenance is put into keeping it alive.

Most of the time, a GPU will become obsolete before it fails, but there are a lot of working parts in a GPU that can fail and ruin the whole component. GPU fans are one of the biggest offenders when it comes to failing components, but the thermal paste used inside of them also wears out after a few years.

Most of the time, a brand new, state-of-the-art GPU will start becoming obsolete within 5 years of its release. This means it will stop being able to run brand new games and software at their max settings. This is when many PC builders consider an upgrade.

After five years, certain components will probably start getting weaker (fans, for example) and the thermal paste applied in the factory will start to wear thin. This means the GPU will run hotter and be more prone to failure.

How Long Does A GPU Last For Gaming?

GPUs last 2 to 5 years with moderate to heavy gaming. Regular long gaming sessions put a strain on GPUs, which makes them run hot and makes their fans work extra hard. The high temps will also start degrading the thermal paste faster than casual computer usage.

That being said, gaming GPUs are built with long gaming sessions in mind. This is why they can last as long as they do. It’s not common for a GPU to fail in 2 years, but it isn’t unheard of either.

Most of the time, gamers will try to upgrade their GPU after 3 to 5 years to prevent failure and to ensure that they’re able to play the newest games. By upgrading before their GPU fails, they can also recoup some of their money by reselling their old GPU.

How To Know If Your GPU Is Dying?

Signs that your GPU is dying include weird graphical glitches during games, high GPU temperatures (90 – 100 C), and high GPU usage percentage when running lightweight programs and games.

A GPU does not die quietly, but it does die slowly. During games, if there are weird graphical glitches like thick vertical lines, or colors being completely blocked out, then this could be a GPU issue.

Another common symptom of a dying GPU is that its temperature will run extremely high. This is because of the thinning thermal paste.

Many computers have built-in temperature monitoring software, but there are plenty of free, effective options online. One popular choice for monitoring the temperature of your PC’s components is Open Hardware Monitor.

For most PCs, the GPU temperature is also available from inside the Performance tab of the Task Manager (instructions below). GPUs should not run 90 C+, especially not for easy-to-run games on low settings.

If you try to run a game at moderate settings, that your GPU should be able to handle, and it is becoming extremely hot or your Windows Manager shows your GPU usage at 100% then it’s likely that your GPU is dying.

If you notice your PC crashing a lot when trying to run games, then it could mean your GPU is critically overheating, and you need to check the temperatures.

How To Check GPU Utilization

To check your GPU’s utilization rate, start by opening the Task Manager. The Task Manager can be opened by pressing CTRL+ALT+DEL, then selecting “Task Manager”.

Open Task Manager

Once inside of the Task Manager, select the performance tab from the top of the application.

From the Performance tab, click on “GPU” to view your GPU utilization stats.

Check GPU Utilization

How To Make Your GPU Last Longer?

Quality fans and monthly air dusting will greatly improve the health and longevity of a GPU. The lifetime of a GPU can be significantly extended if the case it is in has enough airflow, and is well taken care of.

It can be a pain to set fans up on a PC, but they’re absolutely essential. If you have a pre-built PC then you’re going to want to take a look at what kind of fans it has because many pre-builts opt for cheaper, low-quality fans. Consider the fans an investment because they will greatly improve your GPU’s lifespan.

Dust is the worst enemy of GPUs and gaming PCs in general. It does not take a lot of compressed air to clean out a PC, especially if done regularly. Most PC enthusiasts recommend a nice air dusting once every few months.

When To Replace Your GPU?

You should replace your GPU every 5 years. After 5 years, it is likely that some of the components in the GPU are dying or at the very least, the thermal paste is starting to wear thin. On top of this, after 5 years, a GPU will stop keeping up with modern games and software.

When you want to replace your GPU will depend greatly on your situation and how you use your PC. If you want to run your GPU until it fails, then you may be able to get 7+ years out of it. It’s rare that a failing GPU will cause damage to the rest of your PC, but it’s not impossible.

It’s better to replace your GPU after 5 years because this will let you resell or keep your GPU as a backup when you upgrade. This will also make sure you’re able to run modern games and programs. If you want to play brand new AAA games with extremely high graphical demands, then you may even want to replace your GPU every 2 or 3 years, instead.

Can A GPU Last Forever?

A GPU can technically last forever if maintained very well. This includes regular dusting, and replacement of the thermal paste once every few years. Even when cared for properly, there’s still a chance of GPU failure, but if lucky and diligent, a GPU could last decades.

The unfortunate news is that eventually, a GPU will become so obsolete it won’t be able to run basic programs anymore. Operating Systems and behind-the-scenes programs are evolving exponentially every decade, so a 10 – 20-year-old GPU will have an extremely hard time even booting up a PC.

However, if a GPU only has to worry about the software of its time, then its lifetime can be extended almost indefinitely.

👋 Hey There, I'm Eric!

Since 2018, I've been making streams come true.

I like gaming, streaming and watching other people stream. I created this website to help streamers and viewers of streams answer some of the questions they may have regarding live streaming. I am a Twitch affiliate and currently stream on Twitch 3 days a week. I hope you find my content helpful. Feel free to stop by one of my streams to say hi.