To many, the graphics card is one of the most important components of their PC build, this is because the GPU is essential in many builds such as a gaming PC.
So it’s natural that many people will wonder about how much usage they can get out of their GPU before it fails, or if they need to replace it.
In general, a graphics card can last a long time, typically between 3-5 years of intense usage. A more conservative usage of the GPU can cause it to last significantly longer.
The Lifespan Depends On The Usage
Everyday usage of your graphics card which means you use it extensively everyday can result in the GPU lasting 3-5 years which isn’t that bad.
This is because you will most likely upgrade the GPU before it fails if you’re not into future-proofing, so the lifespan shouldn’t be of concern.
If you use your graphics card excessively, for example, running it at 100% 24/7 which is something a crypto mining rig would do, then it will not last that long.
And this is especially true if you don’t clean or maintain the graphics card which can be extremely detrimental to the GPU and many other components.
With moderate usage, you can expect your graphics card to last at least 7 years, and moderate usage means it’s not being used 24/7 at 100% usage.
You Can Increase The Lifespan Of Your GPU
There are many ways you can increase the lifespan of the GPU, some are software related, and some are hardware related.
- Improving airflow
- Increasing fan speed
- Undervolting GPU
The first way is cleaning the GPU and the surrounding area from dirt, dust, and debris which can interfere with the cooling, airflow, and electrical capabilities of the GPU.
The second way is popular among crypto miners, and that’s to undervolt your GPU, what this does is reduce the temperatures which reduces the fan speeds resulting in longer lifespans.
Now you don’t need to be a crypto miner to use this technique, a normal gamer can download MSI Afterburner and easily undervolt their GPU slightly to see if the core remains stable.
Knowing how hot your GPU should be is a step on maintaining your GPU’s lifespan, this is because heat is the number one enemy of computer components.
There are many software available that will provide overlays that display the temperature of your GPU when in stressful situations such as gaming.
MSI Afterburner is the first software that comes to mind because it provides an overlay, and a way to increase/decrease values such as fan speed, voltages, and clock speed.
If you notice your GPU is operating too hot, you can increase the fan speed to keep the GPU tame, or you can try improving upon your PC’s airflow.
Signs Of A Dying GPU
Having a GPU die on you can be frustrating especially if you don’t need to replace it, but there are a few signs you should watch out for.
- Frequent crashes
- GPU artifacting
- Performance issues
When a game becomes unplayable either due to frequent crashing, visual glitches and performance issues, this is a sign that your graphics card VRAM is having issues.
Experiencing a Blue Screen Of Death is usually a sign of a software or a hardware problem, and it’s a common symptom with a failing graphics card.
Also, if you notice weird noises coming from your graphics card, it can be a sign that the fan is failing due to excessive usage.
The most common cause of GPU failure is VRAM failure, and this is caused by a faulty physical connection between the chips and the board.
If your VRAM fails on you, there’s usually nothing you can do but to replace the card unless you have experience with electrical engineering.
How To Check GPU Health
Determining the GPU’s health is not an easy task after all, just by looking at it won’t tell anything, especially to the untrained eye.
However there are some tests you can run to determine how well your GPU performs, and you can compare the test results to a healthy identical GPU.
The test will analyse performance and temperature as these are the main metrics to determine how well a GPU performs.
You can test your graphics card by using benchmarking software such as Passmark or 3DMark, and the tests will tell you what percentage your GPU is on.
The other way to determine the health of your GPU is to look for physical defects, this can be difficult to tell if you don’t know what you’re looking for.
Which GPUs Last The Longest?
If you’re looking for a type of GPU that lasts the longest, unfortunately, there’s no specific GPU that lasts the longest whether it’s from NVIDIA or AMD.
The best way to get an idea of the lifespan of any product is to look at the warranty length, and you can use this method on most computer components.
No manufacturers would give super long warranties if their product didn’t last long, that would be a bad business move.
But if you’re going for aftermarket GPU’s some manufacturers are known to have high quality coolers with longer lasting fans.
The best GPU manufacturers are ASUS, GIGABYTE, MSI, they’re respected in the GPU industry due to their high quality coolers.
Will Overclocking Impact GPU Lifespan?
GPU overclocking is pretty much safe, most GPU manufacturers will set fail-safes which will trigger if a user tries to set a crazy overclock.
So if you apply crazy high clock speeds, the system will just crash, freeze and restart and apply no damage to the GPU.
The general rule of thumb when overclocking a GPU is to not mess with the voltages because this is what causes hard over time.
However if you do manage to overclock successfully, the GPU will operate at a hotter temperature than before, this is why you need sufficient cooling in place when overclocking.
So before you overclock, ensure your PC case is able to take in cold air and exhaust hot air efficiently so it doesn’t mess with the lifespan of the GPU.
Are Used GPUs Worth It?
Obviously purchasing a second-hand piece of equipment will possess wear and tear, but sometimes second-hand equipment can be a great investment.
The general rule of thumb for buying used GPUs is to purchase used graphics cards of the same or previous generation.
This is because older used graphics cards will possess a higher level of wear and tear, and will potentially fail on you significantly quicker.
But in general, if you purchase from a reputable individual, and the GPU is fairly new in terms of its generation, then you shouldn’t have to worry about the GPU being low quality.
Now there are some things you should watch out for, you should always consider carefully when purchasing a GPU used in a mining rig.
Mining rig GPUs tend to be in a more delicate state due to the excessive use, so we wouldn’t recommend purchasing a used mining GPU unless you really trust the seller.
Used mining GPUs often have VRAM issues which can result in visual artifacting, crashes, and freezing due to the heavy use.
In conclusion, with standard use, your graphics card should last 3-5 years, if you’re more conservative, it can last up to 7 years.
If you use your graphics card heavily which means 100% usage for an extended period of time, the chances are it will fail quicker compared to someone that uses it casually.