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A question that gaming enthusiasts ask over and over again. We all want to know how long we can safely use our graphics cards without having to upgrade them and shelling out vast amounts of cash for newer, better video cards.
Well, there’s no definitive answer, nor is there a guarantee that your particular graphics card will live as long as others on the market. One of the most significant issues with items or things is that they are prone to fail without any warning.
It proves true in all electronic devices, and this includes graphics cards as well. They can stop working at a moment’s notice for no reason whatsoever, whether one year later or ten years after purchase.
When a gamer abuses their GPU beyond its limits, the chances are that it will die quicker than expected. In this article, we’ll explore how long do graphic cards last and the reasons for GPU to fail.
GPU Failures: What Causes Graphics Cards To Fail
There’s no denying that graphics cards display fantastic performance and are capable of providing great visuals for games. However, they do have their limits since GPUs are electronic devices. An excess amount of usage can lead to defects in the circuitry inside your GPU.
Nobody can find the exact reason for GPU failure. Since multiple factors cause it, we can only speculate on what causes graphics card graphics failure. Let’s start with the causes that can affect your GPU’s life expectancy.
Too Much GPU Overclocking
Overclocking gives users the ability to boost the GPU’s performance through software enhancements. However, overclocking can cause significant damage if done incorrectly or too often.
When applying excessive voltage, the GPU will fail sooner than usual. It is also likely to have other issues such as overclocked memory not working properly on certain games. This problem occurs due to electrical surges from batteries and wall outlets, which are uncontrollable most of the time.
Users should research what software they should use before getting started with overclocking their graphics cards. It goes for both beginners and experts. Keep in mind that overclocking is a delicate process as it requires complex settings.
Overclocking can create extra heat in your card since you’re pushing it to perform higher than its manufacturer intended. Heat is usually a byproduct of overclocked cards, so there’s more potential for overheating problems and burnt-out components when they get too hot.
The heat can cause so many problems for your GPU, including damages to the solder and thermal pads. The voltage regulator integrated circuits (VRM) are especially prone to overheat, which can cause structural defects.
The risk for a permanent failure is considerably higher if you’re overclocking your card well beyond what’s recommended by its manufacturer.
Don’t go overboard in terms of overclocking since it will only shorten your GPU’s lifespan. The hottest summer days are the worst for computer users, with heat negatively affecting a GPU’s performance and stability.
Lack of Airflow for GPUs
Graphics cards generate heat through their work. The GPU’s cooling system dissipates the generated heat, with proper airflow helping a lot in lowering the GPU temperature. A lack of airflow can cause overheating and damage your graphics card.
It happens when there isn’t enough space inside the computer case for GPUs to draw in cool air from outside the chassis properly. Since this component needs fresh airflow, any obstruction will slow down its cooling process; thus leading to higher temperatures and GPU failure.
The dust particles accumulate inside heat sinks because fans blow them further into other parts of the graphics card. It interferes with air vents, so hot air cannot escape from an enclosure while pushing in the cool air.
This problem is pretty straightforward once you clean it out unless there’s a severe clog of dust particles in your card and your chassis fans are not powerful enough to push them all out.
What you should do is remove all dust inside the heat sink with a brush or vacuum cleaner. You can also use rubbing alcohol to remove any oil buildups if this happens.
The GPU will still overheat even after cleaning everything up since there’s more than just one internal cause for computer overheating. But at least now your graphics cards aren’t breathing through a straw anymore, so it has better chances to stay stable and work for a longer time without failure.
Also, Air coolers are a great way to maintain healthy air circulation and keep room temperatures low. To ensure the best airflow, you must have an intake system with more pressure than your exhaust system, so there is always positive airflow in your room.
Mined Too Much Cryptocurrency
Bitcoin saw a massive spike in popularity not too long ago, and the sudden craze took over. The bad thing is that to mine Bitcoins, you need an immense amount of graphical power, making it difficult for just about everyone who wanted Bitcoin (cryptocurrency) but didn’t have the means to get them.
As soon as you start mining cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, Monero, or Ethereum, your graphics card speed will automatically slow down since all of its processing power is used in solving the mathematical problems needed to make more coins.
Mining cryptocurrency requires a lot of power in exchange for some profit, and many people don’t have the hardware (and electrical capacity) to support this.
An overclocked computer can easily hit around max output on a high-performance GPU which will kill it within hours or days unless the GPU is powerful enough to handle all that power. A mining rig will eat up way more power than a single GPU can handle, no matter how much you try to overclock it.
Thus, your graphics card needs much power and cooling to keep it stable while mining cryptocurrencies. If not, you might end up with a fried GPU that won’t work ever again. The good news is that if you’re lucky enough to have found the perfect GPU for mining cryptocurrency, it can easily last you a couple of years.
What is Cryptocurrency Mining?
Cryptocurrency mining is a process that uses graphics cards to solve complex equations, generating new currency along the way. It is only possible when the computer has a high processing speed, which is why it’s so important to have a multi-GPU mining rig.
Fans on GPU Are Not Spinning
It will only take two years for your video card’s fans to wear out if you run it 24/7 without any breaks. That’s why it’s essential always to make sure you limit the GPU usage by running applications that aren’t too demanding.
The typical lifespan of a video card fan is five years or more, but this is not something you should worry about since most cards have long-lasting fans. Only serious gamers will need to replace theirs because they run for hours at maximum speeds even when their computers are idle.
When you turn on a computer, the fans should start spinning and blowing out hot air from inside your computer case. If your graphics card is still brand new, but the fan isn’t moving at all, then it’s a sign that something went wrong during installation or manufacturing.
If this happens to you, you can fix it by cleaning your GPU with rubbing alcohol (isopropyl) and applying thermal paste before powering up again, which will usually solve the problem. But sometimes, there’s not enough power in the mix, which can also be a problem.
For this, you need a new PSU to run your GPU. However, if there’s still no movement from the fan(s), then contact the manufacturer for advice or return/replace it with another model after trying this more than once.
GPU Over Heating
We know you think it’s pretty cool when your graphics card processes stuff, but that heat has to go somewhere. When you process so much information, your cards overheat. That’s why it’s called the “graphics processing unit.”
Normally, your graphics card should be under 80 degrees Celsius (160 degrees Fahrenheit) when your computer’s idle. And as long as you’re fine with that temperature, it shouldn’t matter much besides being a bit uncomfortable during gaming sessions.
Failing those levels is what could lead to thermal throttling and even worse situations where your GPU will get fried since the heat sinks can no longer handle the overworking of its components.
Heat not only comes from the processor. If you don’t provide enough cooling, your computer can overheat and get so hot that it will take thermal throttle itself to prevent even worse damage.
So, the key to avoiding all of this is getting a good computer case fan and some fans for your video card. And if you want to prevent overheating, then stop mining cryptocurrencies with your average graphics cards.
Because honestly, who wants an unstable machine that breaks down now and then? Not only do you lose money from fixing your GPU, but you also have all the time wasted trying to figure out what’s wrong with it.
So try not to compromise on quality while looking for cheap GPUs because most of them are low-quality models with the wrong specs. Just buy something powerful enough to mine.
Problems with Thermal Paste
The pre-installed thermal paste on your GPU can dry up or wear out after a while. It leads to high temperatures since the heat generated from your card is not being appropriately dissipated.
It might seem like something small, but this could lead to an overheating issue, and that’s never good for your GPU. To keep everything running smoothly, make sure you apply a new thermal paste every couple of months or so just in case.
If you see a high GPU temperature, it’s time for you to apply a new thermal paste. It’s very easy to do, but you’ll need a way to measure your GPU and its temperature. And since we don’t want anything wrong happening, we suggest you buy good thermal paste for your GPU.
Using Poor PSU
There’s no doubt that PSUs are very important since they supply and regulate the voltage to the rest of your computer. They control the flow of electricity, which is why you must get a high-quality one.
The biggest issue with PSUs is that some manufacturers aren’t qualified or care about their products anymore, leading to poorly made units.
You could end up with cheap cables and connectors, which will eventually lead to more power consumption (more heat), so they tend to make fans spin faster to deal with all this extra heat. Also, while you might think that an expensive unit would be better, but quality doesn’t always correlate directly with cost.
That’s why we suggest you buy only from reputable brands that have many years of experience making PSUs. So, If you’re planning to upgrade or expand your rig in the future, don’t compromise on quality by getting a low-quality PSU.
Get something power efficient enough for your mining needs and find out about its warranty before buying it. It will save you time and money in the long run. You can checkout LXun Power Supply becasue it is one of the best in the market.
Power Cords & Connectors (For Mining)
When you buy new GPU’s make sure that they come with high-quality power connectors like 6+2 PCIe connectors, four for each GPU (one connector per card) which provide extra stability for mining rigs since they have a lower impedance compared to older models such as Molex connectors – at 9-12 Ohms per cable compared to 22 ohms per cable. Most modern PSUs come with PCIe connectors standard.
All the power cables that come bundled with your GPU should be long enough to connect them all comfortably. However, this will depend on the layout of your mining rig, which is different for every person. However, if you have a modular PSU, you can get additional power cables and make them easier to organize.
Meanwhile, if we take a look at how much electricity does a GPU use during mining, you will see that it’s a surprisingly low number: An RX 470/570 uses about 80 watts under ~100% load; an R9 290X is around 250-300W maximum while GTX 1070 is 300W as well depending on OC settings between 15-25MH/s quite impressive.
So, you won’t need expensive power cables since these are only time-limited products and not the main reason your cards will stop working properly.
But there’s more to electricity than just getting a good connection and stable flow of current. Make sure that voltage is being supplied at correct levels as well. That’s why you must have a powerful enough PSU to begin with, which would also mean that its connectors are strong enough to handle daily use for a long time as well.
Power spikes can cause your hardware to fail. They’re a sudden surge in electrical power during mining, which is why you should always use proper UPS or at least a surge protector for essential parts like CPUs and GPUs.
Whichever happens first, your GPU/CPU will almost instantly die when they encounter any power spike due to high voltage levels during the moment it occurs.
It can be awful if you have expensive equipment that uses overclocking since this makes them more vulnerable to spikes because they tend to increase voltages on their own for better performance while under load.
Power surges can also cause other problems beyond damaging your hardware, so don’t take them lightly, such as corrupting data stored on hard drives – especially if you have an older one.
However, modern PSUs are equipped with an internal isolation mechanism, which prevents spikes from affecting your rig. That’s why it’s very important that you only connect a single PSU to your rig and not use more than one power source since this will increase the chances of having a spike even if one of them is surge protected.
However, before selecting the right kind of UPS or surge protector, you need to figure out what kind of voltage outage/surge protection you need for your mining situation or gaming. Whatever happens but GPUs are still faster than CPUs.
Incompatible Installation of the Graphics Card
You cannot run any program on any GPU. The reason companies like NVIDIA and AMD have created different GPUs for different purposes is because they do not all have the exact specifications and capabilities.
To use your GPU, you need to meet its hardware and driver requirements. If these are not met, the performance will suffer, and you may experience various glitches such as BSODs (blue screens of death), improper fan speeds, black flickers on screen at boot, etc.
Therefore, if you want to avoid installation-related issues with installing your GPU or higher-end video cards in general, we recommend that you read the technical specifications not just for compatibility but also for cooling requirements and power connectors.
If these are not met during installation, it will result in permanent damage to your hardware, which is why proper research is so essential before buying a GPU or anything else. If you are using AMD graphics card, you should probably learn about GPU scaling.
Running GPU on Games that are not Compatible
When beginners gamers got their first graphics card, they think it can run all the games, but it’s not the truth. Running the wrong game with your GPU will result in poor performance, and some games might even crash due to hardware incompatibility issues.
Although this is not as common as it used to be, many games out there do not play well with your graphics card. Therefore, make sure to read compatibility lists before buying anything.
Recent advancements in technology have made things a lot easier than they once were; especially if you’re using Linux or Windows 10 since both of them have built-in support for most modern video cards right out of the box which means you don’t need to get any additional tools except drivers when installing new hardware.
GPU Component Failure
When we are talking about the graphics card that you can see, it means there are many components hidden from your eyes under this one. When it comes to these components, like the CPU, they have their lifetime or lifespan that must be met, after exceeded the performance of your PC will not good as before, and even a severe system problem might occur.
Component failure in GPU most often occurs due to overheating and flawed cooling systems. If you do not take care of your computer hardware thermally properly, you may lose these cards sooner than later.
If you want to avoid component failure, we recommend that you check hardware temperature at least once a week, and if you find any problem with thermal stability, then repair or replace faulty parts. Now let’s move to some FAQs.
How Long Do Graphic Cards Last Before Dying
A graphical processing unit has a long lifespan, and if taken care of properly, generally up to 7-10 years or, in some cases, over a decade even. Although it is good to know how long do graphic cards last, you should also be aware that this lifespan depends on multiple factors such as environment temperature, power consumption, operating system, and even architecture.
As an electrical device by nature, there is always the possibility that GPU may fail unexpectedly. If we say you’ll be able to use your GPU for ten years or more, that’s an absolute maximum. In reality, most GPUs fail much sooner than that.
As capacitors age, they may pop and go bad, or any other component may fail. We have seen countless cases where people have accidentally spilled water or coffee on their computer or even let it sit in a puddle of rainwater but then claim that their video card is still working after drying out the inside of their case.
The truth is that water does more damage than you can understand. Even if you get your PC completely dry afterward, as long as there was some liquid in contact with any electrical parts like processor and GPU, those will stay damaged forever.
In addition to voltage regulators and VRAM, chips can also go bad over. Time and cause graphic cards to fail. Even if you don’t see any problems with your video card performance, we always recommend that you check the hardware for signs of aging and replace components before they fail.
Although it is a bit tricky procedure, changing electrical components on GPU is possible. However, we do not recommend this method since there are much better ways of fixing something than repairing a PC yourself.
Because of the complexity in repairing what’s inside a GPU device, we advise our readers to get professional help before doing anything else or buy new parts instead of repairing existing ones, especially if they say damaged because of liquid contact during an accident.
Don’t panic because most of the GPUs come with a warranty of 2 to 3 years. The things mentioned above usually don’t happen in the first year. If you do not take care of your PC properly in the long run, your GPU might fail in this period.
The GPU failer causes happen after years of intense usage. If you do not push the limits and take care of your hardware, it will last way longer than what is written here.
How Long Do GPUs Last for Gaming
When it comes to gaming, the importance of your video card is the most important component in your computer; without it, you cannot play games. The lifespan of GPU for gaming depends entirely on what you do with it.
If you are playing games at Full HD resolution, your GPU will last for about three years. If you play in 4K resolution and graphic settings on the max level, then the lifespan of GPU is even less than one year if an accident happens or other issues occurred like overheating problems.
Remember that pushing the limit means running a high risk of damaging your hardware sooner or later. Think before doing anything riskier than usual. If you plan to use your PC for gaming and streaming, we advise you to buy only video cards with two or more GPUs like SLI or CrossFireX.
Those cards have been designed specifically for such purposes making sure they can handle any load without getting damaged as fast. It’s also important that every component inside GPU has a high-quality replacement part since replacing just one component is not enough.
How Long Do Video Cards Last for Video Editing & Rendering
Of course, every computer needs to perform some processing when it comes to working, and one of these tasks is rendering. Even if your video card has enough performance to run any game, there’s always a risk that it might not render videos as quickly or with the same quality you need.
It is why most people prefer buying a computer specialized for rendering and video editing instead of using their gaming PC. If you are rendering your videos on your own, you will probably need even better hardware than what’s needed for playing games to get the best quality possible. In addition to that, multiple other programs require processing power.
For example, software like Adobe Photoshop, 3D modeling software AutoCAD, and so on. These software also requires processor power and GPU power when they work in the background doing calculations while working on something else.
Why you Should Buy a New GPU
Every year, you can see that developers create many new games with high-definition visuals, which means you need more powerful video cards to support them.
GPUs are the brain of your computer, and as mentioned above, their lifespan is limited enough to support all those games released each year.
If you want to play new upcoming games with good quality graphics without lagging and get a full gaming experience, then we recommend that you buy a new GPU.
The price difference between old and new GPU can be huge or even double sometimes, so it is not only about playing the latest games but also about getting maximum performance out of your PC hardware for the same price range.
New GPUs deliver better FPS, run cooler, produce less noise, and consume less power than old models. You will need a less powerful computer to run those newest games if you buy a new graphics card.
You also get a warranty for 2 to 3 years and will be able to fix any possible issue with an old GPU during this period. After that, your PC may encounter problems because of some components failure or simply because the graphics card is not supported by developers anymore due to lack of new games support or game engine issues.
Playing games like GTA V can put a lot of stress on the video card. It requires high-performance components and the latest drivers to enable such demanding features as a realistic lighting system and other graphical effects.
Those features take away most processing power from your CPU since they are hardware-intensive, resulting in displaying only 20-30 FPS in-game on high settings.
If you cannot upgrade your PC, you probably will have to live with low-quality visuals and low frame rates, which can ruin your gaming experience.
Even if you do not consider yourself a hardcore gamer, there is almost no reason not to buy a new GPU for the apparent benefits this component provides.
You will be able to play new games with better graphics, run more applications at once without lagging from time to time, and get much more stable performance out of your PC hardware overall (including processor or RAM if they are old models).
How Long Do Graphic Cards Last for Mining
It’s totally up to you how long do graphic cards last when mining. Mining is similar to video rendering as it’s also CPU-intensive, but it has a lot more impact on GPU than video rendering.
It depends on your hardware and mining program. If you mine with XMR-Stak, you can set “intensity” to 16, which will make GPU die in a year or so if it’s not appropriately cooled.
Usually, people recommend an intensity of 20, but that means your card will be way too hot, consume way too much energy for no reason and cost a lot more money than necessary for cooling fans unless you constantly use it to render videos and play; games as well.
Suppose you are planning to mine other coins like UBQ. In that case, intensity is around 10-15, which results in a way longer lifespan than mining crypto night coins like Monero or AEON due to their memory-intensive hashing algorithm.
Also, more oversized graphics card like XFX Radeon RX 580 have a longer lifespan since they can handle higher power for better cooling.
Our Final Thoughts
Graphics cards usually do not fail because they are old, but GPU failure is explained above. If you play the latest games, at least on medium settings, then a new GPU is the best way to enjoy a better gaming experience without lagging or performance issues.
Just make sure that your PC has enough power supply for the new graphics card you buy and ask professionals about adding an extra power supply unit if required. It will keep your computer safe from any possible damage in the long run due to lack of power which usually can happen with cheaper PSUs.
Also, if you don’t want to waste money by buying or trying to repair your old graphic card, then buy a new one as we already mentioned in the article above can bring a lot of advantages for your computer in the long run.
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