How Long Does A CPU Last?

Average CPU Lifespan: Things That Matters

The processor (CPU) of a computer is the most important part and depending on different performance levels there are hundreds of CPUs available in the market.

Usually, CPUs are bought based on their price to performance ratio. But there is another factor that people want to know but not enough resources available on the web, yes it’s the lifespan of the CPUs.

I have done some research about CPUs lifespan, also I have been building PCs for more than 15 years, so I have an idea how much they can last and what factors affect it, let’s discuss in detail in this post:

How Long Does A CPU Last?

On average CPUs can last 6-8 years depending on how they are used. CPUs usually don’t wear out (unless overclocked extremely for years) but they got outdated and become unable to run the latest software after a few years, ultimately the user has to upgrade it.

Moreover, the latest and powerful CPUs often take longer to get outdated completely than the budget ones.

Personally, as a PC builder, I have used tons of CPUs and there are only a few cases where CPU actually goes bad, but in most cases, they just got outdated after running for several years.

So, unless you don’t overclock your CPU extremely and have a good PSU, motherboard, then it is very rare for the CPU to go bad, at least in the time frame of 7-8 years. However, it can (budget CPUs especially) get outdated and create performance decrease, lag while after 4-5 years.

Now it is not possible to get the lifespan of CPUs like Ryzen 5 3600X, 5600X, Core i5 11th gen, basically the newer generation of CPUs. Because they are in the market for very little time (launched recently). And obviously, CPUs that launched only 1-3 years ago, we can’t calculate the lifespan of those.

But talking about the old CPUs that have been in the market for quite some years now, in their case we can see their actual lifespan.

As I have discussed above the lifespan of those old CPUs is around 6-8 years, but as they (CPUs that launched 10 years ago) are not good for the latest software, even the latest budget CPU can compete with an expensive 10-year-old CPU, so often it is seen that users upgrade the CPU after 5-6 years.

So, let’s have a look at what are the exact reasons why a CPU basically wears out and how often you should replace it.

How Often Should You Replace CPU?

The newly launched latest CPUs usually take longer to get outdated, so 5-7 years is a good time frame to upgrade those CPUs depending on how powerful the CPU is and performance requirements from the user. Otherwise, budget CPUs that are in the market for a while can be got outdated as soon as 3-4 years.

One thing to keep in mind: The term outdated also matters what the user is going to do on that PC. If the user overclocks the CPU a lot, does high-resolution gaming, rendering, then compared to the normal tasks CPU for these tasks will be outdated sooner.

As in these tasks, CPU power is very important, so for getting the best performance you have to keep upgrading it to keep up with the latest software and performance level.

That’s why in PCs that are used for high-end works, it is even possible for users to change CPUs in 3-4 years no matter how powerful it is.

So, it also depends on how the user is using the CPU and how much performance he wants for replacing it.

Does A CPU Wear Out?

It is very rare for CPUs to fail, however, things like extreme overclocking, PSU issues, bad CPU cooler can lead to CPU failure in the longer run. Otherwise, CPUs are still upgraded/replaced because of getting outdated, not because they wear out.

So, unless there is something significantly wrong with your PC, the CPU is not going to wear out soon. That is why the lifespan of CPUs on average is higher.

Also Read:

Gaming On 8GB RAM: Is It Enough?
How Much Performance Does Overclocking Increase?

Factors That Affect CPUs Lifespan:

As I have discussed above, although it is rare for CPUs to go bad soon, it is not impossible. But if you take care of the following things, your CPU can be safe.

Extreme Overclocking:

Overclocking extremely is never a good option, this can create major threats for the parts like CPU, GPU, or whatever you are overclocking.

For overclocking, CPUs have to be given more voltage for getting the extra performance, and obviously, CPUs handle voltage to a limit only.

That’s why, if keep pushing the voltage more than the maximum CPU can handle, there are chances that it will go bad. So, you can consider it as danger level and try giving voltage below that mark.

You can read about overclocking CPUs here: Overclocking CPU For Gaming: Should You Really Do It?

Basically, overclocking a CPU extremely can reduce the CPUs lifespan or sometimes damage instantly because of extra voltage, so take care of that.

Bad Cooling:

Cooling or CPU cooler is another big factor because of which usually the lifespan of CPUs get shorter. Not having a good cooler with high-end CPUs can create different issues including performance dips and shortening its lifespan.

That’s why CPU cooler, especially with high-end CPUs is really very important.

Dirt And Debris:

In CPUs that cooled down with air coolers over time, the dirt particles can slow down and also affect lifespan. As these air coolers do have fans, so it is pretty easy to be completely covered by dust particles over time.

So, you can clean the CPU fans once in a while (1 in a year).

These are the main reasons that can heavily impact the lifespan of a CPU. The first two are by far the most important, the third one doesn’t need constant monitoring, it will be completely fine if you clean the PC once in a while.

I hope after reading till now you the answer to your questions, if you still have any, feel free to contact me. Here are some of the often asked questions about this topic:

Also Read:

Minimum System Requirements For Gaming PC
Buying A $1000 PC: does it worth the money?

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):

Can A CPU Last 10 Years?

A CPU can last around 10 years in normal conditions. But in such a long time, it is very likely that it becomes outdated and stops supporting the latest software at the time, so creates lag on them. So, it is not about how long the CPU lasts, it’s about how long the CPU will not get outdated.

How Long Will An Overclocked CPU Last?

It depends on how the user overclocks the CPU, if the CPU is overclocked extremely on regular basis, then its lifespan is going to decrease significantly. Otherwise, if it is overclocked moderately in the limit, then it can last more than a decade too.

I hope you can learn something new after reading this post. That’s it for today, see you in the next one, be techy:)

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