How long do the components of a computer last?

How long can you keep a motherboard? What about hard drives? See how you can extend the life of your computer components.

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In an ideal world, your computer would last forever and the only reason to get a new one would be to increase performance. Unfortunately, life is not fair. Computer components die slowly and can be costly to replace, so it makes sense to try to make the most of every part of it.

The most important thing you can do is keep your computer data in good condition. A computer like any device requires good operating and maintenance habits, especially when you build the computer yourself. To get started, check out these tips on how to extend the life of your computer components.

1. Motherboards


There are several reasons why you should upgrade your motherboard. However, let's hope you do it voluntarily, instead of having to replace a broken motherboard. The reliability of the motherboard increases with each generation, as one would expect.

Why do motherboards die so fast?
Although there are no moving parts, motherboards are very complex and delicate in their design. As the core material for any of your systems, minor malfunctions can have devastating effects.

It is also difficult to measure the life of the motherboard, as calculating the habits of each user and the local environment is almost impossible. One more study of Puget Systems in 2018, found that "while motherboards seem to be becoming more and more complicated", the overall failure rate was just "2,1% or about 1 in 49 motherboards". It is important that this number is "about half of what we saw in 2017".

A report of in 2016 returned similar results, with ASRock motherboards coming in at 1,45% and MSI coming in at 2,36%.

The biggest reason for motherboard failure is that capacitors deteriorate over time and wear out. Sometimes capacitors will affect and even possibly damage other hardware components. You can replace a capacitor if you find one that is to blame, but it is a repair that you may feel uncomfortable doing yourself.

Other causes of motherboard failure include heat, statics, and humidity.

How long does a motherboard last?
Usually, a motherboard can last for a long time. If handled properly and kept clean, a motherboard can last up to 20 years or more. What you will find is that the hardware available on this motherboard becomes obsolete and you may need to upgrade to the latest technology, but the motherboard itself will continue to function normally.

Tips for extending the life of the motherboard
Keep your computer away from environmental hazards, such as excessive humidity or very dry air, can promote static dust accumulation. In addition, excessive heat can sometimes cause the motherboard to warp, leading to road cuts and broken components.

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But the best thing you can do to prevent damage to the motherboard is to never touch it !. Of course, this is an exaggeration - you obviously have to touch it to install or replace components. However, try to avoid exposing the motherboard outside the computer case.

When touching the motherboard, first make sure to ground yourself so that you do not accidentally burn the motherboard itself from your static electricity.

2. Disk drives

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Data drives are available in two main formats: hard disk drives (HDDs) and solid state drives (SSDs). A computer cannot function without it because that is where the operating system is located, so it is vital to your system. If it dies, you should replace it as soon as possible.

Why do hard drives and SSDs die so fast?
Hard disks and SSDs are prone to failure, but for different reasons.

Hard disks are mechanical, have moving parts, and will degrade naturally over time. The disc inside may be scratched, the head may stop reading or the parts may be "paralyzed" by a sudden increase in current.

SSDs are based on flash memory chips, so they have no moving parts. However, they have unreliable long-term data retention, are more prone to extreme temperatures, and power outages can lead to data corruption.

How long does an SSD or hard drive last?
Most SSDs should be at least ten years old, if not longer, depending on usage. SSD lifetime studies typically find that the 10-year life expectancy is a good range for work.

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HDDs are a bit more temperamental due to their moving parts and have a shorter lifespan, usually giving up to five years of use. Some discs will last longer with minimal use, but those under heavy pressure and constant use will stop working sooner.

Tips for extending the life of drives
Regardless of the type of data traffic you have, it is always a good idea to invest in a good surge protector. Electrical surges can cause major damage to all types of devices, not just computer components.

Avoid extreme temperatures when possible. Refer to the drive for safe operating temperatures. This means that you need to clean the dust from your computer to ensure good air circulation and avoid overheating!

Apart from that, mainly prefer to buy a good model, from a reputable brand. The next time you buy a drive, see in our related articles Here are some things to keep in mind when buying a hard drive or solid state drive (SSD).

3. R.A.M.

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RAM is vital to a pleasant computer experience and is one of the first things you need to upgrade if you want to speed up its performance. How much do you need? Well, it depends, but 8 GB is the current rule, with many fans and gamers pushing for 16 GB and 32 GB systems.

Of all the computer hardware components, RAM has the lowest relative failure rate. However, depending on the model and brand of RAM you purchase, the lifespan of the RAM may vary. It happens that there are dead RAM units!

Why does RAM die so fast?
RAM has a really impressive lifespan. The same study in 2016 found incredibly low cases of RAM failures, such as 0,20% for Kingston and 1,08% for Corsair. Given the astonishing amount of RAM used around the world, RAM errors are extremely low.

But two things can ruin a RAM module in the blink of an eye: temperature and power surges.


Most RAM units have operating temperatures between 0 and 85 degrees Celsius. If you go beyond these temperature limits, you could damage the RAM. It will not happen immediately, but prolonged exposure to "extreme" temperatures reduces the lifespan of RAM.

Surges from faulty motherboards, poor power supplies, and electrical outlets can also cause damage.

How long does RAM last?
On a regular computer or laptop, RAM will last a long time, usually at least 10 years, if not 20. RAM will be the last piece of hardware to be corrupted most of the time, surpassing the rest of the computer. .

Tips for extending the life of RAM
The best advice is to buy a high quality unit from a reputable manufacturer. The renowned leading manufacturers are Kingston, Crucial, G.Skill and Corsair. Make sure you read the product reviews before buying. Otherwise, make sure you have adequate surge protection.

4. Power supply units

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A power supply unit (PSU) provides power to all components of your computer. There are several considerations to keep in mind when buying a power supply for your needs, but longevity is one of the most important.

Why do PSUs die so fast?
Despite the fact that they do not have sensitive electronic components, PSUs are slightly worse than RAM modules in terms of hardware life under perfect conditions. indicates failure rates between 0,49% for the best PSU (Fortron) and 2,41% at the other end of the scale (Cougar).

Again, the Puget Systems report confirms the PSU failure rate, with an "overall failure rate of 1,15%".

How long does a PSU last?
Under normal use, a power supply should last a long time, at least five years, possibly up to 10 years if you are lucky. But if you start putting the power supply under high loads for long periods of time, you may lose it.

Tips for extending the life of the PSU
As always, start with a high quality model from a reputable brand. Many general models are overpriced and do not have much tolerance to power stress. Poor build quality can also lead to faster aging and premature death.

Another thing to keep in mind is that some brands do not manufacture power supplies in their own factories. Instead, some power supplies come from OEM. This process means that the quality of PSU models can vary, even under the same brand.

The only effective way to extend the life of your PSU is to limit high-load activities. For example, cryptocurrency mining is a very laborious process. Overclocking your CPU or GPU can also put extra strain on your power supply, although you can mitigate this by using appropriate hardware.

5. Cooling unit

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You probably haven't thought much about your computer fans. They rotate when needed and stop when not needed. Sometimes, we do not even notice when someone stops working (at least, not immediately!). Fortunately, most cooling fans are relatively inexpensive to replace.

The situation changes when you focus on the CPU cooling fans, which may be more expensive than the corresponding case and GPU coolers.

Why do cooling fans die so fast?
This is really simple. As with hard drives, cooling fans are mechanical - they have moving parts that are sensitive to general wear. So over time, as the fans spin at some point they will break down.

But this process is accelerated by the accumulation of dust and particles in the fan blades and inside the rotating mechanism. When exposed to heat and moisture, dust can accumulate and turn into agglomerates, which could cause more friction and stress.

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How long do cooling fans last?
Good quality cooling fans should last at least five years, if not closer than 10.

Tips for extending the life of the cooling fan
The first tip is to keep every type of cooling fan intact is cleaning. This means cleaning up excess dust from the fan blades, plus dust from the computer case that contributes to the problem.

You could also consider the location of your computer in your home. Leaving your computer on a thick carpet, for example, can cause extra heat and additional dust to penetrate, which in turn can make your fans work harder to keep your system cool.

So how often do you need to clean your cooling fans? If you have never cleaned them before, then clean everything. Then come back a month later and see how much dust collects on your cooling fan blades. From there you can figure out what cleaning program you should follow for your computer.

Stop the wear and tear of your computer components

There is no doubt that some computer components wear out faster than others. You can manage the overall wear and tear of your computer using the tips in this article.

Keeping your system cool, clean and dust-free will keep your computer hardware alive for much longer. In addition, taking care of your hardware reduces costs, as you will not have to replace broken parts.

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