Graphics Cards (also called Video Card, GPU) are the primary additional component of PC’s right after the Solid State Drives (SSD). The demand of Graphics Cards has been all time high, thanks to the Cryptocurrency, Data Science and Gaming. Unfortunately, with such high demand the prices of GPU have become inflated along with other Memory components i.e. SSD and RAM. Affordability is rapidly declining and people are opting to build the PC first and getting the GPU later which shouldn’t happen in first place. We all deserve a decent Video card, right?

Nvidia GeForce 1660ti GPU 2020
Nvidia GeForce 1660Ti Graphics Card with dual PWM fans

Many of my friends saved up money and bought a Graphics Card for their PC. Then after few months usage their card started showing Artifacts, Glitches and later died. Some GPUs even broke down a week after the warranty period ended. The reason behind such high GPU failure rate is people don’t take enough care of their PC, they build it and forget about it.

Anyways, now I will show you the methods to increase and extend the lifespan of your Graphics Card so it doesn’t let you down prematurely. A graphics card should be able to last at least 3-4 years with proper care.

How to Increase Lifespan of your Graphics Card / GPU

Don’t let your Graphics Card Overheat

Video cards are designed to tolerate the maximum heat which is around 95°C. This doesn’t mean you can keep running at this temp for longer times. You must aim to keep your GPU at optimum temperature between 65°C to 75°C at all times and prevent it from overheating. This ensures long life of transistors on your GPU chip. You can check the temperature of your PC components using lightweight programs such as HWMONITOR and CPU-Z.

Graphics Card Temperature
Checking temperature of GPU using CPUID HWMonitor

Also see: PC/Laptop Making Too Much Noise [Fix]

All the tips below will tell you how to keep maintain the acceptable temperature on your GPU using different approaches which will ultimately prolong the lifespan of this precious PCI-Express card.

Enable the Vertical Sync / Limit FPS Rate

If you are using a non-gaming monitor with 60 Hertz Refresh Rate, you must lower the FPS of Games or application to 60 FPS. The reason behind doing this is, a 60 Hz monitor cannot show more than 60 images per second. You’re just burdening your graphics card for extra frames you cannot see or experience. There are two ways to limit FPS; Set maximum FPS using in game-settings or Enable Vertical Sync or Enhanced Sync from Nvidia Control Panel / AMD Radeon Settings.

Nvidia Control Panel Vertical Sync
Enabling Vertical Sync from Nvidia Control Panel in Windows Operating System

Remove Dust from your PC Case and Clean the GPU

Dust is the biggest enemy of electronics. When dust is not cleaned from electrical components, it absorbs moisture and causes components to corrode and overheat. You must clean your Graphics Card and PC chassis with compressed air (or electric air blower) every 2 months. Be careful not to let the CPU/GPU cooling fans spinning freely, they may cause unwanted static electricity which may damage the components of motherboard and power supply unit.

Clean Dust CPU GPU Case
View from the inside of a Gaming PC after a month of usage, accumulated dust is visible.

Avoid mining Crypto-currency

Mining cryptocurrency on your primary computer is not a good idea from both security and economic standpoint. While you could generate money from keeping your GPU running on high load for extended period of time. It is still not worth it. The cryptocurrency you had mined would not be enough to purchase a new graphics card because the older one you punished is on its dying bed.

CGMiner Cryptocurrency
Command Line Interface of a popular Cryptocurrency mining program.

Don’t run GPU intensive applications for longer duration

Pretty much self explanatory. GPU intensive processes such as Video Enconding/Rendering and Maching Learning programs such as TensorFlow can put a decent amount of stress on your Video Card. Just don’t leave these processes running for 18 hours a day. There are specialized Graphics cards available on market for this purpose.

Blender Rendering 3D
Blender, a popular free and open-source 3D modelling software.

Keep Graphics Driver Up-to-Date

Nvidia and AMD periodically release graphics driver updates on their respected websites. They bring performance improvements as well as stability fixes. It is generally a good idea to keep them up to date.

GeForce Game Ready Driver 1
Downloading the latest Nvidia GeForce Driver for Windows 10 64 Bit

Install a reliable Power Supply Unit

I have seen many people cheap out on Power Supply, they spend fortune on CPU/Mobo and then get a lower quality PSU. Don’t do it. Always get a power supply with Silver of Gold rated efficiency that is greater than 85%. Without enough juice, the likelihood of video card dying is higher.

Cooler Master Gold Rated PSU
An 80 Plus Gold rated modular Power Supply Unit that can output 850 Watts

Increase the Airflow in your PC case

Install additional cooling fans on front side of your PC case and devise a strategy of airflow accordingly. Also, keep your PC in ventilated areas where heat can escape easily.

PC Airflow Fans cooling
Good airflow to PC case can increase the lifespan of components

Buy a Video Card with 3 Years of Warranty

Get a GPU with at least 3 years of warranty period. You must double-check the warranty period with the online store or retailer you are buying the card from. So if in case your video card dies, you can get it replaced without worrying much.

GPU Manufacturer warranty comparison
Graphics Card Manufacturer warranty comparison chart


Change Thermal Paste / Compound

Thermal paste is a silver-ish substance that is applied on top of CPU / GPU chips for better heat transfer and removal through the cooling fan. The compound lasts for around 2-4 years before drying up, Processors and GPUs are pre-coated by the manufacturers before the product shipment. If you are witnessing unusually high temperatures of your PC (above 80 degree Celsius) then you might want to look at the thermal compound. Also check if the GPU fans are working properly e.g. No broken blades

Thermal Paste on top of CPU chip


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