How long do gaming PCs last? Computer technology advanced at a rapid pace. Every year there are new graphics cards, faster processors, and denser memory modules. So, if you are planning on building or buying a gaming PC, you may be concerned with how long it will take for your investment to become obsolete.
The last thing you want is for your expensive, brand new gaming PC to be unable to play modern games 6 months after you bought or built the machine.
Any brand new PC can easily last 5 years or more if you choose the right initial hardware configuration. Simply put, computers in general last a lot longer than they used to. Gaming PCs, specifically, are computers that are built with the highest-end hardware available. So, a gaming PC can easily last 7 to 10 years with nothing more than a graphics card upgrade.
In this article, we will explain what it takes to design a great gaming PC. We will also go over each of the components and how long each one should last.
- 1 Gaming PCs Are Flexible And Upgradable
- 2 It’s Never A Good Time To Buy A PC
- 3 Graphis Cards Have Gotten Extremely Powerful
- 4 Avoid Light Weight, Low Cost Power Supplies
- 5 Hardware Depreciation Doesn’t Matter
- 6 Moore’s Law Is Not A Law
- 7 How Long Do Prebuilt PCs Last?
- 8 How Long Will A High-End Computer Last?
- 9 How Often Do You Update a Gaming PC?
- 10 How Much Should You Spend On A Gaming PC?
- 11 Are Gaming PCs Worth It?
- 12 How long do gaming PCs last? – Conclusion
Gaming PCs Are Flexible And Upgradable
For example, you may play a certain type of game that is very CPU intensive, and you already have a fabulous graphics card. So, you can find a slightly faster CPU that, for other people, would be impractical to buy, but for you it totally solves your problem.
In another example, you could play a well-developed game that does not lean on the CPU too much, but you can tell your graphics card is struggling to keep up this pace. In this case, it’s simple to just buy a graphics card that is more powerful than the one you’ve currently got.
If you don’t wait too long to upgrade, you can sell your old graphics card for around at least half of what you paid for it. This will effectively offset the cost of the upgrade.
It’s Never A Good Time To Buy A PC
Stop trying to find the best time to buy a gaming PC, because it’s never going to happen. It would take several industries to just grind to a halt directly after your purchase to make your purchase a good purchase.
That’s not going to happen. Everything will keep advancing. It does not matter when you build or buy a gaming PC, there will be a cheaper, more powerful graphics card that comes out in 6 months to a year.
Whether you are building or buying a new gaming PC, you need to know about the parts. While it’s true that computers are wildly complex under the hood, the industry has evolved to the point where a PC is just a handful of components.
The motherboard is the main electrical component of a computer. It’s the thing that lets everything connect to everything else. Without a motherboard, your powerful CPU and ray-tracing-capable graphics cards are just expensive paperweights.
If you want your gaming PC to last as long as possible, then it’s crucial that you buy a motherboard that uses 2 ounces of copper. I’ll explain. A circuit board is composed of several copper layers. When making any circuit board, the manufacturer has a choice of how much copper per square foot will be in the board.
Gigabyte Ultra Durable Motherboards Really Are Ultra Durable
Gigabyte has a line of motherboards marked as ‘Ultra Durable’, and they really are. Unlike most motherboards that use just 1 ounce of copper per square foot, Gigabyte Ultra Durable motherboards feature 2 ounces of copper.
Gaming PCs can use a considerable amount of power. If a motherboard has more copper, it will produce less heat. If there is less heat in the system, all the components will last a lot longer. Remember, heat is the enemy of electronics.
In addition to the extra copper, Gigabyte Ultradurable motherboards also feature 100% solid state capacitors. Solid state capacitors are far less susceptible to heat than standard liquid-filled electrolytic capacitors.
So, the Gigabyte Ultra Durable motherboards not only produce less heat, but they are less affected by heat. This is a win/win, making Gigabyte Ultra Durable motherboards a truly ultra durable solution. If you want your gaming PC to last as long as possible, then you need to make sure it has a Gigabyte Ultra Durable motherboard.
The CPU is the main computational component of a computer. It does all the mathematical magic that makes all your programs run. The CPU is what tracks your cursor across the screen, and it’s the thing that saves the files to your hard drive.
The CPU really is the star of the show, here. The rest of the computer really can be thought of simply as components that help the CPU do what it needs to do. If you are looking for the best CPU for a gaming PC and you are wanting it to last as long as possible, then the solution is simple. Buy the CPU that has as many cores as you can afford.
Buy More Cores Than You Need
While it is true that most games are not necessarily going to run better on anything more than 4 cores, the fact of the matter is that any multicore CPU is going to have at least 4 cores that can do the job very well.
So, getting a CPU that has more cores than you need at the moment will certainly do just fine at the moment while providing you some level of future-proofing.
CPUs do not wear out or burn up. CPUs essentially last forever. They only become slower relative to newer CPUs. A CPU will start to *feel* slower as those faster CPUs hit the market and software developers start upgrading their software to take advantage of those new CPUs.
That ‘performance shock’ can be almost entirely eliminated by buying a CPU with more cores than you currently need.
RAM is cheap. If you get 8GB of RAM now, you will certainly have to upgrade that in just a year or two. A system with 16GB of RAM right now, however, would not need to be upgraded to 32GB for at least another 3 to 5 years.
When most people think of RAM, they only think of one metric. It’s size. But if you are wanting to build a gaming PC that lasts as long as possible, you also want to pay attention to another metric of RAM. Its speed.
At any given point there is a standard maximum memory speed of whatever common PC hardware is available. Right now that’s [look this up]. Current gaming RAM, however, is much faster [look this up]. So, because gaming RAM is always faster than standard RAM, a gaming PC will always be ahead of the curve.
In a few years when new, faster standard memory modules come out, they will only be just as fast as last generations gaming RAM. Because of this, as long as you get 16GB of high speed gaming RAM, you won’t have to upgrade that for quite some time.
RAM is similar to a CPU in that it just doesn’t burn up. As long as you aren’t massively overclocking your system to the point where you have to tinker with the voltages, your RAM will pretty much last forever.
The graphics card houses the GPU (Graphics Processing Unit) which is what is responsible for all the 3d heavy lifting that is required to bring games to life. Technically, any CPU can produce the same image that any graphics card can produce. This is because CPUs are truly general purpose and can literally compute anything.
The type of calculations that are required to produce high resolution 3d graphics are actually rather simple. The problem is that many of those calculations have to happen all at once. A GPU is basically a CPU that is specifically designed to only handle graphics operations. What makes a GPU so much faster than a CPU is the fact that GPUs are massively parallel.
Graphis Cards Have Gotten Extremely Powerful
Modern flagship CPUs will have 10 to 16 cores, where a modern flagship graphics card can have thousands of graphics cores. A powerful GPU cannot do anything by itself and it is not alone on the graphics card.
The graphics card also houses the graphics memory. Graphics memory is special, dedicated, high-speed RAM that is used only for graphics processing. It is directly connected to the GPU, for the highest performance possible.
Not All Graphics Memory Is Created Equally
If you want to find a graphics card that will last as long as possible, then make sure that it is using GDDR graphics memory. Many low-cost graphics card vendors put really nice GPUs on graphics cards that use low-cost low-speed RAM.
This can make your otherwise fast graphics processor feel slow and encumbered.
Computers require several DC voltages to run. In fact, most computer power supplies have a pair of 12V rails, a 5V rail, a 3.3V rail, and even a -12V rail for old COM ports. With so many different voltages required to run a PC, it makes sense for them to all be contained in a single box.
This is what the power supply is. It’s a set of regulators that convert the 120V AC from your wall into the handful of above-mentioned voltages that are required for a PC to run.
It’s important to get a good power supply. In the world of power supplies, the heavier the better. Cheap, low-quality power supplies are mostly air. You can tell when you pick one up, it’s very light and feels flimsy.
A good power supply has massive heatsinks on the inside. These massive heatsinks are required to wick away the heat from the transistors in the high-power voltage regulators inside the power supply.
Avoid Light Weight, Low Cost Power Supplies
Cheap power supplies simply don’t have those massive power chips that require high-end cooling. Cheap power supplies rely on low quality regulators that do not produce a stable output voltage.
The ones that do produce a stable output voltage will either not produce that voltage for very long or it will not be able to keep those voltages stable under a heavy gaming session.
A poor power supply is the number one cause of gaming stability issues. For this reason, I highly recommend Thermaltake power supplies. Thermaltake power supplies are not only known for lasting 7 years or more, but they are known to be able to truly support the wattage that they are advertised at.
We used to have hard drives. Remember hard drives? Those slow, sensitive, spinning electromagnetic devices. At this point, hard drives have been almost completely replaced by Solid State Drives.
Remember, hard drives are explicitly not solid state. That means that they have moving parts. Moving parts are slow and wear out much faster compared to their digital solid state counterparts.
Gaming has really never been affected by storage speeds. Other than maybe some agonizingly long load times, once the game is loaded into memory, it’s up to the graphics card and CPU to run the game well. The storage has nothing to do with that.
The average desktop PC has a solid state storage system capable of around 500 to 1000 megabytes per second. Today’s gaming PC’s often feature much faster drives on the other of several gigabytes per second. Speeds like that make load times all-but non-existent.
So, the same sort of thing will happen to gaming storage as does with gaming RAM. Gaming storage will always age slower than non-gaming storage. So, over the course of a few years, as the average PC’s storage system increases in speed, it will only just begin to make your storage system’s speed. This is because like RAM, gaming storage is ahead of the curve in terms of sheer throughput.
So, if you want your gaming PC to last as long as possible, make sure to use a high-performance NVMe m.2 SSD.
These days, an optical drive is totally optional. You used to have to have one even to just install the operating system. Now that internet speeds have increased and the price of flash memory has plummeted, CDs, DVDs, and even Blu-ray discs are becoming things of the past right before our eyes.
When it comes to a gaming PC, you simply don’t need an optical drive. While optical drives are not known to fail, they are complicated mechanical devices that will just sit in your PC doing nothing almost 100% of the time.
So, if you want to build a gaming PC that will last as long as possible, then you should avoid installing an optical drive in your system. Instead, you should consider an external USB option.
Hardware Depreciation Doesn’t Matter
Try to forget about the monetary value of your gaming PC’s components. Yes, we all know that the value of what you buy goes down over time. We can talk about depreciation and all that jazz, but doing so would really gloss over the point.
When someone is concerned with how long gaming PCs last, the only thing that matters is performance. So, just come to terms with the fact that your 2000 dollar PC will only be worth 500 dollars in 400 years.
Instead, I would like you to consider how much computational power you will have over the period of time that you will have it, considering the dollars that you had to spend to get it.
Moore’s Law Is Not A Law
Gordan Moore was a guy that worked at Intel and noticed a *trend*. He saw that trend and developed a very basic formula to predict that trend. That has worked pretty well, but it is by no means a law and has nothing to do with what actually happens in the semiconductor industry.
Moore’s law is more of an expectation. It’s an expectation of what the semiconductor industry should be able to do. The bad news is that the semiconductor industry has not been able to keep up with Moore’s expectation.
Because of this, computers are not getting faster at the rate that they were before. This is why all these dual, quad, and higher core-count CPUs are now a thing. We have had a hard time increasing speed vertically, so now we are increasing speed horizontally.
The end result of this has been nothing short of a total revolution is CPU performance. As it turns out, we should have been doing this multi-core and many-core stuff a long time ago.
The best thing about building or even buying a gaming PC is that you have the total freedom to upgrade it any time. Now only can you upgrade it any time, but you can upgrade any component you want in any order.
How Long Do Prebuilt PCs Last?
How long do gaming PCs last? Do pre-built gaming PC’s last longer? Whether you build your PC or you buy it, it’s going to last the same amount of time. With that being said, a prebuilt computer will always have lower quality components than the same amount of money put into a custom build.
This is because when you buy a pre-built computer, you are paying for the builder’s labor. If you spend $1000 on a pre-built computer, your computer will be made from less-than-$1000 dollars worth of parts. The PC builder is not ripping you off, they have to charge something to put the computer together.
So, if you avoid this ‘build-fee’ your gaming PC will last longer because you can use that extra money to buy higher-performance components, which would make it so you would not have to upgrade as soon as you otherwise would have.
How Long Will A High-End Computer Last?
A high end PC is basically a gaming PC that does not necessarily have the graphics card requirement. A high-end PC can easily last 7 to 10 years.
If you build a high-end PC right now with an 8 core, 16 thread processor and 32GB of RAM, and a 2TB Solid State Drive, that machine will be 10 years before you would need to upgrade anything.
How Often Do You Update a Gaming PC?
How long do gaming PCs last? Technically forever. Remember, unlike a console, you can upgrade your PC any time and extend it’s life. If you are someone who always wants to have the fastest and most up-to-date hardware, then your gaming PC will last forever.
If you are always upgrading all of your components, your gaming PC will always be up to date. The problem is that doing something like that is extremely expensive. You would have to spend hundreds and sometimes thousands of dollars every single month on your gaming PC to make that happen.
Realistically speaking, a gaming PC needs to get a major hardware upgrade like a new CPU or a faster graphics card at least once every two to three years.
How Much Should You Spend On A Gaming PC?
That depends on your budget. There are several websites available that show what a graphics card or a CPU will be able to do, in terms of performance.
You can then compare those performance figures to the price of those processors. Using this information, you can determine the best CPU to buy for your gaming machine to last the longest.
Are Gaming PCs Worth It?
Yes. Gaming PCs are worth it, even if you are not a gamer. Remember, a gaming PC is basically the highest-end, most cutting edge PC you can get. Computers in general last a lot longer than they used to, and a gaming PC only makes that fact more true.
A gaming PC will provide the highest possible performance at the highest level of reliability possible. A gaming PC will out-last a standard PC from the same era.
With a standard PC, you would have to upgrade it every few years just to keep it running. With a gaming PC, you only need to update it when you want to run the latest, most cutting edge video games. The PC itself will remain feeling powerful far longer than a standard PC.
How long do gaming PCs last? – Conclusion
Ultimately that depends on your initial build budget and how often you plan on upgrading it.
Considering the fact that a brand new PC can last 5 years or longer, a gaming PC will typically last 7 to 10 years. There are several reason why a gaming PC can last so long. Computers simply last a lot longer than they used to and gaming PCs are specifically built computers have the highest-end hardware available at the time. So, a gaming PC will usually last a few years longer than a standard PC.
We hope this article helped you learned more about gaming PCs and how long they will last. Thanks for reading!