How long do motherboards last? Shouldn’t a motherboard last forever? After all, it has no moving parts. A motherboard is the main component of a computer. Sure its not the thing doing the most work, but its the thing that everything else connects to. 

A motherboard will generally last 5 to 10 years depending on a number of factors. There are two key aspects of motherboard design, however, that can make a motherboard last forever as long as you don’t stab it with a screwdriver, short out its power supply, let it get damaged by water, or let it run overheated for a long period of time. Also, there are some circumstances, that will lead to a motherboard only lasting a few years. 

In this article, we will explain what it takes to kill a motherboard either quickly or over a long period of time. We will also tell you about some simple things you can do to prevent those things from happening. If you follow this guide, your motherboard will last as long as possible.

How Long Do Motherboards Last?

Type Of MotherboardDustyHigh MoistureHow Long It Will Last
Gigabyte Ultra DurableNONO20+ years
Gigabyte Ultra DurableYESNO10+ years
Gigabyte Ultra DurableYESYES5+ years
Standard MotherboardNONO5-7 years
Standard MotherboardYESNO3-4 Years
Standard MotherboardYESYES1-2 Years

When it comes to operational functionality, as long as it has solid state capacitors, a motherboard can last as long as 10 to 20 years or even longer before it actually fails, if it ever does. Generally speaking, a motherboard will become technologically obsolete long before it fails.

The good news is that if you get the right motherboard and the most reasonable initial system, you can easily upgrade your processor, replace or add graphics cards, memory modules, hard drives, and solid state drives to your motherboard. 

Save Money And Extend The Life Of Your Motherboard

So, make sure you are not building a computer, don’t max out the system unless you need to. So, if you don’t need the high end processor and would notice no performance difference with a flagship, then don’t get the flagship processor. 8GB of RAM will work for most people, so don’t worry about getting 16GB for now. If you can do what you need to do just fine with 8GB of RAM, then just get 8GB of RAM instead of 16GB.

If you do it this way, when your computer is beginning to feel old, you will have a clear upgrade path that will drastically enhance the performance of the machine. These practices will further extend your motherboards technological lifespan, which makes it last as long as possible in both ways; functionality and usable performance.

If you do it this way, your computer motherboard could last for 10 years or more without ever going into technological oblivion.

So, How Long Do Motherboards Last?

Low quality motherboards only last 3 to 5 years, and a computer motherboard will only last for 1 or 2 years if your computer is subjected to extreme temperatures or elevated moisture levels.  In contrast, with a little care, maintenance, and informed purchasing power, you can make your motherboard last for 10 years or more.

What Motherboard Lasts The Longest?

When it comes to buying a motherboard that will last the longest, that comes down to two things. The amount of copper in the motherboard and the type of capacitors the motherboard uses. Most motherboards use electrolytic capacitor’s which break down under exposure to elevated temperatures.

In addition to this, most motherboards use 1 oz of copper per square foot of board, which generates heat within the board under normal operation. Remember, heat is the enemy of electronics. The more copper a motherboard has, the less heat the motherboard will produce.

So, in normal motherboards, the lack of copper makes excess heat and the electrolytic capacitors are sensitive to that heat and break down as a result. This is clearly a recipe for disaster and fixing just one of them would have major implications on the longevity of a motherboard, so Gigabyte did both.

Gigabyte Ultra Durable Motherboards Really Are Ultra Durable

Gigabyte Ultra Durable motherboards use solid state capacitors, while other motherboards use the old type of capacitor that is literally filled with a liquid.

Ultra High Quality Japanese Solid State Capacitors

Gigabyte Ultra Durable motherboards use not only solid state capacitors, but the absolute best quality solid state capacitors available on the market. The capacitors gigabyte uses in Ultra Durable motherboards are rated to perform at maximum efficiency for extended periods. Capacitors on Ultra Durable motherboards feature stunningly low ESR ratings that stay the same, no matter how high the CPU load.

While its true that the operational lifespan of a solid state capacitor is still dependent on temperature, they are much less suspectable to temperature differences and can survive much higher temperatures over all. Also, they degrade much, much slower as a result of temperature compared to electrolytic capacitors.

2 Ounces of Copper Per Square Foot

Unlike other motherboards, Gigabyte Ultra Durable motherboard feature 2 whole ounces of copper per square foot of PCB. Thats double the industry standard of just 1 ounce of copper per square foot.

Doubling the amount of copper per square foot that a PCB (Printed Circuit Board) uses drastically increases the lifespan of a computer. It works by decreasing resistance. If there is more copper, there is less resistance. If there is less resistance to the flow of current, there is less heat build up.

Industry Leading Ultra Durable PCIe Metal Shielding

In addition to making the motherboard produce and be less sensitive to heat, Gigabyte also takes steps to make sure motherboards can stand up to more physical stresses. Gigabyte Ultra Durable motherboards use an innovative one piece stainless steel shielding design that reinforces the PCIe connectors.

This provides the extra strength needed to support the most powerful and heaviest graphics cards on the market.

Factors That Affect Motherboard Longevity

Power Problems

Power supplies convert power from AC to several DC voltages. This process inevitable generates heat that needs to be managed. In the world of power supplies, bigger is better.

A heaver power supply is always going to be a more reliable power supply. Remember, cheaper, lower-quality power supplies either don’t use heatsinks or have tiny ones. If a power supply is very light and does not have a lot of heatsinks, it means the company is cutting corners in other ways as well. 

In a cheap power supply, all you have is a fan to keep things cool. This will work for so long, but after some time the power supply will start to overheat. Once this happens, system voltages become unstable, and this can drastically shorten the lifespan of your motherboard. 

Unreliable power supplies are the number one cause of motherboard stability issues. So, if you want your motherboard to last as long as possible, it’s important invest in a high quality power supply.

This is why its important to get a high quality power supply. The Thermaltake Toughpower GF1 850W is an excellent example. It has a massive fan and huge heatsinks. You can instantly tell when you hold this power supply in your hand that is means serious business.

Thermaltake is known to be among the best power supply manufactures on the market. Thermaltake has never made a power supply that has a bad reputation. All of their power supplies have that solid, chucky feel that you have come to expect a great power supply to have.

The proof is not just in the feel of the device and its ability to keep itself cool. Thermaltake power supplies are known to keep extremely tight voltages all the way up to maximum load. That means when a Thermaltake power supply claims to be 800 Watts, it really is capable of delivering 800 Watts, sometimes even more.

Thermaltake is not just for the high end, either. For example, this Thermaltake 500W Power Supply would be great for an entry level PC and provides the same exact level of reliable performance as their more expensive offerings, just at a lower wattage.

ESD (Electro-Statis Discharge)

If you are just learning how to put a computer together and reading this article to find out how to make sure it lasts the longest, then this one is important to you. ESD (Electro-Static Discharge) is real. I know it doesn’t seem like that because you can build a computer without taking ESD precautions and everything will seen to work fine.

The problem is, ESD damages are not always fatal. If you don’t use care when handling sensitive computer electronics, you may unknowingly impart a device-crippling or lifespan-shortening electro static shock onto your shiny, new computer parts.

This has happened to me plenty of times before and it took a really long time to finally realize it. If you have ever build a computer and it worked fine most of the time but had sudden, unexplainable crashes that are not software related, its more than likely as a result of non-fatal electrostatic discharge damage.

So, when you are handling your motherboard, CPU, memory modules, graphics card, and other computer components, make sure to take ESD precautions. Calm down, it doesn’t mean you have to use one of the ESD ground straps, it just means that you have to have a proper ESD-aware workplace.

Something like this Scientific Americas ESD Mat Kit will do just fine. It comes with everything you need to set up an ESD safe workplace, and includes an ESD strap. The strap is not entirely necessary. All you really need to do is touch something grounded after stepping on top of the mat. Everything you touch while you are still standing on the mat is ESD safe.

Water Damage

This one is obvious. If you spill water on your computer, its going to be a bad day. The overwhelming majority of the time, water damage is not fatal on its own. If you were to pour water into a computer, and immediately turn it off, take all the parts out, dry them off real good, and dont turn it back on until everything is completely dry, it will be just fine.

Don’t Be Those People

The problem is, this never happens. What happens is this: Once there is a spill, those people panic and franticly dry of there computer. They check to see, and to their sheer amazement, its still running. Everything is fine. They got lucky.

In reality, the sigh of relief is not only in vein, its ironic. Its that sigh of relief that kills their computer. When they think everything is OK and go back to work, the water is at work corroding components. Because the computer is still on, the electrical flow of the components themselves intensely accelerates this corrosion process.

Simultaneously, impurities in the water form unpredictable, unstable conductive channels between the components. Whether its 1 hour, 1 day, or 1 year later, that computer will see its last day because of that spill.

So, don’t be one of those people, OK? If you spill water on your electronics, power them off, remove the battery if you can, and make sure its 100 percent totally dry before you turn it back on.

Moisture

Moisture is another enemy of electronics. Most people don’t realize this, but water itself is not conductive. This means that it can carry no electric current and cannot itself damage electronics.

Water becomes conductive as impurities are gathered within it. This is why distilled water is not conductive, because its been evaporated and been eliminated of impurities. So, most of the time, the moisture in the air is not very conductive,

For this reason, moisture damage can be harder to notice and therefor prevent because it doesn’t have a high risk of shorting out the components on your motherboard.

What it will do, whoever, is corrode the components on your motherboard. Remember, water plus electricity plus metals equals corrosion. There is no way around this.

Dust And Heat

If heat is the enemy of electronics, then dust is heat’s best friend. As dust slowly builds up in a PC, it further and further restricts air flow. Air flow is critical for an electronics, especially a sensitive computer, to stay cool.

While it is true that there are plenty of electronics that can run fine without any sort of air flow, those electronics are always hotter than they otherwise would be with a decent breeze blowing their way. In some applications, this is totally sustainable, but this does not apply to the field of computer electronics.

Every single electronics component has a set of specifications. Every single one of those specifications is only true at a given temperature range. Once you start to deviate from that range, those specifications will change.

It gets worse than that, though. Not only do components become out of spec when they run too hot, but that also shortens their lifespan. Every component has a MTBF. MTBF stands for Mean Time Between Failure. Thats the average amount of time it takes for a given component to fail.

The hotter you run electronic components, the shorter their MTBF will be. There is no way around this fact. So, if you want your computer to run for a long as possible, its important to keep it cool.

Two Birds, One Stone

If you want to protect your motherboard from both dust and moisture damage, then all you have to do is get something like this MTQY Fan Filter Grill set. With these low cost grill inserts, you can rest assure that no dust or moisture will be able to enter your PC.

Remember, these types of filters are excellent at preventing dust from getting inside. So, if you dont regularly clean them from the outside, they will completely clog, reducing airflow to zero.

Its crucial to consider the fact that in order for a mesh filer to be totally effective, all other holes and openings in the computer needs the same filter or need to otherwise be sealed. So, you can use something like this Mesh Insert Set to seal up other areas of your PC.

What Is The Average Lifespan Of A Motherboard?

The average motherboard will like 5 to 7 years before its capacitors will fail. This lifespan can be drastically increased by making sure you have a motherboard that uses solid state capacitors. Solid state capacitors can last for 20 years or more. A motherboard with solid state capacitors can last indefinitely as long as its properly taken care of.

Long before a motherboard stops working, it becomes technologically obsolete. So, you will need to upgrade to the latest hardware before the motherboard physically stops functioning.

How Often Should You Replace Your Motherboard?

If you want to keep your motherboard working without having any down time, then replace your motherboard every 5 years. If you are more concerned with maintaining performance, replace your motherboard every 1 to 3 years. This will help keep up with ever-changing CPU socket and memory slot compatibility.

This only applies to power users and gamers, however, as most people can use a motherboard for 5 years or more before it cannot do for them what it was once able to. 

How Much Does It Cost To Replace A Motherboard?

Basic motherboards cost between $60 and $100, while premium motherboards can cast as much as $150 to $300 or more. The motherboard is generally the lowest cost component of a PC. Remember, if you can’t do the replacement yourself, replacing a motherboard is one of the most expensive procedures at a repair shop.  

Conclusion

While its true the motherboards have no moving parts, most of them still rely on components that wear out. How long a motherboard lasts is linked to the lifespan of those components.  

If it has electrolytic capacitors, a motherboard will last around 5 to 7 years on average and about 10 if you can take care of it. A motherboard with solid state capacitors can last as long as 20 years or more. In both cases, if your motherboard is powered by a low quality power supply, is exposed to excessive dust, heat, or moisture, a motherboard will last for only 1 to 2 years. 

We hope this article helped you learn a little more about how long motherboards last. Thanks for reading!