Your computer’s motherboard is without any doubt the most integral part of the entire build. It’s what brings every component together and makes them work swiftly.
But while being the most important, it’s also the most difficult part to replace in your build. Just think for a second, how many connectors would you have to unplug, and how many components would have to remove just to replace the motherboard? A lot right? You would have to basically tear down your entire rig to get to the motherboard.
That’s why it’s important to understand how long does a motherboard last, which factors can affect its lifespan, and how to increase a motherboard’s life. This article is targetted towards motherboard lifespan, however, for General PC Lifespan, and how long do they last, we recommend you read our identical article.
Let’s get started!
- A well-maintained motherboard can last up to a decade without having any issues.
- There are several factors that can degrade your motherboard’s life. Including low-quality PSU, power surges, overheating, improper handling, faulty electronics, and moisture and humidity.
- You can increase your motherboard’s lifespan by cleaning it regularly, using a high-end power supply unit, investing in power surge protectors and dehumidifiers, and assembling your PC with care.
How Long Does A Motherboard Last
If you take care of your motherboard properly, and no accidents happen, then you can expect it to easily last about 7-10 years and even way more without any issues.
But in the end, it all comes down to how you use your PC, and how often. For instance, if you hardly use your computer for an hour or two to browse the Internet, then your motherboard is likely to last a long time.
On the other hand, if you’re a hardcore gamer who pushes the computer to its limits, then you should not expect your motherboard to last a decade.
Another point to take into consideration while talking about a motherboard’s life is that while it can last up to 10 years, you’re likely to upgrade to a better motherboard before it dies.
That’s because depending on the motherboard, it will support at best 2 generations of a CPU. So, if you plan to upgrade your processor to a newer generation, you will have to upgrade your motherboard as well.
That being said, there are several other factors that can significantly reduce your motherboard’s life, let’s dive into them!
Factors Affecting Your Motherboard’s Life
They are the biggest culprit behind your motherboard’s death. In the easiest terms, a power surge is a short but significant increase of voltage that can fry your electronics.
There are mainly two types of power surges; internal and external. As the name suggests, internal power surges happen due to power-hungry appliances like air conditioners and refrigerators. What happens is that these appliances draw a lot of power, and when turned off, they can sometimes send some of that power back which can cause a surge.
On the other hand, external power surges are the ones that happen outside your house. They are mainly caused by accidents to the power line.
To sum up, power surges can completely kill your electronics, including the motherboard. However, if you’re using a good quality power supply that can adjust the voltage to stabilize the power surge, then you should be protected against power surges to some extent.
A power supply can make or break your motherboard. For instance, if your PC components require high power, and your power supply cannot provide it, then your motherboard is likely to be affected by it.
That’s why you should never cheap out on the power supply when building a gaming rig.
Another factor that can significantly reduce your motherboard’s life is inadequate cooling and overheating.
Your computer’s bound to generate heat by consuming power. However, you must install proper cooling fans to ventilate that heat.
With the help of software like MSI Afterburner, or Speccy you can keep track of your computer’s temperatures. A good idling temperature would be 40-60°C, but if you think your rig is running too hot, then it’s best to install better cooling systems.
If you plan to overclock your computer, then you must upgrade your cooling system. With overclocking, you can push your computer to its limits. Consequently, overclocking helps you achieve better performance figures, but it will also generate an enormous amount of heat.
While liquid cooling is the best, a good fan setup might also be enough for your needs.
No matter how solid and durable your motherboard may seem, always keep in mind that computer components, including the motherboard, are quite fragile.
So, you need to handle everything with care while building a PC because any physical damage is likely to decrease your motherboard’s life, and even kill it.
Other than building, overall any physical damage or improper handling can harm your motherboard. For instance, if you’re moving your PC, and you hit something, then a loose component might damage your motherboard.
Low-quality components can also damage your motherboard. If you cheap out on RAM, or on the graphics card, and they end up releasing lots of heat, then your motherboard will be damaged.
Similarly, it’s best to always use compatible components. If you don’t know whether your planned rig is compatible, then first build it on PCBuilder to check for compatibility issues.
Sometimes, a faulty electronic can also damage your motherboard. For instance, capacitors on your motherboard will lose charge over time, and you cannot really stop that from happening. Keep in mind that a high-end motherboard is probably bundled with good-quality capacitors, but they also will begin to degrade sooner or later.
There can be other faulty parts of your motherboard as well. Maybe one USB port is not working while the other works. This can happen due to many reasons, including forcefully connecting the wrong cable and the overall mishandling of the motherboard.
Other than that, USB Killers are also quite dangerous. While they are built to fry the USB port with a short power surge, they can also damage your motherboard. So, it’s best to not plug in unfamiliar USBs to your computer.
Moisture And Humidity
It goes without saying that liquid is the enemy of all electronic components, and if you end up spilling something on your computer, then you’ll probably say goodbye to a lot of parts.
However, many people don’t consider the effect of moisture and humidity on their computers. They are like a silent killer.
For example, if the air around your computer is extra humid, meaning it contains a high amount of water vapors in it, then the cooling fans inside your rig will take in all of this humid and moist air and blow it on your computer components.
Over time, your motherboard will also end up absorbing lots of moisture, which can significantly decrease its lifespan.
How To Increase The Motherboard’s Life
As time passes, your motherboard is bound to experience some factors which will reduce its lifespan. However, there are several measures that you can take to increase it as much as possible.
Invest In Surge Protectors And Good Quality PSU
When building a PC, never cheap out on the power supply unit, a good PSU will protect your rig against power surges and abnormalities, while also maintaining the required power.
Additionally, if your house is prone to power surges, then you can also invest in surge protectors. A good surge protector will absorb the excess voltage and divert it towards the ground to protect your computer.
Provide Adequate Cooling
Heat is your computer’s biggest enemy, and to counter it, you must equip your PC with a suitable cooling setup.
If you can afford and maintain it, then a liquid-cooled setup should be your preference. However, a good fan setup can also work wonders.
As a general rule, remember that most of the heat-generating components are at the back of the case. So, your fan setup should suck the air out from the back and the top, while pulling in fresh cool air from the bottom and the front. On the topic of cooling, you should always change your CPU’s thermal paste on time to prevent it from overheating.
If your PC build is not equipped with the highest-end cooling setup, then you should refrain from overclocking it as it generates a lot of heat.
Handle With Care
While building your PC, place the motherboard on cardboard or anti-static foam to prevent the soldered points from shorting. While you’re at it, it’s also highly recommended to have an anti-static mat or wristband on hand.
Overall, handle your PC with extreme care. If you’re holding your motherboard, then try to lift it from the edges without touching its complex circuitry.
While assembling your PC, don’t completely tighten a single screw first. Instead, slightly tighten every screw to apply equal pressure to each corner.
Regularly Clean Your Motherboard
You should clean and maintain your motherboard regularly. This means, opening up the PC case, and removing the dust every month or two; depending on how dusty your PC gets.
Now you may be wondering, how can cleaning increase a motherboard’s life? Well, when your motherboard collects dust over time, the dust can retain heat and hinder the cooling performance, which can ultimately lead to heating issues.
Cleaning the motherboard is not a difficult process. All you have to do is open the case, and use a can of compressed air to blow the dust. Keep in mind that you should not use a high-power blower on your PC, as it can damage the components.
Use A Dehumidifier
If your PC is stored in a moist or humid room, then you should invest in a good dehumidifier to prevent damaging your motherboard.
Similarly, you can also place dehumidifying crystals around your PC to absorb the moisture. Additionally, if there are any plants or fountains around your room, then it’s best to either move them or the PC away as they can increase the humidity.
Finally, this goes without saying, always keep your PC away from liquids. If you’re having a drink, then don’t put it on the same table as your PC. No matter how careful you are, accidents can happen, and if any liquid gets inside your casing, then you’re likely to damage a lot of your components, including the motherboard.
There are many factors that can decrease your motherboard’s life. For instance, overheating your PC a lot, using a cheap power supply that cannot protect your motherboard against power surges, mishandling your PC and causing physical damage to the motherboard, putting your PC in a humid room, and using low-quality components that can create excess heat.
However, a motherboard can easily last up to 10 years if it is taken care of properly, which means cleaning it regularly, using a good power supply unit, and equipping it with adequate cooling.
When compared to desktop computers, laptops run significantly hotter where one can easily reach 100 °C. So, while a laptop motherboard can easily last 5-7 years, it is not as durable as a desktop motherboard.
You don’t have to replace your motherboard unless you’re planning to upgrade your CPU, GPU, or RAM. Generally, a motherboard can support up to 2 generations of CPU. So, if you plan to upgrade a lot, then you will have to replace your motherboard with a compatible one.
No, motherboards directly can not affect your PC’s performance. If you think your PC has slowed down, then it’s likely due to your old HDD or something else. Motherboards don’t have many moving parts in them so they are not prone to much wear and tear.
The CMOS battery on your motherboard is charged every time you use your computer. So, the more often you turn on your PC, the longer the battery will last. In general, a CMOS battery will easily last about 3-5 years.
Also Read: How Long Does It Take To Build A PC
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