Average Lifespan Of A CPU 2022

One of the most important components to a computer no matter the type is the processor or CPU, and no computer can do without it. Without a CPU, the computer wont even turn on, and with a slow CPU your computer will run excessively, so it makes sense why the CPU is so valued, also they can cost a lot of money.

In this post, we’re going to go over the average lifespan of a CPU so you understand better what to expect in terms of overclocking, and heat damage. By the end of this guide, you’ll understand that even overclocking doesn’t really affect the CPUs lifespan if you do it correctly, and how hot the CPU can get before damage starts occurring.

Answer: A well-kept CPU should last up to 20 years, this is usually due to efficient cooling. The CPU is responsible for retrieving and processing instructions and it does this at an extremely fast speed, essentially it’s the brains of the computer. A bad CPU will process instructions poorly due to lower core counts, clock speeds and instructions per clock, whereas a good CPU will do nearly everything better.

Is Overclocking Bad For The CPU?

is overclocking bad for cpu

Overclocking can have serious benefits such as faster operating speeds within applications, this can translate to in-game performance with higher frames per second. However, overclocking comes at a risk, because you’re essentially pushing the CPU past it’s rated limits which cause increased heat generation and power consumption.

When you’re overclocking, you’re increasing the clock speed of the processor in small increments, usually 50-100MHz, and doing this allows you to find the true limit of your CPU before it crashes. But increasing the clock speed requires superior cooling, so one downside is that you might have to purchase a better cooler.

Another downside is that it can void your warranty, this is a big downside considering what you’re doing indirectly reduces the lifespan of your CPU. So if you’re particularly paranoid and don’t want to spend more money on a new processor, overclocking isn’t recommended.

How To Tell If CPU Is Dying

Nothing lasts forever, even a well kept CPU, eventually the CPU will start to fail and there will be signs signifying that. The most common reasons a CPU fails is due to age, heat, frequent overclocking, and poor power delivery. Ensuring that your CPU is running at an appropriate clock speed, and the power supply is decent, then your CPU should last up to 10 years.

If your computer automatically shuts off, this is a possible symptom that your CPU is failing. The best way to find out if it’s actually the CPU is to do trial and error with your computer components. The reason why random shutdowns are a symptom of a bad CPU is as a CPU ages, they start to produce more mistakes which could cause random shutdowns.

BSODs and random crashes can be a sign of a bad CPU, depending on the BSOD error, it could be caused by a software problem or a hardware problem. If the BSOD is a hardware problem, then it’s a possibility the processor could be the culprit. The reason it may be the CPU is because as a CPU ages, they tend to run hotter and less stable which in return can cause a Blue screen of death.

CPU/Processor Lifespan

A CPU does wear out at an atomic level which you won’t be able to physically see, but the effects will be noticeable such as the CPU making more errors. But a CPU will usually last up to 20 years with standard use, but you should be looking to upgrade way before then.

CPUs have extremely long lifespans as long as you’re not abusing the CPU with outrageous overclocks and insufficient cooling, so even when overclocking, as long as it’s appropriate, your CPU will last a really long time. You’re most likely to be the reason your CPU dies by physically damaging it by damaging pins or inducing heat damage.

Your CPU will probably be one of the last components to fail if you treat it with care, the motherboard is almost always to fail before the CPU. But after 20 years, atomic failure might catch up to it and it will eventually stop working, but your CPU will be extremely obsolete 2 decades later anyways. So you should never worry about your CPU failing.

How To Increase CPU Lifespan

Increasing the lifespan of your CPU is always a PC maintenance task, so if you want your CPU or any component to last longer, you must maintain the inside of your case. An unkept computer will accumulate a lot of dust which can cause the CPU to overheat and we all know heat is one of the main culprits of a component dying.

Spring cleaning your computer is one of the best ways to improve the lifespan of your CPU, this is because dust accumulation is a cause of an overheating component. Dust can be the cause of other problems such as the CPU operating slowly, clog up the CPU cooler, and interfere with airflow. Dust can actually be physically harmful to components with a small chance that they can short circuit your hardware.

Having a bad power supply is a very bad decision which can cost you a lot of money in the future, this is because bad power supplies can fail and bring other components down with them such as the CPU. Bad power supplies also supply poor power, this is usually caused by the unit not coming with OVP, OPP, OCP, SCP, OTP protections.

How Hot Can A CPU Get Before Damage

Considering heat is the one of the main culprits of hardware failure especially for CPUs, there is a temperature your CPU should never exceed at that is 80C. Exceeding 80C won’t be an immediate threat, but if the CPU is constantly running over 80C, then your processor will start to throttle to prevent heat induced damage occurring.

Intel CPUs have operational safeguards in place to prevent heat induced damage from occurring, the first safeguard is throttling and the second safeguard is automatic shutdown. Throttling occurs when the CPU receives insufficient cooling therefore the processor slows down its clock speed to maintain an appropriate temperature, 90C is the thermal throttle point. And automatic shutdown occurs when the CPU reaches 100C, this is because 100C is far too hot for operational purposes.

AMD CPUs also have similar safeguards in place, but are explicitly specified, however it is said that they also thermal throttle and automatically shut down. The general consensus is that AMD CPUs will begin to thermal throttle around 95C and automatically shutdown slightly higher, so it’s safe to say that exceeding 80C is entering dangerous zones which can be potentially harmful to your CPU.


In conclusion, CPUs are fairly durable and can last a long time if you take good care of them, your CPU can last up to 10 years with standard use. Overclocking your CPU will push your CPU past its limits causing increased heat generation and power consumption, however the benefits can be huge resulting in massive performance gains.

If you have sufficient cooling in place and decent airflow, you shouldn’t see your CPU reach points where automatic shutdown occurs. Your CPU should operate at 80C or slightly below, anything higher will cause automatic safety features to kick in such as thermal throttling and automatic shutdowns.