A typical RAM lasts anywhere from 5-10 years, depending on your use and how old the RAM is. There are two aspects upon which the RAM’s life is dependent – physical condition and performance degradation.
In this article, we will go over RAM’s physical and performance degradation. As a result, you will get a definitive answer on how long does RAM last. Also, we will provide you with tips on how you can increase the life of the RAM.
Buckle up! There is a lot to cover, so let’s get right to it.
Lifespan of RAM
The average life of a RAM is five to ten years. This makes it the longest-lasting component on your PC. You are more likely to replace the entire PC before replacing the RAM. However, there are certain situations in which you need to know the life of the RAM.
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There are two facets when it comes to RAM’s life. Firstly, like every other PC component, the RAM is also an electronic gadget. Hence, it is prone to mechanical or technical failure.
Secondly, the RAM is pivotal to the PC’s performance. Without sufficient RAM capacity, a computer will lack smoothness and be unable to play games or perform demanding tasks. Therefore, the performance capability of the RAM is also put to the test when determining the life of a RAM.
Physical Age of the RAM
The RAM has no moving or delicate parts. Therefore, if used properly, it can last over 10 years without fail. However, not all RAMs are equal, and some last more than others based on their build quality.
A RAM made with finer quality materials will outperform the RAM made from inferior materials. The heat sink of the RAM also matters. Heat is the kryptonite of electronics, and excessively high temperatures can damage the RAM’s PCB. A good heatsink ensures proper ventilation resulting in low RAM temperatures.
Another important physical aspect involves having a shield around the RAM pins. The RAM pins can break or bend, so having a shield stops that from happening.
RAM sticks from reputable manufacturers like G-Skill, HyperX, or Corsair have all these pre-emptive quality control measures. Hence, you can expect them to last 15 years, if not more, as they are built to last.
Performance Degradation of the RAM
RAM lasts 4-6 years before performance degradation starts to rear its ugly head. The performance degradation is because new games and upcoming applications require more RAM than currently available on the computer.
The discrepancy between the amount of RAM you have on your computer and the amount of required RAM results in the PC being slow and unable to run games well.
For instance, according to a Steam survey in 2017, most gamers used 8GB RAM on their PCs. However, fast forward to 2022, and most gamers have transitioned to 16GB RAM.
As the requirement of games for more RAM grew, 8GB RAM was just not good enough for playing. Hence the reason why gamers had to move to 16GB RAM. If we look closely, the time it took for 8GB RAM to become obsolete is 5 years. Therefore, it is safe to assume that after 5 years, 16GB RAM will also become obsolete for gaming.
This is just one example related to gaming computers. Other software programs have their own RAM requirements. Generally speaking, if your PC has 16GB RAM, expect it to perform well till 2024-2025.
Besides the RAM capacity, the RAM generation also plays a part in determining the RAM’s life. We are currently at DDR5 RAM, meaning that DDR4 RAM is becoming obsolete. Don’t get me wrong, you still can use DDR4 RAM. However, its performance is lacking compared to the latest DDR5 RAM.
Will Overclocking the RAM Affect its Lifespan?
Overclocking the RAM or using XMP puts more stress on the RAM. As a result, the longevity of the RAM takes a hit. The extent of damage caused by overclocking to a RAM depends on the extremity of the overclock.
Suppose the RAM is pushed to its overclocking limits. In that case, its life will be reduced significantly compared to a slightly overclocked RAM. Generally, an overclocked RAM lasts 1-2 years less than a normal RAM.
When overclocked, the RAM gets increased voltage, which results in higher clock speeds. The increase in voltage, however, is only sustainable in the long run.
Tips to Make the RAM last Longer
Won’t it be great if the existing RAM in your computer could last longer? Well, it is possible with the tips that are about to follow.
Clean the RAM Slots
Over time dust can build up around the RAM slots. These dust particles keep heat trapped. Prolonged exposure to heat can damage the PCB of the RAM. Therefore, purging dust from RAM slots is a habit everyone should adopt. You should clean the entire PC, not just RAM slots, to free it from dust and grime build-up.
Keep the RAM Away From Water or Moisture
The PCB of the RAM is a tad sensitive to water and moisture. Hence, even the slightest drop of moisture can damage the RAM. Water can spill in the RAM compartment through a faulty AIO liquid cooler, so keep that in check.
Ensure Consistent Voltage
Inconsistent voltage can damage the fragile electronic component in the RAM. Therefore, don’t tinker with its voltage if you want your RAM to last. Don’t overclock the RAM or use any XMP profiles. Also, use a high-quality PSU which delivers consistent voltage. If you want to go the extra mile, get a power surge protector.
When to Replace the RAM
Ram should be replaced every 5 years or when overhauling the entire computer. You can also replace the RAM when you cannot run your favorite game or a new software program you want to use.
However, if the RAM is older and has less capacity, you might need to replace it sooner. For instance, if you are running 8GB RAM, I’m afraid you are due an upgrade. Get at least 16GB RAM if you want to run all the latest games and software programs smoothly.
Can I Use More RAM to Make it last Longer?
Yes, using more RAM will make it last longer. Higher RAM capacity means that its performance will not get outdated anytime soon. So, if you take care of the physical and mechanical aspects of the RAM, it will last longer.
The recommended RAM capacity in 2022 is 16GB, which can easily last till 2025-2026. However, if you add more RAM and increase the capacity to 32GB, you will be set for at least 2027-2028.
The RAM is the longest-lasting component of the PC. So, if you have sufficient RAM capacity, expect it to last 4-5 years.
Using the provided tips, you can enhance the RAM’s life. However, none of this is necessary if you have high-quality RAM from reputable manufacturers such as HyperX, Corsair, or G-Skill.
Don’t fret because, most likely, the RAM will outlast all the other components of the PC. So, it is highly unlikely you will need to replace the RAM before the CPU, GPU, or other computer components.
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Tech enthusiast by the day and spirit gamer by night. Waleed loves combining his two passions into writing and is ready to contribute to making Tech easy and accessible for everyone.