Computers play an increasingly crucial role in today’s society; I use my PC for both games and work and have had to fix my fair share of components, particularly PSUs! Replacing them is well worth the investment, but how long do power supplies last?
Here are the key points we’ll cover, and then some:
- The average lifespan of a PSU for every kind of user
- What you can do to improve the lifespan of a PSU
- Indicators that a PSU is failing or that it needs replacing
- Practical advice for healthy PSU maintenance and habits
Several variables contribute to the lifespan of PSU; knowing what they are and putting them into practice can help to extend your PSU by at least a year or two!
How Long Do Power Supplies Last PSU?
As such, PSUs can last anywhere from 3 – 10 years, sometimes even more – a good quality PSU, however, will easily last at least ten years.
As with any tool, the lifespan of a PSU is generally determined by the strain it takes and how frequently it takes that amount of stress.
A smart tip is to pay attention to the warranty offered by the manufacturer; it is usually an accurate indicator of what kind of lifespan you can expect from a PSU.
Some lower-cost PSUs may only have a three-year guarantee, whereas top-tier, contemporary PSUs have warranties of ten to twelve years.
When purchasing a PSU, always start with a high-quality model from a respected manufacturer. Many generic models are overrated and have a low-stress tolerance. Poor construction quality can also lead to premature aging and mortality.
Cutting back on high-stress activities is the primary way to extend the life of your PSU. Cryptocurrency mining, for example, is a highly taxing activity, and overclocking your CPU or GPU can put additional strain on your power supply unit.
However, this can be mitigated by having equipment supporting the strain.
What Can You Do To Improve a PSU’s Lifespan?
You can improve a PSU’s lifespan through power cycling, duty cycles, case design and airflow, watts and load, tobacco smoke, cleanliness, maintenance, a surge protector, or UPS.
Variables that contribute to the lifespan of a PSU and include:
- Power Cycling refers to how often you switch the computer off and on again, such as when it’s non-responsive.
- Duty Cycle refers to how long the computer stays switched on; does it run for a few hours a day or the whole day?
- Case Design and Airflow are essential for keeping the PSU cool and preventing it from becoming too hot. Proper ventilation will stop dust from accumulating on the air intake grill of the PSU and allow cool air to flow freely.
- Watts usage and load percentage drastically impact the longevity of a PSU.
Running a powerful graphics card or overclocking the computer requires a PSU to work harder and places a high percentage load on it, wearing it out much quicker.
- Tobacco smoke can affect a computer, particularly the PSU, graphics card, heat sinks, and fans. The tobacco in the smoke sticks to the dust in the air, worsening the effects of dust.
- Cleaning the dust from your computer and PSU goes a long way in helping them run efficiently without exerting themselves. Depending on how much dust is around you, you may consider cleaning it every three to six months.
- PSU and computer maintenance is probably the easiest thing you can do to help prolong the lifespan of a PSU. If a fan is making a noise, clean and lubricate it, or replace it if it’s not providing enough cooling.
- A surge protector or UPS (Uninterruptible Power Supply) can protect your PSU (and other things) from sudden electrical dips, power outages, and lightning, which can all shorten its lifespan.
How Do You Know If Your PSU Is Failing?
Even though there are no official warning lights or software warnings, some tell-tale signs indicate that a new PSU is needed.
Here are some signs that your PSU may need to be replaced:
- Nothing occurs when the computer is turned on. A flashing light may accompany it on the front of the computer or an indication on the rear of the power supply unit.
- The computer is turned on for a time, but it suddenly goes off without notice when you’re playing a game or utilizing another program.
You may even get a blue screen of death (a blue screen with coding that indicates something is corrupt or not working as it should).
- The computer may power up for a few seconds before shutting down again. While this might be a power supply problem, it could also signify a motherboard breakdown.
- Strange noises may come from the rear of the computer casing, near the PSU cable.
Pay careful attention to your PC, especially if it is a little dated so that you can catch a failing PSU and save yourself from suddenly and unexpectedly having to replace it.
Should You Use An Old PSU For New Hardware?
When you’re looking at upgrading computer components, whether or not to replace a PSU will depend on its age.
Older PSUs heat up more quickly, are noisy, and use more energy resulting in a higher electricity bill. Furthermore, you may not get as much “juice” out of the other components (like the graphics card) as you would with a new, modern PSU.
Ideally, getting a new PSU when purchasing new components would be wise. However, if your PSU has enough watt to support your new hardware and is not older than five or six years, there is no reason to replace it with a new PSU.
You should be alright if you’re a regular user with an average daily work/game load and your warranty is still valid.
You’ll still be fine if you’re using a 10-year-old, high-quality PSU, which used to be top-of-the-line and can easily (but not guaranteed to) survive ten years or more.
Ideally, however, consider using a power supply that you plan to use for the duration of your current hardware setup. If you think your unit will die between now and your next upgrade, buy a new one now if you can afford it.