How Long Does RAM Last? – What You Need To Know

should you replace ram

How long does RAM last? A computer performs thousands of complex calculations every second when turned on. Random-access memory or RAM is essential for storing the data needed to run programs on your computer. RAM makes a big difference in how quickly your computer runs and how many programs you can use at the same time.

Without RAM, a computer would not be able to store anything you do in real-time. When you open a file, application, or service, that data resides in your computer’s memory until another piece of information overwrites it. In most cases, information stored in RAM stays there for a relatively short amount of time.

So, in this article, we will know the importance of RAM and how long does it last?  

What affects the life of RAM?

Now take a look at some of the following, which affect the RAM.

1. Overclocking

The overclocking process involves a computer technician setting the motherboard’s parameters to run faster than usual. Overclocking can be done with any computer system component but is most commonly done with the RAM or the central processing unit (CPU).

Overclocking allows for faster operation, increased output, and shorter response times. However, it also stresses the components, overheating and damaging the circuits. It can shorten their life span under normal operating conditions.

Overclocking is not recommended for individuals who are unfamiliar with computer hardware. It should be performed by an experienced technician who can monitor heat levels and ensure that they do not exceed safe limits

2. Temperature rises

The main reason for the short life span of computer parts is the temperature rise. This can happen if you leave your laptop in the sun or at a hot temperature. Still, it usually occurs when dust accumulates, or the fans fail.

Proper care and maintenance is the best solution. We recommend that you regularly clean the computer fan with an air sprayer. These cost only a few bucks at any hardware store or online store.

3. Power surge

Voltage spikes occur when electricity returns to the system. This happens regularly with things like air conditioning units and power tools. 

Occasionally, this will happen during power outages or when something touches a power line or gets inside a transformer.

Power surges are particularly bad for any computer part with microprocessors, including the RAM, CPU, and GPU.

The best you can do? Ensure all power cords and extension cords you buy have “Surge Protection” as standard.

4. RAM overload

Your RAM will always have its limits, no matter how strong or high-end it is. Over time, the limit will drop, and you may start to see problems. The popular Chrome browser is one of the main culprits of maxing out your RAM capacity, which many people are unaware of.

Unlike other browsers, Chrome uses a percentage of your CPU and RAM for each tab you open. If you are like me and like to run 20+ tabs at once, you will notice a huge increase in RAM usage. Suppose your RAM is close to running out. In that case, your computer’s ability to handle it will drop significantly, a sign of a problem.

5. Incorrect installation or incompatibility

Often people who are new to building computers will install their RAM incorrectly or use parts that don’t fit together very well. When this happens, you face two problems. The first will be that your computer won’t work or won’t turn on. This is the simplest indicator that you have installed the parts incorrectly or using parts that do not work together.

The second problem is that your computer will work, but it won’t run smoothly. This is more serious as it can lead to a short life span of the computer.

How long does RAM last?

So, how long should your RAM last without a problem?

This will entirely depend on the quality of your RAM and how you use it. A high-quality DDR4 RAM should last for many years. Still, under heavy stress, such as playing games or editing images and videos, it may only last 2-3 years. You may also find that lower-quality DDR3 RAM can last 4 years of occasional use.

To begin with, you should always try to choose parts that are a good fit for your exact needs, as this will ensure that you get good life from your parts without worrying that they may fail.

When should you replace RAM?

ram last

Below are some of the common signs of RAM failure.

1. Random freeze and crashes

If your computer is freezing, crashing, or not starting, it could be due to RAM failure.

When experiencing frequent crashes and errors, you should first diagnose the problem. If you’ve just installed new RAM, it could be faulty or incompatible — and the best way to troubleshoot it is to remove the new hardware.

You can also run some tests to identify the problem. Several programs available on the web can do this; most are free. Many of these tools test the RAM as part of their initial system scan, so you don’t have to run separate tests.

One software you find is Memtest86 which checks whether your RAM is causing problems. It’s free software that checks your RAM for errors and can diagnose more complex problems.

If MemTest86 finds an error, shut down your computer immediately and replace the faulty RAM. But suppose MemTest86 doesn’t find any errors. In that case, there are still other reasons your computer might be crashing or freezing — many of which can be difficult to diagnose from home.

2. Frequent reboots

You may experience random reboots if your RAM is faulty. The system will run as normal but then freeze and reboot without warning. This can happen while you’re in the middle of a task or when the system is idle. If you’ve ever had this happen, your problem is likely related to your system’s memory.

3. Corrupted files

One of the most common signs of RAM failure is files and data corruption. You may notice that files become corrupt or don’t even open when this happens. If you save a document or photo or try to access your saved files, it won’t because it has been corrupted, which could signify that you have faulty RAM. You may also start noticing that more files get corrupted each day.

4. Low performance

Suppose your PC runs slower than usual or programs take longer to open. In that case, this could indicate that your RAM is faulty. When a computer’s RAM functions properly, information is quickly retrieved and processed. However, if the RAM is damaged, it will cause a slowdown in performance because the information being retrieved is corrupted or takes longer to read.

5. Unresponsive apps and programs

When you try to launch an application or program, the system becomes unresponsive, even completely freezing up your computer. If you suspect a problem with your RAM, try using Activity Monitor when you experience these issues to see if that could be the cause.

6. BSOD (Blue Screen of Death)

The blue screen of death is a windows error that indicates the computer has suffered a fatal hardware or software error. This is a common problem, especially with older computers.

The most common cause of the blue screen death is a RAM failure. One of two things has happened: either your RAM is corrupted or out of date. You will need to replace it with updated RAM or clean it if it is dirty. This error is also known as STOP Error or Bug Check Error.

Systems affected by this error will generally reboot without warning, leading to the loss of unsaved data in any applications running.

How to extend the life of RAM

Like any computer component, the best way to extend the life of your RAM is through proper maintenance and care. You can clean your laptop weekly or monthly.

A keyboard cleaner will help remove dust and debris from your keyboard for laptop users. You can use canned air or an air blower to clean the vents and fans. Cleaning your laptop or computer extends the lifespan of your computer, prevents overheating, and increases performance.

In addition to regular maintenance, keep your laptop or computer away from hot temperatures and sunlight. You should also avoid dropping your laptop whenever possible, as they can do serious damage to the parts and lead to hardware failure. A laptop bag, laptop sleeve, or cooling pad is always suitable for laptop users.

If the RAM is not enough for your use, the best thing to do is install better or more RAM. Underpowered RAM will quickly die under intense stress. If you play games and run multiple programs at the same time with a low RAM, you will eventually run into problems. 

Make sure to use at least 8GB of RAM for daily use. For gaming or tasks like video editing, Blender, etc., use at least 16GB of RAM. More RAM equals faster loading speed, better performance, and longer lifespan.

FAQs

How often should RAM be replaced?

The general rule is that if your RAM isn’t causing any problems, you can leave it. If you start noticing performance degradation or other issues, you should think about replacing them. You can expect your RAM to last at least five years with normal use. Many people have used it the over 10 years without issue.

Does RAM fail over time?

RAM is most likely to fail over time if you use it intensively, either because of the temperature or the number of times each bit is accessed. It’s also likely to fail more frequently if you buy cheap RAM. You may face problems after 7-8 years.

Is a RAM upgrade worth it?

Compared to other upgrade paths, RAM upgrades are very inexpensive. Provided you have the space and ports for more RAM or at least 2 ports, it’s relatively cheap to max out your RAM to 16-32GB for around $100-150. This makes it worthwhile for most users who currently use 4-8GB.

Can bad RAM ruin a motherboard?

There is no such thing as “bad RAM,” just a lack of power. RAM can only screw up your computer if you have a setup that should use, say, 16GB of RAM, and you’ve only installed 4GB of RAM to save money. In this situation, you could be condemning any amount of your other parts because you don’t have a lot of money in your wallet.

Can bad RAM damage the GPU and CPU?

Both your CPU and GPU rely heavily on your RAM. Without proper support, bottlenecks are likely to occur. This will have two effects. The first is that they will function at a lower capacity than they could. This could be 10-90% less, depending on the lack of RAM. The second is that they will have to try to balance, which will lead to more wear and, ultimately, a shorter lifespan.

Conclusion

Nowadays, RAM is used to perform almost all computer operations. Therefore it becomes essential to understand under which conditions RAM can serve for an extended period. 

From my point of view, if you are going to buy a new computer or upgrade your old one, you should make sure that the RAM you are going to install is large and perform at high speed. This will save the computer from many issues or even may extend its life too.

Thanks for reading, and I hope you find this information helpful.

For any doubts, “contact us through the comments sections, and I’ll be happy to answer any questions.

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