Hypothetical Question - Do lower power/lower end GPUs last longer?

mda

2[H]4U
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Mar 23, 2011
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I doubt we can truly get a conclusive answer based on anecdotal evidence on our forums, but:

Do GPUs based on the lower end chips last longer assuming these are used similarly? In a way, I can guess that this MAY make sense due to:

1. Lower clockspeeds
2. Less power draw

Leading to:

3. Less heat generated
4. Less stress on components
5. Potential for looser tolerances which may hold up over time due to the chips not being on the bleeding edge

Of course, one can argue that lower end GPUs are probably made with lower quality PCBs, ICs and with less R&D thrown at it, but anyway.

To share my own personal anecdotes are the ff:

My higher end GPUs at the time which have suffered earlier deaths
6800GT - died relatively early, warrantied with a 6800GS that replaced it is still alive as of today
4870 - died after a few years within warranty, sold replacement and purchased a 6870.
GTX 780 reference - started going wonky after 5-6 years with artifacts and eventually black screens and BSODs on driver loading, was not overclocked for much except just to see how far it could go. Was only really used heavily for gaming for 3-4 years.

On the other hand, some lower model cards have lived quite a bit longer:
6870 (Sold without a problem after 5-6 years)
GTX 970 - 2014-> 2022 (Sold without a problem)

My sample size of course is extremely small and I am in no way trying to use this as 'proof' or evidence of my guess. I am merely sharing my datapoint to maybe further some discussion among people who may be interested or who may have more knowledge with regards to this.
 

b1rd

Limp Gawd
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Feb 19, 2021
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Surely the high segment will take less due to the complexity of chip making but it’s all essentially a matter of money, so is the hardware.
The one who buys rtx 3090 it is important for him to last up to rtx 4090 (1 year or a little more) because he will buy a new one anyway.
I can see from my rtx 3060 that they saved a lot on cooling, there are no crumbs of copper and the card costs 450 usd which is a lot for the low / mid segment.If they put just a little copper the card would be very quiet and cool.
They have completely destroyed pc gaming, from 99% of bad ported pc games all the way to overpriced hardware and peripherals.
 

kirbyrj

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Feb 1, 2005
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I think it all has to do with what you're using the card for. If you're doing a lot of gaming, the number of heat up, cool down, heat up, cool down cycles are greater than doing something that is either a consistent power/heat load or idle. Temperature cycling/thermal shock between hot and cold rapidly leads to solder cracking and failure. The variance between anecdotal GPU information is likely the difference between how good the solder job was to start with. Also, lead free solder in some of those cards likely contributed to failure as well.
 

Armenius

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Jan 28, 2014
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In my experience the low end cards usually don't last as long as the high end, but I have not used low power cards in about a decade.
 

evhvis

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Feb 12, 2021
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High-end cards typically uses higher quality components that can handle much more abuse. Going with the cheapest of a GPU type can often cause issues because they need to skimp on parts but going with something of good build quality in the higher tiers will usually give you a product that will last a long time. Of course some OC models are pushed far too hard for their level of cooling, but that is another matter. My 7970ghz edition still works and I used that card for 3+ years and same with my 1070 strix which was my main GPU for 4 years and is still used occasionally.
 

OutOfPhase

Supreme [H]ardness
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May 11, 2005
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5,175
The power itself is statistically not going to be a problem.

Electromigration is a function of current, so more power theoretically means lower life. But - designers know this, as do all modern design tools, and thus this is realistically designed away. If you wanted a GPU to last > 10 years, it could poke its head up. That's the napkin number we all used back in the day.
Thermal cycling scares me more, but after The Incident from NV a few years ago, I haven't seen significant issues, things have improved.
Disclaimer - been out of the hw biz for a while, happy to be corrected by folks more currently (pun!) involved.

The biggest issue IMO: lower-end cards are likely to cut every corner possible. I tend to buy what would be called "good stuff", and I have never had a GPU, CPU or mobo fail unless I destroyed it. I have owned ... many.
 
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GotNoRice

[H]F Junkie
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Jul 11, 2001
Messages
10,947
It's really about heat...

Stock fan profiles allow most cards to get way too hot. But this keeps fan noise down so the card does not get a reputation as a "dustbuster" when reviewed. Even with the card roasting itself to death, it will still usually last long enough for the warranty to expire, so...

A combination of good case airflow and custom fan curves will go a long way toward keeping your card cool and extending it's life. It's also easier on your card if you keep your computer on 24/7 as it reduces the intensity of the heating/cooling cycles which can cause solder joints to crack, etc.

This is how I made my 2x 4870x2 Quad-Crossfire setup last so many years despite those being cards that put out a LOT of heat due to being dual-GPU cards. My 3x GTX680s in my backup computer are also approaching the 10 year mark yet I have not had any failures.
 

Ducrider748

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Jul 25, 2011
Messages
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My opinion. Higher end cards are used as such. To run at a higher end. Take a low end card and install it in grand moms computer. It will last forever saying it's a good card from the get go. We as gamers put a good bit of stress on cards. So I expect a shorter life span.

I get the lower quality in low end cards. Especially in the parts used in them much less the manufacturing process. Look at a low end card that browses the internet 4 hours a day. Then look at the guy who can only afford a low end card but games. Both can be used 4 hours a day but on average which will fail first.

Low end cards are made for low end use.
 

Nebell

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Jul 20, 2015
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I guess only GPU engineers can answer that question.
The rest of us can only guess from our experiences.

I've had one Asus GTX 670 die on me after a year or so. The second one (also the exact same card) lasted for years after that and it also eventually died.
My 1080Tis never died but they were only 2 years old.
GTX 295 I think (the dual card) died within a few months.
8800GT still works lol. I've had that since like forever. What a legendary card.
 

gerardfraser

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Feb 23, 2009
Messages
1,230
GPU's are made to last for years,even being abused. LOW end,high end there will be failures,that is just facts.There also be GPU of anykind you can treat them like the dirty girlfriend and they will always be around.

I always reduce GPU power ,you know to get in the 600Watt area so I am saving the planet with my PC.
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