What is a CPUs Lifespan?

KDLH

Honorable
Jul 10, 2013
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So I got a Intel i5 4670k, currently running at stock speed of 3.4 GHz. I overclocked it to 4.2 GHz with 1.2 volts for a day to see what power I can get out of it, I ran intel burn test, it was stable and reached temps of around 88 degrees Celsius.
I restored it back to clock setting because I know overclocking shortens the lifespan of a CPU but I wasn't sure by how much. I always thought the average lifespan of a CPU was around 6 years but I just heard its more in the 10-20 year range? Also how much life does overclocking take off? Because for example if my processor average life span was 15 years and overclocking took off 5, I'd be perfectly happy with 10 years.
 

blurryy

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Jan 31, 2015
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Usage of a CPU does result in wear at the atomic/electronic level.

The actual lifespan of the silicon transistors of a consumer CPU is typically in the range of 20-30 years before there is a failure, not 3-4years. It is asssumed by then that the item would be obsolete.
 

Whateverworks_19

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Dec 31, 2001
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It's not really that simple. It all really depends on your specific unit. Say we have a 100 units of i5-4670k to our disposal. Then we would quickly discover, that even though they carry the same label, they can be quite different in terms of performance and indeed the lifespans magnitude.

Other factors to consider is usage, cooling and overclocking. Inadequate cooling and heavy overclocking will decrease the relative lifetime, but the magnitude of the decrease, once again, depends upon the aforementioned "specific unit".

That said, most CPU's can last at least a decade, if not decades, and still at least be somewhat useable. I have a i7-950 in my secondary rig. That is over six years old and it is still performing to a satisfactory degree.

Sorry for this convoluted answer, but it is quite relative and general and not very specific.
 

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