PC ComponentsRAM

How Long Does RAM Last?

Computer Ram

Technically, RAM is built to last long because it has no fragile components. The reliability curve of RAM is shaped like a bathtub as its odds of failure start relatively high, stabilize over time, and rise again. This means it tends to fail during the first few months, after which it stabilizes and then rises again. Hence, this brings the question, how long does RAM last? 

Quick Answer

Overall, a RAM’s lifespan depends on the model and manufacturer. A typical RAM lasts for at least ten years, if not twenty years. Because of the RAM structure, they are often the last bit of hardware to break down. 

How long a RAM lasts depends on inherent faults, how well it is handled, and the environment it operates in. You can control most of these factors that can cause your RAM to go bad through proper maintenance, thus extending the lifespan of the RAM.

This guide will enlighten you on some of the signs you can look out for that indicates your device’s RAM may be about to fail. 

How To Know Your RAM Is About to Fail

While the RAM on your devices has a long lifespan, unfortunately, it can fail. Most of the time, RAMs don’t fail due to old age but the conditions in which they operate. Heat, dust build-up, and overvoltage are the significant causes of RAM failure. 

Finding the balance between heat and voltage of the RAM by practicing preemptive maintenance extends the RAM’s lifespan. If your RAM is about to fail, there are ways you can tell.

Below are our top 5 symptoms you can use to tell when a RAM is about to fail. 

Method #1: Diminishing Performance 

Generally, RAM has a significant impact on your system speed. When a RAM is faulty or about to fail, processes tend to lag as it takes much longer to transfer information. This symptom often occurs after powering the device and using it for a while.

When you are experiencing a diminishing performance on your device, it does not always mean your RAM is faulty. But a defective RAM can cause performance issues on your device. For example, when you try running heavy software on your device, you know your RAM is about to fail if it doesn’t load or lags even when you have sufficient RAM and CPU power. 

Method #2: Random Crashes During Heavy Tasks 

Another sign that indicates a possible RAM failure is when your device frequently crashes. This is especially true when your device crashes randomly without consistency to an action. For example, when you often experience the Windows blue screen of death, your device reboots randomly, and so on. 

Also, anytime you do any heavy task on your device, and it crashes, you may be dealing with a faulty RAM problem. Or maybe when you try to install something on your device, and it crashes with no prior warning, it could also indicate the RAM is about to fail. 

Method #3: Video Card Fails to Load 

Smartphones and PC devices also come with a video card for processing graphics. While video cards come with their dedicated RAM, the video card may sometimes use your device’s RAM when running heavy processes. If your device’s RAM is about to fail, an error will occur, and the video card will fail to load

When the video card fails, you may also experience the Windows blue screen of death, or your device may not render pictures and videos correctly. And in some cases, even if the video card loads, your device will experience several performance issues.  

Method #4: Corrupted Data Files

In some cases, when your RAM is about to fail, you may experience that files you open frequently are corrupted or no longer open. If you notice your files keep getting corrupted, or you can no longer run some software, the issue with your RAM worsens.  

Your files are corrupted because the RAM degrades them in your hard drive. Note that your RAM will not permanently damage your hard drive. However, they can cause corrupted data transfer, hence the reason your files are corrupted. 

Method #5: Incorrect RAM Display

Finally, when you check the amount of RAM you have on your device, and it does not tally with the amount it should be, it can also suggest the RAM is about to fail. If you don’t know how much RAM should be in your device, go to a search engine and type the model number and make of the device to view more details. 

You can quickly check the amount of RAM you have on your device by going to Settings. On a Windows device, navigate to Settings > “About“, and you’d see an overview of the PC, including the amount of installed RAM. On a MacBook, navigate to Apple > “About This Mac“> “Overview“. Similarly, navigate to Settings > “About” device on a smartphone to check the RAM.

Keep in Mind

If the RAM on your device is defective, the only solution is to replace it. If your device supports it, you can use this opportunity to upgrade your RAM after careful consideration. 


There’s no need to worry about your RAM degrading over time, even if you frequently run heavy software on the device. If you should be worried about anything, it should be not to overheat your device, as high heat tends to damage the RAM and other components. So, if your device is not adequately vented or cooling, see that you fix it to extend its lifespan. 

If you maintain your device correctly, the RAM will not give out sooner than it should. So, anything you know you can do to keep your device in good shape, ensure you do it diligently. For example, do not use the wrong adapter to charge your device as this can cause a voltage surge which can not only damage the RAM for the device as a whole. Similarly, moisture and dust can damage the RAM, so ensure you keep your device in a conducive environment.

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