You are reading this means you are thinking about your laptop’s lifespan. Admittedly, you are not alone. But, before the question arises “How long do laptops last?”, technically, there are very few definitive ways that can draw the silver line on the typical lifespan of a laptop. Even the best laptop manufacturer on this globe can’t guarantee it.
Get this straight - a guaranteed lifespan for any electronic device is anything but a reality. And, a laptop is nothing but a box full of electronic cards rigged very densely.
Further, these cards house a sea of surface-mounted semiconductor parts which are extremely temperature-dependent. These are the main reasons for laptop manufacturers offering us a warranty, not a guarantee.
Now, before we dig deep, we need to understand the two elemental parts of this question - the laptop battery and the laptop itself.
So, it would be better to understand if we breakdown this article into two cardinal questions
So, how long do laptops last?
It’s always hard to say. When we say laptop, we mean different performance levels, manufacturers, budget and relevancy and this list goes on. So, to simplify the lifespan of a laptop in an understandable way we should focus on two basic attributes that relate to this issue.
And, they are:
- Relevancy of a laptop along for its integrated parts.
- Durability or life span of a laptop and its parts.
Coming to the relevancy part of a laptop, any laptop stays relevant to its user up to that point where it serves the computational purpose of its user. That means, without any specific time frame, if a laptop, by the virtue of its internal parts, is able to compute a particular array of tasks, it stays relevant to its user.
The point being, the facts of this digital world are outpacing science fiction each day. We are experiencing major breakthroughs almost every day in modern computing fields. Software are getting heavier and complex for a laptop. Cloud computing, quantum computing, and their kins are choking the slim processing speed of a general laptop.
Yes. The relevancy of a laptop is rapidly outpacing itself.
So, larger the amount of RAM and processing power a laptop houses, there is more chance that it will be able to face heavy and complex versions of professional software and games. Now, if we classify the family of modern laptops into three categories namely, entry-level, mid-level and expert level, then their relevancy exist as follows:
- Entry-level(within $700) - 2 to 4 years
- Mid-level($700 to $1000) - 3 to 5 years
- Expert level(more than $1000) - 4 to 7 years
Before we proceed further, always remember that, this range is not a hardcore rule but a general convention to date. Simply putting, your laptop stays relevant to you up to that point of time where it connects you to your ever-changing tasks.
Now moving to the second part of the laptop lifespan section.
If you consider a notebook or a laptop, they are nothing but a box or case that houses an array of thickly placed electronic cards. Now, each card of the entire hardware section is equally important because if any single one of them fails, the entire system fails. So, in a way, the shortest durable hardware part of a laptop is the actual lifespan of a laptop.
So, how long the hardware of a laptop lasts or should last?
It’s simple. The durability or actual lifespan of the hardware of any laptop depends on two basic facts.
- The way you treat your laptop.
- The quality of the internal hardware parts.
Technically, the quality of the hardware of your laptop is already known to you right from the time of purchasing it. Right? So, the only question remains, how you treat your laptop. And, frankly, this is totally up to you.
Factually, I have some stats about the generic failure rates, per year, of different hardware parts of a laptop due to manufacturing defects. They are as follows:
- RAM or Physical memory sticks - 0.76%
- Hard disc drives - 1.07%
- Solid-state drives - 1.27%
- Motherboards - 1.90%
- Power Supply Units - 1.50%
So, considering the data regarding RAM, less than 1 RAM fails a year for manufacturing or product quality issues. Which is almost negligible. On the other hand, better and faster SSDs fail more than old school HDDs that have an average lifespan of 20,000 hours. But, most importantly, these statistics vary every now and then.
On the same note, if we consider motherboards, the yearly failure rate of the beast of them is around 1.43%. Where the entry-level or not that prime quality motherboards have a yearly failure rate around 7%. So, as you can understand, nothing is rigorously definitive when it comes to the lifespan of the hardware of a laptop.
On this point in this article, you may be looking for an informed laptop maintenance procedure for stretching out the lifespan of your loved machine. If you are, then you need to consider these points:
- Dust - Clean your laptop at least once in two months. The dust particles block both the ventilation inlets and outlets of your laptop. It’s important to keep them out of your hardware parts and cooling fans.
- Cooling - Use a cooling pad. It sucks the heat from the densely knitted electronic cards on the motherboard.
- Coffee - Play safe when your smoking coffee and your laptop comes near to each other. Disaster happens, buddy. Maintain a safe distance between them.
- Virus - If possible, always go for a good Anti-virus. Further, eradicate unnecessary programs from the startup process.
- Relevancy - Always look for upgrading the hardware components whenever possible as it’s a cost-optimized way that lengthens the relevancy of your laptop for a long time.
- Unplug - Remember to unplug the charging cable when it is fully charged.
I bet, this is not the laptop maintenance Bible. You can always google the subject to find better and newer ways to clean and cool down your laptop especially if you are a die-hard gamer like me.
OK. Now we should come to the second part of this article and that’s the laptop battery.
Accept it. At times, if the battery is dead, your laptop is dead too. But, before we discuss the health of the regular Lithium-ion laptop batteries we need to make and break some common myths about the laptop battery.
Firstly, if you occasionally leave your laptop in the plugged condition for a long period of time it doesn’t hurt the battery. But, I said occasionally and I meant it.
On the other hand, if you do it regularly, it’s gonna hurt big. The cardinal issue here is the heat. In a plain way, do not do that.
So, how long a laptop battery lasts or should last?
It depends on the charging cycles. The slogan here is - save charging cycles to save the health of the battery.
Technically, each laptop battery is capable to handle a certain number of the full charge cycles. Experts say this number is somewhere around 550. If you consider the number the amount of time is less than two years. But, it’s not what happens to the battery.
1 full charge cycle = a single cycle of 0% to 100% battery charging
0.5 full charge cycle = a single cycle of 0% to 50% or 50% to 100% battery charging.
Most of us never go for the ‘1 full charge cycle’ every time they switch on their laptops. The matter fact is, it’s not possible to maintain the same in this ‘always on their tow’ schedule of ‘do it now’ type life. So, mostly, we go for the second type of ‘around 0.5 full charge cycle’ battery charging.
Each semi-charge cycle gradually corrodes the lifespan of the battery. But, some battery experts tell a completely different story. According to them, draining your Lithium-ion battery to exactly 0% and then charge the same to 100% put a heavy load on your battery health. They say the safe bottom line is 20% and you can charge it from there.
So, it’s completely fine.
Further, most of the new age laptops come with the technology of cutting the charging power when the laptop battery is fully charged. So, if you are planning to play with your laptop while it’s plugged in for a long period of time, it’s fine. But, you need to make sure that your laptop has that ability else it will be a disastrous decision.
Finally, assembling all the myths, stats, procedures and expert opinions, you don’t need to completely discharge Lithium-ion batteries and fully charge them.
It’s good to do the same once in 6 months or so. Again, this is also a common convention. Apart from this, you can always choose the right path to follow.