AMD Crimson logo.

This problem first crossed my path when the AMD subreddit went ablaze claiming their GPUs were going ablaze themselves due to AMD's Crimson software.

As it so turned out it wasn't just a bunch of individual incidences but rather a problem with how the driver dealt with fan speeds on overclocked cards. AMD has responded that a hotfix is coming out today but one question remains: What happens with all of the GPUs that already got burnt?

Here's the full message from AMD:

"We are aware of low fan speed reports on select GPUs with Radeon Software Crimson Edition. We intend to publish a hotfix on Monday."

So what exactly is happening and how can you protect your card?

First and foremost this only affects those using AMD's Crimson software so if you don't have that then you are in the clear. That aside, it will only affect those who have their graphics card overclocked. Now, if you aren't sure if your GPU is overclocked or not its better that you just play it safe and either roll back to a previous version of the Crimson driver or just wait a little while until the hotfix comes.

As I mentioned above, the issue as discovered by a subreddit member, seems to be related to how the driver controls fan speeds. Due to problems related to OverDrive settings the Crimson software will lock the fans to only about 30% efficiency which isn't something you can easily spot until its too late and your card is as hot as a volcano. Some users are saying that the fan speeds go back to normal if you increase their speed manually while others are saying that no matter what their settings reset to 30%. It is impossible to tell which scenario, if any, your GPU is going to fit in so unless you know what you're doing just wait a little bit till the hotfix hits, its a lot easier than replacing your card.

And speaking of replacing cards I wonder what AMD is going to do about this. Those cowered under warranty will be completely fine given that its an officially acknowledged issue but what about those that have been using their AMD GPU for a long time and their warranties have run out? As of right now AMD hasn't commented whether they will be replacing cards or not.

There is one more, very important, thing to consider: While the issue seems legitimate the burnt card reports could easily be fabricated. GPUs these days are well designed, they do not burn down easily. If your GPU goes over a certain temperature its internal software will throttle its performance to cool it down or it will shut it self down, it won't simply allow itself to burn.

If cards are indeed burning up that would mean that the software issues are even more serious than users are reporting, or it could mean that we're only seeing complaints from people unfortunate enough to have some other failings with their card that resulted in it burning up with low fan speeds.

However, since we won't be able to tell what is true until its too late I still advise you to be a bit cautious.

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