AMD preps hotfix for Radeon Crimson video card fan woes

November 30, 2015 2:17 pm0 commentsViews: 4

Last week, we covered AMD’s new Radeon Crimson driver software and the bevy of improvements the company had delivered. It now seems that an unwelcome bug crept into the release as well, with some users reporting abnormally low fan speeds in the wake of the announcement.

Exactly what caused the bug is still unclear, since it didn’t affect every user or any specific card platform. AMD has acknowledged the problem and promised a hotfix for today, stating: “AMD is aware of isolated reports of low fan states following the installation of Radeon Software ‘Crimson Edition’ on select Radeon GPUs. Its engineering teams have identified and addressed this issue, and AMD intends to release a hotfix on amd.com this coming Monday, November 30th.”

AMD's new Overdrive panel.

AMD’s new Overdrive panel.

We spoke to sources at AMD, who told us the problem is a rare outlier that may be caused by a conflict with a previous driver uninstall. Third party software that adjusts fan speeds appears to function properly, as does manually setting the fan speed in the AMD Overdrive panel. Instructions for how to enable a temporary hotfix (before AMD patches the issue) can be found here. Be advised that if you go this route, you’ll need to re-enable the change after every reboot.

Some users are reporting that the problem has killed cards, but it’s not clear why this would be happening. Both AMD and Nvidia cards contain thermal trip protections that yank down a GPU’s operating speed and voltage, including an emergency shutdown feature in extreme cases. These protections are implemented in hardware and supersede any driver settings — users aren’t supposed to be able to kill a card by slamming the accelerator to the floor. You can still kill a GPU by overvolting and overclocking it over a period of time, provided you keep it cool enough to avoid the thermal trips, but that’s not what’s being described here.

This seems a good time to note that we recommend all users perform a complete uninstall of any graphics driver prior to installing a new version. It doesn’t matter if you’re moving between driver sets on the same card, or if you are swapping between Teams Red and Green. Personally, I prefer Display Driver Uninstaller (DDU), available at Guru3D.

I recommend uninstalling the vendor driver using the default uninstall utility provided. Once that completes, run DDU. It will ask if you wish to reboot into Safe Mode. Do so. Once in safe mode, choose the appropriate vendor (AMD, Intel, Nvidia), and choose one of the three options: You can clean and restart the system, clean out driver cruft without restarting, or clean the driver cruft and then shut down. Choose whichever option suits your needs, then reboot and install the new driver package.

It’s possible that this would also solve the bug that AMD identified in Crimson, since that issue is tied to a problem with a previous GPU installation, so if you’re having the 20% issue, you could try this route to fix it. On the other hand, the company is planning a hotfix release for today, so waiting to make certain you get the official solution isn’t necessarily a bad idea. Either way, when upgrading video card drivers, we recommend taking the additional steps to ensure a proper installation process.

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