AMD pushes Crimson driver fan speed hotfix after reports of overheating Radeon cards

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AMD plans to roll out a hotfix on Monday, November 30 for its new Radeon Software Crimson after some users reported their graphics cards were too hot to handle—and not in a good way.

A random assortment of AMD GPU users recently reported seeing the fans in their graphics cards locked to a maximum 20 percent speed limit regardless of the load they were under. Some users report their cards being physically damaged after heavy gameplay sessions as a result of the bug.

Update: AMD has released a new driver to correct the issue, Crimson Beta 15.11.11. The release notes mention several other tweaks, including bug fixes in Just Cause 3, Call of Duty: Black Ops 3, and Star Wars Battlefront.

Software Radeon Crimson is AMD’s replacement for the Catalyst Control Center and brings with it some new features, such as a Shader Cache option for reducing stutter and flip queue size optimization for lower latency. But new features require a new driver, and it appears this is where AMD’s software ran into problems.

A number of people on Reddit and other social media channels say their graphics cards were completely fried because of the issue, while others report that their cards throttled down or threw up a BSOD (blue screen of death) once it got too hot.

Some users doubt the claims of fried cards because of the self-protection features manufacturers build into GPUs to deal with extreme heat issues. It’s generally true that a graphics card will protect itself when it gets too hot, but throw software with a serious flaw at a enough systems and some will likely fail because of it.

In a credible report by Elric Phares of Tech of Tomorrow, the Crimson drivers initially seemed to fry the graphics cards in a Windows 10 system, but the hardware worked fine after installing the Radeons into a separate Windows 8 machine. Slotting the graphics cards into different PCI-E ports on the same Windows 10 machine that suffered from the fan speed issue allowed the system to POST, but games flickered too much to be playable. 

For its part, AMD says it is aware of “isolated reports of low fan states following the installation of Radeon Software ‘Crimson Edition’ on select Radeon GPUs.” The company says it has figured out the issue and the hotfix rolling out today should fix things up.

The impact on you at home: If you are running an AMD graphics card and you have the new Crimson software, you’d best check your fan settings under Global settings > Global OverDrive just in case. If you are locked at 20 percent, one Reddit user posted a temporary solution that can turn off the 20 percent lock until you receive the hotfix. As for anyone who’s already had their card trashed by this issue, we haven’t yet heard what AMD or its OEM partners plan to do about it.

Editor's note: This article originally published on 11/30/15 but was updated on 12/1/15 after AMD released the new driver.

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