Update: AMD has now released the fixed driver, Crimson 15.11.1 Beta. This release also contains several other fixes according to AMD's notes, including further game fixes and some Radeon Settings bug fixes.

Original: Last week we covered the launch of AMD’s new Radeon software known as Crimson. Crimson is a departure from the Catalyst name, offering an updated interface and promising a larger range of quality assurance testing moving into the new DX12 era. Part of this includes several new features, and it’s worth reading into Ryan and Daniel’s piece on the new software. Despite the best intentions, it happens that this new driver also comes with a few issues that are leaving some users concerned.

As reported in this Reddit thread over at /r/pcmasterrace, the new drivers are causing some graphics cards to adopt an abnormal fan profile, limiting the fan speed to a maximum of 20% by default. As a result, during workloads that require the graphics card, the components on the card are heating up faster than intended. It should be noted that the extent of this issue is hard to determine at this point, as a random spread of users seem to be affected right now.

Technically this should result in the GPU hitting thermal limits and causing the chip to reduce the voltage and frequency, though according to these reports it seems that some of the affected cards are failing, either as a result of VRM overheating or other board design issues relating to high temperatures, even if the GPU throttles down, because of the low fan speed. So despite the GPU throttling, the sustained power draw combined with the low fan speed still increases the temperature, and rather than trip some sort of fail-over giving a BSOD, some GPUs seem to have components that are susceptible to the temperature before a fail-over kicks in.

Some users are reporting that this is a global overdrive setting fixed in the software, which can be re-enabled by following these instructions to remove the 20% fan speed limit. However this hotfix requires re-enabling every time the system is restarted. The fan speed should also be able to be changed using third party software (MSI Afterburner, EVGA PrecisionX).

Instructions from /u/Mufinz1337: 'Make sure it states OFF if you want your fan speeds to be automatic'

We received an email late last night from AMD stating that the problem has been identified and an update to the drivers will be available at some point today, Monday 30th November.

The problem seems to revolve around system configurations that seem confusing to the initial release of the Crimson software, resulting in an odd initial fan setting that is fixed when the software initialises (although it seems to be a random assortment of GPUs affected, even for those with seemingly straightforward systems). Some users have reported their cards have permanently failed, although the exact causes as to why are unknown at this point. We have seen reports pointing to VRM quality of cheaper cards being poor outside the specified temperature window, though at this point we have not heard of any OEM releasing a statement regarding replacement – users with cards in warranty should under normal circumstances be able to get their cards replaced with their retailer, and it will be up to the retailer/OEM to manage the issue further up the chain with distribution.

For users affected, they can either do the manual fan adjustment each time they boot their system, roll back drivers via DDU, or wait for the driver update later today. We will post links here when we get them.

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  • dmatthewstewart - Tuesday, December 1, 2015 - link

    Unfortunately there are two other issues that no one has mentioned with this release. First is the inability to disable Graphics Overdrive and the second problem, constant 3d profile settings, is a sort of a result of the aforementioned. I will deal with constant 3d settings getting activated first. I deactivate Overdrive in CCC always and let Afterburner handle my cards. I have 2d settings for anything not 3d related and I have 3d settings which are the max OC I am comfortable running for long periods. I then customize Rivtauner (RTSS) to detect the 3d app and activate the OSD.

    Well, Crimson is being recognized as a 3d program. So, even with it closed out, my cards are always at the higher 3d setting. This can usually be fixed by taking an offending program, adding it to the list in RTSS, and then telling it to ignore it as a 3d program. Firefox has this problem. Certain updates turn HW Acceleration back on and will cause the cards to kick into 3d mode. Even disabling it in FF settings doesnt help (sometimes) So that is why its importatn to have control in RTSS. However, with the Crimson .exe (cnnext.exe) it can be added to RTSS, set to "off" for 3d detection, and the settings hold for only a second and then it overrides it! So far there isnt a way around this.

    ...:::2nd Problem - Graphics Overdrive ALL THE TIME::...

    In Crimson, and even with the latest fan profile update, Graphics Overdrive CAN NOT be disabled. Why not? Who ever used CCC to tweak their card? n00bs. Crimson is no better. It misreads my stock clocks at idle. And since its automatically activating my 3d profile (and I cant stop it), it should at least correctly read the core clock and the memory clock. It doesnt. GPU-Z correctly reads it. Afterburner correctly reads. Crimson doesnt

    ...:::BONUS - The Uninstalling Problem:::...

    Here is a bonus problem...try to uninstall Crimson. Trust me, its not going anywhere. After manual removal, a run of DDU, RadeonMod/AMD Reg Editor, showed Crimson to be gone. Reboot and its back. Not only that its in Startup. Not only is it in startup but if you search your C drive for "Radeon Settings" most of it is still there...files and folders, along with applications that you just deleted. As an added benefit your OSD from AB (after reinstalling the last good drivers) may or may not work.

    Try to manually get rid of Crimson one more time. Do everything you know to get rid of it. Reboot. Is cnnext.exe still in services and running? If it isnt you got lucky. Mine is still there. After looking in my C drive (search and manual) everything looked like it was gone. No registry values either. But the reboot made the magic happen. Its all back!! Yayyy. I can never get rid of it.

    NOTE: Ive tested this on two systems with nearly identical results. The system specs are as follows (BTW, same gpu's were swapped in the machines). When testing a single R9 290x Lightning was used. (Didnt want to use both as that would create more variables)

    System 1:
    Mobo: Crosshair V F-Z
    CPU: FX 8350 @5ghz
    RAM 16gb 1866 DDR3 Corsair Dominator
    SSD: Samsung EVO 850 500gb
    HDD: Seagate Barracuda 7200rpm 2tb

    System 2 (work rig)
    Mobo: Sabertooth z97
    CPU: i5-4590
    RAM: G. Skill Rip Jaws 32gb 1600mhz
    SSD: samsung 850 pro 256gb
  • dmatthewstewart - Tuesday, December 1, 2015 - link

    EDIT: OS is Windows 8.1 on System 1 and Windows 7 on System 2. On system 2 cnnext.exe is not in startup or services but all Radeon Settings files and folders come back after reboot. I thought Crimson had an unistaller tool (multiple people swear they saw it) but can not be found on AMD site as of 12/1/15 4:04pm EST
  • siriq - Tuesday, December 1, 2015 - link

    All reported already. Even the fan control issue which is still remain in the new hotfix driver. Just to be sure, pls report it all to: http://www.amd.com/report
  • jasonelmore - Tuesday, December 1, 2015 - link

    i wonder how /r/pcmasterrace will justify this mis-step by AMD..
  • atlantico - Tuesday, December 1, 2015 - link

    Same way as the last *two* times nvidia did the exact same thing. Probably.

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