Update, 1st Dec 2015: AMD have now released a hotfix to their Crimson Edition software that was causing GPU fans to be locked at low speeds, causing cards to overheat and leading to serious issues in a number of cases.
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You can grab the hotfixed version of the software from the official site. There’s also a list of fixes at that link, including the fan issue but also various small problems that were occuring in recent games like Star Wars Battlefront, Fallout 4 and Just Cause 3. Plus some out of game issues with the software itself.
Original Story, 30th Nov 2015:The latest series of AMD Crimson drivers and software have been causing some outrageous issues for users who downloaded them over the last few days. A bug in the update caused control software to force cards to only use their fans at 30% speed, skyrocketing operating temperatures towards and sometimes over three figures, leading to some burn outs.
Reports of problems started hitting around four days ago and have continued since then. When downloaded, the new Crimson software will reset some settings, one of which is the control for fan speed. Locked at 30%, it can’t keep the card cool and temperatures will rise quickly under any amount of stress. Naturally, computer components are not designed to run at 100 degrees celsius and that’s when problems start to occur.
However, reports of large numbers of cards insta-burning seem a little far-fetched. All modern GPUs are equipped with hard-coded safety measures to throttle themselves when overheating, or shut down totally in the worst scenarios rather than simply running until they melt. Anyone with a fan locked at 30% should have noticed some serious heat coming off the card and bad drops in performance once throttling began. The temperature should have stabilised around 95C, an unsafe but non-fatal level, and it would have been very obvious to anyone trying to game that things weren’t as normal.
Obviously that doesn’t mean people are lying or that it’s their fault, but other problems have occured somewhere along the way – cards already being on their last legs, problems with their components or safeties not tagging in when they’re meant to. That, and AMD’s announced hotfix that should arrive today, is little comfort to those who’ve lost usage of their PC due to a software update and the latest in a long, long line of driver issues I’ve heard of or personally experienced relating to AMD cards.
If you’re worried, having problems or just want to know more, the AMD subreddit has information from more knowledgable individuals than I. For now, check your card’s fan speed if you’ve upgraded.