AMD logo

Smoldering Radeons: Crimson GPU Drivers Cause Overheating

AMD graphic card
GPU drivers cause overheating on select Radeon GPUs

With some fanfare, technology company AMD, maker of popular computer graphics cards, processors and other computer components, announced a new driver software and a new name for their video drivers, replacing the Catalyst drivers that have driven their graphics cards for many years. The new drivers, named Crimson, were announced a little over a month ago (Nov. 2015).

So far, the new Crimson drivers have been hot. A little too hot. There have been numerous reports of AMD (Radeon) video cards overheating. Some, to the point of permanent failure.

During intense gaming or heavy workloads, a video card will produce more heat. This increase in heat requires more active cooling and it appears that an error in the Crimson driver software sets the cooling fans to run at a constant 20 percent. In fact, the fans should respond to dips and rises in the temperatures on the GPU by raising and lowering the fan speed. So, rather than speeding up to help pull heat off the chips, the fan continues to run at only 20 percent, allowing the chips to heat up to temperatures over 90° C. That’s hot!

The chips are designed to throttle back their performance at high temperature, thus causing poor performance in what are supposed to be high-performance video cards. The overheating can cause glitches in onscreen graphics, system crashes and other hardware issues.

AMD has acknowledged the problem on select GPUs and have already updated the Crimson drivers with a fix. If you have recently purchased a Radeon video card that runs on the Crimson drivers, you should check with the AMD website and, if required, get the updated drivers from the Radeon support section. Do so before your computer becomes a smoldering melting pot of silicon and solder.


The new Crimson video drivers from AMD were touted as a new and long overdue weapon to take the fight directly to their top competitor in the GPU arena, Nvidia. They do signify some big changes in the way the new Crimson drivers are produced. Crimson is one of many changes being carried out at AMD resulting from the integration and restructuring of its graphics group into the Radeon Technologies Group.

It has not gone unnoticed, however, that Nvidia had similar issues back in 2010 and 2013. Fan controller problems were also the cause of their marshmallow roast.


4 thoughts on “Smoldering Radeons: Crimson GPU Drivers Cause Overheating”

  1. I haven’t seen over-heating, but I have seen tremendous FPS failures.

    I know the Crimson drivers affect the FPS, but my experience has been dismal.

    I have yet to find a way to make adjustments to compensate for the lower frame rates,

    1. just out of interest, have you updated the drivers since the apparent fix? If so, sounds like it’s not fixed then.

  2. That is really quite terrible to cause potential damage to the graphics cards like that. I will certainly not be considering AMD cards as I look for an updated GPU after reading this.
    Not only are AMD falling well behind in CPU’s, they now have this issue which I assume may deter people from buying their cards…at least in the short term.

    1. Nvidia have had their share of fails too Andrew. The GTX 970 memory fiasco was one of them.
      I haven’t noticed any heat problems or dropped FPS in my Radeon 7950 with these new drivers fortunately. That’s Crimson 15.11 by the way.

Comments are closed.

Scroll to Top


Get great content like this delivered to your inbox!

It's free, convenient, and delivered right to your inbox! We do not spam and we will not share your address. Period!