AMD GPU drivers are overclocking CPUs on their own

Apr 7, 2022

AMD seems to be having a rough year, a month ago it acknowledged that its Ryzen processors were causing Windows 11 systems to stutter. While users are waiting for a fix for the issue, the company has confirmed that AMD GPU drivers are causing a new problem.

AMD GPU drivers are overclocking CPUs on their own

Overclocking a computer's processor can be beneficial, as it gives a boost to the overall performance of a machine, providing the user is tech-savvy enough to handle the process, which usually involves modifying settings in the BIOS or UEFI. The risks are high, if the user lacks the knowledge to fiddle with the settings, in which case the system could end up being unstable, overheat and might crash with BSODs, or random reboots which could result in loss of data.

Last year, the Santa Clara-based company introduced a new feature in its AMD Radeon Software Adrenalin for Windows, that allowed users to enable "Auto Overclock" under the Tuning Control section of the app. This setting, when enabled, will overclock the CPU and the GPU automatically. It provides a user-friendly way to help people who can't find their way around the BIOS, tweak the performance of the computer. The idea seems good, but it has now come back to haunt AMD.

AMD GPU drivers are overclocking CPUs on their own

A few days ago, a report published on Igors Lab revealed that the BIOS settings on computers that had an AMD processor and graphics card, were being reset automatically. The issue was narrowed down to be caused by Ryzen Master, which is integrated with the graphics driver. It changes the CPU settings when it loads a GPU Profile, followed by a reboot. It also modified the Precision Boost Overdrive (PBO) values regardless of whether the user had set them or not. Igor mentions using Radeon Software Slimmer to get rid of bloat such as the AMD Ryzen Master SDK can help prevent the BIOS settings from being reset.

The speculation was soon confirmed by the company. This is what an AMD representative had to say to Tom's Hardware.

"We are aware of an issue in the AMD software suite that is adjusting certain AMD processor settings for some users. We are investigating the issue and we’ll share more information as soon as we’re able."

It is also mentioned as a known issue in the release notes for AMD Software: Adrenalin Edition 22.4.1, that was released yesterday.

"Ryzen CPU Overclock settings may be changed after resetting or importing a profile from Radeon Performance Tuning Options."

The report mentions that "overclocking a Ryzen CPU automatically voids the warranty". That could worry users who are affected by this problem. The company has acknowledged the issue, and because it is being caused due to a software problem, i.e. it is AMD's fault and not the user's, I doubt that it will deny the warranty if a user seeks technical support through the official channels. I have first-hand experience dealing with AMD's service, a few years ago they sent me a new processor (Ryzen 3 1200) when I sent mine in for an RMA, without asking any questions about it, so you could say they are pretty lenient with their rules.

Some users on reddit say they have been experiencing black screen issues on their Ryzen systems, and that re-installing the graphics drivers seems to have solved their problem. Another user chimed in that creating a new profile in Adrenalin Software is enough to stop the PBO values from being reset.

I don't think it is a good idea to manage the BIOS settings from Windows, let alone have a software handle the job. Hopefully AMD will release a fix for this issue soon.

AMD GPU drivers are overclocking CPUs on their own
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AMD GPU drivers are overclocking CPUs on their own
AMD confirms that its graphics card drivers are overclocking CPUs automatically by resetting the BIOS.
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  1. John G. said on April 7, 2022 at 6:44 pm

    AMD drivers are becoming really bad. For example, the Radeon UI is the ugliest I have ever seen.Thanks for the article. :]

    1. Anonymous said on May 13, 2022 at 11:46 am

      Just over a month later and this comment aged like milk.

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