Relax: All those shattered AMD Radeon GPUs were from miners, not bad drivers

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Hop off your outrage pony, Internet. Earlier this month a YouTuber named KrisFix, who runs a German PC repair shop, published a video titled “Are AMD cards dying after a driver update?” KrisFix said that his shop recently received 60 Radeon RX 6800 and 6900 in for repair, and 48 suffered from visibly cracked GPUs.

KrisFix ostensibly asked for the community’s help in identifying the core issue, but between that title and the timing of the video—it published mere days after AMD acknowledged manufacturing issues with reference Radeon RX 7900 XTX parts—the video set the enthusiast community ablaze. Forums were filled with worry after several publications ran articles fretting about the damage and whether their own cards could be ruined by “bad” Radeon drivers.

On our Full Nerd podcast, I cautioned concerned viewers to wait for an official response from AMD. This situation was weird. Why was only this single German repair shop seeing this issue, and why all at once? Drivers were possible, but a very unlikely culprit, especially since others weren’t seeing similar issues around the globe. The root cause was more likely something isolated to that shop, or at least that region.

Turns out that was correct. Today, KrisFix posted a follow-up video, and he now suspects the damage was caused by poor handling from cryptominers, not anything AMD did.

In short, after further surveying his customers, it turns out that most of these cards were bought used during the end of November or beginning of December, from the same supplier. KrisFix now theorizes that the supplier was a cryptominer who likely stored the GPUs somewhere moist after shutting down their operations. Those humid conditions likely caused the damage, KrisFix says.

Speaking from afar, that makes a lot more sense than the original driver worries that shook the tech community. Again: This was weird.

So yes, you can (and always could) upgrade your Radeon GPU to its latest driver without fear of it blowing up. In a comment on today’s video, KrisFix left the following message:

“Because there was a lot of speculation after the first video, I decided to change the title so it wouldn’t cause wrong thoughts. Journalism is a good thing, but maybe some topics become more appetizing when you twist things a bit. This channel is not meant to create videos with misleading content. The first video garnered a lot of interest and panic after which I was obliged to invest time and resources to give clarity on the topic. If in the first video I had been sure where the problem was I would not have asked you for information.”

All that said, while KrisFix is taking aim at media coverage of his report here (we didn’t cover it originally), it’s worth pointing out once again that he originally titled his video “Are AMD cards dying after a driver update?” mere days after the overheating Radeon RX 7900 XTX controversy flared. “Maybe some topics become more appetizing when you twist things a bit,” indeed.

The original video is now titled “Why did several dozen AMD 6000 series cards fail with the same symptoms?” KrisFix says, “I know there will be many more questions, but I think the topic is closed.”

Update your drivers, folks. And if you’re going to get riled up over unsubstantiated rumors, at least do it in style.

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