AMD GPU driver bug reportedly messes with some Ryzen CPUs, with users unaware

AMD’s graphics driver has been observed to mess with some CPU settings according to new reports, in what can only be described as a very strange affair.

This is from Igor’s lab (opens in a new tab) (via Tom’s Hardware (opens in a new tab)), with the German tech site pointing out that the apparent issue was brought to light by a reader, and Igor later managed to reproduce the issue in one instance (AMD hardware owners detailing their other findings on Reddit (opens in a new tab)).

To sum up the current speculation on this – and remember, it’s still just speculation, so let’s be careful of what we can conclude here – the theory is that integrating AMD’s Ryzen Master tool in Adrenalin graphics driver version 22.3.1 (or later) is causing the issue, whereby a Ryzen processor is witnessing changes to increase settings unknown to the user.

As we said at the beginning, this is certainly a strange situation, although it only happens to those who install the Radeon driver who also have an AMD Ryzen processor (Ryzen Master is an overclocking module designed to to boost CPU performance in a user-friendly way, in case you didn’t know).

What supposedly happens is that when the new Adrenalin graphics driver is installed on a system, when applying a GPU profile, the software can apparently change the PBO (precision boosting or overclocking) setting in the BIOS, setting it back to default (if the user changed it previously).

Or else the theory works, anyway, and that obviously could be problematic in some situations, and as Igor points out, could lead to the PC crashing. As mentioned, another problem is that the user is not informed about the application of these changes, so he might be quite confused as to why he suddenly encounters problems with his system.

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Analysis: several workarounds have been proposed

This is an unfortunate situation, of course, and I hope that AMD will now investigate these reports, and Team Red can then take the appropriate action.

In the meantime, there are several ways to circumvent the problem. The first and most obvious is to simply go back to your BIOS after installing the new graphics driver and reconfigure your old settings (or for those running the default settings anyway, just disable PBO).

Another suggestion in the Reddit thread above is to not load the old profiles, but create a new tuning profile for the graphics card instead. Electrical-Bobcat435 advises: “It’s a bit of a hassle, replicating clocks and fan curves, but once done it won’t restart/change bios PBO settings.” It’s absurd that AMD did this, but there is the workaround.

Finally, as Igor’s Lab and yet another Reddit user suggest, there’s the Radeon Software Slimmer. (opens in a new tab) utility that can be used to remove Ryzen Master from the Adrenalin driver, thus preventing the tool from interfering with the CPU. However, this is a third-party program, so it is installed entirely at your own risk.

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