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Unwind: Miners, not bad drivers, were responsible for all of those shattered AMD Radeon GPUs

Internet, get off your high horse of indignation. A German PC repair business owner by the name of KrisFix posted a video earlier this month titled “Are AMD GPUs dying after a driver update?” KrisFix stated that out of the 60 Radeon RX 6800 and 6900 that were brought into his shop for repair, 48 had obviously broken GPUs.

The title and timing of the video, broadcast only days after AMD revealed production difficulties with reference Radeon RX 7900 XTX components, caused a firestorm within the enthusiast community, even though KrisFix was only asking for assistance in discovering the root cause of the problem. After numerous news outlets published articles expressing concern that readers’ cards would be destroyed by “bad” Radeon drivers, the internet was flooded with posts from worried gamers seeking reassurance.

On the latest episode of our Full Nerd podcast, I urged listeners not to jump to conclusions until hearing back from AMD. Weirdness surrounded this scenario. Exactly why was this problem now manifesting itself at just one German repair business, and why was it only noticed now? Drivers were a remote possibility at best, especially given the lack of confirmation of the same problem in other parts of the world. A localised or regional issue was probably not at play here.

In short, after questioning his clientele further, he discovered that the vast majority of these cards had been purchased pre-owned from the same vendor around the latter week of November or the first week of December. KrisFix has come to the conclusion that the vendor was a cryptocurrency miner who, after suspending operations, presumably left the GPUs in a damp location. KrisFix believes that the high humidity levels were the root of the problem.

From a distance, it seems much more reasonable than the first driver concerns that caused a stir in the IT industry. Once more: this is quite strange.

To answer your question, yes, you can (and always could) update your Radeon GPU to the current driver without risking a catastrophic failure. The following is a remark written by KrisFix on today’s video:

“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.”