Thousands of AMD Radeon RX 7900 XTX reference cards could be affected by 110°C GPU hotspot issue

Published: Jan 4th 2023, 08:46 GMT   Comments

AMD expected to issue a statement. System integrators already returned hundreds of Radeon RX 7900 XTX MBA cards

The German investigative journalism continues. Igor Wallossek from Igor’sLAB has a lengthy post explaining the current situation with AMD Radeon RX 7900 XTX graphics cards and their thermal issues.

AMD Radeon RX 7900 XTX MBA Design

As noted right at the beginning of the article, AMD was expected to issue a statement yesterday, which is what Igor was waiting for. However, that did not happen, which forced him to share the latest findings. The problem with reference XTX cards thermal throttling has now been localized to the vapor chamber. In an email received from AMD by one of the affected customers (system integrator), we learn that an official AMD statement was to be made yesterday:

The problem is already known for more than two weeks and is communicated between AMD and the distributors (internally) .. How exactly the problem will be communicated to the end customer has not yet been finally decided. … AMD’s statement was originally supposed to be made on January 3, 2023 at 6 p.m. CET, but it was postponed.

[..] As assumed, the cause is the evaporator chamber… Several batches are affected. Currently, 4-6 batches and thousands of graphics cards are assumed. Only MBA cards are affected. 

— Quote from AMD system integrator email 

As mentioned, integrators have already returned hundreds of cards including those which were already assembled in complete systems. Returned cards included all AMD board partners cards (but only MBA cards).

AMD Radeon RX 7900 XTX Vapor Chamber, Source: AMD

It is very important to note that the problem only affects the RX 7900 XTX model and only AMD reference design (Made by AMD/MBA). This issue not impacting any of the custom cards which use non-reference cooling solutions. Furthermore, the reference RX 7900 XT model with cut-down Navi 31 GPU is not affected either.

[…] only the RX 7900 XTX’s functionally limited vapor chamber is such an essential problem that it requires an RMA. This is because it is not only the hotspot temperature, but also the storage tank, which can get as hot as 110 °C and thus operate well above the permissible temperature limit.

— Igor Wallossek

One should note that AMD tends to prioritize the production of reference cards over partner designs in the initial weeks for each Radeon launch. This is primarily why we see so few custom cards available, and even fewer models being announced. By introducing thousands of reference cards to the market, AMD is finding themselves in a tight spot how to handle this situation, especially since reference designs were sold by board partners as well.

AMD is now offering exchange or refund to affected customers, presumably individuals and channel partners, The issue is now said to affect ‘several batches’, which could include thousands of cards. Hopefully, AMD will explain the situation soon and if these cards really require a replacement, it will be provided as quickly as possible.

Update: AMD has issued a short statement, finally admitting that there is a problem with reference cooling design:

We are working to determine the cause of the unexpected performance limitation of AMD Radeon RX 7900 XTX graphics cards. Based on our observations to date we believe the issue is related to the thermal solution used in AMD’s reference design and is occurring in a limited number of cards sold. We are working to resolve this issue for the affected cards. Customers experiencing this unexpected limitation should contact AMD support.

Source: Igor’sLAB

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