AMD Confirms Radeon RX 7900 XTX Throttling Issue Related To Thermal Solution Used In Reference Design

Hassan Mujtaba
AMD's Graphics SVP Confirms Radeon RX 7900 XTX Thermal Issues Related To Vapor Chamber Coolant 1

AMD has confirmed that the throttling issues on the Radeon RX 7900 XTX reference models are related to the thermal solution.

AMD Confirms Radeon RX 7900 XTX Thermal Solution Issues, Committed To Provide A Solution To Affected Users

Over the past week, users started reporting a serious issue with the Radeon RX 7900 XTX 'MBA' reference graphics cards that caused overheating and resulted in thermal throttling. This made reference designs perform worse since they were running at lower clock speeds and while the initial response from AMD was that everything was 'Normal' and declined an RMA to a customer, the company later softened its position and asked affected users to contact the support team.

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Now, after a few days of investigation, AMD is still determining the root cause of the throttling & overheating issues but has provided us with the following statement which more or less confirms the issue might be related to the thermal design which is something that has also been pointed by hardware experts such as Der8auer and Igor's Lab.

We are working to determine the root cause of the unexpected throttling experienced by some while using the AMD Radeon RX 7900 XTX graphics cards made by AMD. Based on our observations to-date, we believe the issue relates to the thermal solution used in the AMD reference design and appears to be present in a limited number of the cards sold.

We are committed to solving this issue for impacted cards. Customers experiencing this unexpected throttling should contact AMD Support (https://www.amd.com/en/support/contact-call).

via AMD

AMD states that the problem is present within a limited number of Radeon RX 7900 XTX graphics cards but it looks like the actual number of affected graphics cards might be higher and within the range of 1000s as mentioned by Igor's Lab. Igor has talked with a few system builders/distributors who states that the issues have been known for weeks and it isn't just one batch that is affected but several (4-6 to speak). Following are some of the quotes from Igors Lab:

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 email)

We had to return 300+ graphics cards of Asus MBA, Sapphire MBA, PowerColor MBA, XFX MBA to the retailers/warehouse/wholesale…
Complete systems also had to be disassembled for this procedure. (quote from email)

End customers have to contact the vendor or AMD support directly. Distributors and stores have to send the affected graphics cards to wholesalers and warehouses. (quote from email)

via Igor's Lab

There have also been reports that the problem arises around 2-3 weeks into the usage of the AMD Radeon RX 7900 XTX graphics cards so there may be more cases popping up soon if that is true. The Radeon RX 7900 XTX MBA 'Reference' graphics cards were amongst the first designs to hit retail shelves and a lot of users bought them since they were the only ones priced at MSRP. But now, these same graphics cards are affected by thermal throttling and overheating issues which may lead to a major recall or RMA.

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