Influx of dead AMD Radeon RX 6800 and RX 6900 GPUs raises concerns

A shattering experience for one.

RX 6800 XT GPU

PC hardware repair service KrisFix-Germany on YouTube has noticed an influx of dead AMD Radeon RX 6800 and RX 6900 GPUs lately, raising concerns about what may be the cause of such a wave of dead cards.

The card that we see in the video, below, is an AMD RX 6800 XT whose GPU seems to be damaged or dead, rendering the card unrepairable, since AMD doesn’t sell spare GPU parts to repair shops, according to KrisFix.

KrisFix said that in only three weeks his shop received 61 RX 6800 and RX 6900 cards, 48 of which have a non-working (broken) GPU. And here we are talking about a single shop – yes there aren’t many of them – but still. All these cards also show the same problems, namely, shorted SOC rail, shorted memory rail, and shorted memory-controller rail.

But the story doesn’t end there, as some viewers have noticed a crack on the GPU die, after which KrisFix reopened the card to be surprised by shattered silicon. The crack must have been so deep, we could literally see the pattern of transistors and other GPU portions.

RX 6800 XT Cooler
Source: KrisFix

KrisFix did ask his customers what drivers they were using, and what games they were playing, etc. And there was no apparent link between them apart from the driver, which was the latest Adrenalin 22.11.2 (WHQL) from December. However, this doesn’t indicate the drivers are 100 per cent the culprit.

With that said, Buildzoid from ActuallyHardcoreOverclocking on YouTube, indicated that “AMD’s driver should be able to disable the thermal limit and if the fan speed breaks at the same time, the chip could easy get hot enough to shatter. Alternatively they could have a bug that sends way too much voltage to the chip.”

For now, we can’t draw any firm conclusions, and time will tell us if this was a unique batch of cards with some flaw or a recurring issue.

[Update] This isn’t a driver problem, with mining and improper storage now identified as the likely culprit.