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AMD Radeon Software Reportedly Alters CPU Settings Without User Knowledge

AMD Ryzen CPUs
AMD Ryzen CPUs (Image credit: Shutterstock)

Update, 4/5/2022 11:35am PT: AMD has now confirmed the bug in its GPU driver, head to this article for more details.

Original Article: 

German publication Igor's Lab investigated a potential abnormality surrounding AMD's Adrenalin GPU software. The current speculation is that the integration of AMD's Ryzen Master module into the Adrenalin version 22.3.1 software or later has inadvertently allowed the program to manipulate CPU PBO and Precision Boost settings without the user's permission. 

According to user feedback, the problem occurs only with AMD CPU and GPU combinations since that hardware supports the Ryzen Master SDK. So if you are running a system that has either an Intel CPU paired to a Radeon GPU, or a Ryzen CPU paired to an Nvidia GPU, you will not encounter this problem.

For some reason, AMD's Adrenalin software will automatically enable PBO or the "CPU OC" setting when applying GPU profiles -- including the Default profile, which happens automatically.

This situation can be irritating if you already have pre-configured CPU overclocking and undervolting settings in your motherboard's BIOS, but luckily the chip has in-built protection mechanisms to prevent any real physical harm. However, Adrenalin can purportedly override your settings with arbitrary ones, which could impact CPU stability. Igor's Lab discovered that the AMD Adrenalin software can change the power limits and the maximum boost frequency of the Ryzen CPU through the PBO settings. It is unknown if instability only arises from users manually adjusting CPU settings or if it happens under default conditions also.

Thankfully there are multiple ways to restore your CPU to its original configuration. One method is to go back into your board's BIOS and re-enter all your CPU settings (or disable PBO if you run default settings). Alternatively, you can also run Radeon Software Slimmer, which can delete the Ryzen Master SDK from the Adrenalin software, preventing the module from adjusting any CPU settings. Radeon Software Slimmer is from a third-party program, so use it at your own risk.

But, the easiest solution comes from a Reddit user who explains how creating a new tuning profile for your GPU within the Adrenalin software will stop the module from manipulating PBO settings in your motherboards BIOS entirely.

AMD hasn't shared any information on the topic, so it remains a mystery why the Adrenalin software can modify BIOS settings without user manipulation. 

Aaron Klotz
Aaron Klotz

Aaron Klotz is a freelance writer for Tom’s Hardware US, covering news topics related to computer hardware such as CPUs, and graphics cards.

  • JohnBonhamsGhost
    have seen quite a few complaints recently with users of AMD graphics claiming their Power Plan profile's CPU settings weren't being followed and that BIOS settings seemed to be getting overwritten.

    this would seem to explain it...
    Reply
  • -Fran-
    Damn. That sounds really annoying for people that likes fine-tuning their settings.

    Come on, AMD. Fix it xD

    Regards.
    Reply
  • spongiemaster
    -Fran- said:
    Damn. That sounds really annoying for people that likes fine-tuning their settings.

    Come on, AMD. Fix it xD

    Regards.
    Fix? You really think this wasn't intentional?
    Reply
  • drea.drechsler
    I'm left a bit confused by the translation. It sounds like it may not make changes unless you use a Radeon Settings Profile for overclocking GPU. If so then using MSI Afterburner may not do that. Which would help explain why I've had much better stability, with better results, since I started using Afterburner for overclocking my 5700XT.

    I only load Radeon Settings so I can enable SVR, RSR, SAM and a few other things.

    spongiemaster said:
    Fix? You really think this wasn't intentional?
    I'd agree it probably was intentional: the FIX would be to give users an 'opt-out'.
    Reply
  • watzupken
    This is intentional for sure. AMD have always advertised that you will get the most when you pair an AMD CPU with GPU. In this case, I think AMD may have overstepped the boundary. On a laptop, I think it is a good feature. But on desktop where people may have their own CPU settings, they should never fiddle with it. I do hope this is not some dodgy method of boosting performance in games.
    Reply
  • -Fran-
    spongiemaster said:
    Fix? You really think this wasn't intentional?
    Yeah. AMD isn't Intel or nVidia :D

    Regards.
    Reply
  • Mandark
    I don’t use their software except for the drivers and that’s it no extra garbage for me

    and the reason for this is if you don’t just install the drivers only it automatically includes you and their user experience which gobbles up tons of your bandwidth without your permission. I got so sick of their garbage that I don’t use Radeon software at all and I never will again
    Reply
  • Colif
    it has to be intentional, why else would they integrate Ryzen master into the GPU drivers otherwise?

    Since the release of AMD’s GPU driver “Adrenalin 22.3.1”, the Ryzen Master module, which is now firmly integrated into the driver, also tries to make changes to the CPU configuration when loading a GPU profile in the driver.
    https://www.igorslab.de/en/can-traces-of-ryzen-master-contain-alter-graphics-card-driver-secret-bios-settings-of-cpu/its an unannounced "feature" to make the AMD combo better.
    Reply
  • -Fran-
    Ryzen Master integrated into the Radeon suite is intentional. The behaviour I'm almost positive is not.

    The GPU settings are always "default" when you go there and you have to accept the EULA to enable that setting. Same with the CPU's side. So, yeah, this must be an unintended thing as they void your warranty if you accept that EULA and start tweaking. Also, it's the same with the Intel OC software. It's, more or less, the same EULA that tells you it'll void your warranty.

    Regards.
    Reply
  • Mandark
    It’s bolloks
    Reply