EliteMacx86

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How to Fix AMD Radeon VII Random Freezing and Crashing issue on macOS

An EliteMacx86 Exclusive Guide - This guide covers fixing AMD Radeon VII random freezing and crashing issue on macOS. This guide might be helpful for other AMD GPU users running macOS.

Background


Recently, I assembled a system for some testing purposes with the following specs.

ComponentModel Number
MotherboardGIGABYTE Z390 DESIGNARE
ProcessorIntel Core i9-10900KF
RAMPatriot Viper Steel 3200MHz 1288GB DDR4 RAM (4x32GB)
GraphicsAMD Radeon VII 16GB
SSDSamsung 970 EVO PLUS NVMe SSD

As I had a lying spare AMD Radeon VII, I paired it up. It was all good in the beginning. The BIOS version was F8, IGPU was disabled as we didn't need it. Everything running as expected. The target OS was macOS Catalina and then it was upgraded to macOS Big Sur 11.2.3. Once apps were installed for testing, when doing a render test in FCP X, the system began to freeze. At first, it was for very few times, during high workloads, and with the time, it began increasing, where you log in and the system would freeze in no time. Before attempting for a clean install, I diagnosed the system to make sure that there is nothing from the hardware end and the following checks were passed.

TestsResultNotes
MotherboardPASSVoltages were verified. A different Motherboard, the same model was tested to make sure there is no fluke.
CPUPASSCPU was tested under Windows and Linux with all Intel parameters. CPU was not overclocked and the temperatures were as expected.
RAMPASSRAM was tested using memtest, each block and resulted in no error.
GPUPASSThe GPU was having stock VBIOS and it was not overclocked. GPU was tested in another build with all the applicable parameters. The temperatures were absolutely normal. As always, GPU was installed in Slot #1 (top)
SSDPASSSSD was tested and there was no R/W errors and the temps were under control. Although, the SSD was already having a heatsink installed which comes with the Motherboard.
WiFi/BTPASSWiFi/BT was operating normally, although, it was disabled via SSDT under macOS.
PSUPASSRail was verified. Another PSU of 750W, 850W and 1300W was tested. These PSUs were running absolutely fine with the previous builds.

If you notice, the above tests clearly show that the hardware is having 0 issues but still random freezing and crashing with few Apps were there. BIOS settings were verified too. Upon checking every possible diagnosis, it was found that XMP was the culprit. Note that the memory speeds were defaults, with nothing overclocked. Although, XMP was set to Profile 1. After disabling XMP in BIOS, it was all normal and there was no freezing or crashing, even during high workloads. To make sure there is no fluke, we put the system to test with sleep disabled and several background tasks, including file transfers to our RAID servers, and FCP X was tested too. The system uptime was a total of 2 days with 0 restarts, 0 freezing and 0 panics.

Solution


Implement proper BIOS settings and Disable XMP in BIOS.
Perform a clean install of the required macOS version.

Conclusion


Hence, we can conclude that with some of the AMD GPUs, under macOS, XMP could conflict and can lead to freezing and random Kernel Panics. When we began to check some info, with other users, they reported the same with their VII Cards as they were also having the same situation with their builds. This might be useful for other AMD GPU models as well. However, we can confirm that the above solution completely fixed the freezing and Kernel Panic issue with our build, having AMD Radeon VII, from MSI.

Reporting


If you have success with any other models, use this thread to report such.
 

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