Help troubleshooting Sapphire R9 390 instability and crashes


Junior Member
Oct 9, 2016
I have been having a lot of issues with my Sapphire R9 390 graphics card. I have gone through a total of 4 as a result of RMAs, and I am currently using card #4.

Here is the list of symptoms I have had with each iteration of the card.

  • Card 1: Developed fault after 5 months. Display would randomly cut out to a black screen, but just before it happened, vertical lines appeared. Very difficult to reproduce, crashes are random throughout the day, may not even occur for a week. Only one crash during a game. I have tried stress testing the GPU with unigine and furmake, and this card did not fail. It only seems to fail when GPU is idle. If there is audio in the buffer, I would hear a small part of it repeated over and over. Crash is like this:
  • Card 2: In addition to card 1 issues, some horizontal flickering can be seen. Crashes and flickering occurs in Windows and in game. Easily reproducable. I also did get this spectacular crash:
  • Card 3: No 3D games would work. Every time anything 3D rendered would come up, the game would crash and AMD Crimson threw an error: "Application has been blocked from accessing graphics hardware". Event log shows "Display driver amdkmdap stopped responding and has successfully recovered". I went out and got a GTX 970, was able to play games without error, though I did not thoroughly test the 970 for problems similar to prior cards. Easily reproducible.
  • Card 4: Same as card 1. Some horizontal flickering as card 2, but hasn't crashed during games yet. Very difficult to reproduce. Just as I was typing this entire post in Notepad, the vertical line crash occured, but the display recovered and I did not have to do a hard reset (so far this has only happened once).
I have some videos detailing similar crashes, these are mainly card #2:

Some specs:
  • CPU: Intel Core i5 6600K OC to 3.5 GHz (BIOS preset)
  • Cooler: CM Hyper212 EVO with Scythe Gentle Typhoon 120mm x2
  • Fans: 5x Fractal GP-14. 4 intake, 1 exhaust
  • GPU: Sapphire Radeon R9 390 8GB no overclock
  • MB: Gigabyte GA-Z170-HD3P rev 1.0 latest BIOS
  • RAM: Crucial 16GB (2x8GB) DDR4 2400
  • PSU: EVGA SuperNOVA 650W GS
  • SSD: Mushkin Chronos 120GB
  • HDD: Toshiba 3TB, WD 3TB, WD 2TB
  • Wifi: Asus PCE-AC56
  • OS: Windows 10 Anniversary
  • Case: Fractal Define R5
Here are the troubleshooting steps I have gone through (no particular order), but yielded same problems.
  • Clean install
  • Various drivers: Windows Update WHQL, Sapphire Drivers, AMD Catalyst Stable and Beta, latest AMD Crimson, latest AMD Crimson hotfix
  • Removed CPU overclock
  • Reset BIOS to factory default
  • Moved R9 390 to different PCIe slots
  • Used Windows 10 Anniversary, Windows 10 RTM, Windows 7 Professional (all 64-bit), Linux Mint, Ubuntu (surprisingly using Linux had more frequent crashes on card #2)
  • Ran Memtest
  • Upgraded to latest BIOS

Other things I have tried:
  • When using card #3, I got a GTX 970 and gamed worked perfectly. Did not test for other symptoms.
  • Switched to integrated graphics. Problem does NOT occur.

I do NOT believe the R9 390 is defective. I highly doubt I can go through 4 defective cards. Something else in my system must be causing this.

Motherboard isn't exactly the best, I have read reviews that the VRMs and power phases are not the best quality. I am thinking of upgrading to a better board (MSI Z170 or Asus Z170-A) if it is indeed the issue.

PSU is of high quality. I was told that maybe I should upgrade the PSU to something like 750W, but I thought 650W was sufficient. I didn't want to go higher because it would be a waste.


Nov 12, 2015
650w should be more than enough. I would buy another motherboard from Amazon to recreate the problem. And if that is the not the problem return within 30 days.


Diamond Member
Jan 16, 2011
The GTX 970 under load will pull 294 watt.and the Sapphire R9 390 will pull 389 if the gtx works fine,power is missing somewhere.