AMD uploaded the Radeon Software Crimson Edition 16.7.1 Hotfix driver, this is the release that should fix the power distribution issues of the Radeon RX 480. It also comes with a "compatibility mode" that reduces the RX 480's total power draw to stay within it TDP envelope. Furthermore, this driver promises performance gains for the Polaris architecture and comes with several bug fixes. You can download it over here.
Radeon Software Crimson Edition 16.7.1 Highlights
The Radeon™ RX 480’s power distribution has been improved for AMD reference boards, lowering the current drawn from the PCIe bus.
A new “compatibility mode” UI toggle has been made available in the Global Settings menu of Radeon Settings. This option is designed to reduce total power with minimal performance impact if end users experience any further issues. This toggle is “off” by default.
Performance improvements for the Polaris architecture that yield performance uplifts in popular game titles of up to 3% . These optimizations are designed to improve the performance of the Radeon™ RX 480, and should substantially offset the performance impact for users who choose to activate the "compatibility" toggle.
Radeon™ RX 480 limited PCI-E Bandwidth (PCI-E bandwidth is now at the correct speed on the Radeon™ RX 480) with Radeon Software Crimson Edition 16.7.1.
Minor stuttering no longer occurs in Grand Theft Auto V on Radeon™ RX 480 with Radeon Software Crimson Edition 16.7.1.
Video corruption will not be observed in DOOM with resolutions above 1920x1080 with Radeon Software Crimson Edition 16.7.1.
Hitman™ graphical corruption no longer occurs when the game is set to use DirectX®12 API and using zoom with weapons with Radeon Software Crimson Edition 16.7.1.
Display will not exhibit minor flicker on Radeon™ RX 480 when Freesync is enabled on a games launch or exit with Radeon Software Crimson Edition 16.7.1.
So does this hotfix clear up the Radeon RX 480's power mess? PC Perspective is one of the first sites to offer a detailed write-up and the site concludes consumers no longer have to be worried about the stability of their PCs running the RX 480 with the 16.7.1 driver.
However, the site did find that even with this fix and with compatibility mode turned on, the card is still out-of-spec in some test scenarios. The current draw via the 12V line of the motherboard slot is not as high as with the previous driver but it still exceeds the maximum of 5.5A. With default driver settings, PC Perspective saw a current of 6.2A when running Metro: Last Light (4K), versus 6.8A with driver 16.6.2. And even after turning on the compatibility mode, the current draw was 5.7A.
The good news is that based on preliminary testing, there doesn't appear to be a performance hit. With the default settings, the 16.7.1 driver is slightly faster than the previous release and if you turn on the compatibility mode you get about the same performance as with the original 16.6.2 driver.