I sent in a report but wanted to post this for others who run into the same issue as well as ULPS could be their culprit.
i did a fresh (took five reinstall's) install of windows 10 after getting a new ssd. the first reinstall everything went smoothly. i was able to install 16.9.1 just fine. after i installed it, rebooted, and got back into windows i went into amd radeon settings - gaming tab - global settings, and turned off crossfire. i did this because of old habits from years ago. habits i picked up from using SLI, that sometimes SLI / crossfire wasn't enabled during a fresh driver install even if it claimed so. after crossfire was disabled i went back into the settings and turned on crossfire again and this is when things went south.
my screen flashes like it normally does when enabling crossfire, but this time i started to get corrupt screens. screens that had diagonal lines, artifacts, similar to the mouse corruption bug from resuming from sleep but the entire screen. it kept flashing like this till eventually i received a BSOD stating to many graphic driver stop errors (tdr's) and atikmdag.sys.
after the blue screen i decided to reinstall windows again because i wanted to make sure my system doesn't have any corruption. well the second, third, and forth reinstall of windows after this initial issue i kept getting the SAME exact problem DURING the driver installation when it got to the part to enable crossfire.
on the fifth, clean reinstall of windows 10 the drivers successfully installed again. it made it past enabling of crossfire.
during this entire process i was googling the issue on my second computer and i noticed a plethora of reports from other users throughout the years complaining of similar issues. a good amount pointed to ULPS as the culprit such as Atikmdag.sys BSOD when crossfire is enabled? - Forums - PCPartPicker the fix is to disable ULPS via the registry. "EnableULPS = 0" for all cards. the problem? this fixes the issue after being able to first successfully install the drivers, but during a fresh install, or a removal and reinstall of new drivers, or an overwrite of the previous drivers with new drivers, the drivers automatically enable ULPS on the card during the installation which can cause this issue.
since the fifth reinstall was successful i quickly disabled ULPS in the registry. so far since doing that i have had zero issues disabling and re-enabling crossfire in the amd radeon settings.
ULPS is causing BSOD during driver installation when it enables crossfire and after successful driver installations when disabling and enabling crossfire again via the amd radeon settings. disabling ULPS in the registry fixes this issue but only after successful driver installations. it does not fix it during a new driver install as the driver re-enables ULPS during installation.