MSI Afterburner is one of the best graphics card overclocking utility that allows users to get the most out of their chipsets. Overclocking is the process of boosting the clock frequency of Graphics Processing Unit (GPU) in a bid to make it run at higher speeds than it is manufactured to run. Users do so to enhance performance and take full advantage of the graphics unit.
Apart from overclocking, MSI Afterburner offers a handful of features such as monitoring, customizing fan profiles, hardware overview, benchmarking, troubleshooting, and video recording. In short, it is a graphics processors monitoring program that gives one complete control over their graphics card.
MSI Afterburner is developed by GPU manufacturer MSI and Guru3D (RivaTuner team). It is a freeware software, and the latest version of the program was released this year in April.
The nifty program is available for the Windows operating system and supports Microsoft Windows 10, Windows 8, Windows 8.1, and Windows 7. It is one of the most versatile graphics card tweaking tools as it supports almost every GPU irrespective of the chipset manufacturer. The cross-brand support is what makes the utility better than all its counterparts.
Moreover, the top-notch overclocking utility offers complete support for 64-bit applications taking into account that more games are built for 64-bit systems.
Download MSI Afterburner
Apart from Windows, interestingly users have the option to download the Afterburner app for Android, which will allow users to monitor and control the graphics card from their phone. The Afterburner download package will include a benchmarking tool dubbed Kombustor Benchmarking. The latest version of the software supports NVIDIA GeForce 500 and AMD Radeon HD 6000 series graphics cards.
Also, the program adds exciting features such as the Predator in-game video capture function. The latest addition makes it easier for gamers to capture their intense gameplay moments and share it with the world.
Follow the steps below to download MSI Afterburner – the most widely used overclocking utility:
- First and foremost, navigate to the official website of the MSI Afterburner.
- Go to the bottom of the page and click on the ‘Download’ button. Users can also choose to download the beta version, but it is best to go with the latest stable release.
- In case a user wants to control the application from the phone, then download the Afterburner app. Using the app makes is a more convenient option as one does not have to alt-tab while playing a game.
- Unzip the downloaded file and double-click on the Afterburner executable file to install.
- Follow the on-screen instructions for installation and click on ‘Yes’ when prompted to install Kombuster.
- Voila! The program is ready for use.
Setting up MSI Afterburner
Following the installation, it is time to configure settings to personalize the software. Afterburner offers users a variety of configuration options so that every user is comfortable in using the program. Below are a few of the configuration options that one can choose tweak.
- Open MSI Afterburner and click on the ‘Settings’ icon at the bottom of the application.
- It is recommended to use the Default MSI Afterburner skin rather than other skins. To make the change, go to ‘User Interface’ tab and change it to ‘Default MSI Afterburner Skin.’ The default option offers a cleaner and easy-to-navigate user interface and experience. More so, many other skins tend to remove the slider making tweaking inaccessible.
- For those using multiple GPU’s, will have to navigate to the “General” tab and then choose the GPU they want to monitor or overclock. Another way to do it by selecting the GPU from the ‘Master graphics processor selection’ drop-down menu.
- Another thing users have to set up is the voltage control. Go to the ‘General’ tab, click on ‘unlock voltage control and keep it the level at ‘standard MSI.’ Next, also choose the option ‘unlock voltage monitoring.’ But do not select the ‘force constant voltage’ option.
- Users can also choose to set up other basic settings such as compatibility options and AMD specific properties. However, it is best to leave the setting to default.
How To Use MSI Afterburner?
Overclocking with MSI Afterburner is easy to use, but that does not mean it is risk-free. Tweaking the GPU is risky and can cause permanent damage to the hardware. However, at any time if you feel doubt than it is best to stop and consult a knowledgeable person. The most overclocking utility aims to find the most potential stable settings for ultimate performance. Follow the below steps to overclock:
- The first and foremost thing to do is set the ‘Temp Limit’ and ‘Power Limit’ sliders to the maximum. It will make the GPU more efficient and will prompt a spike in temperature. Don’t hesitate if the heat meter slider displays dangerously high. Most chipset makers consider the parameter as safe and will not damage the GPU. Apart from using software to tweak the temp limit, such temperatures only arise if there is a malfunction.
- Next, users have to boost the core clock speed minutely. Increase of a single unit corresponds to one megahertz (MHz). It is advisable to not tweak more than 20 or 30 MHz on either side. Note: Hit ‘Apply’ after every change.
- It is best to launch the Kombuster in the background so that one can monitor if the increasing the temp limit causes any crash or glitches. Always wait for a couple of minutes till it the change reflects.
- Stop increasing the clock speed once there graphical issues are visible. But don’t worry if there is any unusual behavior as it is a way for the GPU to communicate that it has reached to its maximum ability. At times, the crashed will reset the graphics processor unit driver, after which you can slow the clock speed a few seconds.
- It is best to reduce core clock speed with small boosts of 5MHz until the graphics disappear the benchmarking utility Kombuster is stable. The best way to find equilibrium is to test the changes for each game. Tweak the GPU, gradually noting the difference of performance with every change.
- Similarly, perform the stress test on the memory clock speed. The only difference is that the increment must be higher such as between 50-100 MHz.
- After witnessing many graphical issues in Kombustor, start reducing memory clock speed gradually until you find the best stable rate. Also, check the testing in the game.
- Test run the new core clock and memory clock speeds configuration at least for 10 minutes. Check for any glitches or crashes during the time. Get the most stable combination of both. Next, save it as a profile by hitting the floppy disc icon.
Caution: One must remember to click on “Apply” after making every change.
MSI Afterburner Features
On the surface, MSI Afterburner may seem to be only a program with overclocking features, but in reality, it packs a plethora of useful features. Below we breakdown the best features of the overclocking utility into categories such as overclocking, hardware monitor, and predator video capture. One of the best benefits of using MSI Afterburner is that it supports graphics cards from all brands.
Overclocking can push GPU to its maximum ability without causing any hardware damage. It may sound risky and dangerous for the unversed, but MSI Afterburner makes it very easy to configure GPU in a bid to ensure it performs to its maximum potential.
The tool gives you easy access to almost every GPU settings such as temperature limit, fan speed, memory clock speed, the power limit, and core voltage. With so many options in hand, the idea is to find a balance between performance, temperature, and ability. To get the perfect equilibrium, one can tweak the clock frequency and voltage.
To make it even more comfortable, the latest version of Afterburner features with an OC Scanner, a utility developed by graphics card manufacturer powerhouse Nvidia, that scans RTX 20 series graphics cards and determines the most suitable overclocking settings. OC Scanner applies the best setting to enhance instant in-game performance. The feature is best so that users don’t go overboard and harm the hardware.
It also comes with Triple Overvoltage feature that allows users to complete control over memory, PLL voltages, and core.
More so, the software comes with an add-on utility dubbed RivaTuner Statistics Server (RTSS) that can be leveraged to set a frame cap for particular games. The utility is best for those that have a mid-range GPUs.
Custom Fan Profiles
Heat distribution is vital for performance when it comes to the graphics card. Therefore, Afterburner lets users customize a preset fan speed curve profile whereby the fan speed will increase or lower based on the GPU temperature. The feature allows gamers to safely overclock GPU knowing that it will determine the cooling performance as the heat builds up. More so, users can even save overclocking profile where a preset of parameters are defined. The utility will automatically adjust as players switch games depending on the performance requirements.
MSI Afterburner’s monitoring is unparalleled. The Hardware Monitor features critical and real-time hardware performance such as core and memory clock speed, voltage, FPS, and GPU temperature. Moreover, it lists usage percentage in various graphs.
Also, one can monitor overclocking tweaks through an on-screen display. One of the most significant advantages of the Hardware Monitoring is that users can configure the parameters they want to monitor. It is very beneficial for gamers as it displays vital statistics at the time of gameplay.
Afterburner comes with an in-built benchmarking tool – Kombuster. It is a decent burn-in benchmarking utility that gauges thermal performance and stability. It is a tool that roots from the Freemaker software and is one of the best benchmarking tools in the market. More so, it supports the latest OpenGL and DirectX version.
Predator Video Capture
MSI Afterburner comes with an add-on application dubbed Predator that records gameplay without missing a single frame rate. The tool will allow users to capture their most intense gaming moments in various formats such as AVI and WMV. The software even supports H.264 codec. Moreover, users can configure multiple options such as different compression types, quality, and framerate limit.
Custom User Skins and Multi-Language Support
MSI Afterburner offers gamers to choose from a variety of different skins that givers entirely gives a unique appearance to the program. One can choose from many available in the application or can even download online. Moreover, the overclocking utility supports most of the major languages. Users can change the language from the User Interface menu.
In-Game FPS Counter
The In-Game FPS Counter is by far the best feature of the Afterburner. It displays real-time information about how the system is reacting within a game. The feature lets gamers monitor GPU performance while gaming.
RivaTuner vs. MSI Afterburner
RivaTuner is a top-rated overclocking tool and is still a favorite of many who use the old GPU setting. RivaTuner was favorite for its plug-ins that made GPU monitoring very easy. However, it is outdated when it comes to modern gaming. In simple terms, Afterburner is a more updated version of Rivatuner that not only has all the characteristics of it but also significantly adds new ones. Interestingly, Afterburner is developed by RivaTuner team, and founded by MSI.
The above is a brief of MSI Afterburner and in what ways it is better than RivaTuner. Overclocking with Afterburner is easy but it is best to always be cautious in case of any doubt. Consult professionals before you pump your GPU and end up damaging the hardware.
Last Updated on April 16, 2021
I’m an avid sim racer and technology blogger from the UK. I launched FPSBible.com at the start of 2020 to share my thoughts on a range of tech accessories, with a focus on racing peripherals like steering wheels, pedals, and gear shifters.