MSI Afterburner is easily the most popular graphics card utility software available. Afterburner comes with a ton of system tuning options and gives you versatility in tweaking and monitoring your system’s performance.
Below, we’ve provided a breakdown on how to use MSI Afterburner, as well as covered some important features and add-ons it comes with.
Is MSI Afterburner Safe to Use?
If you have MSI Afterburner on your computer and you’re not sure how it got there, or if you’re on the fence on whether or not you should download it, you can rest easy… MSI Afterburner is completely safe to use. As mentioned above, it is a graphics card utility software designed by popular PC hardware manufacturer MSI.
It should be noted, though, that, according to pcgamesn.com, in early 2021, scammers setup a fake site that pretended to be the official MSI Afterburner download site. Those who fell victim to the fake site ended up downloading malware onto their computer instead. Fortunately, you can avoid this problem by ensuring that you download Afterburner directly from MSI’s website. (See below.)
Where to Download MSI Afterburner
The best place to download MSI Afterburner is directly from MSI and, more specifically, from this link:
Sites like techspot.com and guru3d.com offer safe downloads as well, but your best bet is to get the software directly from MSI.
The installation process is fairly straightforward: download the program, open it, and go through the install wizard.
One important note, during the installation, you will be asked if you want to install RivaTuner Statistics Server. It is recommended that you check the box and include RTSS in your download, as it will give Afterburner more functionality.
What GPUs Does MSI Afterburner Work With?
MSI Afterburner is compatible with both AMD and NVIDIA GPUs.
MSI Afterburner Features
MSI Afterburner offers three main features…
- GPU Overclocking
- Fan Control
- Hardware Monitoring
The program allows you to overclock your GPU directly from the software and allows you to modify your GPU’s core clock and memory clock speeds.
You can also manually control your GPU’s fan speed and set custom fan curves.
And, finally, MSI Afterburner can serve as a hardware monitoring program that allows you to see your current GPU and CPU usage and temperature, among other vital information about your system.
How to Use MSI Afterburner
The following sections will cover how to use different features on MSI Afterburner.
How to Overclock Your GPU With MSI Afterburner
Overclocking your GPU with MSI Afterburner is a fairly straightforward process, especially with MSI’s one-click overclocking feature, OC Scanner.
- With the software open, click on the settings icon.
- Make sure that ‘Unlock voltage control’ and ‘Unlock voltage monitoring’ are enabled by checking their corresponding boxes and applying the changes.
- Exit out of the settings menu.
- Find the OC scanner icon and click it. (In most versions it will have some combination of ‘OC’ and a maginifying glass/search icon on it.)
- With the MSI Overclocking Scanner window open, click ‘Scan’.
- OC Scanner will now start running a series of tests that will determine the most stable overclock your GPU can handle. This process can take ~10-20 minutes to complete.
- Once the scan is complete, it is recommended that test the new settings to ensure that your system is stable by clicking ‘Test’. This process takes about ~5 minutes to complete.
After the process is finished, you will have a custom curve that will now control the speed and voltage at which your GPU operates under certain loads.
While OC Scanner is the easiest way to overclock your GPU with MSI Afterburner, it doesn’t overclock your GPU’s memory (or VRAM). To overclock your GPU’s memory, you can use the Memory Clock slider on the main page of the user interface.
And, instead of overclocking your GPU with OC Scanner, you can also use the Core Voltage, Core Clock, and Memory Clock sliders to overclock your GPU manually. While there isn’t much risk of damaging your GPU by altering the sliders yourself, it can be a lengthier process finding the right settings for your system. It is recommended that you bump up the sliders slowly and test after each change to ensure system stability.
Reverting or Saving Changes
If you find that your GPU is having problems after overclocking it in MSI Afterburner you can use the ‘Reset’ button to go back to your GPU’s default settings.
And, if you’ve achieved a stable overclock, you can save your settings to a profile with the ‘Save’ button, so that you can easily overclock your GPU to a stable level in the future.
There are a couple of different ways you can change your GPU fan speed with MSI Afterburner’s fan control settings.
You can manually change the fan speed with Power Limit, Temp Limit, and Fan Speed sliders on the user interface.
You can also set a custom fan speed curve by clicking on the ‘User define’ icon and altering the fan curve to your desired settings.
You can monitor your GPU’s clock speed, memory clock speed, voltage, and temperature directly from the MSI Afterburner interface.
You can also see a variety of other system information, like your CPU usage, GPU usage, CPU temperature, memory usage, memory clock speed, etc. by clicking on the ‘Detach’ icon and opening the MSI Afterburner hardware monitoring window.
MSI Afterburner Alternatives
While there aren’t many alternatives that will offer all of the features that MSI Afterburner comes with, there are a bunch of tools that can replicate the different individual features that Afterburner provides.
- EVGA Precision
- ASUS GPU Tweak
- RivaTuner (on its own)
- NVIDIA Inspector
- Zotac Firestorm
- Open Hardware Monitor