How to Use MSI Afterburner – Detailed Guidance

How to Use MSI Afterburner – Detailed Guide

Hardware components on a computer turn on and off with the whole system. They usually don’t have their switches save for the Bluetooth & the WiFi buttons, plus most changes you can make to hardware from inside the OS are benign, for instance, change the brightness, change the volume, turn Bluetooth On/Off, etc.

As we know, the average computer has quite a few hardware components. One of the most renowned desktops operating systems doesn’t provide users access to settings that can modify just how any of those components run. Their settings are preset from their manufacturers, as well as you will not be able to change much if all you’ve at your disposal is your operating system’s settings’ panel.

Dedicated GPUs

Many laptops & desktop systems come with dedicated GPUs or dedicated graphics cards. They are mostly found on systems meant to be used for graphic-intensive tasks, for example, gaming, animation, video processing, etc. Furthermore, their capabilities vary based on their model, but generally, a GPU is not always configured to run at its highest capabilities.

Besides, most GPUs on a system, whether the system is custom-built or pre-built, are set to perform below their maximum performance levels. It includes how fast they can run, how fast the GPU spin fans, how much power they can draw from the system, etc.

All these settings can be changed, and frequently, they result in the GPU running a more competent and efficient way, also the system working correctly. The merely trick is finding a tool that can manage these settings.

What Is MSI Afterburner?

MSI Afterburner is one of the most remarkable and capable apps available if you are wondering about changing how the GPU works on your system.

This app can work well with both AMD & Nvidia GPUs, and it supports newer and older models from these manufacturers.

Moreover, MSI has been developed, a company that manufactures its hardware components, including GPUs. In case you happen to have an MSI GPU, this app will allow you to customize its settings, for instance, underclock or overclock various hardware aspects.


Monitor GPU health; temperature, clock speed, core speed, power or voltage consumption, usage.

Benchmarking; stress test the GPU to see how good it performs when put through its paces.

Video capture; record gameplay in different framerates & save it in a variety of formats.

Overclocking or underclocking: increase/decrease the memory clock speed of the GPU.

Undervolting: reduce power consumption for the GPU.

Customize fan speed & create different profiles.

How to Use MSI Afterburner

1. Monitoring with MSI Afterburner

The MSI Afterburner monitoring tool enables you to get a live look at the vitals of your GPU. As you overclock or underclock the GPU’s memory clock & voltage, you can use the monitoring tool to see the impact.

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To use the monitoring tool;

1. Open MSI Afterburner.
2. At the bottom, you’ll see a small graph, double-tap inside this graph to separate it to an independent window of its own.
3. Go through the different graphs for temperature, usage, VID usage, memory usage, BUS usage, etc. The monitoring tool will even show you vitals for the CPU in addition to the GPU and the onboard graphics card.

2. Benchmarking with MSI Afterburner

To run the benchmark tests on your GPU, you are required to use the Kombustor app. MSI has developed this app, and it works with Afterburner; although, it needs to be installed & downloaded separately.

Kombustor app

Download the Kombustor app from the MSI Afterburner site. Install it if you’ve MSI Afterburner open, close, and open it again once Kombustor has been installed.

Run benchmark tests

1. Open MSI Afterburner.
2. Make any changes you need to the GPU. If you would like to run the tests on its current settings, move to the next step.
3. Tap the K button at the top.
4. The Kombustor app will open. Tap the RUN stress test button.
5. Let the tests to complete and see how well your GPU performed.

3. Video capture with MSI Afterburner

To use the video capture feature, you require to set a keyboard shortcut that will start it.

1. Open MSI Afterburner.
2. Tap the settings button.
3. On the settings window, now go to the Video Capture tab.
4. Afterward, record a keyboard shortcut for ‘Video capture.
5. Tap Apply and then use the shortcut whenever you need to record the screen.

4. Overclocking with MSI Afterburner

To overclock the GPU, follow the simple steps below and remember to do this at your own risk.

1. Firstly open MSI Afterburner.
2. Set the Power Limit & the Temperature to the maximum from their respective sliders.
3. Now move on to the core clock speed slider, then increase the speed. Please do this in small increments so that you can tell when you have set it too high for your system to handle.
4. Check the performance of the system, and boost the speed further if you need to. If you are happy with the boost you have gotten, do not push the GPU to higher clock speeds unnecessary.

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5. Undervolting with MSI Afterburner

Undervolting a GPU reduces how much power it can draw. It probably seems counter-productive, but it boosts the performance of the CPU.

1. Open MSI Afterburner.
2. Tap the settings button.
3. On the General tab, allow ‘Unlock voltage control.
4. Apply the change and if required, then restart the app.
5. Now use the Core Voltage and Power Limit sliders to reduce the GPUs’ power consumption.

Supported GPU

Before you use MSI Afterburner to undervolt a GPU, you must know that it’ll merely work with Pascal GPUs. Additionally, you can view a list of all Pascal GPUs here. If your GPU is not a Pascal GPU, you cannot use MSI Afterburner; although, you can look for other tools that might undervolt your GPU. For AMD GPUs, find their equivalent Nvidia cards & check the linked list.

6. Set custom fan speeds with MSI Afterburner

To set custom fan speeds with MSI Afterburner, you must ensure your GPU model has fans of its own. GPUs used in laptops generally don’t have their fans and instead are kept cool by the CPU fan.

1. Open MSI Afterburner.
2. Tap the settings button.
3. Go to the Fans tab.
4. Now enable “Enable user-defined software automatic fan control.
5. You are going to see a curve that maps fan speed against the GPU temperature level. So, the warmer the GPU is, the faster the fans will be run. Besides, the points on the curve can be moved. Move them to change exactly how fast the fans run at a specific temperature.

6. Hit Ok, then save the fan profile.

Can I use other tools?

MSI Afterburner is the best go-to tool for changing how the GPU works, but it is not the only tool for the job. There are ample apps that can change how a GPU works.

If you find MSI Afterburner does not support your GPU model, then try other tools that might work. And keep an eye on the specifications of your GPU while using these tools.


Dear Readers, a high-end GPU is not the only way to get more out of a system. If your GPU model is not too old, you might be able to run newer games on it merely by changing its settings.

So, invest a little time and figure out what settings are perfect for your system and your particular usage. You may be capable of holding off on purchasing a new GPU or upgrading your laptop for a few years.

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