How to Use MSI Afterburner: Get a Free GPU Performance Boost

use MSI Afterburner

Any proficient gamer understands the importance of overclocking graphics cards to get the best gaming experience out of any game. This article provides the ultimate guide on how to use MSI Afterburner to overclock your PC graphics card so that you get the best and smoothest gaming experience. Keep reading to discover more…..

The gaming world has seen a steady rise in popularity ever since the early 80s. The gaming industry has evolved from Arcade games to more advanced electronic games that can be played on any PC. However, the advancement in the quality of games has since increased the demand for top-notch hardware and software to support high-definition (HD) games.

The MSI Afterburner is one of the tools you can use to boost your PC hardware and software graphic experience. In this post, we’ll delve deep into the details of how to use MSI Afterburner. Let’s start with the basics.

What is MSI Afterburner?

MSI-Afterburner overview


The MSI Afterburner is an overclocking software utility tool that is used by most experienced gamers to monitor PC hardware in real-time. The MSI Afterburner includes features for GPU voltage control, fan speed control, as well as GPU/ Shader/ Memory clock adjustment.

The software utility can also be used to tweak any graphics card settings for the best and optimal graphics performance while gaming. You can take advantage of the one-click overclocking feature to automatically scan your PC and GPU to give you the highest and stable overclock settings for your card.

It is the perfect software utility tool to help you find the most ideal balance between PC temperature and performance while gaming.

How to install the MSI Afterburner?

YouTube video

The software utility tool is manufactured by Micro Star International (MSI), a Taiwanese computer hardware manufacturer. The GPU overclocking tool is ideal for most users because it works with most types of the graphics cards on the market today. You can get the overclocking software utility tool by visiting the MSI Afterburner official website.

The download link can be found on the website and you will be automatically redirected to the download once you click on the download button. After the download is complete you can go ahead and install it using the self-executable software program.

Make sure you check and select the “Rivatuner statistics server” option if you want to have all the features available. Else some features and functions will simply not work.

Interface information

Interface information

  • From right to left: The Kombustor Toaster Program, however, it is important to note that you need to download it separately); Help – Where you can find all the hardware and software information.
  • From top to bottom: core voltage increment – to monitor and adjust the average core voltage; power limitation – to keep the power regulated; temperature limitation – to always keep the temperature in check; the core clocks – to monitor the clocking status of your card; the memory clocks – to monitor your card’s storage capacity and status; Fan speed – to monitor and regulate your card’s fan’s speed (You can find the fan’s automatic/manual speed control console at the bottom right corner of the graphics card user interface).
  • White arrow: This represents the card’s basic frequency; Red arrow: This represents the card’s boosted frequency. The number that you see at the top represents the card’s core frequency whereas, the number that you see at the bottom is the video memory frequency.
  • The number that is indicated above represents the core voltage whereas, the figures below represent the temperature of your graphics card.
  • From left to right: The control features that you can find here include: setting; restore default; and application settings respectively.
  • Automatic application settings that you can use if you want fast pre-configured settings that can give you optimum performance and temperature regulation.
  • The name of your video card is located above whereas, the driver version of your video card is located below.
  • Preset solutions – This is handy if it is your first time using MSI Afterburner or aren’t familiar with the software’s interface.
  • This is where you can get all the real-time information about your PC hardware such as RAM usage.

Graphics overclocking

Graphics overclocking

When it comes to overclocking your graphics card, there are a couple of things to note. Some of these include:

  • Core voltage is locked and can’t be changed

The core voltage of your video card is pre-configured to be locked and that means you cannot change it. However, you can click and pull the temperature limit and power limit to the maximum level.

  • Core clocks affects the performance of the GPU directly

The most important thing to note about graphics overclocking is that core clocks directly affect the performance of your video card. Thus it is highly recommended that you increase the core clocks slowly and steadily, preferably in units of 50.

  • Video memory Frequency

You can also increase the video memory frequency but it is also recommended that you do it slowly. However, this increase is not as good compared to the core clock increase.

  • Save the overclocking program

If you are satisfied proceed to save your overclocking settings in the default program. Save your settings in the overclocking program and make sure to set it as an automatic application.

Fan speed control

Fan speed msi afterburner

It is only logical that temperature will increase if you overclock your graphics hardware. It is therefore recommended that you ensure adequate cooling of your PC to prevent any damages to critical hardware components. Thus, it is prudent that you increase the speed of your fan with the increase in temperature to keep your hardware and software running smoothly.

Keeping track of the temperature may be difficult and that is why it is recommended that you use preset fan speed settings.

Other settings

Other settings are available on the MSI Afterburner interface. These settings include cool features such as the Framerate limit, Default skin (where you can change the appearance of your interface to suit your style and personality), Video capture, and Game screenshots that you can use to save your most interesting gaming moments and share them with your friends or gaming community.

Fault handling

Enable low-level IO driver

If the overclocking process causes your PC’s screen to go black, do not worry. A quick fix to this would be to shut down the computer by long pressing the power button and then powering it on again to continue the process. The black screen phenomenon may be a scary experience but it should not worry you too much. This may be as a result of your video card overclocking absolute limits.

It is recommended that you should not overclock your card’s absolute limit range. You can resolve this problem by going to your interface and clicking on Settings. Select the General tab and proceed to check the “Enable hardware control and monitoring”, and “Enable low-level IO driver” options.

This will prevent you from overclocking your video card to absolute limits and causing a potential OS crash.

How to use MSI Kombustor

How to use MSI Kombustor

The MSI Kombustor is a benchmarking utility tool for testing the limits of your graphics card. It works on Windows OS and provides the user with a detailed analysis about the performance of their GPU immediately after overclocking.

In terms of functionality, the MSI Kombustor pushes you graphics card to the limits to test its thermal performance and stability. That being said, below are the steps on how to use the MSI Kombustor:

YouTube video

Step 1: To use the MSI Kombustor, first you need to download and install the burn-in benchmarking tool on your MSI Afterburner.

Step 2: Launch the MSI Afterburner and then on the user interface, locate the three buttons at the top center of the UI. Click on the letter K located right above the Core Voltage meter.

Note that K stands for Kombustor and it should be highlighted and clickable if you’ve downloaded and installed the Kombustor. If not, proceed to the official MSI Afterburner website to download and install it.

Step 3: Proceed to click on the letter K located above the core voltage meter to load the MSI Kombustor.

Step 4: The tool will start stress testing your GPU right away. After the stress test is complete you will be able to estimated base values for your GPU temp, GPU load, and FPS. These values are essential to understanding how your card can perform at a base level.

Step 5: When you’re finally done and are considering closing the MSI Kombustor, remember to save the results for later comparison with the after-boost record values of your graphics card.


1. How do I use MSI Afterburner in games?

The MSI Afterburner can be used with almost every graphics card in the market to boost the graphics performance of your PC. It works by testing the limits of your graphics card in terms of thermal capacity and stability while gaming.

In a nutshell, the MSI Afterburner is a software utility tool that taps into the unexploited optimum performance of your PC to give you the best gaming experience of your life. It has an easy-to-use interface and it comes with a clear guide on how to install and use it.

2. Does MSI Afterburner improve FPS?

Yes, it does. It is common knowledge that the better the FPS value the better your PC can handle high-resolution games.

However, this will depend on the hardware specifications of your graphics card. You can use the MSI Kombustor to get the basic read of your PC’s FPS value. Use the MSI Afterburner to tweak the settings of your card to improve the FPS value of your PC when playing HD games.

3. Does MSI Afterburner cause lag?

The answer to this question is subjective and it depends on other factors like the specifications of your PC hardware and video card. If you have a high-performance PC and a compatible video card then your gaming experience should be smooth and seamless.

Written by Jason Striegel

C/C++, Java, Python, Linux developer for 18 years, A-Tech enthusiast love to share some useful tech hacks.