The Complete Guide To Using MSI Afterburner For Gaming

Level up your game.


MSI Afterburner is one of the top apps that a gamer can use. The software is a popular GPU overclocking utility and offers several other features useful for PC gaming enthusiasts. Likewise, this MSI Afterburner guide will help you use the app to its full potential to enhance your gaming experience.

Afterburner is a utility from MSI, which makes gaming accessories, graphics cards, and other hardware. Yes, it works with all graphics cards, even those not manufactured by MSI. Above all, the tool is entirely free and offers various features.

How to use MSI Afterburner?

Before reviewing the MSI Afterburner guide, make sure to download and install MSI Afterburner from MSI’s website. The installer will also ask you to install RivaTuner Statistics Server, or RTSS, an optional add-on software. While RTSS is essential to the software’s core functionality, it unlocks several other features of Afterburner. Hence, if you want to use all the features in this guide, install RTSS as well.

msi afterburner home

Afterburner will greet you with a fancy-looking window with several complex controls upon opening. However, follow the instructions below carefully and you’ll be fine. On the left, the “K” logo will open the MSI Kombustor app if you installed it, and the information button will display information about your hardware components. Apart from these, the “OC” button will open the OC Scanner tool that will automatically scan your GPU and look for the highest possible overclock settings.

Note: Your Afterburner interface might look different than shown in the image if you’re using another skin. The app contains various skins that you can apply to the interface. However, all the options remain the same, and you can find them on the main screen.

Overclocking the GPU

You can overclock your GPU in two ways: using the automated OC Scanner utility or adjusting the sliders manually. The OC Scanner feature of Afterburner scans your GPU to determine the highest suitable overclocking settings automatically. However, note that the process takes a considerable amount of time.

Click on the OC Scanner button (it looks like the letters “OC”), and select the Scan option. After a while, it will apply the best possible overclocking settings suitable for your GPU.

oc scanner msi afterburner

Alternatively, you can manually adjust the settings to overclock your GPU manually. Firstly, increase the Power Limit/Temperature sliders by 20% to allow headroom for overclocking. Further, increase the Memory and Core Clock sliders. Apply these settings to make the changes.

Caution: Increase the values by relatively very small margins and stress test your GPU to see if the settings hold fine. You may increase the values in smaller steps and apply. Repeat the steps until you find a good balance between the overclock and stability of your GPU. It’s essential that you don’t damage the hardware. To perform a stress test, you can use any third-party GPU Benchmark software and keep it running for a few minutes every time you apply new overclocking settings.

Overclocking your GPU means allowing it to perform better, resulting in better performance of games. In more straightforward terms, you can get more FPS.

How to adjust the fan curve on MSI Afterburner

You can set up a custom fan curve using MSI Afterburner. This means that you can define your GPU’s fan speed in accordance with its temperatures.

1. To adjust the fan curve, click on the “gear icon” to open Settings.

2. Further, navigate to the “Fan” tab and toggle the “Enable user-defined software automatic fan control” on.

fan curve settings msi afterburner

3. A graph and some options will appear. The graph represents the fan speed and GPU temperature. You can set up eight nodes on the graph that determine your GPU’s fan speed. Adjust these nodes as per your preference.

A steep graph can undoubtedly keep your GPU temperature low but can also cause slight damage in the long run. Hence, it would be best to find a balanced curve when you’re manually defining the fan curve.

How to use the On-Screen Display (OSD) on MSI Afterburner

MSI Afterburner offers a handy feature called the On-Screen Display. It is an overlay that displays on top of your games, showing information about the frame rate, CPU and GPU usage/temperatures, RAM usage, etc.

on screen display osd

1. First, open the MSI Afterburner Settings.

2. Navigate to the Monitoring tab.

3. Now, check all the components you want to see in the OSD. While checking them, also check the “Show in On-Screen Display” option. For instance, you can select the CPU and GPU usage/temperature options, memory usage, and frame rate options shown in the OSD.

monitoring tab msi afterburner settings

4. Further, apply these settings and navigate to the “On-Screen Display” tab.

5. Click on the text field next to the “Toggle On-Screen Display” option and press your preferred key or key combination on the keyboard. It can be any key, such as a function key like F9, using which you can turn the OSD on and off. After pressing it, the key will appear in the text field. Press OK to apply these settings.

on-screen display properties

Now, every time you play a game, the OSD will appear on the top-left corner of the window. You may have to toggle it on using your selected key for the first time.

Limit FPS of games using RTSS

Up until now, this MSI Afterburner guide showed the features of the Afterburner app. However, there is another one that you can configure using RTSS. While most games offer a limiting the maximum FPS, or using V-Sync can do it, it increases the input lag in some cases. Using the RivaTuner Statistics Server (the add-on that we installed while installing Afterburner), you can limit the said game’s FPS.

1. Search for “RivaTuner Statistics Server” in the Start Menu and open it.
If the program window does not open, open it by clicking on its Taskbar icon:


2. There, click on the Add button on the bottom-left of the window. Now, select the .EXE file of your desired game. For this, you need to navigate to the game’s install folder.

3. After adding the game, select the game.

4. Now, set a value for the “Framerate limit” option. To disable the limit, enter “0” as the value. Minimize the window to put the app in the background.

rivatuner stastics server limit fps

This will limit your selected game’s FPS every time you run it. This method doesn’t have any drawbacks.

That’s everything that you can do using MSI Afterburner. This MSI Afterburner guide covers all the features you can use to enhance your gaming experience. It also offers other features like recording, but those are quite complex to configure and not the best choice. You can use NVIDIA ShadowPlay to record your game with an NVIDIA GPU.

Siddharth Dudeja

Siddharth Dudeja

An engineering student with a keen interest in most aspects of technology. Likes to write about Microsoft, Apple, Laptops, Gaming, etc.
More From Fossbytes

Latest On Fossbytes

Find your dream job