MSI Afterburner is a pretty easy-to-use GPU overclocking from, you guessed it, MSI. While initially the software was only designed to work with MSI cards, it has now been tweaked to support pretty much any GPU out there.
This really opens up a lot of possibilities for users who are looking for that extra bit of performance from their hardware. In this article, we will talk about how you can use MSI Afterburner to overclock your GPU successfully.
Keep in mind that overclocking any component is risky business and you run the risk of causing permanent damage to the component you chose to overclock in case something goes wrong. This is especially true in the case of laptops, where the thermal headroom is much less.
With that out of the way, let’s get started.
Also read: How to check GPU temperature in Windows 10?
How to overclock GPU using MSI Afterburner?
Before we get to overclocking our card, we need to know our card’s baseline performance. To measure this, we’re going to use MSI Kombuster, another handy tool from MSI that works in conjunction with Afterburner to help stress test GPUs.
Step 1: Open MSI Afterburner and click on the K icon up top. This will launch Kombuster.
If the K icon is greyed out for you. You need to download and install MSI Kombuster.
Step 2: Click on the benchmark preset that matches whatever resolution you’re running. In my case, I’ll click on the Benchmark – Preset: 1080 button to start the test.
Let it complete and note down the scores. You can use these later to see how much of a performance gain you’ve earned.
Step 3: Now that we know how our card performs at the base clock, its now time to start overclocking. The first thing you need to do is set the Power limit and Temp. limit sliders to the max.
This will make your card more power-efficient and allow it to reach higher temperatures. Don’t be surprised if you see absurd GPU temperatures though.
If you’re using a laptop or have an older GPU, chances are these sliders will be greyed out for you. In that case, move on to the next step.
Step 4: Now, start Kombuster in the background and keep increasing your Core clock slider in small steps. Roughly 25-30MHz at a time.
Running Kombuster in the background helps you keep an eye out for any glitches, stutters and lags you might run into.
Keep pushing the slider up until going further gives you graphics issues. This is the maximum limit your core clock speed can go.
Step 5: Next up, we’re going to repeat this process with the Memory clock slider. Except for this time, the increments will be fairly larger, around 50-70MHz per step.
Keep pushing the slider until you start running into graphics issues. At this point, you’ve basically reached the absolute limit of what your card can do.
Step 6: At this stage, you should test these settings for a prolonged period of time to make sure everything is steady, and there are no random glitches.
Try running Kombuster for as long as 10-15 minutes or playing any heavy game at the highest settings for some time. You can also compare scores we took in step 2 to measure how much of a performance boost you got.
Step 7: Once you’re happy with the settings, you can save them as a profile by clicking the floppy disk icon at the bottom.
And that’s how you can overclock your card to extract the maximum possible performance from your hardware. Once again, overclocking is a risky business, and we’d suggest you hold back on the absolute limits of your card for not only better stability but also to avoid any permanent damage.