How to Use MSI Afterburner to Overclock GPU

Tons of gamers around the world have been raving about the new Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice game, while a portion of players is enjoying the new Overwatch game. Being an avid fan of these games, you immediately buy your copy. You head on to your house, turn on your gaming rig and then giddily, launched and opened your newly purchased games. Your excitement suddenly turned to disappointment as you realize that your computer does not have enough power to plow through these graphically demanding games.


Without enough power from the GPU, games like Overwatch or Sekiro, which are graphically demanding; tend to stutter a lot and in some cases, fail to load at all. Thankfully, you can still squeeze out new frames from your GPU to achieve a more seamless and smooth gaming experience.

To do this, you need to overclock your GPU. In this article, we will be teaching you how to use MSI Afterburner to Overclock GPU. We decided to go with MSI Afterburner since it is the most widely used and personal graphics card overclocking utility.  With this at hand, let us start with the tutorial.

Before You Begin

Before getting into the process of overclocking, there are some things that you need to be aware of. While you may have seen reviews of tech gurus and professionals doing overclocking using liquid nitrogen and all the high tech gear; the process is more complicated than it appears. With this, you should practice some caution and always remember to proceed with possible risks in mind.

Increased Heat

Throughout the process, you may expect some increase in temperature of the unit, which is brought about by increasing the clock speeds and do some changes with the voltage. With this at hand, you need to ensure that the heat produced in the process is dissipated. You need to make sure that the GPU is kept fresh to plow through the graphics-heavy games. Also, it is worth noting that not all graphics card are capable of overclocking.

Another important precautionary measure is that you need to ensure that your computer is far from a heat source such as a heating radiator. Proper ventilation and good airflow are vital components that help alleviate the accumulating heat produced by the GPU as it is overclocked.

Is the GPU suitable for Overclocking?

As mentioned in our introduction, not all GPUs are capable of being overclocked. With this, before you proceed with the process, you need to make sure that the unit can be overclocked. Without the required compatibility, you might end up with a wasted effort.

One of the critical aspects that help determine if a graphics card can be overclocked is the efficiency of the cooling system. Several GPU employs different means of air cooling. They can make use of multiple fans or use a liquid cooling set up. These methods do a significant change in terms of managing the heat produced by the unit.

Another factor that you need to make sure is the unit’s benchmark score. With this, you need to use benchmarking software. There are several benchmarking software to choose from on the internet. However, we highly recommend readers to use the Unigine Valley app.

Before proceeding with the benchmarking test, you need to check whether the fan speed is set to 100% in MSI afterburner. This is to achieve the highest cooling capacity. You should expect your fans to be noisy in the process, but this is just a small compromise you need to endure if you want to churn out more power from your GPU. The Unigine Valley app will be able to determine the temperature level as well as the noise level of the fans. Run the test for 15 minutes, and you are done.

According to professional overclockers, the 90 degrees Celsius level is the maximum temperature that is considered to be safe for the process. The gap that exists between the maximum temperature set and the 90 degrees level is the intended margin set for overclocking.

Overclocking using MSI Afterburner

After laying out all the necessary things you need to check before going into the process, it is high time to discuss the overclocking method.

The first step is to launch the MSI afterburner on your computer. After launching the software, scan through the interface to gain familiarity with the features. The left side houses the buttons that allow changes with the clock speed values, voltages, and fan speeds. The right portion, on the other hand, houses the interface that shows real-time information regarding the temperature, GPU usage, and voltage levels.

The whole premise of overclocking entails some trial and error until you achieve the best results. To find the best and most suitable performance of the GPU, you might have first to test it beyond its limits.

You can start by navigating through the settings and ticking the options that reveal “Unlock Voltage Control” as well as “Unlock Voltage Checking.” Checking these boxes allows you to push the core voltage to a higher degree. After this, increase the clock value to 10 ads then apply the changes. The changes will immediately take effect.

After doing the steps above, you need to check if the GPU can maintain its coolness. You can also check this through the Unigine Valley software. When the GPU is put under too much stress or overheats, the screen may turn black and will display an error message. When this happens, do not panic as most GPUs come with built-in protection to set the GPU back to its default setting.

If you choose a clock speed that cannot be sustained by the GPU, the unit may undergo sudden crashes and lags.  The best course of action when this happens is to increase the core voltage.  Doing this will also increase the heat produced by the GPU; with this, you also need to make sure that the GPU can still accommodate increased temperatures. Crashes can also occur if the GPU cannot support higher clock speeds.

As mentioned above, overclocking takes a lot of trial and error until you have arrived at the sweet spot that is possible for your GPU. With the use of MSI afterburner, the process is simplified and made less confusing.