How to fix MSI Afterburner not working on Windows 10

If you’re looking to overclock a GPU or undervolt it, you will have heard of an app called MSI Afterburner. Most guides mention this app as an easy and reliable way to overclock a GPU or undervolt it. It supports both Nvidia and AMD GPUs, and can also be used to control the fan speed of a GPU as well as monitor its temperature.

If you’re trying to use MSI Afterburner to change how the hardware on your system works, and you’re unable to change anything or the various controls aren’t working, here’s what you can do.

Fix MSI Afterburner not working

There are two common problems that users experience in MSI Afterburner; they’re unable to access the graph for customizing the fan speed, or the sliders that control the clock speeds do not work.

1. Ctrl+F not working

You can bring up the fan speed control by tapping the Ctrl+F keyboard shortcut however, your GPU must have its own fan in order to be able to use this feature.

Check GPU fan

To check if your GPU has its own fan, you can look at the packaging or box it came in, or you can Google its model number.

  1. Right-click the taskbar and select Task Manager from the context menu.
  2. Go to the Performance tab on the Task Manager.
  3. Select GPU – 1 from the column on the left.
  4. At the top right of the GPU 1 graph, note down the model of your GPU.
  5. Visit the manufacturer’s website for the GPU and check the specifications of your model to see if it has a fan of its own. Normally, GPUs used in laptops do not have their own fan.

Enable hardware modification

If you’ve confirmed that your GPU has its own fan that MSI Afterburner should be able to control, you may need to enable the fan control itself.

  1. Click the settings button on the main MSI Afterburner interface.
  2. Go to the Fans tab (if the Fans tab is absent, the app cannot detect your GPU fan).
  3. Enable the “Enable user defined software automatic fan control” option.
  4. Tap Ctrl+F and you will see the fan curve.

If there is no GPU fan to control, you can use other apps to control the fans on a Windows 10 system.

2. Sliders inactive

The sliders on MSI Afterburner may be inactive for two reasons; a problem with the app, a restriction with the hardware. To fix a problem with the app, uninstall it.

  1. Open the Control Panel.
  2. Go to Programs>Uninstall a program.
  3. Select MSI Afterburner from the list of installed apps.
  4. Click the Uninstall button at the top.
  5. During the uninstallation process, MSI Afterburner will ask if you want to keep your settings. Make sure you select NO.
  6. Once the app has been uninstalled, install it again and you will be able to control the Memory clock and the Core clock at the very least.

Other inactive sliders

It is possible that the GPU model you have doesn’t allow you to change the core voltage and core power consumption for the chip. In that case, the sliders for these two items will not work. These sorts of restrictions are normally found in GPUs used in laptops and there’s no way around them.

Conclusion

MSI Afterburner is easy to use but it is restricted by the hardware that is installed on your system. Often, there isn’t much that can be done other than to look for a different app to customize how the GPU works, or to upgrade hardware.

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How to GPU Stress Test: Best Graphics Cards Tests to Make

A dedicated graphics card, or a GPU is not an essential hardware component. Computers are perfectly capable of running without them using just the on-board graphics card. In fact, you will find plenty of systems available today that do not have a dedicated GPU but come with SSDs and the latest processors. That said, if you need to play games, you cannot do without a GPU.

Games always tell you what the best and what the minimum hardware requirements are to run them. If your hardware lies within the recommended hardware range, you’re good to go but, your current GPU might be capable of delivering a better gaming experience. The only way to find out is by stress testing it.

GPU Stress Test

A GPU stress test forces your GPU to work at maximum capacity for an extended period of time. Normally, a GPU is only in use when a specific app e.g., a game is running. During that time, it may be running at low or moderate levels, or it may be running at a high level. It’s at this high level that the GPU may be considered under stress but it’s not the same as a stress test.

When you play a game that has high graphics requirements, your GPU may cycle through high and moderate use. Even if it is consistently running at a high rate/speed, it won’t be working as hard as it would under a stress test.

A GPU stress test will run the GPU at its maximum capacity and see how well it works. If your system continues to run without trouble i.e., crashing, it means it can work well when pushed. If the system crashes, that means you’ve found the upper limit to your GPU’s capabilities.

About GPU stress testing

Before you start a GPU stress test, you should know that;

  • A stress test can last as long as 30 minutes or 8 hours. Choose a tool that lets you pick how aggressively the GPU is tested.
  • Your GPU and/or system may crash during a stress test (so save everything and close apps you don’t need).
  • You can stress test a GPU regardless if it’s underclocked, overclocked, or running at factory-set levels.
  • A stress test may, in rare cases, damage hardware.
  • Your system will get hot during a stress test. If your system temperature approaches 100°C, or more, abort the test.
  • During a stress test, your GPU will use more power so make sure you do not stress test it on battery. Your system may crash and it won’t be because of the GPU being unable to perform but because it was unable to get as much power as it needed.
  • Stress testing should be done without any parallel tasks running so run a test when you know you won’t need to use your system.

GPU stress testing tools

There are lots of great GPU stress testing tools that you can use on a Windows 10 system. Many of them have their own system monitoring tools as well which show you how your system is holding up under the stress. If your tool of choice doesn’t have a system monitoring tool, give either HWiNFO or MSI Afterburner a try.

The two parameters that you absolutely need to keep an eye on are temperature and GPU usage. With temperature, you should know that if a system gets too hot, but doesn’t crash, the sustained heat may still damage it.

1. OCCT

OCCT is a free app that can test different hardware components on your system, the GPU is one of them.

A good reason to use this app is that it has system monitoring built-in, it allows users control over how long a test is run, and the UI presents results that are easy to understand even if you do not know much about a GPU’s performance metrics.

2. FurMark

FurMark is best used for moderate level testing. It stress tests against OpenGL benchmarks and is a good tool to check how well your GPU is working. You can run the test on various resolutions, and the tool can test both the GPU and the on-board graphics card. It also has a built-in temperature check which will sound an alarm if your system is too hot. The temperature check can be configured from the app’s settings.

3. Unigine Heaven

If you’re looking to put your GPU through its paces, Unigine Heaven is the tool to use. It will put the chip under as much stress as it possibly can. The tool does have hardware limitations i.e., it requires ATI Radeon HD 4xxx and higher, Intel HD 3000 and higher, or NVIDIA GeForce 8xxx and higher.

If your GPU chip is older than these models, this tool is not for you.

The tool also requires 512 video memory and 1GB free disk space but those two are normally available on low-end systems. Once installed, you will run the Heaven Benchmark tool. It will walk you through a game-world that is built to test your GPU’s capabilities and is easily one of the most fun tests you’ll ever run. For a more demanding test, try Unigine Superposition by the same developer.

Graphics Card stress test duration

We’ve mentioned that the stress test for a GPU is timed and the longer it runs, the more you know how stable it is. That said, use the following as a reference when you run a stress test.

  • 30 minutes – 1 hour: Basic stability testing. Useful to run after overclocking or undervolting a GPU.
  • 1 hour – 2 hours: Highly stable if the GPU or system or something else does not crash. Use if you think your GPU isn’t working as well as it should or if you’re thinking of upgrading the chip.
  • 8 hours: Extremely high-level of stability. Use if you’re thinking of mining bitcoin or something similar.

Conclusion

Stress tests shouldn’t be run casually. They do have the potential to damage hardware however, any time you’re thinking if replacing your GPU or if you’ve overclocked/underclocked/undervolted it, running a stress test is a good idea.

If the new settings of the GPU render it unstable when it is forced to work faster, it’s good to know beforehand so you can fix it and avoid a system crash at the wrong time.

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CPU & Ram Stress Tests – Best Tools to Stress Test Your Computer

Computer hardware, like most things, has a limit to its capabilities. The question is, how much can you safely push hardware? There is an upper limit to its capabilities and how long something like a GPU or CPU can be put under heavy load before it causes system instability (like a BSOD), or it damages hardware. The best way to find out what your system’s hardware is capable of is to stress test it.

Stress testing hardware

Stress testing hardware is often done to check if the hardware is working as well as it should, and what kind of performance it is capable of. You may stress test hardware for a number of reasons but the process is the same in all cases.

The hardware that is being tested is run at its maximum capacity for an extended period of time. Think of your CPU working extra hard when you render frames for animation. While the frames are being rendered, the CPU is working harder than it normally does. Imagine it working at that same pace for thirty minutes.

  • How hot would your system get?
  • Would other components be impacted by the strain the CPU is under?
  • Would your CPU work well under these same conditions or would the OS crash?

A stress test tries to answer these questions and more. If you’re still not sure you know what a stress test is, think of it as a very thorough medical exam given to hardware.

RAM & CPU Stress tests

RAM and CPU are two hardware components that are often subject to a stress test. They both tend to be on the expensive side, and while RAM generally isn’t underclocked a CPU is often underclocked when installed. Both components can be tested for maximum performance but the tests will be performed independently of the other i.e., a RAM stress test has nothing to do with a CPU stress test although tools for these tests may run the tests side-by-side.

About stress testing

Stress testing is done via special apps or tools. Some of these tools can be run from your desktop i.e., from Windows 10 while others run as boot tools. In both cases, you should know that;

  • Testing will take time, it may take thirty minutes, or it may take several hours. It depends on the test and the app.
  • During testing, you might not be able to use your system at all.
  • It generally isn’t a good idea to interrupt a test unless the app offers you a break/stop point during testing.
  • Stress testing can be performed regardless if the hardware is running at factory-set levels, overclocked, or underclocked, though the results will differ for all three settings.
  • You should not perform a stress test on battery power. Plug your system into a power source before you begin a test.

What all this means is, make sure you know for a fact that you won’t need to use your computer for a while. Stress test it over the weekend or whenever you unplug.

System monitoring tools

A system monitoring tool isn’t essential to the stress testing process however, many people like to have one running. It allows them to see how well the system is running, how hot it is, etc. To that end, we recommend using any one of the following monitoring tools if you’re stress testing from the desktop.

HWiNFO

We’ve featured HWiNFO a few times on AddictiveTips. It’s an excellent app that, among other things, can give you lots of live information about your system. It comes in an installable version and a portable version. It offers a lot of information that may overwhelm you so take a good look at everything before you start a test.

Core Temp

If HWiNFO is offering you too much information to the point that it seems like noise, use Core Temp. It offers less information but the information that you need is all there. Be warned; this app tries to install a game-related item during installation. Pay close attention to the process so you can opt-out of it.

CPU Stress test tools

Prime95

Prime95 is a great stress testing tool for many reasons; it can be used by end-users for normal stress testing, it can be used by lab technicians for advanced, high-level stress testing, users can choose how aggressively they want to stress test their hardware by choosing the number of tests that are run, and testing can be stopped at any time.

It’s one major disadvantage is that it is somewhat complex to use. The UI might intimidate you when you first see it since it’s not friendly nor very descriptive. If you’re interested in using this tool, it’s a good idea to look up the various types of tests that it can run. This tool can also be used to stress test RAM.

Intel Processor Diagnostic Tool

This is Intel’s proprietary tool for stress testing their CPUs. If you’re looking for something simple that will tell you how well your system performed, this is a good tool to use. It’s also relatively tame in that its tests are highly unlikely to over-stress the system. It supports lots of old processors going as far back as Atom and Celeron processors. Testing can be stopped at any point. Download it here.

CPU-Z

CPU-Z is a very light-weight stress testing tool. It won’t subject your CPU to the same tests as Prime95. It will run benchmark and stress tests. The one excellent feature it has is that you can use it to reference the performance of your current CPU against other chips that are available. If you’re considering buying a new processor, stress test the one you have and select the new one you’re planning to buy from the Reference dropdown to compare them.

Testing in CPU-Z can be stopped at any time.

RAM Stress test tools

Memtest86

Memtest is a personal favorite when it comes to stress testing and diagnosing a system. This tool runs from BIOS so it’s great to use if your OS isn’t booting up. There’s a free version and a paid version of the app and the free version is great for most RAM stress tests. The tool offers stop points if you want to stop testing.

Memtest64

Memtest64, by name, sounds like the 64-bit version of Memtest86, or perhaps a newer version of it but the two apps are not related. Memtest64 offers users a GUI for stress testing RAM. If you’re able to access your Windows 10 desktop, you can use this tool to test how well your RAM is performing.

You can choose how aggressively the test is run and stop testing at any time. Change the stress test from ‘Run indefinitely’ to ‘Stop after’ and change how many loops or how many hours the test should run for.

OCCT

OCCT is a comprehensive testing tool; you can use it to stress-test all sorts of hardware components on your system including the RAM, CPU, and GPU. More importantly, you can schedule tests to run and limit how aggressively your hardware is tested.

The app also provides an excellent GUI that will make sense to users who aren’t too familiar with the technical parameters that judge the performance of hardware. It also has a built-in monitoring tool which means you don’t need other monitoring tools to see how well your hardware is working.

Conclusion

Stress testing tools range from basic to advanced. The results that you get from these tools are likewise either simple to understand or they provide more in-depth information about your hardware’s performance and health. There’s no rule that says how often you can or should stress test a system but stress testing it too often isn’t a good idea. If you’re happy with how well your system is running, don’t stress test it just for the sake of it. If you’re unsure what a stress test result means, you can always learn about it online.

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How to Underclock and Undervolt GPU (Quick Guide)

When you first set up your system its hardware components are set to function at a certain level. This is known as the factory settings and they’re set for hardware components like the CPU and GPU. The factory settings for a hardware component lie within a reasonable range of its capabilities; they do not restrict the hardware too much but they do not always allow the hardware to run at its maximum potential.

Users who want to get the most out of their hardware choose to overclock it. Users who need the hardware to slow down, will underclock it.

Underclock hardware components

Underclocking hardware, much like overclocking it, has its own set of problems. The factory settings for the GPU are set so that it is stable when it runs with the other hardware components on the system, and so that it can handle the load of work it is expected to. When a GPU is underclocked, the apps that need it may not work as well, they may freeze, they may not work at all, your system might crash, or the system might heat up.

Like overclocking, underclocking of a GPU should be taken seriously and done with caution. As such, follow this guide at your own risk.

Underclock a GPU

The easiest way to underclock a GPU is to use a GUI tool. We recommend using MSI Afterburner since it works with both AMD and NVIDIA GPUs.

  1. Download and install MSI Afterburner. It will also install the RivaTuner Statistics Server.
  2. Once installed, run the app and make sure your GPU is listed.
  3. On the left dial, you will see ‘GPU Clock’ and its current value in Mhz.
  4. In the middle of the app window, you will see the Core Clock slider. Move the knob to the left to begin underclocking the GPU.
  5. Select a profile configuration under profiles.
  6. Click the apply button.

GPU Clock Speeds: Pros vs Cons

Underclocking has some advantages;

  • An underclocked GPU will consume less energy.
  • Your system will, generally, run cooler so long as the other hardware components aren’t put under too much stress.
  • The system will also run more quietly; since the GPU won’t heat up as much as it would have when it was running on its factory-set levels, the fans won’t run as often or as fast as they normally would.

Underclocking a GPU also comes with some disadvantages;

  • Your system may become unstable, especially when you use apps that need the GPU running at its full power.
  • The system may slow down or various apps may start to crash when they try to use the GPU.
  • Although rare, the GPU might be damaged physically especially if it continues to receive more power than it needs from the PSU.

Underclocking vs Undervolting

The MSI Afterburner app has two features; underclocking and undervolting. Undervolting is entirely different from underclocking.

Undervolting limits how much power the GPU draws and it is an effective method to increase the performance of your system. When you undervolt the GPU, you’re able to limit how much power it draws even when it has been overclocked. It runs much cooler than it normally would but it still runs efficiently at its overclocked or factory-set rate.

Undervolting can give you better performance however, it may not always have a positive effect. You may end up with the same, or nearly the same performance as before. It is exceptionally rare that the system’s performance drops as a result but it is still possible.

Conclusion

MSI Afterburner makes it exceptionally simple to underclock a GPU, regardless if it is an AMD chip or an NVIDIA chip.

While it is easy to make this change to your hardware, and just as easy to revert it, you should still exercise some caution. Underclock the GPU in small increments and see how it affects the system’s performance.  If it becomes too unstable at some point, you will know what value is too low.

You can also check online for the best underclocking values for your GPU chipset. If it’s a popular and fairly recent chip, you will be able to find suitable values to set for its clock.

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Safe CPU Temps: How Hot is Too Hot for a CPU?

A laptop or desktop system has fans installed to keep it cool. No matter what you do, the hardware components will heat up when they’re being used. The degree to which they heat up will vary based on what you’re using the system for. A more resource-intensive task will cause the system to heat up more and if it gets too hot, it can be forced to shut down by the OS. If this keeps happening, your hardware may be damaged to the point where it needs to be replaced.

Safe CPU Temps

A computer system has several different hardware components but the CPU and GPU are two components that tend to run hot when the system is under stress. Keeping them cool will help your system run better and keep the rest of the hardware safe from damage.

What temp should my CPU be?

A system will get hot when it runs. There’s no preventing that. What’s concerning and needs to be mitigated is an exceptionally high temperature that will cause the system to shut down, and be damaged in the long run.

Safe temperature range: up to 40°C

Median range for system-intensive tasks: 40°C – 80°C

Dangerously high-temperature range: More than 90°C

Monitor CPU temperature

If you feel the system is too hot, you should use a tool to get a definitive temperature reading for the CPU. There are many apps that can tell you what the temperature of the CPU is. We recommend using RealTemp. Download it here. We have a guide that you can follow to learn how RealTemp can be used to monitor the CPU temperature and get alerts when it gets too hot.

Reduce CPU Temperatures

Here are a few things you can do to reduce CPU temperatures.

1. Keep the system physically clean

A laptop and desktop system is enclosed in its own case. The fans inside it are positioned to circulate air so that hot air flows out and cool air flows in. In doing so, the case will accumulate dust and it has to be cleaned. To clean the case you need;

  • A can of compressed air
  • Tools to open the case. This is normally going to be just a screwdriver but you need one that is the right size for the screws on your system’s case.
  • A mask or anything that you can use to cover your face while you clean.

To clean the system, follow the steps below;

  1. Open the case and make sure the screws are placed somewhere they won’t roll away (try a small bowl or cup).
  2. Once the case is open, use the can of compressed air to blow the dust away.
  3. For easy to reach areas, you can use a soft cloth to clean the dust.
  4. Pay close attention to the fans; they should be clean with nothing tangled in the blades.
  5. Make sure no wires have come loose and then close the case.

2. System placement

A system does not have to accumulate dust over the years if you’re careful. Make sure you clean the area around your system regularly. If you have pets, try to keep them out of the room the system is placed in or clean around it more regularly. As for placement, follow the steps below to make sure it’s well ventilated.

  • Examine the chassis of your laptop or the case of your desktop; look for the air vents and they will tell you where the air flows in and where it flows out.
  • When placing the system, make sure the vents are not blocked.
  • Make sure the vents are able to draw air in easily; you may not want them pointing at a wall since it will restrict how much air can flow and the wall will eventually heat up as more and more hot air is blown onto it.
  • Keep the system away from external sources of heat; don’t place it near a window where sunlight will hit it directly. Keep it away from heat sources like a space heater or similar.
  • Try to provide external cooling if possible.

3. Improve internal airflow

This only works for desktop systems that have a CPU tower. If you’ve built the PC yourself, you’ll be able to identify the components. Make sure the wires aren’t restricting the airflow and that the components that need to be kept cool are positioned as such. The air vents shouldn’t be blocked and the air from the fans should flow out through them. If you have two fans, you can use one to suck cool air in and the second to blow hot air out.

4. Use thermal paste

Thermal paste is used to keep a CPU cool. It improves heat conduction between two components. Better heat conduction means that the heat is able to flow from one end to the other more easily. When the heat is able to flow better, it won’t build up and create a hot area within the case or over a particular hardware component.

Thermal paste is normally applied between the processor and the heat sink. Before you apply it, it’s a good idea to learn how to do so. You should also clean it before applying it again. A good thermal paste will work for years and you won’t need to replace it but when you do, make sure you clean the one that’s been applied before.

5. Overclocking hardware

Overclocking hardware may allow you to get the system to run faster and maybe more efficiently but it will definitely run much hotter than it would at its factory settings. Try to avoid overclocking hardware and this goes for both the GPU and CPU.

6. Aftermarket CPU coolers

This solution works for desktops that have CPU towers. You can get aftermarket CPU coolers that will help keep the chassis/case cooler. It’s installed over the CPU and they serve to keep the CPU cool. For some, they seem to be unnecessary but if your system is running too hot, it’s a reasonable investment to make. Research which type of Aftermarket CPU coolers are available and install which suits you best.

7. Speed up fans

Operating systems do not allow users to manually control the speed of the fans. They keep an eye on the temperature of the system and turn the fans On when needed but they may not be running them fast enough to keep up with the heat that’s being built up. If that’s the case, you can manually increase the speed of the fans.

You can control the speed of the fans with SpeedFan or with HWiNFo. It depends on which app is able to detect and control them. Try them both and follow our guide on controlling the fan speed.

Conclusion

Heat can damage computer components. An OS will try and keep the system cool and you can try to limit how much stress you put on it but it might eventually prevent you from using the system to do what you need to do. That’s where you need to examine other, physical factors that can keep the system cool. It may require a bit of investment to keep a system cool but it will be worth it in the long term.

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