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Cooling, Overlays, Overclocking & Controlling Your GPU's with MSI Afterburner

Started by theblacknight04, Aug 16, 2015, 01:27 am

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Aug 16, 2015, 01:27 am Last Edit: Aug 26, 2015, 12:35 pm by theblacknight04
I have been asked lately by several members advise on how to reduce their GPU temperatures and to keep your fans from being too loud/noisy and over spooling up whilst gaming.. This is a guide to help you control exactly what your GPU does whilst gaming!

The first thing to know is that all graphic cards produce excessive heat whilst gaming and especially when under Full Load.. The internal BIOS of your GPU is programmed with a stock cooling, where as your cards utilization increases, so does heat, therefore the fans are designed to increase RPM as temps rise.

However many pro gamers much prefer to keep things tightly controlled and setup things themselves. This is the preferred method as not only will it keep fan noise to a minimum, it will extent the life of your GPU!

A common mistake is that MSI Afterburner is ONLY for MSI branded cards. This is a common misconception. You can use Afterburner (now abv to AB for this tutorial) for ANY Graphics card.. There are a few others out there too but the most popular are Afterburner & EVGA's Precision X

This tutorial will be in 3 parts which will cover everything from cooling your fans, to creating overlays ingame and finally how to overclock your Graphics Card. For Now, Lets keep things simple and concentrate on Part 1

Part 1: Cooling your Fans  

Here's How:

1. Download the latest version of MSi Afterburner here:

2. Install AB and run the program. This will also install Rivertuner Statistics Server (we'll tackle that later) Dependant on your system, it may require additional Microsoft SDK Direct X components to install. This is perfectly normal..

3. On first run it MAY ask for a reboot to complete installation, if requested to reboot, do so now.

4. Now run AB and you will be presented with the main interface.

5. Click on "settings" at the bottom ( the default interface may vary between Screenshot 1 & 2)


Screenshot 2

6. Now Copy these settings in Screenshot 3:

Screenshot 3

7. NOTE:

  • AMD users disable ULPS (Ultra Low Power State) MUST be checked and after clicking ok MAY trigger a further reboot before continuing..
  • NVIDIA users will find this option greyed out.

    8. Once you have checked these settings, click on "OK" to save them.

    9. Go back into settings ( now what we have done has already been saved) and click the "Fan" tab at the top

    10. Click "Enable User Defined Fan Control". This will now display a graph with a fan curve, but its the default fan curve and this is not optimised. We are going to create out OWN custom Curve. ( Screenshot 4)

    Screenshot 4

    11. To produce more bullet/dots, click anywhere on the line until you have 8 dots. (Screenshot 5)

    Screenshot 5

    12. Now to create that custom Fan Curve.. It doesnt need to be EXACT but copy as best you can the custom curve detailed in Screenshot 6 by dragging the dots.

    Screenshot 6

    13. Set the Fan Speed Update period to 2000 milliseconds. Then click "OK"

    14. You have now created your very own custom Fan Curve. Click the Minimize button to return Msi Afterburner to your system tray where it will sit and monitor your GPU temperatures.

    Things to Note:
  • If you click the "X" in the top right of AB, this will close the application and it will no longer monitor your GPU, you MUST always click the minimize button.
  • Every time your PC reboots, MSi Afterburner has been set to run automatically in the background and can be identified in your system tray as a aeroplane icon. Simply click on it to open the main interface.
  • It has taken me a long time to find a custom fan profile that works with high end GPU's and this fan curve should keep your temperatures constantly under 75C even at FULL load for prelonged gaming. (Benchmarking may increase the temperatures slightly)
  • checking the "Syncronise Settings for similar graphics processors" ensures that if you are running more than 1 GPU, the fan curve and all settings will be applied to all cards in your system whether SLi/Crossfire is enabled or not
  • Having your GPU always stay well under safe thermal limits will reduce fan noise, keep temps to a minimum, and extend the life of both your fans and GPU
  • This is My fan curve and you DO NOT have to follow it. If you prefer, you can adjust the curve to your optimal settings that you may prefer.
  • This fan curve is best used on High End Graphic Cards and has been tested on the following cards:
  • AMD R270
  • AMD R280
  • AMD R290
  • AMD R290x
  • AMD R380
  • AMD R390
  • AMD R390x
  • NVIDIA GTX 960
  • NVIDIA GTX 970
  • NVIDIA GTX 980
  • NVIDIA GTX 980Ti
  • NVIDIA Titan X/Z.

    I hope you find this tutorial useful.. In the next part, I will discuss how to overlay ANY sensor information that you want onto your gameplay with MSI & Rivertuner to include:
  • FPS
  • GPU Temps
  • Fan Speeds
  • CPU & GPU Usage
  • RAM Usage
  • Core & Memory Clocks.

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