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One of the most effective GPU utilities is in danger

MSI Afterburner, a widely used GPU application, appears to be in danger. However, despite the recent controversy surrounding the software, MSI has assured us that it has no intentions to discontinue support for Afterburner (which is used for overclocking and more besides).

Afterburner creator Alexey Nicolaychuk (aka “Unwinder”) wrote a comment on the Guru3D forums saying that he was abandoning the project, and Tech Powerup took up the news.

When asked why he said so, Nicolaychuk added, “War and politics are the causes.” This was in response to a topic concerning an issue with Afterburner.

After that, he said, “I didn’t mention it in MSI Afterburner development news thread, but the project is partially abandoned by business during quite a long period already… It’s something I’d want to keep going while I have some spare time, but I’ll likely have to abandon it in favour of something that will help me make ends meet. (sic)

The underlying issue here is that Nicolaychuk is a Russian citizen, and MSI ceased paying him after the invasion of Ukraine. This forced him to work on the project independently into 2022 without money, which only served to increase his disillusionment with the whole thing. In another context, he remarks, “I feel like I’m pounding a dead horse and wasting energy on something that is no longer needed the firm.” (sic)

MSI confirmed that “payments had been placed on hold owing to the RU/UA war and the economic rules that involved,” but the company insisted that Afterburner was not cancelled.

“We fully aim to continue using MSI Afterburner. MSI has been focusing on finding a fix, and they hope to have it ready shortly.

Emerging indicators that a resolution is possible

Exactly what sort of answer would it be? One blogger for Wccftech tweeted an update from MSI, which Tech Powerup found (opens in new tab): “Our product marketing & accounting staff are dealing with this matter immediately. We were unable to compensate the author because of the ongoing conflict. We are still maintaining in touch with him and working out how to address this.”

If MSI is unable to pay the current developer due to financial difficulties, it is probable that they will seek alternative options, such as a different developer. Even if Nicolaychuk is correct, it appears that MSI has no interest in seeing the project cancelled.

That’s not unexpected, considering Afterburner’s versatility; in addition to overclocking, the programme can be used to perform other GPU tricks, such as undervolting, which reduces the graphics card’s power consumption and hence its noise output (something that RTX 4090 owners have been very interested in since the card came out).

Even if a game doesn’t provide a benchmarking mode, we at TechRadar still believe Afterburner to be a valuable tool for evaluating performance. Now that more of a stir is being made about this issue online, here’s hope MSI sticks to their word and finds a solution quickly.