One of the most popular GPU performance monitoring and tuning tools is "probably dead," its developer has announced. Alexey 'Unwinder' Nicolaychuk is the Russian developer of MSI Afterburner, and took to the Guru3D forums last week to explain that progress has already been halted for nearly a year due to the "politic[al] situation." This is obviously a reference to the Ukraine war and sanctions on Russia, supported by many companies, such as MSI and Asus.
The news regarding the end of MSI Afterburner development came to light as forum members were talking with 'Unwinder' about using the tool with the new AMD Radeon RX 7000 graphics cards like the RX 7900 XT. In response to a query about upcoming support for the new RDNA3 GPUs, the developer made it clear that anyone waiting for new GPU support will probably be waiting a very long time. Actually, MSI Afterburner may even have reached the end of its development already.
'Unwinder' informed his forum-mates that MSI Afterburner has already been in stasis for some time. It has been almost a year since MSI collaborated with the Russian developer on the software. Apparently, the Afterburner license agreement that was key to the company / developer relationship was effectively dissolved about 11 months ago. 'Unwinder' has tried to continue to update and refine the project without the support of MSI's hardware and software resources, but he opined that the job has been like "flogging a dead horse." He said he would continue to offer some support for the GPU tool in his spare time, but he will likely have to now focus on other paid projects, simply to pay the bills.
MSI Responds: It's Not Dead. It's Getting Better!
This story seems to be developing fast, with MSI keen to make sure its popular Afterburner app continues on. Our colleagues at PC Gamer have gotten a statement from MSI, which should put some worries to rest. "We fully intend to continue with MSI Afterburner," a rep told the publication. "MSI have been working on a solution and expect it to be resolved soon."
Whether or not that "solution" would involve the original developer was briefly up in the air, until WCCF editor Hassan Mujtaba posted a response from MSI on Twitter. "Our product marketing & accounting team are dealing with this problem now," an MSI rep reportedly told Mujtaba. "Due to the war, our payment couldn't transfer to the author's bank account successfully. We are still keeping in touch with him and figuring out how to solve this."
So it seems like now that the Afterburner situation has come under a public spotlight, MSI is suddenly eager to figure out how to pay Nicolaychuk for his ongoing efforts. Hopefully, that will include compensation for the last year of development, as well as some quick work getting support going for AMD's latest cards, and improving support for Nvidia's 40-series GPUs as well.
We've reached out to MSI with some questions of our own, and will update this story if we get any more substantive information from the company.
Stick to the Official MSI Afterburner Site for Downloads
As of now, the last stable release of MSI Afterburner is dated December 2021. If you are using a supported GPU and still use Afterburner by default on new builds, please make sure you check the official site only for downloads and updates. Last November, MSI Afterburner was in the news for being targeted by malware distributors, who set up fake but convincing-looking download websites. The genuine download is still available direct from MSI, with no hint given about the development being on-hold (or worse), despite the news above.
Users on the lookout for an alternative up-to-date overclocking and undervolting tool for their GPU might check with their specific GPU vendor, or consider universal alternatives like Asus' GPU Tweak. AMD GPU users also have some pretty extensive tools in the Adrenalin Edition Software they will have installed (check under the Performance tab).
RTSS Development Continues
In some better news from 'Unwinder,' in the same forum thread, he confirms that development of RTSS (the popular RivaTuner Statistics Server) is a separate hobby project, not dependent on MSI, so it is very much alive and kicking, and will continue to "get future updates and support."