MSI intends 'to continue with Afterburner' overclocking app despite not paying its Russian dev

MSI Afterburner application open on a Windows background.
(Image credit: MSI)
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MSI Afterburner is an app used the world over for graphics card monitoring, overclocking, and undervolting. It's become pretty synonymous with general GPU tinkering, yet the app's developer has suggested it might not have long left to live in a forum post earlier this month. MSI disagrees, telling us "we fully intend to continue with MSI Afterburner."

MSI Afterburner is developed by Alexey 'Unwinder' Nicolaychuk, a Russian national who has kept the overclocking app functioning over many years. Nicolaychuk is also responsible for the development of RivaTuner Statistics Server, which is part of the foundational software layer powering Afterburner.

In a post on the Guru3D forums (opens in new tab) (via TechPowerUp (opens in new tab)), Nicolaychuk suggests that Afterburner's development has been "semi-abandoned."

"...MSI afterburner project is probably dead," Nicolaychuk says.

"War and politics are the reasons. I didn’t mention it in MSI Afterburner development news thread, but the project is semi abandoned by company during quite a long time already. Actually we're approaching the one year mark since the day when MSI stopped performing their obligations under Afterburner license agreement due to 'politic [sic] situation'."

Nicolaychuk says development of the app has continued over the past 11 months, but that may also be ending soon.

We're approaching the one year mark since the day when MSI stopped performing their obligations under Afterburner license agreement.

Alexey 'Unwinder' Nicolaychuk

"I tried to continue performing my obligations and worked on the project on my own during the last 11 months, but it resulted in nothing but disappointment; I have a feeling that I'm just beating a dead horse and waste energy on something that is no longer needed by company. 

"Anyway I'll try to continue supporting it myself while I have some free time, but will probably need to drop it and switch to something else, allowing me to pay my bills."

Development of the RivaTuner Statistics Server—software is pivotal to many of the functions of Afterburner—is materially separate from Afterburner and will continue, Nicolaychuk notes.

Nicolaychuk suggests the issue comes down to Russia's invasion of Ukraine, and we've since confirmed with MSI that this is the case. MSI has stated to PC Gamer that the payments were halted due to the ongoing war in Ukraine, saying: "payments had been put on hold due to the RU/UA war and the economic regulations that entailed."

The ongoing invasion has led to many countries and companies pulling out of Russian or reducing their footprint in the country significantly. The banking system used internationally to easily transfer funds across the globe, SWIFT, has been restricted in Russia. Many of the country's banks have been cut-off from the system since last March. Yet according to a report by Yale (opens in new tab), updated January 9, 2023, Micro-Star International Co. (MSI) is still operating in Russia.

On this being the end for Afterburner, MSI disagrees.

We fully intend to continue with MSI Afterburner.

MSI

"We fully intend to continue with MSI Afterburner," MSI tells PC Gamer. "MSI have been working on a solution and expect it to be resolved soon."

Whether in the same form or something slightly different, this doesn't sound like the end for the Afterburner software. Though it's unclear whether that means finding a way to pay Nicolaychuk, the sole custodian of the application for many years, or operating another plan to develop the overclocking app entirely.

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Jacob Ridley
Senior Hardware Editor

Jacob earned his first byline writing for his own tech blog from his hometown in Wales in 2017. From there, he graduated to professionally breaking things as hardware writer at PCGamesN, where he would later win command of the kit cupboard as hardware editor. Nowadays, as senior hardware editor at PC Gamer, he spends his days reporting on the latest developments in the technology and gaming industry. When he's not writing about GPUs and CPUs, however, you'll find him trying to get as far away from the modern world as possible by wild camping.