The Nintendo Switch 8.00 update, which was released a couple of weeks ago, has apparently added a hidden feature that makes games load faster.
The version 8.0.0 patch for the Switch, rolled out on April 15, included several new features that allow players to sort their installed software, transfer save data between devices, and zoom in on their games. Homebrew enthusiasts, however, found an addition that was not included in the official changelog.
Nintendo apparently added what was referred to in a discussion on the Retroarch discord as “boost mode,” which allowed the Nintendo Switch to overclock its CPU to 1.75GHz in certain situations. This is a significant improvement from the CPU’s normal speed of 1GHz.
The hidden boost mode, coupled with the release of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild version 1.6.0, made the game’s loading times much faster. Comparisons made by GBATemp user Brawl345 revealed that the time it takes to load save files was reduced to 21 seconds from 31 seconds, fast travel down to 11 seconds from 19 seconds, and shrine entries quickened to 7 seconds from 10 seconds.
Nintendo also rolled out Super Mario Odyssey version 1.3.0, and while no specific times have been mentioned, the game is also loading much faster with the help of boost mode.
It remains to be seen if Nintendo will eventually reveal boost mode, and if it has other plans to take advantage of the hidden feature. Current software will need to be updated to make use of boost mode, so players should keep an eye out for incoming patches to their games that may result in quicker loading times.
There were rumors that Nintendo was planning to unveil two new Nintendo Switch models at this year’s E3, with the first one to be a cheaper version that will serve as the successor to the aging Nintendo 3DS line, and the second one to be an upgraded version that will target avid gamers. Nintendo has since said that it will not announce new hardware at E3 2019, so for players hoping for a more powerful system, the overclocked Nintendo Switch through boost mode will have to do for now.
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