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The Witcher 3 on Switch: what do you gain by modding and overclocking?

We’ve looked at the process of overclocking the Nintendo Switch in the past. We know that Nintendo chose to use Nvidia’s Tegra X1 below its stock specification to preserve battery life and to more effectively manage thermals. But once you’ve overclocked a compromised unit, you can’t help but wonder just how much extra performance you can unlock in any given game – and few titles challenge the Switch more than Saber Interactive and CD Projekt RED’s port of The Witcher 3. Adding further spice is that a range of mods have emerged for the Switcher port, meaning that we can actually scale the game along with CPU and GPU clock speeds.

First of all though, let’s be clear. Even without mods, The Witcher 3 is something of a miraculous conversion bearing in mind the limited capabilities of the Switch. Coders of Nintendo’s hybrid have become quite accomplished at scaling down graphics to the Maxwell-based mobile GPU but smart coding has seen the game somehow squeezed into running at a respectable frame-rate on just three available ARM Cortex A57 CPU cores running at a seemingly paltry 1.0GHz. If you own a Switch, we highly recommend this conversion as a handheld experience, though blown up large on your 4K TV, the blur factor in the visuals is just too much. But perhaps with some mods and an overclock, we can actually improve the docked experience? At the very least, perhaps we can get more of an idea of the kind of Witcher experience possible if Nintendo had stuck to Nvidia’s stock CPU and GPU clocks – 1785MHz and 921Mhz respectively.

Before we go on, you should be aware of the dangers and challenges in overclocking Switch hardware. Only select models can be exploited, for starters, and once you start delving into areas of the Horizon OS and its software that you have no business meddling with, Nintendo is will within its rights to ban your console from access to its online services. Also worth mentioning is that overclocking obviously draws extra power and creates extra heat that the Switch may have trouble dissipating. I mean, we are talking about an extra 75 per cent of CPU power paired with a 20 point upclock on the graphics core.

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