Nintendo Switch modded and overclocked to run modern PC games

Published: Jul 22nd 2023, 10:49 GMT   Comments

Nintendo Switch can run modern PC games, but framerate leaves a lot to be desired

YouTuber Geekerwan demonstrates the process of modifying a Nintendo Switch console to play PC games.

Nindendo Switch running God of War, Source: Geekerwan

The first step in this endeavor involves unlocking the bootloader and installing the Android operating system on the Nintendo Switch. Following this, Geekerwan goes even further by adding the Ubuntu operating system. This allows him to tap into the true power of the console and opens the door to other more complex possibilities, such as installing Steam game launcher.

One of the impressive feats during the modification process is the ability to overclock the Nintendo Switch’s CPU and GPU. The console’s original 1.0 GHz CPU and 768 MHz GPU are significantly boosted to a 2.3 GHz CPU and 1.267 GHz GPU. Furthermore, the memory subsystem has been overclocked from 1600 MHz to 2500MHz. Integrated graphics tend to see massive performance boosts with increase memory bandwidth, and this has been shown in synthetic tests (in this case performed on Android operating system):

Nindendo Switch overclocking, Source: Geekerwan

Nintendo Switch is a handheld console with an NVIDIA Tegra X1 processor featuring 4 ARM Cortex-A57 CPU cores and 4 ARM Cortex-A53 CPU cores, along with an NVIDIA Maxwell-based GPU fearing 256 CUDA cores. The same SoC is also used by NVIDIA products such as Shield TV, still considered one of the best set-up TV boxes on the market.

By installing Ubuntu, Geekerwan gains access to the Steam software, which, through the proper translation layers, enables native support for certain games. Surprisingly, the console manages to run some modern titles, such as Titanfall 2 and God of War.

However, the framerate leaves much to be desired. One should expect 5–30 FPS depending on a title, which is not nearly enough to consider this experience playable. Furthermore, even liming the rendering resolution does not appear to have any significant effect due to CPU bottleneck. Nonetheless, the console proves its potential to handle lightweight 2D/isometric games that don’t require powerful hardware.

Nindendo Switch running PC games natively, Source: Geekerwan

The modification undertaken by Geekerwan showcases the possibilities of the Nintendo Switch when its limitations are pushed. Even though the console’s hardware dates back to 2017 (or even 2015 if we are looking at the SoC), which is not to be considered high-end anymore, the fact that modern games can run on it is impressive.

If Nintendo decides to launch a new version of the Switch, the dedicated modding community will undoubtedly ensure ongoing support for the consoles and offer access to a plethora of games, including emulated console ports, some of which were shown in the video as well. Definitely worth checking it out.


[Geekerwan] We Turned Nintendo Switch into a Steam Deck, And Runs PC Games! (420,445 views)

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