A little while back, the Nintendo Switch received its latest major firmware update. Version 8.0.0 of the Switch's software brought with it features like software sorting, new icons, and some quality-of-life improvements. One feature Nintendo kept quiet was a new "boost mode" addition.
This addition is absent from the patch notes, so you'd be forgiven for not knowing it even exists. Some homebrew enthusiasts looked under the Switch's hood to discover what the boost mode entails. Effectively, boost mode overclocks the Switch's CPU, which usually runs at a 1GHz frequency, to 1.75GHz in some situations. This theoretically allows games to load faster and perform better. After 8.0.0 went live, updates for Super Mario Odyssey and The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild were released. These updates supposedly reduced those games' loading times fairly significantly.
According to this thread, the Switch's boost mode reduced Breath of the Wild's fast travel time by 8 seconds, shrine entering time by 3 seconds, and save file loading time by 10 seconds. We don't have any concrete figures on what boost mode has done for Super Mario Odyssey. It's worth saying here that software will need to be updated or developed specifically for boost mode in order to take full advantage of the new overclocking ability. With that in mind, you probably won't notice a massive difference if you boot up most Switch games post-update.
We don't yet know what Nintendo has in mind for its new boost mode (if anything). Whether more games will receive updates to improve load times and performance remains to be seen. We'll bring you more news on this as we get it. Until then, you can download firmware version 8.0.1 for your system right now. This latest update is incremental, adding only "general system stability improvements". Still, since boost mode was so well-hidden, you never know what Nintendo has up its sleeve.
Which games do you think would benefit from the Nintendo Switch's boost mode? Let us know in the comments below!