Check out this bloated Xiaomi Mi 9 turned beastly gaming phone
Smartphones made for gaming come with serious hardware, flashy design, active cooling, and sometimes extra buttons to enhance the overall gaming experience on a mobile phone. What if you wanted to create your own? That’s what people on the YouTube channel Geekerwan planned to do. Good kind of. These guys took a Xiaomi Mi 9 with a Snapdragon 855 and tweaked the hardware and software extensively to turn it into a mobile gaming monster.
The idea is that a three-year-old flagship smartphone has enough power to run modern mobile games and can be bought cheaply second-hand. In this video, the Mi 9 with a cracked back was only bought for 700 CNY (about $107) and is perfect for converting it into a gaming phone. Basically, anyone who wants to find a cheap smartphone to do this should search a Snapdragon 855-powered device with moderate community support should do well – something like a OnePlus 7T.
The Mi 9’s 3,300mAh battery won’t be enough. So the battery is tripled by connecting them in parallel, so the phone now technically has a 9900mAh battery – this will require changing the software to tell it the battery size. It involves knowledge of unlocking bootloaders and flashing aftermarket software.
The next step is to overclock and boost the chipset. Flashing a spare core even allows the display to be overclocked to run at higher frame rates than intended by the factory.
The cost of these adjustments is heat. A personalized thermal management system is therefore essential. In its factory state, the smartphone is not optimized for extreme heat, therefore the camera module has been removed and a heatsink with 40 mm cooling fan has been added with thermal compound. Of course, powering the fan will require drawing from the battery. In this case, a DC to DC converter board is added to regulate the 5V output current to the cooling fan. They even added switches to control the fan speed.
Everything is packaged in a 3D printed SLA case to house the new brick, with a universal bracket to mount it on a gamepad. Watch the video to see how the phone fared in benchmarks and stability tests.
Spoiler alert: it does not disappoint. Genshin Impact – a graphics-intensive game – averaged 39 frames per second before changes with the highest settings. With the new mods, an average of 50 frames per second was achieved.
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