Like OnePlus 7 Pro 90Hz refresh rate? Someone tried to port it to Xiaomi Mi 9

Once solely reserved for the so-called ‘gaming’ phones, the high refresh rate display panels are slowly becoming a mainstream component. In case of gaming or UI rendering, the difference between a regular (60Hz) and 90/120Hz display is truly remarkable.

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OnePlus 7 Pro rendering Google Chrome in 90Hz

Besides Razer, Asus and ZTE, OnePlus is the first major OEM to offer the incredibly high 90Hz refresh rate as an optional feature in the OnePlus 7 Pro. By default, only some apps are being rendered with the higher-than-normal refresh rate, but the whitelist can easily be overridden.

oneplus_7_pro_screen_refresh_rate_90hz_selected
Higher refresh rate does require extra battery juice

What if I tell you that you can get the same smooth experience on your phone by ‘overclocking’ the screen refresh rate? Sounds like downloading more RAM from the internet?

Believe it or not, some clever tinkerers managed to unlock the true refresh rate of the display panel of the Mi 9. After applying the necessary modifications, one can easily achieve up to 84Hz refresh rate on their Mi 9.

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Mi 9 rendering the browser in 84Hz after installing the mod

Applying the mod is surprisingly simple. You need an unlocked bootloader, as the modifications need to pushed to the DTBO partition of the Mi 9. FYI, DTBO (device tree blob overlays) holds various parameters of the hardware components.

A device tree (DT) is a data structure of named nodes and properties that describe non-discoverable hardware. Operating systems, such as the Linux kernel used in Android, use DTs to support a wide range of hardware configurations used by Android-powered devices. Hardware vendors supply their own DT source files, which Linux then compiles into the Device Tree Blob (DTB) file used by the bootloader.

The modded DTBO image (where display panel refresh rate values are changed) can be downloaded from this thread, which is part of Mi China forum. An easy to access mirror can be found in this XDA thread. Thanks to the design of the mod, it can be installed irrespective of the installed OS.

mi_9_84hz_screen_info

After downloading the image, flashing it via fastboot is the simplest way to install the mod.

fastboot flash dtbo dtbo_mod.img

Users can also flash it using compatible TWRP, rooted shell or third party partition flashers. Remember to backup your stock DTBO before tinkering with it.

There are some reported side effects of this refresh rate mod – green tint, overexposed color etc. Xiaomi used different display panels (all of them are from Samsung though) in Mi 9 units, thus your mileage may vary.

mi_9_display_panel_model
You can check your display panel (LCM) model using apps like this

It’s worth mentioning that the hardware makers fine tune the panels to their optimum performance output. There is always a change to damage them by pushing beyond the safety limit. But as the modder within you asks – why not!

People are trying to port this overclocking mod to other phones such as the regular OnePlus 7 and the OnePlus 6/6T. PiunikaWeb is keeping a tab on the development, so expect new updates from us on this matter.

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Kingshuk De

I came from a mixed background of Statistics and Computer Science. My research domains included embedded computer systems, mobile computing and delay tolerant networks in post-disaster scenarios. Apart from tinkering with gadgets or building hackintosh, I like to hop on various subreddits and forums like MyDigitalLife and XDA.