The Secret to the OnePlus 9 Series: Turbo Boost 3.0

  1. Gary C.
    OxygenOS Product Lead Staff Member Apr 29, 2021

    Gary C. , Apr 29, 2021 :
    Lemonade Post Launch Social Posts_Deep dive cover.png

    Hey everyone,

    The all-new OnePlus 9 series has set a record for fast and smooth performance. There is of course the blazing-fast Snapdragon 888 chip inside, but there’s also another deep-level software optimization custom made for OxygenOS: Turbo Boost 3.0.

    The new generation of Turbo Boost liberates the full power of LPDDR5 memory and UFS 3.1 storage. It also marks the first time that OnePlus has tied memory fusion technology into the OS experience. Among other things, the upshot is that you can have 25% more apps open at once, and still sustain high performance even when the system is low on memory.


    So how did OnePlus engineers bring this about?
    Before we can dive into the principles that make Turbo Boost 3.0 work, we first have to understand a few points about the connection between apps and memory.
    • In normal circumstances, every app uses the least amount of memory when it first opens.
    • When an app is actually in use, every operation, such as texting or taking a photo, will increase memory usage.
    • When we switch between apps or to the launcher, the app we were just using gets pushed to the background. But in order to make sure it can spring back into action when we need it, it has to keep using a certain amount of memory.
    We all know that the amount of memory in a smartphone is limited, and the more apps a system is running, the less memory is available. More than that, in the course of our research we discovered that some apps will misuse memory, clinging onto it even when they’re not supposed to.

    Because of this, we decided to incorporate memory fusion technology into Turbo Boost 3.0.

    First, OxygenOS periodically analyses the apps and system services running in memory and then identifies whether or not they’re inactive. If they are, they give tagged. If at the next analysis they’re still inactive, then the system will push them back to UFS storage, freeing up more memory for the apps that are active.

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    Then, to avoid any impact on the longevity of the UFS storage hardware, we tweaked the Android code to strictly control the number of read-write operations between the LPDDR5 RAM and UFS storage and make sure Turbo Boost 3.0 used storage responsibly.

    Finally, given that the size of memory can’t change, we made use of UFS storage’s fast read-write performance to integrate it with RAM. That effectively expanded the available memory for the system, but also let the system run more smoothly when it starts to run out of free RAM.

    This is the new Turbo Boost technology inside the OnePlus 9 series, and a secret weapon of OxygenOS.

  2. SRD.
    Lollipop Apr 29, 2021

  3. Overzee
    The Showcase Reviewer Apr 29, 2021

  4. proharsh1
    Gingerbread Apr 29, 2021

  5. derLenno
    The Lab - OnePlus 6 Reviewer Apr 29, 2021

    derLenno , Apr 29, 2021 :
    Would be cool to see how Turbo Boost evolved through 1.0, 2.0 up until 3.0 - any insights to share on that?

  6. Overzee
    The Showcase Reviewer Apr 29, 2021

    Overzee , Apr 29, 2021 :
    Good one! But it looks like 3.0 has been optimised for the Snapdragon 888 hardware only, so I'm almost certain that won't happen... If you compare the Snapdragon 855 vs 888 as an example you see the difference (SD855: 6GB LPDDR4X PoP memory 128GB UFS 2.1).
    Last edited: Apr 29, 2021

  7. otto2
    Photography Expert Apr 29, 2021

    otto2 , Apr 29, 2021 :
    Will you backport this to older devices like OP6,7 and 8 series?

  8. RoyDecoy
    Ice Cream Sandwich Apr 29, 2021

  9. sanki_man
    Ice Cream Sandwich Apr 29, 2021

  10. Vibudhjain
    Cupcake Apr 29, 2021

  11. Arjun_Choudhry
    KitKat Apr 29, 2021

    Arjun_Choudhry , Apr 29, 2021 :
    Considering the recent trend of not delivering even the promised features (Bitmoji AOD, anyone ;)), I doubt they will even think about porting this to 8 series, especially considering that apart from the 8 Pro (LPDDR5 and UFS 3.0 with Turbo Boost), all other devices use LPDDR4X

  12. Dhruv Kashyap
    Jelly Bean Apr 29, 2021

  13. philos64
    Community Hero 2020 Apr 29, 2021

    philos64 , Apr 29, 2021 :
    Good job for this.
    I don't know if the possibility of transferring these two optimizations is possible, because I don't know if it is related to the Snapdragon processor 888.

    Adesh.sanmukh likes this.
  14. sumitMZ007
    Jelly Bean Apr 29, 2021

    sumitMZ007 , via OnePlus 6 , Apr 29, 2021 :
    I doubt that this will be pushed via OTA to older devices ! I Owe ONEPLUS 6 and it's pretty fast but small hiccups & heating are there during Multitasking with combination of chrome,gallery, what's app,google lens,& Camera combined! I think this might help my device if made available via OTA!

  15. TheMystic
    Lollipop Apr 29, 2021

    TheMystic , Apr 29, 2021 :
    For those who may think this is some new technology: it is NOT. This tech has been used for a very long time in computers. It is called SWAP or PAGING.

    Instead of killing an app, the system copies the current state of the app to the storage (internal memory), and copies this ('swap' file or 'page' file) back to RAM when the app is launched. So this makes the whole thing a little faster since the app doesn't have to launch from scratch.

    Disadvantages: Too much writing back and forth to the internal storage will reduce the life of the storage hardware, resulting in performance issues over time.

    Advantages: Slightly more speed.

    Impact on battery: Depends on the scenario. It can be either ways.

    Conclusion: With 8 or 12 GB RAM, most people will NOT see any benefits.


    Those of you asking about back-porting this feature: Yes, this can be implemented in any phone, no matter how old. This isn't dependent on any particular version of CPU, RAM or Storage.

    The only requirement is that the internal storage should be fast enough to support swapping/ paging. UFS 2.x is NOT fast enough, so implementing this on devices having UFS 2.x storage will be counter-productive.
    Last edited: Apr 29, 2021

  16. Arjun_Choudhry
    KitKat Apr 29, 2021

    Arjun_Choudhry , Apr 29, 2021 :
    Spoken like a true software developer (especially one who works on Operating Systems) :)

  17. TheMystic
    Lollipop Apr 29, 2021

    TheMystic , Apr 29, 2021 :
    Except that I am not. :)

  18. Arjun_Choudhry
    KitKat Apr 29, 2021

    Arjun_Choudhry , Apr 29, 2021 :
    Well, you could fool quite a few people into thinking you are ;)

    Adesh.sanmukh, dghs, McJader and 3 others like this.
  19. GuitarBart
    Jelly Bean Apr 29, 2021

    GuitarBart , Apr 29, 2021 :
    Yeah I actually turned this off on my Windows machine. With enough ram and a fast drive I don't want to risk unnecessarily writing onto my ssd all the time.

    Adesh.sanmukh and TheMystic like this.
  20. Rajnish_Dhull
    Ice Cream Sandwich Apr 29, 2021

    Adesh.sanmukh likes this.