ASUS ROG Ally gets up to 20% boost in 15/25W gaming with new firmware

Published: May 30th 2023, 08:52 GMT   Comments

ASUS ROG Ally gets new firmware and significant boost for low-power gaming

Dave2D was among the first reviewers to lay hands on the ROG Ally consoles. He was quick to notice that there was a problem with the console, which struggles to compete with Valve’s Steam Deck at lower TDPs (CPU power target).

The ROG Ally’s AMD Ryzen Z1 APUs are not full custom chips, but a derivative of the Ryzen 7040U series. ASUS and AMD worked together to implement a new voltage/frequency curve for the Z1 series, to enable higher power efficiency at lower TDPs, something that Deck’s AMD Vang Gogh custom APU was designed for. However, despite those changes, the Ally still struggled to compete with Deck at lower TDPs.

Valve’s handheld gaming console features AMD Van Gogh APU with quad-core Zen2 architecture, so half of the CPU cores and 4 GPU clusters less (based on older RDNA2 architecture). Yet, despite those limitations, Deck was still doing fine in comparison to ROG Ally at 9W and 15W gaming, and in fact, it was even faster in some cases.

ASUS has just released a new firmware for ROG Ally that works only with the newest GPU drivers. This firmware provides a substantial boost in low-power gaming, so exactly what this console should be designed for.

ASUS ROG Ally at 15 & 25W, Source: Dave2D

Dave says that the new firmware finally puts the console on pair with AYANEO 2S, the newest console based on Ryzen 7 7840U Phoenix APU (basically a standard version of Ryzen Z1). The boost, which is shown as a green bar vs. original firmware in yellow, is between 15% to 20% in 720p gaming. The Ally is now just as fast as AYANEO 2S, so at those power targets both “Phoenix” consoles are clear winners vs. Steam Deck.

However, Steam Deck still has an advantage at ultra-low power. The custom APU was designed to work even at 3W, although this mode should only be used for light 2D isometric games, but even at 9W, the Steam Deck is actually faster than ROG Ally in all games that were tested. That said, if one is not after high-fidelity gaming with ray tracing, Steam Deck should still be a better and cheaper option.

ASUS ROG Ally at 9W, Source: Dave2D

Unfortunately, there are no details on Ryzen Z1 non-Extreme performance simply because ASUS did not bother to send any review samples for this variant, which is launching later in the third quarter. Meanwhile, the Z1-Extreme model launches on June 13th, so make sure the first thing you do is the firmware update.

Handheld Gaming Consoles
VideoCardzASUS ROG AllyASUS ROG AllyValve Steam Deck
ArchitectureAMD Zen4 & RDNA3AMD Zen4 & RDNA3AMD Zen2 & RDNA2
APURyzen Z1 Extreme
8C/16T up to 5.1 GHz
Ryzen Z1
6C/12T up to 4.9 GHz
AMD Van Gogh
4C/8T up to 3.5 GHz
SoC GPUAMD RDNA3 12CU @ 2.7 GHzAMD RDNA3 4CU @ 2.5 GHzAMD RDNA2 8CU @ 1.6 GHz
External GPUROG XG Mobile (up to RTX 4090)ROG XG Mobile (up to RTX 4090)Not officially
Memory16GB LPDDR5-640016GB LPDDR5-640016GB LPDDR5-5500
Storage512GB PCIe Gen4x4256GB PCIe Gen4x464GB eMMC (PCIe Gen2x1)
256GB/512GB NVMe (PCIe Gen3x4)
Display7″ 1920×1080, 120Hz (VRR), 500 nits, 7ms7″ 1920×1080, 120Hz (VRR), 500 nits, 7ms7″ 1280×800, 60Hz
ConnectivityWi-Fi 6E, Bluetooth 5.2Wi-Fi 6E, Bluetooth 5.2Wi-Fi 5, Bluetooth 5
Battery40 Whr, 4S1P, 4-cell Li-ion40 Whr, 4S1P, 4-cell Li-ion40 Whr
Weight608 g608 g669 g
Dimensions28.0 x 11.3 x 3.9 cm28.0 x 11.3 x 3.9 cm29.8 x 11.7 x 4.9 cm
OSWindows 11Windows 11Steam OS/Win 11
Release Price$699/€799 (16G+512GB)$599/€699  (16G+256GB)$649/€679 (16G+512GB)
$529/€549 (16G+256GB)
$399/€419 (16G+64GB)
Release DateJune 13th, 2023Q3 2023February 2022

Source: Dave2D

Many thanks to SlickR for the tip!

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