ASUS has revealed a new gaming handheld, the ASUS ROG Ally, and its power puts it as a serious contender to the Steam Deck’s crown.
The idea, according to ASUS, is to create a console that can play all PC games at a higher fidelity than the Steam Deck inside a Windows-based environment. It’ll also be much quieter than the Steam Deck, which in fairness can get pretty loud with the more demanding titles.
Now, ASUS hasn’t revealed that much other than it’ll be whisper-quiet and more powerful than the Deck. That hasn’t stopped websites from working overdrive to grab whatever information they can, though.
First up, via PC Gamer, YouTuber Dave2D has been hands-on with an ASUS ROG Ally prototype. All of this is subject to change due to the nature of early product builds but according to Dave2D, the ASUS ROG Ally is massively quite than the Steam Deck. In his tests, the ASUS ROG Ally fan noise topped out at 20 dB, while the Steam Deck came in at 37 dB. That may not sound like much on paper but in person, it’s a huge noise disparity.
Dave2D also says the 16:9 screen has a higher brightness and can output at up to 120Hz. That’s double the Steam Deck’s 60Hz refresh rate.
What’s more, in terms of power, thanks to the custom AMD Zen 4 and RDNA 3 chipset, the ASUS ROG is expected to be around twice the power of the Steam Deck.
That last part I’d recommend taking with a spoonful of salt as it’s not possible to get a solid reading of how the end product will handle at this point. The Windows operating system could end up proving troublesome, and other non-tested games could throw up issues, and that’s before we get into how much battery juice this thing will use.
Point being, don’t get excited until we’ve got more official news direct from ASUS.
Meanwhile, my friends over at Overkill.wtf have been doing some digging. Apparently, the ASUS ROG Ally will make use of AMD’s Little Phoenix architecture. Overkill’s Kevin Wammer believes it’s likely to be similar to the 7640HS or 7840HS.
Here’s what he had to say:
“So this could mean CPU clock speeds of up to 5.0 GHz boosted, an integrated GPU (possibly the Radeon 760M or 780M) based on the RDNA3 architecture with clock speeds at around 2.6 GHz, and a compute performance of around 37.000 points in Cinebench,” says Wammer.
“To give some context to this number: The 6800U used in devices like the AYANEO 2 and the GPD Win 4 reaches 33.000 points at 33W, while the Steam Deck scores 16.000 points at 15 watts.”
Interesting stuff, no? Suffice to say, I’ve reached out to ASUS and will provide an update should they respond.
There’s also a leak on GeekBench that gives us some extra details to work with.
First up is the custom CPU, the Ryzen Z1 Extreme. This 5062 MHz chipset boasts eight cores and 16 threads. GeekBench also confirms the ASUS ROG Ally will come running Windows 11 Home (64-Bit).
ASUS ROG Ally Specifications
- CPU: Ryzen Z1 Extreme
- GPU: Custom AMD RDNA 3
- Display: Seven-inch, 1920×1080 (16:9)
- Refresh Rate: 120Hz
- Backlight: 500 Nits
- Size: 280 mm x 113 mm x 39 mm
- Weight: 608 Grams
The price is certain to depend on several factors. To compete with the Steam Deck, the ASUS ROG Ally needs to be priced in a similar bracket. It goes without saying, it can’t be the same price as the Steam Deck because Valve can get away with selling each console at a loss and then making the money back through the Steam Store, where Valve takes a 30 percent cut on every item sold.
But with this much power under the hood, it’s easy to see the ASUS ROG Ally selling in the upper $1000 to $2000 bracket. That’s where the OneXPlayer – the closest direct comparison – prices its products, so it wouldn’t be that surprising.
Is that enough to entice consumers? Not really. If you can instantly respond with “the Steam Deck’s cheaper,” that’s not a good look.
That’s why I believe the ASUS ROG Ally will have to come in at under $1000. If we’re getting specific, $600 to $900 would be my ideal price.
We haven’t seen a decisive Steam Deck contender yet because it’s difficult to compete with. Sure, lower-spec products like the AYANEO Air Plus, the OneXFly, or even the GPD Win Max 4 share a similar blueprint to the Deck, but those are one-off consoles with little post-release support due to the smaller nature of the companies behind them.
ASUS at the helm is, pun intended, a game-changer. ASUS has the tools to ship hundreds if not thousands of units if the popularity soars. You could argue ASUS is in an even better position to build more devices than Valve in some respects, though Valve’s slew of developers play a massive role in keeping the Steam Deck updated.
I’m intrigued, that’s for sure. A high-end Windows device would sidestep a lot of the problems the Steam Deck struggles with. You wouldn’t need to worry about Proton versions here. But, and it’s worth emphasizing this point, it will all come down to what ASUS can offer. If the Armory Crate – ASUS’ custom frontend – isn’t as intuitive as SteamOS, or if the ASUS ROG Ally’s power isn’t as solid as it’s being sold as, that could spell disaster.
Either way, your move, ASUS. Let’s see what you got.