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The Asus ROG Ally might be the most widely anticipated handheld gaming PC since the Steam Deck. While there’s no shortage of other handhelds on the market these days, most come from small companies without major global retail or customer service and support networks.

Asus, meanwhile, has been a major player in the PC gaming space for years. And not only does the ROG Ally have more CPU and graphics processing power than the Steam Deck, but it’s pretty competitively priced. After going up for pre-order a little over a month ago, the ROG Ally is now available for $700 from Best Buy and Asus.com.

That’s the price for a model with an AMD Ryzen Z1 Extreme processor, which is a 9-30W chip with 8 Zen 4 CPU cores, 16 threads, and 12 RDNA 3 Compute Units. It’s basically a Ryzen 7 7840U without the dedicated AI hardware and with some custom tuning.

Asus also plans to offer a cheaper model in the future that has a less powerful Ryzen Z1 chip with 6 Zen 4 CPU cores and 4 RDNA 3 GPU compute units. But with an expected price tag of $600, it’s not clear to me why anybody would buy that model rather than spending $100 more on a model with significantly better graphics.

Both handhelds feature 7 inch, 1920 x 1080 pixel displays with a 120 Hz refresh rate, 16GB of LPDDR5-6400 memory, 512GB of PCIe 4.0 NVMe solid state storage, and 40 Wh batteries.

Unlike the Steam Deck, which ships with the GNU/Linux-based SteamOS, the Asus ROG Ally ships with Windows 11… which is both a blessing and a curse according to early reviews.

On the one hand, the Windows software means that you don’t need to rely on any sort of compatibility layers to run games designed for Windows: most games should just work out of the box. On the other hand, Windows is an operating system that was designed for keyboard and mouse navigation (and, to a lesser degree, touchscreen input), while SteamOS was designed to be navigated using the Steam Deck’s game controllers.

The result is that it’s actually a lot easier to perform most gaming-related activities on a Steam Deck at this point. While it’s possible that Microsoft and/or Asus could improve the ROG Ally’s software experience over time, the same is true of Valve, which has already shown pretty impressive commitment to releasing regular software updates that bring improvements to the Steam Deck.

Anyway, it’s nice to see some competition in this space… particularly competitively priced competition from a company that already has a long track record of making, selling, and supporting gaming PCs.

ROG Ally (Z1 Extreme)ROG Ally Z1Steam Deck
Display7 inches
1920 x 1080 pixels
120 Hz
7 inches
1280 x 1800 pixels
60 Hz
ProcessorAMD Ryzen Z1 Extreme
8 x Zen 4 CPU cores / 16 threads
9 – 30W TDP
AMD Ryzen Z1
6 x Zen 4 CPU cores / 12 threads
9 – 30W TDP
AMD “Aerith”
4 x Zen 2 CPU cores / 8 threads
4 – 15W TDP
Graphics12 x RDNA 3 compute units4 x RDNA 3 compute units8 x RDNA 2 compute units
Storage512 GB
M.2 2230
512GB high-speed PCI NVMe
M.2 2230
Battery40 Wh
OSWindows 11
Asus ROG Armory Crate (game launcher & settings)
SteamOS (Arch Linux-based)
Windows 11 supported
Price$700$600$399 (64GB)
$529 (256GB)
$649 (512GB)

The ROG Ally also has a sort of secret weapon: a ROG XG Mobile connector that provides a high-speed data connection for Asus ROG XG Mobile graphics docks with up to an NVIDIA RTX 4090 GPU… so far. Theoretically this connector could also let you hook up a next-gen GPU in the future. But it’s also a proprietary connector that will only work with a handful of expensive eGPUs from Asus, so it’s unclear just how much of a selling point this truly is.

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  1. If it wasn’t for the lack of ports I’d seriously consider this as my next computer. But as is I’d need to find a good hub and who knows if this implementation of USB4 supports DP over USB-C while using a hub (that is a must for me, and all the hubs I’ve seen with that functionality are labeled Thunderbolt 4 which means it’s not guaranteed to work with this). And I am not paying for the XG eGPU module (the AMD version is tempting with its price drop but the port selection isn’t what I want)

    1. The existence of their compact charger (with the HDMI port) is confirmation that their USB4 implementation supports USB-C Displayport.

      1. as I said, I need a USB-C with Displayport on the hub, not just DP, I have a portable monitor with wacom AES support which I use for work purposes but it connects via USB-C to USB-C (it requires both the video and data transmission), which is why a thunderbolt 4 hub would be the only potential solution but there’s no guarantee that it will work with this USB4 implementation

  2. I think it’s cool that Asus has stepped into this form factor. But I admit, I’m really just excited for Risc-V at this point.
    I meant what I said previously, I have most likely bought my last x86 computer that I will ever buy in my life. If there are no viable alternatives, my current systems will serve me for at least the next 10 years.
    I mean it. I’m done with x86. Good for Asus though. I believe they are still a good company and they’ve been around a long time. They were my very first build back in 1998 when I had an Asus P5A motherboard and AMD processor. Asus holds a very special place in my heart because of it. That thing was rock solid and served me well.

    I wish Asus the best in this venture, I think they have a solid offering compared to the Steam Deck and others. I would rather buy the Asus than from some gofundme thing from some no-name brands that are talked about frequently here.

    But I’m truly done with x86. Risc-V or there is nothing else for me. Seriously I’m done with computers and am going back to the “old days” of tech. I’m done.


    Drunken justsomeone1.

    1. I hope Brad and others will forgive me for using this as a message board for a moment. I’ve had a few and well, feel like talking.

      But how corrupt corpos are, I’ve come to despise x86 and big tech, and think the world would be better off without them. (the world survived how many millenia without modern tech?).

      I’ve always rooted for the underdog, but what I love about RISC-V is that it’s an open architecture. I really think open source is the only way to go. I don’t trust Microsoft, Intel, Facebook or the likes with my data. Everyone is about hoovering all your data and building profiles of you and knowing you better than you know yourself, and I don’t know about you, but this Gen Xer finds that concerning and off-putting.

      I have an old-fashioned mp3 player to listen to music with. I have a ton of dvds to watch movies. I don’t subscribe to anything online.

      Personally and honestly, I think the world would be better off, and was better off before, without big tech. They’ve shown themselves untrustworthy. Remember, all they care about money, they don’t actually care about you.

      I used to love technology and the latest gadgets, and now that I’m almost 50 I’ve taken a complete 180 on that. I long for the simpler days of life, you know, actually going out and meeting someone for coffee instead of being glued to your phone and worrying about getting acolades on social media to get your next dopamine hit. This current generation I feel sorry for. What they’ve been raised on, tablets, tiktok and social media is just sad. They’re missing out on what I got to have as a kid and it’s sad to watch them so glued to their phones and completely neglecting their real life social lives. Big tech is and has been breeding a new generation of addicts and it’s heartbreaking to see it.

      I mean. I’m so close to being done with modern tech. I have amassed a crap load of software and games over the years that if the internet were to cease to exist today I wouldn’t suffer. I really don’t care if it did die because it’s just a cesspool these days. Very little honesty in the internet these days, just ads everywhere and propaganda trying to manipulate you. It truly is crap.


      Still drunken justsomeone1. (I’m done with my soap box).

      1. You’re not alone…I agree with every point you made in this post.

        My personal perspective is that the internet is in the process of destroying humanity.

        I’m also a Gen X’er.

  3. The pricing difference between the Z1 and Z1 Extreme does indeed seem like the Z1 model might not be worth buying. Except for the possibility that it might offer significantly better efficiency at lower wattage.

    I’m interested in the ROG Ally for emulation mostly, so if it can reach 6 hours of gameplay, I would consider it over the Extreme model. If it mostly gets 4-5 hours of battery life, I’ll stick to the Extreme model.

    1. I agree, but they’re still great products. I’d much rather buy a Base ASUS ROG ALLY before I buy the Valve SteamDeck, as it objectively offers more value for money. But the Z1 Extreme version ASUS ROG Ally Pro is the best deal out there. I’m still a big advocate for the Valve SteamDeck in spite of those new contenders. Chalk it up to me being loyal to a company that disrupted an underserved market. Just like I’m a big advocate for the GPD Win-Max-2 (best gaming + keyboard device) because they’re even earlier in serving such a niche Liliputing market. In all respects, the “portable” (ie Indoors/bring-a-bag) category is well served at this moment.

      There’s another category that isn’t served at all. That’s the pocketable niche. I do hope we get a device that is roughly the size as the Anbernic RG405m, so that it is entirely comfortable to slip into pockets, with the caveat that it has an x86 Processor and runs WindowsOS (or Linux/OSX/Dualboot). We only have ARM/Android devices at this moment and they’re not the best. It would be very revolutionary to have such an option to play games as advanced as RDR2, to moderate titles like Fallout4, to earlier titles like Spore, easy titles like Half-life 2, and even earlier titles / retro games, anywhere, anytime, straight out of your pocket. Not sure how we would achieve it, maybe in a future AMD chipset that might have 1 Very Large core, and 3 small cores, and an iGPU that can shift dynamically to balance a 2W-8W power profile.

      1. I also look forward to having x86 pocketable handhelds. But honestly, I don’t think we’re ever going to see a point in x86 computing where a low-power chip will be able to play games from today-ish with passive cooling, and a 10-20Wh battery. I think ARM is going to continue to keep x86 in a position where desktops and laptops are the only segment they can compete.

        I don’t think AMD or Intel are in any hurry to start competing in the parts of the electronics market that they’ve already lost to ARM. x86 already lost the compact tablet and smartphone market after Baytrail failed to ARM.

        To scale x86 handhelds to a pocketable size, I think we’d need to see more use cases for those components, and gaming handhelds would need to be a byproduct of that. Something much more profitable needs to offer a business case for those components in order for them to exist.

        As time goes on with the PC industry, I think we’re going to see x86’s market share continue to be limited to desktops, laptops, and laptop-sized tablets. ARM will continue to absorb the smaller form factors. I can’t imagine Intel or AMD will make any more attempts to step outside of their comfort zone. I hope I’m wrong.