Asus ROG Ally with Z1 chip: Game performance is not as good as Steam Deck

Upon its debut, the ROG Ally unveiled two variants: the AMD Ryzen Z1 and Z1 Extreme. Priced at a starting point of $599, this tag pertained specifically to the Z1 model. However, only the more advanced Z1 Extreme was initially available for purchase. Two months subsequent to its launch, the standard Z1 ROG Ally has made its entrance, albeit with somewhat lackluster gaming capabilities, falling short even when compared to the Steam Deck.

The disparity between the lower-tier ROG Ally and its superior counterpart is primarily the chipset it accommodates. All other specifications remain consistent, retaining a combination of 16GB RAM and 512GB of storage. The AMD Z1 chip does present certain merits; the CPU component, codenamed Phoenix2, incorporates a hybrid architecture of Zen4 and Zen 4c, supporting 6 and 12 threads respectively. It boasts peak frequencies of 4.9GHz for its primary cores and 3.5GHz for the secondary, ensuring its performance doesn’t trail far behind the Ryzen 7 7840U.

Conversely, the GPU segment of the Z1 chipset leaves much to be desired. Though it’s still built upon the RDNA 2 framework, it’s equipped with a mere 4 Compute Units (CU), which is half of what the Steam Deck offers and significantly less than the 12 CUs found in the Z1 Extreme. According to evaluations released by DigitalTrend, the gaming frame rates on the Z1 variant of the ROG Ally substantially underperform compared to the Steam Deck. In contrast, its Z1 Extreme counterpart could contend closely with the Steam Deck.

Benchmarking with 3DMark’s GPU tests reveals that even when the Z1 ROG Ally operates in a 30W turbo mode, its performance lags by 37% in Time Spy and 30% in Fire Strike compared to the Z1 Extreme model. Consequently, this pared-down version of the ROG Ally is best suited for indie games with modest graphic demands rather than graphically intensive triple-A titles.

The Z1 ROG Ally is priced at $599, a mere $100 less than its high-end counterpart, making it a challenging proposition for recommendation.