AyaNeo 2/ AyaNeo Geek review: handheld performance reaches the next level

March 14, 2023
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The pace of technological progression is relentless. Valve’s Steam Deck has just celebrated its first birthday but as fantastic as the device is in so many ways, there are concerns about how well the latest games will run on it as we finally emerge from the cross-gen malaise. Enter AMD’s Ryzen 7 6800U, a processor that out-specs the Deck’s Van Gogh processor in almost every dimension. It’s designed for laptops, but seems to work well in a handheld form-factor too. The AyaNeo 2 and the AyaNeo Geek are the latest portable PCs to arrive at Digital Foundry and thanks to the 6800U, the performance is simply phenomenal – but it comes at a cost: battery life.

Putting aside power draw for a moment, AyaNeo’s two handhelds are powerhouses, capable of excellent results at both 720p and 1080p – so fine for both mobile and docked play. This won’t be news for those who’ve seen what the Ryzen 7 6800U can do when integrated into a laptop, but somehow, AyaNeo delivers equally gripping results from its handhelds. When challenged with the games that pushed Deck hard, AyaNeo pulls comfortably ahead. Doom Eternal at 1080p60, Marvel’s Spider-Man Remastered with ray tracing (!), Fortnite with the full UE5 feature set, A Plague Tale Requiem looking beautiful at a locked 30fps… these handhelds are capable of great things.

Let’s put the core tech into perspective before we talk about the quality of the handheld itself. Stack up the 6800U’s specs against the Steam Deck’s custom processor and we’re looking at a night-and-day difference. The Valve handheld uses a quad-core Zen 2 CPU cluster, while the 6800U actually has eight cores on a revised architecture and with higher potential boost clocks. The GPU side of the equation is also much improved: the eight RDNA2 compute units in the Deck give way to 12 of them in the 6800U with a max clock of 2.2GHz up against the 1.6GHz in the Valve handheld.

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