Asus ROG Ally X vs ROG Ally: Hands-on with the new, improved handheld

June 29, 2024
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Asus recently announced the ROG Ally X – a refresh of last year’s Ally. It’s been criticised for not offering any kind of performance upgrade, but based on my experiences testing a range of PC Windows handhelds, I think it’s a solid upgrade in many ways. The move from 16GB to 24GB of memory addresses issues afflicting a small but growing number of new games, while doubling the size of the battery goes a long way in sorting out the number one problem impacting every Windows handheld: the awful battery life.

It’s true though, the Asus ROG Ally X is using the same Z1 Extreme processor as the non-X model. The octo-core Zen 4 CPU set-up paired with a 12 CU RDNA 3 GPU remains as is, running at the same clock speeds. There is a small performance improvement though, thanks to the fact that the Ally X doesn’t just increase memory capacity, but bandwidth as well. The 16GB of 6400MT/s LPDDR5 is replaced with 24GB of 7500MT/s LPDDRX. These processors thrive on bandwidth, as we saw with Steam Deck OLED, where I saw anything from a two percent to nine percent performance increase in games from that faster RAM – without going into specifics in the preview phase, you should expect much the same in the transition from Ally to Ally X.

There are also scenarios where having more memory offers up a gigantic improvement in gaming performance – I refer you to Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora, which is a stuttering mess on the original Asus ROG Ally, but is nigh-on stutter free on the Ally X. This is because the game requires a decent amount of both system memory and video RAM and while this can be configured in the Asus Armory Crate software, no option offers up an acceptable gameplay experience. The Ally X just runs perfectly fine as is on its default setting, which splits the 24GB of RAM into 16GB of system memory and 8GB of VRAM.

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