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ROG Ally: ASUS finally markets the "light" version of its handheld console
A second ROG Ally arrives on the ASUS online store and at the company's main partners.
Initially presented as a kind of April Fool's joke that not many people believed in, the ROG Ally was finally confirmed a few days later by ASUS. At the time, the manufacturer was capitalizing on the critical and commercial success of the Steam Deck, a mini-PC in the shape of a portable console. For ASUS, the answer to the Steam Deck is the ROG Ally, and while the format is quite similar to Valve's machine, the newcomer is both lighter and more powerful - much more powerful. This extra power is due to the use of a significantly different processor, albeit also supplied by AMD.
The Steam Deck is built around the Aerith, a processor with 4 Zen2 CPU cores and 8 RDNA2 graphics processing units, while the ROG Ally features the Z1 Extreme, a component that combines 8 Zen3 CPU cores with 12 RDNA3 graphics processing units. To put it simply, the ASUS console has more CPU cores, more GPU computing units and, in each case, a generation of advance. These differences justify the price difference between the Steam Deck's maximum price of 619 euros and the ROG Ally's 799 euros... But ASUS had another card up its sleeve.
From the outset, AMD and ASUS had announced that the Z1 Extreme chip at the heart of the ROG Ally would be followed by a "basic" Z1 that would serve as the basis for a second version of the ROG Ally... and this second version is finally available!
This new ROG Ally is referenced RC71L-Z1512, which confirms the presence of the "basic" Z1 chip, about which we've had further details. Like the Z1 Extreme, it's a mix of Zen3 CPU cores and RDNA3 GPU cores. Alas, there are now only 6 of the former, and only 4 RDNA3 GPUs. Even if the technology is in favor of this "basic" ROG Ally Z1, it has fewer graphics cores than the Steam Deck, and that's very worrying for its overall performance: we know that games rely more on GPU cores than CPU cores.
What's even more disturbing is that ASUS doesn't seem to have grasped the extent to which its new console is out of step with the market. Indeed, while the Steam Deck is more and more often on promotion, with an entry-level price of 399 euros, the "basic" ROG Ally Z1 is only 100 euros less expensive... than its big sister. ASUS therefore seems to be hoping to sell a less powerful ROG Ally, or one that is simply at the level of the Steam Deck, for 30 to 50 euros more for an equivalent configuration. Of course, we'll have to check all this out before making a final decision.