Asus ROG Ally’s firmware updates widen performance gap with Steam Deck

The Asus ROG Ally, the company’s PC gaming handheld, has some impressive specs including an AMD Ryzen Z1 CPU, an XG mobile GPU, and a gorgeous 1080p display. However, its actual performance hasn’t been indicative of what it’s theoretically capable of, until now.

A new set of firmware and driver updates has increased gaming performance by up to 20%, a huge improvement over its launch results. According to YouTuber Dave2D, and reported on by PCGamesN, several of the best PC games saw an immediate increase in framerate after the updates were installed. 

For instance, Red Dead Redemption 2 ran at 41 fps at 720p before, and after it reached an impressive 60 fps. Similarly, Forza Horizon 5 jumped from 45fps to 59fps. However, not every game saw a massive increase, like Cyberpunk 2077, which only went up by 2 fps.

Asus, do better

These are certainly very impressive results from a simple series of firmware and driver updates, better showcasing how powerful the ROG Ally’s specs are. But taking a closer look at what these updates entail and what they don’t, there are still some hang-ups with the handheld.

First, the comparisons were done in 720p resolution, which is quite good but still not taking advantage of the 1080p display that the ROG Ally sports. Not to mention that the framerate would most definitely tank for the before and after results if testing was conducted at the higher framerate. This was also something already pointed out in a Tom’s Guide review of the portable.

Second, even if these results were the same across the resolution board, it doesn’t change the fact that this is how the Asus ROG Ally should have launched. Depending on the model, you’re currently paying $700 for this system (with the cheaper version coming out later this year), which is being sold as having high-end specs that result in superior performance. But the fact that you even need updates for it to approach these claims after the system was made available for pre-order is not a great sign.

Admittedly, it’s better that the updates are released before retail launch, but it still requires buyers to update their systems as soon as they receive them. The fact that the system was in development for at least five years means there should have been some kind of fixes before pre-order models had been shipped out to retailers.

Let’s hope Asus learns from this and does better for the next version of the ROG Ally, as it’s still a solid handheld with plenty of potential.

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