The ASUS ROG Ally is already out an brought a new level of handheld gaming performance to players. It costs more than the Steam Deck, but you also get a better performance in overall terms. It also has a much better display with up to 120 Hz refresh rate. The device can run a lot of PC games through Epic, Steam, and Game Pass. However, another interesting detail is that it also is a decent powerhouse for emulation. The handheld comes in two variants with the Ryzen Z1 or Ryzen Z1 Extreme. One of the interesting details is that its APUs come with support for AVX-512 instructions. These pretty much allow the console to be a beast on emulation, even with PS3’s emulation.
ASUS ROG Ally on emulation – How good is it?
The ETA Prime is the first to provide emulation benchmarks on the ASUS ROG Ally. If you’re interested in this kind of usage, the console is pretty much a nice deal! You can play basically everything from the PS3 to the lowest-demanding emulator like the Snes9x.
Starting with the Dolphin Emulator, and with the console set to the 9W TDP mode, it’s possible to get solid 1080p and 60 FPS across all titles. The same goes for the PS2 emulator (PCSX2) which can run on a 1080p resolution with a lot of games and a solid 60 FPS. With the PSP emulator, you can run any compatible game such as God of War Chains of Olympus at 1080p / 60 FPS with a 7W TDP. The more demanding the emulator, the more energy you will need to sacrifice. However, with the basic ones, you will still enjoy some good battery life.
Older AMD APUs had a hard time with the Citra Emulator (Nintendo 3DS). However, the new AMD drivers and OpenGL-specific optimizations have greatly improved the performance. You can run on 1080p@60 at 13W or the native 3D resolution with just 7W.
If we move on to the Xbox 360 emulator – Yes, it can run Xbox 360 while some PCs can’t – The console ran Red Dead Redemption at a native 30 FPS with 30W and 53 FPS on average with V-Sync disabled and at the 45W TDP mode. Things become more demanding as the “emulation generation” progresses. When it comes to the Switch’s Yuzu, the console can provide solid 30 FPs at the 15W mode across various titles. It’s not 60 FPS, but 30 FPS was pretty much the basic performance for the whole past generation. The most impressive feat is that it can run some PS3 games through the RPCS3 emulator.
The God of War 3 was pretty much the most demanding game. Despite this, the ASUS ROG Ally sustained stable performance. This game is pretty much unplayable on the Steam Deck. You can achieve 720p resolution with just 15-25 FPs which is pretty much unplayable. When it comes to the Ally, the game can run at an impressive 60 FPS with 1080p in the 30W mode.
All these feats are pretty much thanks to AMD’s right decision of putting AVX-512 support on the Ryzen Z1 APUs. With ASUS’s good decision of putting these APUs, we now have a great powerhouse for emulation. Of Course, this is just the beginning of the road for the handheld console. We expect it to be improved further with future updates. Also, some emulators in the list, are still in continuous development. Future updates can even improve the compatibility with the console, with some native tweaks for the Ryzen Z1 APUs.
Specs and Pricing recap
To recall, the ASUS ROG Ally comes in two versions the Ryzen Z1 or the Z1 Extreme. It has 16 GB of dual-channel LPDDR5 RAM and up to 512 GB NVMe m.2 SSD. The device has a 7-inch IPS panel with 1080p Ful HD resolution. It comes with up to 500 nits of brightness and a 120 Hz refresh rate. The console draws power from a 40 WHrs battery. It also has a 3.5 mm audio jack, USB-C 3.2 Gen 2 combo with DisplayPort 1.4 support, and a UHS-II microSD card reader. The handheld runs on Windows 11, which makes it versatile in what it can run.
In the US, the base model with Ryzen Z1 costs $599, and the Extreme variant starts at $699. If you’re interested in how this device goes in combat with the Steam Deck, check out this article.