The ROG Ally doesn't need the Deck's Verified system because of Windows and its AMD Z1 chip

Asus ROG Ally
(Image credit: Asus)

The Asus ROG Ally isn't going to ship with any form of game validation system because you "should be able to play all games without needing validation from either our team or the game publishers."

That's a confident statement, and a confident stance as to the power of the custom AMD silicon at the heart of the new gaming handheld and the Microsoft OS. The Steam Deck has a specific Deck Verified rating system to give gamers confidence a given game will run well on its hardware, on its Linux OS, and on a handheld device.

But Asus believes the combination of a Windows 11 OS and a powerful Zen 4/RDNA 3 APU will be all the validation you need to know your games will just work.

Asus has confirmed the ROG Ally will launch on May 11 this year, and that it will be sporting custom AMD Ryzen Z1-series APUs. There are two different chips, likely going into two distinct variants of the Ally: a standard six-core, 12-thread version and the Ryzen Z1 Extreme, with eight Zen 4 cores and 16 threads.

ROG Ally specs

Asus ROG Ally

(Image credit: Asus)

APU: AMD Ryzen Z1
Lithography: 4nm
CPU uArch: Zen 4
Cores: 6
Threads: 12
GPU uArch: RDNA 3
GPU: 780M
Memory: 16GB LPDDR5
Storage: 512GB PCIe 4.0 SSD | UHS II MicroSD
Screen: 7-inch
Resolution: 1080p
Refresh rate: 120Hz
Response: 7ms
Peak luminance: 500 nits
PPI: 314
Operating system: Windows 11
Weight: 608g

Both should come with the AMD 780M integrated graphics silicon, though whether there is a difference in terms of clock speed between the two versions of the iGPU we don't yet know. Either way, we've seen early benchmarks of the chip in modern titles, and you're looking at over 60 fps at medium 1080p settings.

That jibes well with the assertion from Asus' global director of marketing, Galip Fu, that all your games will work.

"With the powerful AMD Ryzen Z1 series processors," says Fu, "and Windows 11, theoretically, our users should be able to play all games without needing validation from either our team or the game publishers."

Though given that you are inevitably going to have to be adjusting your settings to ensure the best performance it would be handy to have a little help, even if every PC game should effectively work because of the Windows 11 OS the Ally is running on.

There is also the fact that Valve's validation efforts for the Steam Deck aren't just about performance or whether a game will even boot at all; it also talks about the UI and just how usable those elements are on a small screen.

AMD Ryzen Z1 APU

(Image credit: AMD)

But Asus isn't just firing the Ally out into the wild and leaving gamers to twist in the wind, as it is committing to "working closely with game publishers to ensure that we can provide an outstanding gaming experience for all ROG Ally users that exceeds their expectations," Fu tells us.

"And we will be working on an ROG Ally gaming guide for the Ally community in the future to help them get a great gaming experience."

It's going to be interesting to see what sort of experience Asus is able to tease out of the Windows 11 OS given that it is not generally seen as a particularly wonderful touch experience. Less so on a small screen such as a 7-inch 1080p panel.

"We recognise the crucial role that Windows OS has played in the gaming community for decades," says Fu, "and it was a natural decision for us to strive to provide the best solution for all PC gamers.

"We are still in the endless process of refining our UI and user experience, and are continuously incorporating feedback from beta users and the community to improve. Nonetheless, we are not building from scratch, as we have the experience and expertise from our Armoury Crate system and, utilising this experience, we aim to create an even better UI/UX experience for handheld gamers on a 7-inch device."

Asus ROG Ally

(Image credit: Asus)

We have our own concerns about Armoury Crate's suitability for such a task, but the software has been impressive inside the latest gaming laptops from Asus. And with it running as an overlay for your games it could offer a similar experience to Valve's natural Steam Deck settings screens.

We also have our own concerns about Windows. It's regularly a pain on a desktop PC where it's designed to live, but on a handheld machine I'll be surprised if there aren't times where Microsoft's OS causes more problems than it solves.

The Asus ROG Ally is launching on May 11, and we'll know a whole lot more then. Including price, which is still being withheld.

Dave James
Managing Editor, Hardware

Dave has been gaming since the days of Zaxxon and Lady Bug on the Colecovision, and code books for the Commodore Vic 20 (Death Race 2000!). He built his first gaming PC at the tender age of 16, and finally finished bug-fixing the Cyrix-based system around a year later. When he dropped it out of the window. He first started writing for Official PlayStation Magazine and Xbox World many decades ago, then moved onto PC Format full-time, then PC Gamer, TechRadar, and T3 among others. Now he's back, writing about the nightmarish graphics card market, CPUs with more cores than sense, gaming laptops hotter than the sun, and SSDs more capacious than a Cybertruck.