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MSI Claw vs Asus ROG Ally: AMD demonstrates its handheld dominance to Intel

AMD in red and Intel in blue fists about to strike

The launch of Valve's Steam Deck really seemed to have kicked the handheld PC market into gear, as we have seen the launch of multiple such gaming devices since, and some of them are quite capable as well.

The Asus ROG Ally happens to be one such console. After teasing it on April 1st, 2023, Asus proved it was no April Fool's joke as it announced two variants of the device, one for $699.99 and the lesser model for $599.99.

Like the Steam Deck, the ROG Ally also runs on AMD APU technology as it packs the Ryzen Z1 series, which are specifically designed for handhelds. In case you are not too familiar, the Ryzen Z1 series has Zen 4 and Zen 4c cores with RDNA 3 graphics on board.

Therefore, they are even better than what the Steam Deck has, which has Zen 2 and RNDA 2 counterparts. There is no Zen 2c, as AMD did not have its small-core variants at that time. Other than Asus, Aya Neo devices also have AMD Ryzen APUs in them.

Hence, it may have come as a surprise to many when MSI, at CES 2024, first unveiled that it had opted for Intel with its Claw handheld gaming console.

Early leaked benchmarks had suggested that Intel's Core Ultra processors had integrated graphics fairly competitive with AMD's, so it may have made sense to MSI from a business perspective.

However, early tests seem to suggest that things can get rough and tough for the MSI Claw against AMD-powered Asus ROG Ally.

The tests were run by Chinese media outlets who managed to get their hands on MSI Claw early.

Two CPU-intensive AAA titles, Cyberpunk 2077 (CP '77) and Shadow of the Tomb Raider (SotTR), were the main focus of the test as handheld gaming PCs like these are TDP-constrained, which means the processor and graphics are fighting hard for the resources, and the ROG Ally powered by the Ryzen Z1 seems to outpace the Intel part at lower TDP levels easily.

MSI Claw vs Asus ROG Ally
MSI Claw vs Asus ROG Ally

MSI Claw vs Asus ROG Ally

If you notice the first row, which shows the SorTR screenshots, the Intel-powered MSI Claw struggles quite a bit at the lower 15W TDP. The ROG Ally is nearly twice as fast, delivering 41 fps vs the Claw's 22.

The performance gap is even bigger in Cyberpunk 2077 where the claw only manages 15 fps in one of the scenes in the built-in benchmark. In the same scene and also at 20W, the ROG Ally gets 48 FPS, or over four times the performance. Intel's inefficiency is really reflected here as the 15W TDP truly exposes the company's need for power.

Bear in mind, though, that these are not launch-ready drivers, and hence, we may see better performance when the Claw comes out.

Sources: Bilibili (1, 2, 3) via VideoCardz

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