Got an Asus ROG Ally? You might want to avoid updating its firmware for now

Asus ROG Ally handheld gaming PC with sad text face on pink and blue backdrop
(Image credit: Future / Asus)

The Asus ROG Ally is a heroic handheld PC, but the latest firmware update does something of a Samson. While the BIOS patch addresses numerous quirks and bugs, it seemingly compromises the portable’s performance, effectively giving the device an unexpected hardware haircut. 

If you’re looking for the best gaming PC for on-the-go play, you can do much worse than the Asus ROG Ally. Not only is it one of the closest Steam Deck competitors out there in terms of price, but it can pull off fabulous frame rate tricks while furnishing your eyes with 1080p 120Hz visuals. That’s not to say it’s flawless, however, as the versatility of Windows 11 comes with a few caveats, and now Asus apparently has BIOS-related woes to contend with.

Highlighted by Hothardware, Asus ROG Ally firmware update 319 drastically affects performance while running at 15W and 25W. In other words, if you’re fussy about frame rates and are aiming to boost fps in demanding games like Cyberpunk 2077, you’ll quickly notice the difference post-update.

Thankfully, Asus is aware that firmware 319 is wreaking havoc, so we’ll hopefully see a revised version released soon. In a ‘tips and tricks’ video, marketer Whitson Gordon does advise installing various other updates that’ll improve quality of life on the handheld, but says players can ‘hold off’ on updating the device’s BIOS for now.  

As for those of you who have already received the update, you’ll have to revert back to firmware 317 to restore performance expectations back to normal. That’s going to involve restoring the previous BIOS version just like you would on a regular PC, which effectively means using Asus’ EZ Flash utility and downloading the update file manually. If you’re a bit stuck, there’s a handy tutorial available on the manufacturer's website.

Frankly, given the nature of the Asus ROG Ally and the fact it’s only been around for a hot minute, I’d be surprised if Gremlins didn’t randomly disrupt the experience. Sure, Valve’s approach to Steam Deck updates helps protect general users from experimental hiccups, but even then, everyone’s favourite handheld PC isn’t immune to frame rate dips and performance shenanigans.

In any case, the company is on the case, and will hopefully be able to get back to resolving the issues highlighted in our Asus ROG Ally review soon. The Steam Deck rival is a fierce handheld gaming PC, but the above incident and outstanding launch day quirks mean it has a long way to go before it sits pretty on the throne. 

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Fancy higher on-the-go frame rates? Check out our best gaming laptop picks for a collection of portable powerhouse alternatives. We've also whipped together a list of the best Alienware gaming PCs, just in case you'd rather stay indoors. 

Phil Hayton
Hardware Editor

I’ve been messing around with PCs, video game consoles, and tech since before I could speak. Don’t get me wrong, I kickstarted my relationship with technology by jamming a Hot Wheels double-decker bus into my parent’s VCR, but we all have to start somewhere. I even somehow managed to become a walking, talking buyer’s guide at my teenage supermarket job, which helped me accept my career fate. So, rather than try to realise my musician dreams, or see out my University degree, I started running my own retro pop culture site and writing about video games and tech for the likes of TechRadar, The Daily Star, and the BBC before eventually ending up with a job covering graphics card shenanigans at PCGamesN. Now, I’m your friendly neighbourhood Hardware Editor at GamesRadar, and it’s my job to make sure you can kick butt in all your favourite games using the best gaming hardware, whether you’re a sucker for handhelds like the Steam Deck and Nintendo Switch or a hardcore gaming PC enthusiast.