How to boost gaming performance on the ROG Ally

Articles: Guides
Jun 09, 2023 Written by:Whitson Gordon

A man playing the ROG Ally in a dark room.

With a 1080p display and next-gen RDNA 3 graphics, the ROG Ally is a true Full HD handheld ready to make your games look better than ever. If you want to push the framerate as high as possible, here are the settings you can tweak to maximize performance in any game. 

This is part of our ultimate guide to the ROG Ally series of articles. Need some ideas for games to play? Check out our favorite games for the ROG Ally as well. 

How to see FPS and other performance stats on the ROG Ally 

A screenshot of a game with the ROG Ally's Real-time Monitor on the upper edge of the screen.

If you want to see performance metrics while you game, there’s no need for third-party software. The Ally has a built-in system monitor with an FPS counter that you can enable in two taps, no matter what you’re playing. 

To see FPS and other system stats, press the Command Center button on the left side of the Ally and tap the Real-time Monitor option. You’ll see a small transparent box appear in the upper-right corner of your screen with CPU usage, GPU usage, FPS metrics, temperature, and battery level. 

You can use the touch screen to drag the real-time monitor anywhere on your screen, so it doesn’t interfere with your game’s HUD. That way, you can easily see your framerate and system usage at any point during your gameplay. 

First: update your software and drivers 

AC-update

Now it’s time to start boosting that performance. The ROG Ally hardware is governed by a suite of software and drivers fine-tuned to provide the best experience possible. ASUS, Microsoft, and AMD regularly update this software to keep things running in tip-top shape, and keeping your software up to date can even boost performance in some scenarios. Your graphics drivers, in particular, often come with optimizations for new games, so if you haven’t updated in a while, take some time to update everything before continuing. 

First, open Armoury Crate, head to the Content tab along the top, and select Update Center. Make sure everything in the list is updated before continuing. 

We also recommend opening the MyASUS app and going to Customer Support > LiveUpdate and downloading any updates under the Essentials or Latest tab.

Finally, to update your graphics drivers, tap the Start menu and open the AMD Software. From the window that appears, click the Settings cog in the upper-right corner, and check for updates to the Adrenalin software and drivers. 

Shift into Turbo mode (and plug in) 

A screenshot of Street Fighter 6 with the Command Center open.

Just like our laptops, the ROG Ally has a few Operating Modes that allow you to adjust the amount of power provided to the Ryzen Z1 series APU: Silent, Performance, and Turbo. The 10W Silent mode uses less power for better battery life with minimal fan noise, but won’t provide maximum performance, especially in graphically-intense AAA games. The 15W Performance mode offers more of a balance between performance and battery life, while the 25W Turbo mode delivers maximum power for the best possible framerates. To enable this mode, press the Control Center button on the left side of our Ally and change the Operating Mode to Turbo. 

You can also plug your device into the wall, which will boost the power usage even further in Turbo mode, for a total of 30W and a few extra frames per second. 

If you’re a more advanced user and would like to tweak power management for yourself, we also offer a Manual Mode that gives you full access to APU power management and fan speeds. Open Armoury Crate, head to the Settings tab, and select the Operating Mode option from the menu. Select Manual Mode in the list that appears, and you’ll see a number of sliders and graphs. 

The FPPT slider allows you to set the maximum power limit, which the APU can sustain for up to 10 seconds. It can sustain power up to the SPPT value for up to 2 minutes, and the SPL value indefinitely. Set these to fit your preferences. Then, if you desire, you can adjust the fan curves to be more or less aggressive depending on the temperature of the APU. Note that your manual settings when plugged in are different than when unplugged, so you can set two different manual modes based on whether you’re charging or not. You can read more about Manual Mode on ROG devices in this guide — it works the same on the Ally as it does our AMD-based laptops. 

Pick the right graphics settings

An in-game screenshot split into three, with the words Image source: Gamesplanet 

Since the ROG Ally runs on Windows, you have the opportunity to customize every game to suit your exact needs. Want more graphical fidelity? Pump those graphics settings a bit higher. Want more performance? Turn them down and enjoy some extra frames. If your games are defaulting to Ultra settings, try setting them another preset such as High, Medium, or Low until performance is closer to your ideal spot. 

This can sometimes be a delicate dance, and some graphical options may have a bigger impact on fidelity or performance than others. So if you’re willing to do a bit more tinkering, search for “optimized settings” for the game in question, and you might find a good starting point. In fact, we’ve published our own optimized settings for a number of different games, with more to come in the future. 

There's one setting you should pay particular attention to: if your game supports AMD FidelityFX Super Resolution (or FSR) in its graphics settings, you almost certainly want to enable it. FSR will render the game at a lower resolution (like 720p) and upscale it to 1080p using cutting-edge temporal scaling algorithms. The result is an image that retains a high level of quality, while providing better performance. 

Fire up Radeon Super Resolution 

A screenshot of the AMD software showing the Radeon Super Resolution option.

If the game you’re playing doesn’t support FSR, you have another option up your sleeve: Radeon Super Resolution, or RSR. 

RSR works a bit differently than FSR, but ultimately serves the same purpose: it’ll render your games at a lower resolution, then scale them up to the native resolution of your display (in this case, 1080p). While the latest version of FSR is a bit more advanced, RSR has one big advantage: it's a driver feature, not a game feature, so you can use it with many more games. So even if your game doesn’t have FSR, you can turn RSR on and get a nice boost in performance, with graphics that still look nicer than lower resolutions would. 

To enable RSR, you’ll first want to set the game in question to run at a lower resolution. Open the game, navigate to its Display or Graphics settings, set the game to run in Full Screen mode, and lower the resolution to 1280x720. Then, exit the game, open the Command Center, and toggle AMD RSR on. Re-launch the game, and enjoy! Even though the game still says it’s running at 720p, the AMD driver will automatically scale it up to 1080p, giving you sharper graphics and better performance.

You can also enable RSR in the AMD software, as seen above, and adjust the level of sharpening to your taste. The AMD software even allows you to enable RSR automatically on a game-by-game basis automatically. 

Note that this only affects games that run at lower resolution. So any games you set to run at 1080p in their graphics settings will be unaffected, showing a yellow exclamation point next to RSR in the AMD pop-up. This is the intended behavior—when you run a game at 1080p, RSR will not upscale it, since there’s no need to upscale. 

Adjust your VRAM allocation

A screenshot of Armoury Crate SE's GPU settings.

If you have a VRAM-heavy game that’s stuttering while you play, or a game that won’t launch because there isn’t enough VRAM present, you may need to allocate more of the Ally’s shared memory toward VRAM. 

To adjust the Ally’s VRAM reserve, open Armoury Crate and go to Settings > Operating Mode > GPU Settings. Look for the dropdown next to Memory Assigned to GPU, and change it to the value you require. The Ally allocates 4GB of memory to VRAM by default, but you can raise it up to 8GB or lower it to 1GB. Afterwards, reboot the Ally for the change to take effect. You can read more about this feature in our VRAM explainer.

Take performance to the next level with XG Mobile external graphics 

ROG Ally_Scenario photos_02

For maximum performance, you can expand the Ally’s capabilities with the ROG XG Mobile suite of external GPUs. With up to an NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4090 Laptop GPU, you’ll be able to crank up graphics settings, play at 4K resolutions, or play esports titles at high refresh rates. The XG Mobile also offers extra I/O ports, allowing you to connect a mouse, keyboard, and monitor for a true desktop experience. Or connect it to your TV with an HDMI cable and a couple wireless controllers for a high-end couch multiplayer experience. To make the most of this incredible suite of eGPUs, check out our guide to using the XG Mobile

With all these options in tow, you should be able to find a good balance between graphical fidelity and performance for any game in your library. For more tips and tricks, check out our full guide to making the most of your ROG Ally. And if you haven’t picked up your Ally yet, you can grab it from Best Buy at the links below. 

Model Type Where to Buy (US) Where to Buy (CA)
ROG Ally (Ryzen Z1 Extreme) Handheld Best Buy ASUS
Best Buy
ROG Ally (Ryzen Z1) Handheld Best Buy  
XG Mobile (Radeon RX 6850M XT) eGPU ASUS
Best Buy
 
XG Mobile (GeForce RTX 4090) eGPU ASUS
EXcaliberPC
ASUS
Memory Express
ROG 65W Gaming Charger Dock USB Hub Best Buy ASUS
Official ROG Ally Travel Case Case Best Buy ASUS
Best Buy