AMD has officially announced its heavily rumored Ryzen Z1 series of ultra-low-power CPUs for handheld computers, including gaming devices. The new processors are based on the same Zen 4 core architecture as the current-generation Ryzen 7000 Series desktop CPUs, and will include integrated RDNA3 graphics cores, on which the Radeon RX 7000 Series GPUs are built. AMD hopes to create a new market for X86-compatible handheld game consoles designed along the lines of the popular Steam Deck. Existing devices like the Ayaneo Air series and the upcoming Ayaneo 2 are built around AMD’s Ryzen U series low-power CPUs, but have so far remained a niche even within gaming circles.
The Asus ROG Ally gaming handheld, first announced on April 1, has been confirmed to be the first shipping device based on a Ryzen Z1 series CPU. More specific details on the price, launch date and other specs will be announced by Asus on May 11 at 7:30 PM (IST).
Two CPU models have been announced so far: the Ryzen Z1, with six multithreaded ‘Zen 4’ CPU cores along with four RDNA3 GPU cores, and the more powerful Ryzen Z1 Extreme with eight CPU cores and a whopping 12 GPU cores. cores. AMD promises industry-leading performance and battery life, for an “elite gaming experience” in a highly portable form factor. Using the same hardware as regular AMD CPUs and GPUs means handheld devices based on Ryzen Z1 processors support the company’s Radeon Super Resolution graphics upscaling technology, as well as other features like Radeon Chill for power saving and AMD Link game streaming.
At the platform level, devices based on Ryzen Z1 CPUs support USB4, LPDDR5 and LPDDR5X RAM, and of course support for Windows, which opens up a whole ecosystem of games and game stores beyond Steam. Devices will also be able to function as full-fledged computers running everyday Windows software, especially when connected to an external monitor, keyboard, and mouse. According to AMD’s statements, users can also take advantage of Microsoft’s Xbox Game Pass Ultimate subscription service for gaming on the go.
No official figures on performance, temperature or battery life have been released yet, but Asus’ announcement on May 11 should shed some light on what potential buyers can expect. Given AMD’s continued push into the thin and light laptop space and claims of delivering premium graphics performance with its Ryzen 7xxx mobile CPUs, it will be interesting to see how this plays out and if more manufacturers announce gaming handhelds based on these CPUs. before or at the upcoming PC-centric Computex trade show.