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The Asus ROG Ally’s new update makes it more compatible with Steam Deck docks

Watt’s new, power cap

A Steam Deck and Asus ROG Ally on a table.
Image credit: Rock Paper Shotgun

The Asus ROG Ally has once again made itself impossible to write about without also mentioning the Steam Deck. Its latest BIOS update - out now via the MyAsus app – includes a fix that allows the handheld Windows PC to correctly run in its fastest, power-hungriest Turbo mode when connected to sufficiently high-wattage, third-party docking stations and USB-C hubs. In other words, it now works with more of the best Steam Deck docks.

Previously, the 30W Turbo mode could be set while connected to one of these docks or hubs, though it would only use up to 25W. This update budges whatever blockage was stopping it from taking full advantage of 65W-plus connections, common among Steam Deck docks (which, given the relative lack of specific ROG Ally docks, I’d wager most owners of the latter are using for their Asus handheld).

Per the patch notes’ explanation: "With the way certain third-party docks are designed, and how they allocate a power contract, or "handshake," the Ally was unable to confirm the full capabilities of the dock. As a result the Ally was not instructed to attempt to draw more than the agreed contract of power available. This was a function of the dock and charger, and not the Ally."

"The new change allows the Ally to simply draw power as is available to it from the dock. In most cases, when using high-powered chargers, this should work seamlessly — you'll get your 30W Turbo mode and the battery will stay charged."

The notes also warn that if you’re instead using a weaker charger, this change will mean that Turbo mode will drain the battery faster than it can be topped back up. Keep that in mind if you ever find yourself hooking your ROG Ally up to, say, a cheap USB-C hub.

The Ugreen Steam Deck Docking Station.
The Ugreen Docking Station supports 100W power delivery, so is one of the Steam Deck docks that benefits from this update. | Image credit: Rock Paper Shotgun

Speaking of playing while plugged in, the BIOS update also promises "optimized performance" when using the ROG Ally in Performance mode while charging, while minimum screen brightness has been dropped from 25 nits to 10 nits to "improve usability in dark environments.” Presumably that means “to not blind you as much when playing in bed at 11:30pm."

All in all, some welcome changes. Although, there’s no mention of a recently discovered issue with the ROG Ally’s microSD card slot, which could malfunction if the device became too hot. Asus have since applied a temporary fix that adjusts the fan speeds to prevent overheating, and promised another patch that would fine-tune these values – this second fan change is presumably still in the works, given it’s absent from today’s update.

For what it’s worth, I never had any issues with excessive toastiness during my ROG Ally review testing, though it’s clearly enough of a widespread problem that Asus had to act. Hopefully it gets a definitive fix, like the Turbo mode power draw issue has.

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