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New AMD Ryzen Z1 Steam Deck-style CPU officially unveiled

Finally, the AMD Ryzen Z1 has been revealed - a new portable PC gaming console CPU, set to be used in Steam Deck-rival, the Asus ROG Ally.

AMD Ryzen Z1 Extreme

AMD has lifted the lid on its range of AMD Ryzen Z1 handheld game console CPUs. The new processors are designed to be used in devices like the Steam Deck-rivalling Asus ROG Ally.

The new chip design incorporates a Zen 4 CPU with an RNDA 3 GPU on one die, for a complete system on a chip (SoC), and will be available in two configurations. The AMD Ryzen Z1 Extreme includes eight cores (able to process 16 threads thanks to simultaneous multithreading) and has 12 RDNA 3 graphics compute units (CUs), along with 24MB of cache.

The AMD Ryzen Z1, meanwhile, has six cores (12 threads) and a 4 CU graphics chip that’s joined by 22MB of cache. The new chips also support USB4 and LPDDR5 and LPDDR5X memory.

AMD Ryzen Z1 specs

The AMD Ryzen Z1 spec list is:

Model Cores/Threads Graphics Cache
AMD Ryzen Z1 Extreme 8/16 12 AMD RDNA 3 compute units 24MB
AMD Ryzen Z1 6/12 4 AMD RDNA 3 compute units 22MB

With its 12 CUs, the Extreme version of the Z1 will be somewhat similar to the RX 6500 XT desktop graphics card, which includes 16 CUs but is based on the older RDNA 2 architecture. In games such as Assassin’s Creed Valhalla and Shadow of the Tomb Raider that card delivers frame rates of around 60fps at 1080p with high detail settings.

Considering the ROG Ally is set to have a 120Hz 1080p screen, we can expect games perhaps to need to be played at slightly below the highest detail settings to hit between 60-120fps.

AMD Ryzen Z1 vs AMD Aerith (Steam Deck)

As for how the Z1 compares to the Steam Deck processor, that device uses a custom AMD chip called the AMD Aerith. It’s based on the much older Zen 2 CPU architecture with just four cores (eight threads) and an 8 CU RDNA 2 graphics chip. So, the Z1 Extreme will have twice the CPU cores and twice the graphics compute units, with both also based on newer architectures.

AMD has confirmed the Asus ROG Ally will be the first device to feature the new APU, and that more details about that device will be revealed on May 11th, but hasn’t confirmed which version will be included, or if both versions will be available. From other Asus ROG Ally leaks we’ve seen, though, we expect the Ryzen Z1 Extreme to be used.

Given how AMD is announcing the Z1 series as a general games console chip, rather than a specific custom-made chip for Asus, it’s fair to assume there may be other handheld consoles in the works from other manufacturers, but no other company has yet announced anything.

Are you excited about the arrival of a new wave of PC-centric portable games consoles, or did you get in early with the Steam Deck and consider it good enough? If so, you can check out our list of best Steam Deck docks here.

Let us know your thoughts on the Custom PC Facebook or Twitter pages, or join the discussion on our 350,000+ member Custom PC and Gaming Setup Facebook group. Meanwhile, keep an eye out here for the latest AMD news and Asus news.