Asus ROG Ally Emulates Steam Deck OS with ChimeraOS

Asus ROG Ally
(Image credit: ETA Prime)

We’ve been excited to see what the Asus ROG Ally is capable of since we first reviewed the unit at launch. Today we’re taking a closer look at how well the Asus ROG Ally Extreme runs ChimeraOS, an open source Linux-based operating system based on Arch that simulates the Steam Deck OS. This comes to us from a video shared by ETA Prime, who has taken to pushing the Asus ROG Ally to its limits lately through all sorts of emulation tests.

ChimeraOS is extremely similar to Steam Deck OS and enables you to play many of your Steam games on the new handheld. If you’re looking for a best of both worlds alternative to the Steam Deck, ChimeraOS on the Asus ROG Ally seems to be an excellent compromise. ETA Prime indicates that ChimeraOS has many features you’ll find in SteamOS 3, so the interface and compatibility should be remarkably similar.

The OS loaded just fine on the first try and was responsive and provided access to ETA Prime's library through its user interface. The biggest issue was a lack of audio support. To circumvent this, ETA Prime needed to use its 3.5mm audio jack for audio output with an external speaker. The WiFi worked periodically but wasn't consistent — hopefully this can be tweaked in future upgrades. The last drawback was a lack of TDP control. That said, there are plenty of other performance settings available so the graphics settings can be tweaked as needed.

ETA Prime took the time to test several popular titles including Forza Horizon 5, Horizon Zero Dawn, and Doom Eternal at 1080p. However, the resolution did not appear as dense as it was supposedly set to during some of the tests. Other games like Left 4 Dead 2, Skyrim, and Cyberpunk 2077 tested great with video outputting around 120 Hz. It’s worth noting the Asus ROG Ally Extreme display is AMD FreeSync certified.

Overall the Asus ROG Ally appears to run ChimeraOS quite well. There are a few adjustments that might make for a better experience, such as integrated audio support, wireless reliability, and TDP control. While the Steam Deck stands out with better battery life, the Asus ROG Ally has proven to be rather versatile when running this Linux OS. If you want to see ChimeraOS in action, check out ETA Prime’s latest review over at YouTube.

Ash Hill
Freelance News and Features Writer

Ash Hill is a Freelance News and Features Writer with a wealth of experience in the hobby electronics, 3D printing and PCs. She manages the Pi projects of the month and much of our daily Raspberry Pi reporting while also finding the best coupons and deals on all tech.

  • Quenepas
    Wasnt Valve business model to have SteamOS run on these handheld devices seamlessly? Like the Steam Deck is a proof of concept to showcase handheld PC viability and then all other major OEMs should run the thing too? Or maybe this was Asus trying to, for some reason, make the Ally not Steam compatible? Maybe this is a thing delegated to modders to figure out? Maybe Valve is not working closely with OEMs to have SteamOS in their handhelds?
    I think Gaben said that the mission was to have SteamOS in as many devices so they can have a bigger TAM away from Microsoft.