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MSI claims the Claw is now faster than ROG Ally, but we have questions

The Claw A1M is still far from a Steam Deck competitor, but regular BIOS and Intel driver updates are working to try and close the gap.

MSI Claw performance update

The MSI Claw has received another new BIOS update, with claims that performance in certain games can be improved by up to 30%. However, this claim isn’t as clear cut as MSI would have you believe.

The MSI Claw A1M is still a few substantial updates short of being one of the best handheld gaming PCs. Nevertheless, MSI isn’t giving up, and this new update focuses solely on BIOS upgrades. In conjunction with the latest MSI Center update, improved performance is now available in games such as Manor Lords and Helldivers 2.

MSI Claw BIOS update 109 is live now, and while the performance gains are largely marginal vs the previous update, it’s a step in the right direction for a handheld that needs to show consistent progress as quickly as possible.

Some of the biggest claimed gains from the benchmarked games include a 30% frame rate increase in Forza Horizon 5, a 28% boost in Fortnite, and a 20% performance improvement in Helldivers 2.

These frame rate increases are tested at 1,920 x 1,080 on the lowest graphical settings with Intel’s XeSS upscaling technology enabled where possible. VSync is disabled and the Claw itself is set to Performance mode with OverBoost enabled.

MSI Claw vs ROG Ally frame rate comparison

MSI goes on to show the above graph containing 23 games from the Steam Deck top 100 list, using these figures to compare performance between the MSI Claw and Asus ROG Ally. Unfortunately, it appears to make no distinction between which Ally model is being used here, but it’s strongly suggested by VideoCardz that it’s the inferior Z1 model, rather than the Z1 Extreme.

This is an important distinction, given that the Z1 Extreme model’s GPU has three times the number of RDNA 3 compute units as the standard Z1, giving it 768 stream processors, compared to just 256 in the standard Z1. If that’s the case, it certainly lessens the impact of the graph, which goes on to suggest that performance on the MSI Claw is on average 26% better than the Ally in the selected games.

If you’re looking to buy a Windows-based Steam Deck competitor right now, you can check out our Asus ROG Ally review and Lenovo Legion Go review for more insight.