Asus Rog Ally glamour shot
Image credit: Asus

Reports of Asus ROG Ally Units Causing Issues with MicroSD Cards

While I’ve been a fan of the recently released Asus ROG Ally, a new Windows-powered handheld gaming device, I won’t lie and say that the device isn’t without its faults. Between the gaming performance of the updated 319 firmware, the battery life that’s less than what was advertised, and questionable build quality, now there’s an issue with it causing microSD card damage, as reported by various sources. It is literally killing microSD cards, as scores of people are finding out the hard way.

These reports started popping up over the weekend on the Asus ROG Ally subreddit when multiple people stated that the once operational microSD card was no longer working with the Asus ROG Ally and no longer working with other devices upon testing them. This is apparently happening to units manufactured in April 2023 and May 2023.

Some suspect this is a driver issue, while others believe that the microSD card reader has permanently damaged their microSD cards. You can read a number of those threads about that here. In addition to cheaper microSD cards, there have been a number of SanDisk and Samsung cards that have also been sent to the afterlife. One person has gone as far as using a provided tool from Samsung to confirm that the microSD that was being used with the Ally is no longer working – here.

Asus ROG Ally

This is not encouraging news for a new gaming device that also costs $700. Thankfully, Best Buy has been taking those who suspect they have an issue with the Asus ROG Ally back and exchanging or refunding them within the 14-day return period. Not that the store has a choice. Seeing how I have a few friends in multiple Best Buys near me, I’ve asked them about the number of units replaced or exchanged; they’ve confirmed that their stores have all seen multiple ROG Ally’s being returned or exchanged for one reason or another. On that note, don’t buy any that aren’t on the shelves as new units.

As for why this is happening, my guess is that this could be due to the exhaust ports being too close to the microSD card reader, and it’s essentially frying the microSD cards. Electronics don’t like heat, and I doubt a wafer-thin card isn’t going to do well when it’s constantly bombarded by heat. Of course, that’s all speculation, but it’s likely why most handheld devices don’t place card readers so close to a heat exhaust port.

I haven’t given this a try myself, as I had already swapped out my SSD and honestly don’t think I’d want to possibly fry an expensive microSD as part of an experiment.

If you have an Asus ROG Ally and you already have a microSD card in use, it’s your call to decide if you want to keep it in play. With no official update from Asus, we don’t know what’s going on, and maybe you don’t want to fry what could be an expensive piece of tech. I don’t care what quality microSD card you have; if this affects most units, there’s a high chance it will also affect you. Instead, use the already included SSD, or if you can afford to swap out the SSD for a higher capacity, that’s your best bet for now. You shouldn’t have to, but that’s where we are now.

**Update** Asus is aware of the issue, and we’ve talked about what they said here**

Sources: Reddit, Best Buy