MSI’s new handheld console, the Claw, is being detailed at CES 2024. According to early first-party benchmarks, the Meteor Lake-based device is faster than the Ryzen-powered ROG Ally in multiple games. There’s a catch, of course. The Intel SoC is configured with a TDP of 30W, while the Ryzen Z1 extreme runs at 25W. Even then, the Arc GPU is marginally faster than the Radeon 780M, winning three out of the four cherry-picked titles.
Update: The MSI Claw A1M features a 7″ 1080p display, 16GB of LPDDR5 memory, 1TB of NVMe SSD storage, 53Whr battery capacity, Thunderbolt 4, and more. It’ll retail at a starting price of $699.
These benchmarks tell us all we need to know. The MSI Claw will be slower than the Ally (and the Legion) in most scenarios while drawing more power. Higher TDPs result in lower battery life and increased throttling, especially for SFF devices. As discussed earlier, the role of the E-cores in handheld gaming workloads also remains dubious.
A lot of handhelds are used for legacy DX9/DX11 titles. In most of these, the Ryzen Z1 and its 780M iGPU are well ahead of the Arc Xe-LPG used by Meteor Lake. AMD recently announced support for Fluid Motion Frames (driver-level Frame Generation) on Ryzen APUs, doubling the performance of all Radeon iGPUs with minimal effort. Unlike notebooks and desktops, the pixel density on handhelds is much higher and will mask any upscaling-related artifacts.
Meanwhile, Intel’s XeSS upscaler is supported in just a handful of games with no frame-generation tech available at the time. MSI must have gotten a particularly tempting deal on these Meteor Lake SoCs to skip the Ryzen Z1 in their favor.