The Asus ROG Ally game console comes with a tiny M.2-2230 SSD featuring a 512 GB capacity, which can be a bit tight for modern games. But enthusiasts from Reddit found a way to fit in a larger and more capacious M.2-2280 drive, albeit by modifying the case using pliers and voiding the handheld's warranty.

Like every other portable game console, the Asus ROG Ally is a tightly packed device with almost no spare space inside, as its teardown by iFixit shows. The SSD is installed perpendicular to the length of the device and the console's plastic stiffening ribs and antenna do not allow to install a large M.2-2280 drive. While the M.2-2230 form-factor officially supported by the ROG Ally currently enables capacities of up to 2 TB these days and one can get an expensive UHS-II microSDXC card (or cards), some enthusiasts believe that this is still not enough for their games.

Image by iFixit

As it appears, it is still possible to free up some space inside the console for a higher-capacity M.2-2280 SSD by destroying removing stiffening ribs, moving antenna out of the way, and isolating the drive. This will get you up to 4 TB of storage space using a single-sided M.2-2280 SSD, but will void the warranty as removal of stiffening ribs is an irreversible change.

Image by EmotionalSoft4849/Reddit

Another aspect of the mod is that high-performance high-capacity M.2-2280 SSDs tend to produce more heat than some of their M.2-2230 counterparts and the installation of a larger drive will inevitably affect internal airflows and cooling performance. While for now modders at Reddit claim that they have not experienced any issues regarding overheating, this does not mean that they are not going to happen.

Image by EmotionalSoft4849/Reddit

Since the Asus ROG Ally is a rather new device one might want to have the warranty if something happens to other (non-SSD, non-antenna) parts of the console. But if you badly need additional capacity and can put up with risks, this mod is a way to get 4 TB of storage space into your Asus ROG Ally console. Of course, it could possibly break the device, will definitely void warranty, and might cause overheating.

Source: Reddit

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  • Byte - Friday, June 30, 2023 - link

    Why are they designing these to be limited to M.2-2230 drives. Are they in cahoots with SSD makers so they can sell smaller drives, which is cheaper to produce, for double the price?!?
  • TheinsanegamerN - Friday, June 30, 2023 - link

    Because its a small device?

    *herp derp my tiny handheld should have room for a server of HDDs*
  • FlyBri - Wednesday, July 5, 2023 - link

    @TheinsanegamerN - I think @Byte's comment is a fair point to ask, and worth an honest discussion. Making a hyperbolic comment like yours does nothing to add anything meaningful to the discussion. I have a PC gaming handheld that has a smaller footprint and similar hardware as the Ally, and it has a full size 2280 drive in it. So that basically negates your comment.

    That being said, the Ally is thinner, and Asus also made it quite repairable, so I'm sure those factors, as well as others, were considered by Asus' engineers, and I'm sure they have a very valid reason for using a 2230 size drive. But since other similar devices use 2280 SSDs, it's worth having a good-faith discussion about it.
  • meacupla - Friday, June 30, 2023 - link

    because there's no room?
    installing a 2280 into the ROG Ally will make it sit over part of the RAM, and very likely cause thermal issues to both SSD and RAM.

    Like, literally, where would a 2280 SSD fit? over the heatsink? over the RAM? Those are not good spots when SSDs prefer lower temps than either of those two.
  • deil - Monday, July 3, 2023 - link

    to be honest 42mm long option would fit as is if it was just touching ram with pcb, not chips, so temps would not be that bad, and it would be already 2TB drive as current max, not 1TB.

    I wonder how hard it would be to make kinda slightly rotated mount, as it seems like 15'' to 45'' clockwise would give them enough space for 2280 without any conflicts.
  • meacupla - Monday, July 3, 2023 - link

    I thought of that as well, and I think the Asus engineers would have thought of it too. I am guessing they didn't do that, because it would sit over the hottest part of the heatsink.
  • twotwotwo - Friday, June 30, 2023 - link

    ASUS pays for the SSD it comes with new, so I'm sure they'd use the cheapest commodity type if it looked practical for them.

    Also kind of fun that, although it's a big premium over current "normal" SSD prices, tiny m.2's are around the 10c/GB range that a lot of us considered fine/good not long ago.
  • ballsystemlord - Saturday, July 1, 2023 - link

    One of the key requests from gamers who were asked was that the ROG Ally be light weight.

    Subsequently, any ability to save on weight was utilized, to the point where the higher end model doesn't even have the thermal headroom to utilize the power of it's APU due to the lack of thermal headroom.

    Or at least so I have read regarding the ROG Ally's history and performance.

    So next time, go to the gym and tell the next company to please make their product spacious and well cooled.
  • meacupla - Sunday, July 2, 2023 - link

    Yeah, and for that category, there is the GPD Win Max 2
  • bansheexyz - Monday, July 3, 2023 - link

    I guess you could also ask why isn't there a 2290 that is twice as long as 2280 and gets 8TB? 2230 is clearly the future, because you can fit small things everywhere but you can only fit big things in big form factors.

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