So I'll kick off with a little about me. I am from the UK, and a gamer for years. I am 46 years of age. I have built and troubleshot PC issues over many years and, although I don't claim to be an expert, know my way around a PC pretty well.
I jumped on the ASUS ALLY bandwagon and pr-eordered, and have to say I quite like it while accepting its faults. Windows 11 is not going to be easy to navigate on the Ally without some knowledge of Windows quirks and I think I can work around most things, until the time comes when hopefully there are some improvements, in both device and OS.
Onto the SD card reader issue! I have not got my card to be seen by the Ally properly, (more on this later) and I think many people are jumping to all sorts of conclusions, as those affected talk amongst themselves. How many are unaffected we do not know, as they are too busy playing games to chat about it here or on Reddit, etc.
So far I can say that to me it seems like a driver issue. Why do I think that? Well I bought an SD card like most people who wanted more space may well have done, simply because I don’t like the idea of opening up a brand new device and replacing the SSD. The Ally doesn’t see my card. That’s the short story, but it does see older cards I have. And by old I mean pretty old (a 2GB and 16GB card from way back, a random brand and a Kingston). I also got it to see my new card when it was formatted on another PC to NTFS rather than the exFAT it was.
If you want more details keep reading, as there’s more to it, but my hunch right now is that it really doesn’t like certain brands of card even though the card in questions is a SANDISK - EXTREME PRO MICROSDXC, 1TB 200MB/S 140MB/S A2 C10 V30.
In the very first instance I did what anyone would, popped the card in and it failed to even boot properly. The card slows everything down to a crawl, and Windows Explorer seems to hang. So I booted up without a card and tried again. Windows doesn’t see the card. I’ve tried 2 drivers, one from Intel, but specifically 1 from the ASUS support page. At one stage the Device Manager was showing an SD Host device, which I think is the driver Windows installed for the SD reader. I couldn’t for a while get the driver updated to the Genesys one from Asus/Intel.
I actually decided to do a reinstall of the OS using the cloud recovery service and start over. The reader now shows up under “memory technology devices” in the Device Manager using the ASUS driver and by this point I had formatted my card to NTFS. Though it took a ton of time to attempt to read the card and Windows ground to a halt, at least it saw it!
Pop in my old SD Micro cards and all is fine. My Extreme Pro card reads fine on my desktop PC via a very old USB card reader stick I found (very handy) once popped into an SD adapter. So the card itself seems fine. I wouldn’t be surprised if I’d used another brand it would be ok. I mean I can’t speak for everyone, but the fact it has been seen in Windows and other cards are working (from other brands) makes me wonder if the reader is just very fussy about what cards it expects.
DO I RETURN MY DEVICE!? First ASUS must acknowledge what they believe the problem is. Obviously I could install a new NVMe in future, but if there is a genuine hardware issue that is being acknowledged then I’d return it. If they do feel it is more likely a driver issue, I’ll hang on. But I did lay down a lot of money for this SD card that I cannot use right now and am a little annoyed by it all.
I know this was a long dive into my own experience, but if anyone else can relate to this, then I hope it helps us in finding a solution.
We want to thank the community for the passionate response we've received for the ROG Ally. Your support has been both immense and invaluable, so we've been hard at work to improve a number of things. After confirmation from internal testing, under certain thermal stress conditions the SD card reader may malfunction.
To alleviate the issue, we will be releasing an update that further fine-tunes the default and minimum fan speeds on the device to improve reliability while keeping fan noise in check, as we know this is a concern for many of you.
If you are currently experiencing issues with your micro-SD card reader, please contact customer service for your region to RMA your unit, which we will inspect for any issues and repairs. For ROG Forum members residing in the US, please private message Silent _Scone, MasterC, or CL_RL_ROG.
@MasterC thank you for your reply.
I did read your reply but I think the way you are handling this as a rare single issue where each user must file an RMA rather than a general issue because of a design error on your part makes it cumbersome for your buyers. The placement of the SD reader is the real issue and fan control is not a very good fix.
I do believe that there is also a driver issue with the SD reader and not just a fan problem.
There is no mention on how Asus will handle the corrupt SD cards and replacement of them. Does Asus have a general standpoint on this?
Hey MasterC, I really think the SD card issue is SOFTWARE related, NOT hardware related. The SD card is being detected, if it wasn't, then this is HARDWARE related. I wouldn't jump the gun on RMAing units, I seriously would try to figure out why the hardware isn't being detected, what windows update is screwing it up, and go from there.
I am also affected by the SD card issue.
If you ARE having an issue, please sent it in to have it checked. Very few people have contacted our customer service, which leads us to believe there's a strong possibility many complaints and reports are from those who do not actually own a device. We are doing to best to serve anyone who is having an issue, persuading others to take matters into their own hands, further discussions, or refusing the suggested actions is not constructive or productive.
We cannot make any statements regarding what work would be done without inspecting your unit. If you have concerns, please allow us to take care of it.
If many are like me, we are waiting for a definitive answer as to the problem. Maybe heat? Are you finding defective SD readers in the RMA units and does the repair take care of the failures. My preorder unit formatted the first time then stalled to very low or zero download speeds. Has not worked since. If you could be a little more forthcoming on you findings we may feel comfortable sending the unit in for repair, knowing the issue is resolved. The lost time of waiting for the service is quite inconvenient. Thanks
Sorry, I'm not sure how I can be any clearer on the matter. We cannot provide a definitive answer because nobody can examine your unit and tell you exactly what's wrong with it. What we can say is that we are taking responsibility if your SD card slot is not working as it should, and it will be fixed. For us to do that, we MUST examine your unit first.