Dell’s latest Alienware M15 gaming laptop garnered some attention recently when it was announced that the Martin-themed machine would be dropping Intel in favor of using the AMD Ryzen 5000 series, using AMD processors since 2007. The first Alienware Portable.
Spotlight may not have done it any favors, though it now turns out that some m15 models are reporting 4,608 CUDA cores for the GeForce RTX 3070 graphics card instead of the standard 5,120, a ‘mistake’ that was an intentional one. The design choice appears to be by Dell.
The issue was initially reported by JarrodsTech on their YouTube channel, with benchmarks showing they suspected the machine when the m15 R5’s benchmarks were unrelated to other results for gaming laptops using the RTX 3070 hardware.
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After reaching out directly to Dell, it was previously confirmed that the decision to GIMP the GPU was made by its engineering team after ‘careful testing and design choices to bring the most stable and best performance possible’, but also noted It was done that more CUDA cores may be unlocked through future updates.
Since then, Tom’s Hardware has also contacted Dell and it has now emerged that the limitation is indeed an error and a fix is being developed for a mid-July release.
“We have been made aware that an incorrect setting in Alienware’s VBIOS is limiting CUDA cores on the RTX 3070 configuration. This is an error that we are working diligently to correct as soon as possible. We’ve been through verification. We are expediting a solution and hopefully it will be resolved by mid-June. In the meantime, we do not recommend using vBios from any other Alienware platform to fix this problem. We apologize for the disappointment.”
The truth is out there
Some users on the reddit thread have started to fix the problem themselves by flashing the VBIOS of the RTX 3070 in the m15 R5 on the new m15 R5 but with a fix coming out so soon we will either wait or wait until the July update to buy the device. For if it’s still sitting in your basket.
VideoCardz also points out in its coverage that the crippling 10% reduction in cores is not mentioned even once on the website, which adds to Dell’s claims as a mistake, especially considering that Nvidia has been in the past. In the U.S., manufacturers are listing key information such as power TGP (Total Power Draw) and clock speed of their mobile GPUs.
The whole situation is very unusual, but unlikely to be the cause of performance issues in the long run, considering how easily the issues are fixed manually by people who already have laptops. It makes little sense to purposefully cut CUDA cores when Nvidia gives manufacturers (mostly) free reign over clock speed and power to help extend battery life or keep thermals at a tolerable level Can go
The Alienware m15 Ryzen Edition R5 starts at $1,794 (about £1,300, AU$2,350), is available with a choice of either the AMD Ryzen 9 5900HX or Ryzen 7 5800H and either an RTX 3060 or RTX 3070 Nvidia Mobile GPU.
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