Update 6/11/21: Alienware provided the following statement regarding the issue: Last week, we discovered that the new Alienware m15 gaming system was limiting CUDA Cores in 3070 configurations. We released a firmware update to help resolve the incorrect setup. Please check the support page here for the updated BBios.
The original story is below.
Is this a wrong case or is something else in the works? Some Alienware m15 R5 gaming laptop owners are trying to answer this very question after finding fewer CUDA cores inside the GPU-Z of the RTX 3070 laptop chip than they should – actually 512 fewer.
It’s pretty standard procedure for laptop manufacturers to tinker with clock speeds and TDPs to fit a laptop cooling and power delivery solution. What is not normally done at all is reduce the prime numbers to achieve a more palatable card, so we suspect there might be something else going on here.
Nvidia’s mobile RTX 3070 GPU comes with 5120 CUDA cores, which are really 768 cores shy of the desktop model. However, some Alienware m15 R5 owners noted on Reddit and NotebookReview forums only 4,608 cores running in GPU-Z, which is fewer (via Videocardz).
Even stranger are the reported numbers for TMUs and ROPs: 144 and 96, respectively.
There should be 160 TMUs, but the reduction here comes with lower core counts: 4,608 cores will make 36 SMs, and there are four TMUs per SM for a total of 144. Less than expected, not ideal, but it makes some sense.
When it comes to ROPs, there should be 80 in total with the RTX 3070 mobile chip. What we’re looking at here are the full 96 ROPs from the GA104 GPU, which are only found in the RTX 3080 mobile GPU and the RTX 3070 Desktop GPU.
Since then, Alienware R5 owners have taken it upon themselves to try a few different options in search of a fix, including flashing a BBIOS. It’s potentially a dangerous maneuver for gaming laptops, as it could crash the GPU. In this case, the GPU is soldered to the laptop’s motherboard, making it doubly risky.
So kudos to those who tried it, they might as well have come up with this whole thing in the process.
The BIOS for the Alienware m15 R4 laptop, once loaded onto the R5, returns the full 5120 CUDA Cores to all their glory. Users have also reported higher performance as a result, so it appears that the GPU performance of the affected R5 laptops was poor due to the BBIOS not being reported.
Users are hoping for an official solution to avoid improper flashing, which is nothing but a permanent solution for those affected. Many have reached out to Dell support for answers, and we’re also on the hunt to see if there’s an official answer to what’s going on.
Meanwhile, if you own an affected R5 laptop, you may want to reach out to Dell support directly to be the first to know when there’s a fix, which I can only assume will be on the way soon. Like I said, flashing your BIOS can be quite risky, so we recommend stopping the shooting until more penalties apply – and hopefully one of them arrives soon.