Dell Responds to RTX 3070 Gimping in the Alienware M15 R5 – Highlighting NVIDIA’s “Transparency” on Mobile – CUDA Core Counts are OEM Adjustable
7 June 2021

Yesterday we reported on how Dell somehow yet conveniently managed to fuck up Alienware M15 R5 Ryzen Edition laptops featuring the RTX 3070 with an artificial limitation that essentially lobs off 10% of its shader count (4608 vs 5120), along with reporting software such as HWINFO reporting incorrect values for RT Cores, Tensor Cores, ROPs and TMUs.

Now, the mobile market hasn’t particularly been one free from controversy and shady tactics, never was and never will. However nothing infuriated me more so than NVIDIA simply abandoning the Max-Q and Max-P naming schemes at the last minute before the announcement of mobile RTX 3000 graphic cards.

The ability to differentiate between Max-P and Max-Q products essentially tells consumers which laptops are tailored towards performance and which ones are battery saving pieces of shit, however since NVIDIA merely abandoned the Max-Q and Max-P naming scheme they’ve opened the door for OEM manufacturers to simply produce a gorillion different machines with these new RTX graphics cards with vastly differing TGP values along with a dynamic boost providing upwards of 50+ watts of extra power providing that OEMs can package them efficiently.

This allowed OEM manufacturers to forgo marketing their products as containing a Max-Q or Max-P graphics card meaning that from a near infinite amount of differing configurations for each mobility product there are more than enough instances of lower-end SKU’s performing better than higher-end models but of course the pricing wouldn’t be entirely reflective upon that as OEM manufacturers didn’t necessarily have to describe in further detail the characteristics of the GPU’s within.

With such open and honest “transparency” basically encouraged by NVIDIA it’s no surprise that the response from Dell for purposefully cucking 10% of your performance on the RTX 3070 from Alienware M15 R5 laptops.

This screenshot comes curtesy of Jarrod’sTech who contacted Dell Support regarding the issue through the usage of Twitter DM’s and got this as a response:

“CUDA core counts per the NVIDIA baseline may change for individual OEMs, such as ourselves to allow to provide a more specific design and performance tuning. Be assured the changes made by our engineering team for this computer model was done after careful testing and design choices to bring the most stable and best performance possible for our customers, if at a later date more CUDA cores can be unlocked via a future update we will be swift to make it available on our support website.”

So, essentially Dell have gimped the RTX 3070 on all Alienware M15 R5 Ryzen Edition laptops on purpose as to ensure the system was “stable” and provided the “best performance possible”. While also saying that CUDA core configuration specifics are actually up to individual OEM manufacturers and not mandated by NVIDIA to ensure that the specific machines keep in line with the respective cooling of the given system.

But of course why go through the hassle of decreasing the effective power limits of the GPU when instead you could just artificially knock off some of those pesky CUDA cores instead? Modern problems require modern solutions goy.

If the M15 R5 cannot feasibly function correctly with the RTX 3070 Laptop GPU why exactly are Dell still offering the system in such a configuration?

Jarrod’sTech has also gone through the hassle of providing a performance benchmark of Shadow of the Tomb Raider across various other laptops featuring RTX 3070 graphics cards with varying TGP values as well.

Of course, if you’ve disabled 10% of the available CUDA cores you’ve effectively handicapped yourself when it comes to literally everything, even with a much higher TGP value the RTX 3070 found inside the Alienware M15 R5 Ryzen Edition falls short of the HP Omen 15Z by 4.62%.

While it proceeds to get crushed by even the Gigabyte Aero 15 XC which features TGP values of just 75-105W by 9.64%, while the best performing RTX 3070 notebooks evidently trounce the Alienware M15 R5 by 14.16% and 16.26% respectively by the MSI GP76 Leopard 10UG and the XMG Neo 15.

Performance is crippled, and we already know that certain users have managed to flash the vBIOS of the M15 R4 onto their R5 laptop which returned what was lost but as a result the system then became somewhat unstable.

Previously Dell issued a statement regarding the cucking of the RTX 3070 GPU beneath these Alienware M15 R5 Ryzen Edition devices:

“We have been made aware that an incorrect setting in Alienware’s vBIOS is limiting CUDA Cores on RTX 3070 configurations. This is an error that we are working diligently to correct as soon as possible. We’re expediting a resolution through validation and expect to have this resolved as early as mid-June. In the interim, we do not recommend using a vBIOS from another Alienware platform to correct this issue. We apologize for any frustration this has caused.”

Which in a sense is somewhat of a contradiction from the DM between Jarrod and Dell Support which indicates that it was a design choice to limit the CUDA core specification and not “an incorrect setting”.

But that’s pretty much the norm for these big name companies, nothing is ever their fault it’s always a coincidence or an accident that things do go wrong.

NVIDIA is simply letting these OEM manufacturers off with murder, from first removing the Max-Q and Max-P branding allowing manufacturers to infect the mobile market with dodgy marketing with no actual specifics on TGP values. And now OEM manufacturers have the ability to simply lob off CUDA cores rather than decreasing power targets in order to fit certain graphics cards inside of a given laptop chassis.

What’s to say that there aren’t more cases of missing shaders across other laptops, Chinese ones specifically because we all know we can’t trust those disgusting chinks with anything, or what’s to say that this won’t happen again in the future?

Honestly, fuck Dell and fuck you too NVIDIA for allowing this anti-consumerist bullshit to mature and flourish.

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