The controversy of recent days has been led by Alienware, where its users raised their hands to their heads with more than justified indignation. The reason? Obviously, laptop GPUs are much more expensive than their desktop counterparts, and paying more for a downsized version isn’t to the liking of anyone who’s spent money on a high-caliber gaming laptop.
Alienware M15’s RTX 3070 is cropped
The first thing to keep in mind is that we are talking about an RTX 3070 Mobile and not the standard desktop RTX 3070 as the specs are different between the two versions. Even so, and being aware of buyers of gaming laptops with the NVIDIA RTX 30 of the different specifications, Those who bought an Alienware M15 gaming laptop with the RTX 3070 got a nasty surprise when checking your laptop’s GPU specifications.
The image you see at the start of this subsection is which GPU-Z when asking for the hardware the GPU carries the system, instead the following image is what GPU-Z gives when asks the Alienware M15 which GPU it is carrying:
As you can see both GPUs return that this is an RTX 3070 for laptops, each GPU model has a different ID which allows drivers and applications that need it to identify which model it’s about. It is not another GPU although it has gone from 5,120 CUDA cores to 4,608 CUDA cores, which is a considerable reduction.
Thereby aroused outrage from buyers from the Alienware M15, which is to be expected, as no one wants a cut of this magnitude in a gaming GPU.
Dell responds to issues
Through Jarrod’s Tech, Dell, the parent company of Alienware, has given an answer on the situation of the cropped RTX 3070 in its M15 gaming laptop. What you can see above these lines that translates into Spanish says this:
The number of CUDA cores compared to NVIDIA specs may change for each assembler (OEM) like us (Dell), allowing us more specific design and better performance tuning. Please rest assured that the modifications made by our engineering team for this model were made after careful testing and design choices to bring the most stable and best performance to our customers. If at a later date CUDA cores can be unlocked via a future update, we will make it available on our technical support site.
Today, all types of processors, whether CPU or GPU, are generally designed with the ability to disable certain parts of the GPU if necessary. Dell for the Alienware M15 has decided to deactivate certain SMs and with it several CUDA cores in order to meet the thermal and energy needs required by the Alienware M15.
Alienware contradicts Dell
At the same time, the folks at Alienware gave a different answer, via Tom’s Hardware, regarding the problem with the Alienware M15:
We are aware that an incorrect vBIOS configuration limits the number of CUDA cores in configurations with the RTX 3070.
This is an error that we are trying to correct as quickly as possible.. We are awaiting a resolution by validation and we hope it will be resolved no earlier than mid-June. At this time, we do not recommend that you use the vBIOS of another Alienware platform to correct this problem. We apologize for any frustration this may have caused.
It is necessary to take into account the fact that each material product passes a validation by the various professional organizations around the world before being put on sale. Dell is unable to release the patch for vBIOS, resulting in a laptop that does not meet certain standard specifications. That’s why they’ll need to re-certify the laptop so that the next batch of that laptop supports the full RTX 3070 and the patch doesn’t retroactively revoke the current Alienware M15 certification.