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RTX 3070 Laptop core counts not matching spec

andromorr

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Hello everyone,

I'm new here so apologies if this has been answered before. Over on Reddit, we're trying to understand why the RTX 3070 in our Alienware M15 R5 laptops have fewer CUDA cores than spec.

An RTX 3070 laptop GPU should have 5120, but multiple people have reported GPU-Z and HWInfo showing a reduced number (4608). It's unlikely, but I wanted to check with this forum if this could simply be a matter of the Nvidia GPU / driver misreporting the count, or is it something more where Dell is using cut-down versions of the GPU.

Software Issue or Dell Selling Reduced Core RTX 3070 in m15 R5? : Alienware (reddit.com)

Any ideas on why this might be happening?
 

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W1zzard

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of the Nvidia GPU / driver misreporting the count
Would be the first time I ever see that happening

In the validation database of GPU-Z I have 27 submissions of this device (24DD), and they all are listed as 5120 shaders. This includes a bunch of Dells, too, but with subsystem ID 0a75 and 0a74, not 0a97 like yours

446.47 driver is in a few of those, so it doesn't look like an NVIDIA driver bug or a GPU-Z bug
 

andromorr

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Thanks W1zzard! It seems then that this is either a VBIOS bug or really a cut down version of the RTX 3070 laptop GPU. Appreciate your input.
 

W1zzard

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This is most certainly not a VBIOS (display) bug. The VBIOS can disable shaders, the end result is still that you're losing performance
 
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Thanks W1zzard! It seems then that this is either a VBIOS bug or really a cut down version of the RTX 3070 laptop GPU. Appreciate your input.
Whatever you do don't try to flash it to "fix" it.
 
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I think a good way to start this is to ask Alienware tech support about it. :)
Maybe they will know.
 

andromorr

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Thank you everyone for the input. Nvidia control panel confirms the same as # of CUDA cores as GPU-Z, so no discrepancies there.

Some braver folks than me did flash the GPU with a different VBIOS, with the result being that the # of shaders went up: http://forum.notebookreview.com/thr...r5-owners-lounge.835745/page-19#post-11098288

So it does seem that, whether intentionally or otherwise, Dell is not enabling all shaders in the VBIOS that it is shipping these cards with. We've reached out to Dell support, Dell PMs, and tech reviewers to give insight into this and raise awareness.
 

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Thanks! Any idea where I can find those BIOSes?
 
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I'm new here so apologies if this has been answered before. Over on Reddit, we're trying to understand why the RTX 3070 in our Alienware M15 R5 laptops have fewer CUDA cores than spec.
or is it something more where Dell is using cut-down versions of the GPU.
You are comparing a mobile product to a desktop spec. Mobile products have rarely not been trimmed down versions of the desktop versions. And that makes sense given the power envelope of the 3000 series RTX GPU's. Are you complaining because such was not declared(because it often isn't) or because the small difference in performance disappoints you?

You and your lot over on reddit need to remember, you have a MOBILE platform. You need to keep context in mind and not expect desktop performance from said mobile platform. Within a hop, skip and jump, sure, but not matching. Nor should you expect desktop specs. You should expect mobile specs and mobile performance.

Did Nvidia sanction this or Dell slipped one past them :shadedshu:
NVidia provides the dies and the VBIOS digital sig. Nothing got "slipped" past them.

This situation is a total nothing.

Hey andromorr, please check NVIDIA control panel and built-in system information
That will likely show the same info as GPUZ polls the hardware as well as the driver for spec data IIRC.
 

andromorr

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lexluthermiester - thank you for your input.

I am quite aware that mobile GPUs and desktop GPUs do not have the same specs, even if they share the same name. I think you missed the part where us "lot" over on reddit are comparing the RTX 3070 in our laptops to an RTX 3070 in other laptops. We are fully aware how many CUDA cores an RTX 3070 mobile GPU is supposed to have, and that number is 5120. We are complaining - and rightfully so given that we paid for it - that our laptops have 10% fewer cores. 10% is more than a "small difference". It represents a bump down to a lower tier GPU that can be potentially hundreds of dollars cheaper.

It seems that we were right to make a noise - Dell has acknowledged the issue and is promising a fix soon: Alienware to Return Abducted GPU Cores to m15 R5 Laptop With vBIOS Fix | Tom's Hardware (tomshardware.com)

Thank you everyone in this forum for helping us resolve this.
 
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I think you missed the part where us "lot" over on reddit are comparing the RTX 3070 in our laptops to an RTX 3070 in other laptops.
Nope, didn't miss that at all. It happens, has happened in the past and will happen again in the future. It's companies utilizing resources to their maximum.

We're not talking about someone using a GTX450 die and a hacked VBIOS to pass off as a GTX750. We're talking about two large companies following SOP and getting the most out of their product yields. Their only mistake was in not declaring the changed spec.

But it seems this is a different problem..
It seems that we were right to make a noise - Dell has acknowledged the issue and is promising a fix soon: Alienware to Return Abducted GPU Cores to m15 R5 Laptop With vBIOS Fix | Tom's Hardware (tomshardware.com)
Interesting. One has to wonder if that bios setting was deliberate(for power/heat management) or if something else was at play..
 

andromorr

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If Alienware started selling a Ryzen 5800X system but with two cores disabled, that's not "following the SOP". It's trying to pass off a 5600X as a 5800X and charging more for it. Some other terms that come to mind are "false advertising" and "fraud".

Luckily what happened here was a simple engineering mistake, which Dell is rectifying.
 
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If Alienware started selling a Ryzen 5800X system but with two cores disabled, that's not "following the SOP". It's trying to pass off a 5600X as a 5800X and charging more for it. Some other terms that come to mind are "false advertising" and "fraud".
Yeah, that isn't what was happening here. Even if they were selling a trimmed down model of GPU under the 3070 badge, it's still not false advertising or fraud. Mobile products are almost always trimmed down versions of their desktop counter parts. Such is NOT a new concept. And given the power profile of the RTX3000 series GPU such would not be unexpected.

Luckily what happened here was a simple engineering mistake, which Dell is rectifying.
Right.
 

andromorr

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That's not how mobile GPUs work. Yes they're cut down from their desktop variants, but they still have an official spec. That spec is 5120 cores for a mobile RTX 3070. Laptop manufacturers don't have the freedom to change that number. If the laptop design can't handle that chip due to power or thermal constraints, they can pick a different SKU. But they can't disable some cores and still call it an RTX 3070.
 
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lexluthermiester - thank you for your input.

I am quite aware that mobile GPUs and desktop GPUs do not have the same specs, even if they share the same name. I think you missed the part where us "lot" over on reddit are comparing the RTX 3070 in our laptops to an RTX 3070 in other laptops. We are fully aware how many CUDA cores an RTX 3070 mobile GPU is supposed to have, and that number is 5120. We are complaining - and rightfully so given that we paid for it - that our laptops have 10% fewer cores. 10% is more than a "small difference". It represents a bump down to a lower tier GPU that can be potentially hundreds of dollars cheaper.

It seems that we were right to make a noise - Dell has acknowledged the issue and is promising a fix soon: Alienware to Return Abducted GPU Cores to m15 R5 Laptop With vBIOS Fix | Tom's Hardware (tomshardware.com)

Thank you everyone in this forum for helping us resolve this.
Now if only a similar number of people complained about Dell's practice of selling under powered laptops because they adjust the cTDP of CPU's down so they fit within their thermal design for the laptops.
When you buy a 45W CPU you expect full use of it, not restricted to a much lower wattage.
 
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Now if only a similar number of people complained about Dell's practice of selling under powered laptops because they adjust the cTDP of CPU's down so they fit within their thermal design for the laptops.
When you buy a 45W CPU you expect full use of it, not restricted to a much lower wattage.
I agree with you! None of the practices discussed are desirable. But it's what makers do to stay in business and meet certain consumer demands.
 

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its was probly done for power/thermals to keep from blowing the vrms off it

and yes oems can do whatever they please to the video bios there is nothing preventing them from doing so just like they do with TDP limits that may be lower or higher then the vendor spec

believe it or not in a thermally/power constrained situations you are likely better off with less cores and a higher clock with more thermal overhead it in many cases will outperform the higher core count chip
go run a benchmark and pay attention to the power/thermals and core boost speed against the framerate
 
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W1zzard

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and yes oems can do whatever they please to the video bios there is nothing preventing them from doing so just like they do with TDP limits that may be lower or higher then the vendor spec
This not true. There's very strict limitations from NVIDIA side what their partners can do. Besides limiting them on paper, they achieve this by only exposing a limited feature set or limited ranges in the BIOS editor (which is provided by NVIDIA). Examples of settings for which limitations exist are thermal limits, boost algorithm, power limits, minimum fan speed, base clock, memory clock, VRAM timings, voltage controller support and countless more, depending on SKU

Also google, NVIDIA Greenlight Program
 
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That's Techspot for you, late to the party and missing details, like the fact that Dell already figured this one out(seemingly honest mistake) and is releasing a firmware update.
Honest mistake?
This week same thing was found on one of their alienware laptops equipped with mobile RTX 3060. Can't find the source now, but I'm certain I saw it somewhere on twitter.
but it turned out to be a typo, verified by one of the owners of G15 model.
 
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Honest mistake?
Did you miss the update in the article?
 
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