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Alienware M15, a gaming laptop with limited RTX 3070

The controversy of these last days has been carried out by Alienware, where its users have raised their hands to their heads with a more than justified indignation. The reason? Simple, GPUs for laptops are much more expensive than their desktop counterparts and paying more for a trimmed version is not to the liking of anyone who has spent money on a high-caliber gaming laptop.

The 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, since the specifications are different between both versions. Even so, and being aware of the buyers of gaming laptops with the NVIDIA RTX 30 of the different specifications, Those who have purchased an Alienware M15 gaming laptop with the RTX 3070 have been in for a nasty surprise when checking your laptop’s GPU specs.

The image you see at the beginning of this subsection corresponds to what GPU-Z when asking the hardware that the GPU carries the system, instead the following image is what GPU-Z gives when the Alienware M15 is asked which GPU it carries:

Alienware M15 3070

As you can see, both GPUs return that they are an RTX 3070 for laptops, each GPU model has a different ID that allows drivers and applications that need it to identify which model it is. It is not another GPU even though it has gone from 5,120 CUDA cores to 4,608 CUDA cores, which is a considerable cut.

This fact has sparked outrage from shoppers from the Alienware M15, which is normal, as no one wants a cut of this magnitude in a gaming GPU.

Dell responds to issues

Alienware answer

Through Jarrod’s Tech, Dell, the parent company of Alienware, has given an answer about the situation of the RTX 3070 cropped in its M15 gaming laptop. Which you can see above these lines and that translated into Spanish says the following:

The number of CUDA cores compared to NVIDIA specifications can change for each assembler (OEM) like us (Dell), allowing us a more specific design and better performance tuning. Rest assured that the changes 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 the CUDA cores can be unlocked via a future update, we will make it available on our technical support website.

Today all types of processors, whether CPUs or GPUs, are usually designed with the ability to disable certain parts of the GPU if necessary. Dell for the Alienware M15 has decided to deactivate some SMs and thus several CUDA cores in order to meet the thermal and power requirements required by the Alienware M15.

Alienware contradicts Dell

Portable alienware

At the same time, the folks at Alienware have given a different answer, via Tom’s Hardware outlet, regarding the problem with the Alienware M15:

We are aware that an incorrect vBIOS configuration is limiting the number of CUDA cores in configurations with the RTX 3070.

This is an error that we are looking to correct as quickly as possible. We await a resolution through validation and we hope that it will be resolved in the middle of June at the earliest. At this time, we do not recommend using vBIOS from another Alienware platform to correct this problem. We apologize for any frustration this may have caused.

It must be taken into account that every hardware product passes a validation by the different trade organizations around the world before being put on sale. Dell cannot release the patch for vBIOS and as a consequence this results in a laptop that does not meet certain standard specifications. That is why they will need to re-certify the laptop so that the next shipment of this laptop supports the full RTX 3070 and the patch does not retroactively revoke the current certification of the Alienware M15.