Is this a case of a bad vBIOS or is there something else going on? Some Alienware m15 R5 Gaming Laptop owners are trying to answer that same question after finding fewer CUDA cores inside the GPU-Z for the RTX 3070 portable chip than there should be -512 fewer cores, in fact.
It’s a fairly standard procedure for laptop manufacturers to deal with clock speeds and TDP to adapt to a laptop’s cooling solution and power supply. What is not usually done is to reduce the core count to get a nicer card, so we suspect there may be something more.
Nvidia's RTX 3070 mobile GPU comes with 5,120 CUDA cores, which is 768 cores than the desktop model. However, some Alienware m15 R5 owners are not yet available Reddit and the NotebookReview Forums I've only noticed 4,608 cores reporting their work on GPU-Z, which are even fewer (via Videocardz).
Even stranger are the reported figures for TMU and ROP: 144 and 96, respectively.
There should be 160 TMUs, but the reduction here is checked by the lower core count: 4,608 cores would be 36 SM and there are four TMUs per SM for a total of 144. Less than expected, and it is not ideal, but it makes some sense.
However, when it comes to ROPs, there should be a total of 80 with the RTX 3070 mobile chip. What we are seeing here are the full 96 ROPs of the GA104 GPU, which are only on the GPU RTX 3080 mobile phone and the RTX 3070 desktop GPU.
Since then, Alienware R5 owners have been trying out a few different options for finding a solution, including vBIOS flashing. It is a potentially dangerous maneuver for a gaming laptop, as it can cause the GPU to crash. In this case, a GPU is soldered to the laptop's motherboard, making it doubly risky.
So congratulations to those who tried, as they may have also discovered all this in the process.
A BIOS for the Alienware m15 R4 laptop, once loaded on the R5, returns the 5,120 CUDA cores to their full glory. As a result, users also report higher performance, so it seems that the GPU of the affected R5 laptops was not working properly due to an uninformed vBIOS.
Users expect an official solution to avoid the awkward blinking process, which is not a permanent solution for those affected. Many have contacted Dell support for answers, and we are also looking to see if there is any official response to what is happening.
In the meantime, if you have an affected R5 laptop, you may want to contact Dell support directly to be the first to know when a solution is available, which I can only assume will be on its way soon. As I said, launching your vBIOS can be a risky business, so we recommend that you keep firing until there is a more sanctioned solution; we hope it arrives soon.