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Dell XPS 9700 undervolting - The Complete Guide

Hello everyone,

 

INTRODUCTION:

In recent months, I have been heavily invested into undervolting the Dell XPS 9700 equipped with i7-10875H. In this guide, I will guide you, step by step, to both enable undervolting support and apply the best settings through a tuning program called ThrottleStop. You can expect up to 35% power consumption decrease for same level of performance or 15% performance increase at same power. 

 

DISCLAIMER (April 2022): For anyone who's wondering weather there will be any bios-set voltage curve bypass available for 2022 model year XPS 9520 and 9720, I'm sad to inform you that due to completely different CPU architecture featuring 2 types of CPU cores (P-cores and E-cores), I doubt we'll see any undervolting support. I'm 100% sure that the current method will not work, so do not try to use it. Will update the post if something comes along!

 

ENABLE UNDERVOLTING:

I have helped myself tremendously with a post over at NotebookReview forum, by a user named custom90gt. Full credits to him. I will link the original post here, but copy the contents into this topic, so that all information needed is in one place. The original poster vouches that this procedure also works for Dell XPS 9500 series, but I have not tested it myself and cannot confirm. I also highly recommend you DO NOT update the bios after this alteration - that is why you should use the latest supported bios for this method! I only recommend this procedure to those with good operating system understanding and I am not responsible for any bios bricking you might do if you make a mistake during your entries. 

 

UPDATE (january 2022) - working BIOS versions

Dell XPS 9700 Bioses: 1.04, 1.06, 1.32, 1.5.0, 1.6.3, 1.8.2, 1.9.2 (confirmed by me)
Dell XPS 9500 Bioses: 1.4.0, 1.6.1, 1.7.1, 1.8.1, 1.9.1 (confirmed by NotebookReview forum users)

 

UPDATE (late March 2022) - additional working BIOS versions:

Dell XPS 9700 Bioses: 1.12.0, 1.13.0 (confirmed by me)

Dell XPS 9500 Bioses: 1.13.0 (confirmed by LTT forum user, thank you!)

 

Create a EFI USB Boot Drive

  1. Download the grubx64.efi file from v1.0 alpha release available here.
  2. Get (or format) a blank FAT32 flash drive. (exFAT doesn't work!)
  3. Create a folder called EFI. Within this EFI folder, create a folder called Boot.
  4. Place the grubx64.efi folder above into the EFI/Boot folder path.
  5. Rename grubx64.efi to bootx64.efi.

You should now have a flash drive with one file, bootx64.efi, located in the path X:/EFI/Boot (where X is your flash drive’s drive letter.) Time to boot it!

Disable Secure Boot in BIOS and Boot Prepared EFI USB Drive
Before your computer can boot the EFI flash drive, you will have to disable the Secure Boot option in your BIOS. To do so simply go into the bios with F2 and under the boot options there should be a Secure Boot mode, set that to disable. After that leave your USB drive in and hit F12 to select your USB drive to boot from.

 

My Comment: I have tried disabling secure boot, but couldn't get into USB drive that way. I managed to boot into the USB drive by changing boot priority in bios from Windows Boot Loader first to USB drive first.

Edit EFI Variables of Interest (again after verifying they are the CORRECT variables):
Once in the EFI shell simply type (without the quotations): My comment: Make sure you press enter after each entry to change value. Conformation isn't automatic!
"setup_var CpuSetup 0xDA 0x0"
"setup_var CpuSetup 0x3E 0x0"
Once you change the variables, you can simply unplug your flash drive, reboot, re-enable SecureBoot, and boot back into Windows.

 

EDIT (january 2022) - variables for Dell XPS 9710 and 9510 (BIOS 1.2.1 confirmed). Also Precision 5560 (BIOS 1.4.0 confirmed)
"setup_var CpuSetup 0xDF 0x0"
"setup_var CpuSetup 0x43 0x0"

 

My comment: If you have used the method with boot priority, you need to go back into the bios and change it to what it was - boot loader first! Turn off the laptop after you've done the procedure and boot, mashing F2 to get into bios. Windows usually does that itself when it does not find anything else to boot into, but for peace of mind - do it manually.
 

Undervolting is now enabled!

 

 

ThrottleStop:

 

For a full guide regarding the program, click here. It is really important you have at least rudimentary understanding of it, and I recommend you familiarize yourself with the interface. For this guide, I will explain the important bits as I go, and the settings used are by my testing the best middle ground between power consumption and performance.

 

Settings changed:

EDIT (late march 2022): This part of the Guide is outdated in terms of undervotling values used and needs to be remade. Please proceed with caution and do not over-undervolt your CPU. In general, put +10mv on all settings I've written down below since not all of them turned out to be stable long term. When I make time, I'll update this part of the Guide as well.

EDIT (late april 2022): Update for ThrottleStop settings is being worked on. I've been doing extensive stability testing this past month and I'll post results with graphs when I have some time on my hands.

 

Speed Shift: Enable (enables hardware controlled frequency management, reducing latency. In laymen's terms: It makes your CPU boost faster)

Speed Shift EPP: 64/128 (numbers between 0-255 narrate how eager the CPU is to boost from it's lowest allowed frequency, 0.80ghz. to max allowed frequency. 0=max possible frequency at any time, 255=min frequency at all times. 64=still very responsive, boosting to max allowed turbo under load, but dropping down to low 1ghz numbers at idle. 128 will grand you similar responsiveness as Windows would.)

BD PROCHOT: Disable (disables comms between GPU and CPU for thermal, disables power throttling for CPU if GPU runs hot and vice versa) - I only recommend this if you have changed the thermal paste to something better. But you can not damage your system by disabling this setting, so worry not.

 

TPL settings: (button on main panel, will open another panel: (stock Dell setting: PL2=135W, PL1=75W - we won't need that much power to achieve same or better performance)

   - PL2: 45W

   - PL1: 90W

(It might be tempting to change turbo boost limit to a higher value, but don't bother - it's 56 seconds regardless of what it says there. 56 seconds is the stock PL2 time limit for Intel CPUs)

FIVR settings:

  - Unlock Adjustable Voltage for: CPU Core, CPU Cache, iGPU

            1. FIVR Control window - select CPU core/cache, iGPU

            2. One window below that, click on "unlock adjustable voltage" and apply in bottom right corner. Do that for all three.

            3. Above "Apply" button in bottom right, mark "OK - save voltages immediately" and click apply.

 

  - CPU core v-offset: -130mV (mine can handle -140mV no problem, test yours with Cinebench/Prime95/Aida64 to see if it's stable)(change "Range" from 125mV to 250mV below the slider)

  - CPU cache v-offset: -95mV (100% stable, but - if you chip can't hold a -130mv offset, lower this setting to -90mV. Cache doesn't like to be undervolted, but contributes a fair bit in power consumption)

  - iGPU v-offset: -75mV (mine holds -80mV, see if yours does too.)

 

  - Disable and Lock Turbo Power Limits: Enable (locks PL2 and PL1 limits that you've set in TPL, ignores stock power states.) 

 

  - Thermal Velocity Boost: Disable (allows the CPU to ignore temperature induced frequency limits and run at max turbo ratio all the time. On stock, Intel will only boost the CPU by 200mhz under 65°C and 100mhz between 65 and 85°C. Disabling this setting will allow the CPU to run at max regardless of the temperature. 100°C T-max still stands, so no worries - this doesn't mean you can run at 120°C)

 

  - Change 8 core turbo ratio limit from 43 to 42 (left side of FIVR panel). This is very important, as our undervolt doesn't provide enough power to run at 4.3ghz all-core under max load. My CPU needs significantly more power, more than I can cool with a liquid metal mod, to sustain 4.3 - and It's not worth it for the 2.5% performance gain.

 

Duplicate these results for two (or more) profiles (main panel, top left (performance/gaming/internet/battery) and change power limits if you'd like. I have one for gaming, which limits the CPU to 25W - since that is all that the PSU can supply, being only 130W. But - you can run the CPU completely uncapped and it will pull from the battery. ThrottleStop will overwrite Dell's power limits.

 

CONCLUSION:

 

Below is an Excel datasheet, comparing stock and undervolted score in Cinebench R23 and a graph to show the difference. Note that for the same score we previously needed around 72W, we now need only 45W. And even though the data says that I've tested both configs at 90W, the undervolted system never drew that much. It capped at 87W for 4.2ghz all-core turbo. Before, it needed around 110W to maintain it. And even my modded cooling system doesn't have the capacity for that.

 

Undervolted system will rarely if ever spin fans during office work, it is cold to the touch, the battery lasts more than an hour longer, idle power consumption is reduced, video playback is more efficient, gaming performance (with RTX 2060maxq) is greatly improved, by more than 10% at same 25W limit. I recommend using the Dells "quiet" preset in Dell Power Manager to minimize fan spin-up further. Don't worry about Dells power limits, ThrottleStop overwrites them all. Since the system is cooler and allowed to boost to max frequency at all times, it is also faster in daily tasks. I personally limited mine to PL2=28W, PL1=20W, But I do have a more unlocked profile at the ready when I need the umpf.

 

I'm available for all question you may have. If I have made any mistakes anywhere, please do correct me. Cheers 🙂

 

image.png.c25d4dbe86ac89f216bac830fe80c58a.png

 

image.png.8caf18582b4f8301558a12feb05e1412.png

 

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  • 2 months later...

Thank you for the effort.  Would it be possible to take pictures of the TPL menu and FIVR settings?  Unfortunately I do not get this 4.3 Ghz :(

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  • 4 weeks later...

Hi, i managed to enable undervolting with your guide. however i took a considerable amount of battery life away. Before i enabled undervolting i had about 6 hours of battery life at 50 percent. Now after i enabled undervolting i now have only 2 hours of battery life at 50%. My question for you is: Did you also have the same issue? and if so what fixed the battery life for you?

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  • 7 months later...
On 4/7/2021 at 4:39 PM, Light-Yagami said:

I personally limited mine to PL2=28W, PL1=20W, But I do have a more unlocked profile at the ready when I need the umpf.

@Light-Yagami, Thank you for the detailed write up, amazing work. Thanks for also for keeping the undervolt information alive after the NBR forums shut down.

 

How are you achieving the above profile switching as I'm using ThrottleStop 9.4 stable and the TPL screen the profile options aren't enabled. Instead switching between the radio buttons do nothing. The profile name shows, "Coming Soon" when trying the other radio buttons.

 

Screenshot 2022-02-25 085034.png

Edited by Nospheratu
Added TPL screen
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  • 3 weeks later...

Hello @Light-Yagami,
first of all, thanks for the great tutorial and the kindness to share it with the community.
I came across this guide after already applying the latest BIOS update on the XPS9700 (v. 1.13.0, release date: February 10, 2022).
In ThrottleStop, after following your instructions, I still see +0.0000 in the FIVR settings table (top right) for all offsets. So I assume that I am missing something or the two "Undervolt-Unlock" command lines are not fully compatible with the current BIOS version.
After entering the two commands I got this feedback. Could it be that the first command does not work?

____

grub> setup var CpuSetup OxDF Ox0
Searching for variable store "CpuSetup".. store name: CpuSetup, store size: 18, store guid: b08f97ff-e6e8-4193 - a9-97-5e-9e-9b-0a-db-32
Expected a different size of the Setup variable (got 820 (0x334) bytes) . Continue with care..
Successfully opened "CpuSetup" from VSS (got 820 (0x334) bytes).
Offset 0xdf is: 0x01
Writing 0x00 to offset 0xdf

grub› setup _var CpuSetup 0x43 0x0
Searching for variable store "CpuSetup"...store name: CpuSetup, store size: 18, store guid: b08f97ff-e6e8-4193 - a9-97-5e-9e-9b-0a-db-32
Successfully opened "CpuSetup" from VSS (got 820 (0x334) bytes).
Offset 0x43 is: 0x00
Writing 0x00 to offset 0x43
____
Thanks so much
Kiu

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Hello everyone! I have been following this thread since the days of The Notebook Review Forums and here to confirm that the latest BIOS works with the original undervolting hack for the XPS 15 9500. DELL BIOS VERSION 1.13 100% works for the XPS 9500! THIS BIOS UPDATE DOES NOT DISABLE COMPUTERS with these VARS "setup_var CpuSetup 0xDA 0x0" "setup_var CpuSetup 0x3E 0x0". Original poster, please feel free to update the working BIOS' at the top of this page. It would be nice if this page was updated to help more people get more from their crippled Dell Laptops out of the box. Have A Great Day Everyone! 🙂 

 

Eli

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On 2/25/2022 at 7:48 AM, Nospheratu said:

@Light-Yagami, Thank you for the detailed write up, amazing work. Thanks for also for keeping the undervolt information alive after the NBR forums shut down.

 

How are you achieving the above profile switching as I'm using ThrottleStop 9.4 stable and the TPL screen the profile options aren't enabled. Instead switching between the radio buttons do nothing. The profile name shows, "Coming Soon" when trying the other radio buttons.

 

 

Sorry for the late response. ThrottleStop does not support multiple power limit profiles yet, and I don't know if it ever will.. It's been like this for years, ever since I started using it back in 2015 or so.

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On 3/14/2022 at 9:28 AM, Kiu178 said:

Hello @Light-Yagami,
first of all, thanks for the great tutorial and the kindness to share it with the community.
I came across this guide after already applying the latest BIOS update on the XPS9700 (v. 1.13.0, release date: February 10, 2022).
In ThrottleStop, after following your instructions, I still see +0.0000 in the FIVR settings table (top right) for all offsets. So I assume that I am missing something or the two "Undervolt-Unlock" command lines are not fully compatible with the current BIOS version.
After entering the two commands I got this feedback. Could it be that the first command does not work?

____

grub> setup var CpuSetup OxDF Ox0
Searching for variable store "CpuSetup".. store name: CpuSetup, store size: 18, store guid: b08f97ff-e6e8-4193 - a9-97-5e-9e-9b-0a-db-32
Expected a different size of the Setup variable (got 820 (0x334) bytes) . Continue with care..
Successfully opened "CpuSetup" from VSS (got 820 (0x334) bytes).
Offset 0xdf is: 0x01
Writing 0x00 to offset 0xdf

grub› setup _var CpuSetup 0x43 0x0
Searching for variable store "CpuSetup"...store name: CpuSetup, store size: 18, store guid: b08f97ff-e6e8-4193 - a9-97-5e-9e-9b-0a-db-32
Successfully opened "CpuSetup" from VSS (got 820 (0x334) bytes).
Offset 0x43 is: 0x00
Writing 0x00 to offset 0x43
____
Thanks so much
Kiu

BIOS version 1.13.0 has not yet been confirmed by the community or me, so it might not support this method anymore (but I don't see why it wouldn't). You also might have written the code wrong. In either case, I am not able to help. Undervolting also needs to be enabled in ThrottleStop, and undervolting parameters need to be set manually, as written in the guide. I hope you resolved the issue in these past 2 weeks.

 

Best regards, LY

 

EDIT: Bios 1.13.0 has been confirmed to work on 31st of march 2022, by me. There's definitely something wrong on your end. Best regards!

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 3/24/2022 at 5:13 PM, Light-Yagami said:

BIOS version 1.13.0 has not yet been confirmed by the community or me, so it might not support this method anymore (but I don't see why it wouldn't). You also might have written the code wrong. In either case, I am not able to help. Undervolting also needs to be enabled in ThrottleStop, and undervolting parameters need to be set manually, as written in the guide. I hope you resolved the issue in these past 2 weeks.

 

Best regards, LY

 

EDIT: Bios 1.13.0 has been confirmed to work on 31st of march 2022, by me. There's definitely something wrong on your end. Best regards!

Hello LY,

thank you so much for your reply. Motivated by your reply that you also had success with bios version 1.13.0, I carefully redid all the steps today.
Obviously I am missing something or doing something wrong.
By the way: I am using an XPS 9700....

I am aware that you are obviously not here to offer "support" to inexperienced users like me.
But I thought that sometimes four eyes see better than two, and you might have a moment to take a closer look at my settings:

I don't feel like I forgot anything with ThrottleStop...my guess is that the error message at the command line might have something to do with it. Or did you have the same error message and I can ignore it?

If you can take a look at it, I'm very happy.

Either way, thank you so much!

Stay healthy
Kiu

 

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So I have an XPS 9710. I followed your guide and and applied a -70mv undervolt for several months. However recently, my laptop automatically upgraded to the newest 9710 1.7.2 bios due to UFEI auto upgrade. Unfortunately my Throttlestop voltage offsets stopped working. I tried the bios edit several times and I have even tried to downgrade my bios to 1.6 and 1.5 and even 1.1.3, the lowest bios version available. Unfortunately the bios edit no longer works. 😞

 

I am wondering if anyone else has had this issue? Is there something else blocking the new mods? Thanks.

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I'm exaggerating a bit, but your information helped turn my 9500 from a paperweight into something I can use.

Put me down as another 9500 where 1.13.0 works.

I'm not a gamer and just want battery life. The lack of searing, roaring winds and frying-pan lap temps is crucial, too.

Thank you. Seriously.

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Any update on the latest XPS 15 9520 model with intel 12th gen and undervolting using this guide? Sadly, NotebookReview's forum is gone.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Hi @Kiu178,

 

I had the same problem, offsets were 0 after changing them, then I tried installing XTU and when opening it an error showed up saying that 'Virtual Machine Platform' is not compatible, after uninstalling the windows feature XTU started working and so TS. I have an XPS 9700 with an i7-10875H and RTX 2060, BIOS 1.13

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14 hours ago, kechu said:

Hi @Kiu178,

 

I had the same problem, offsets were 0 after changing them, then I tried installing XTU and when opening it an error showed up saying that 'Virtual Machine Platform' is not compatible, after uninstalling the windows feature XTU started working and so TS. I have an XPS 9700 with an i7-10875H and RTX 2060, BIOS 1.13

Hello Kechu,
thank you so much for helping me to solve the problem. Unfortunately, the error seems to be somewhere else for me. With my system, the "Virtual Machine Platform" was already disabled.
As you might already have seen above, I have taken screenshots of all ThrottleStop windows. Do you notice any difference to your settings?

Thanks again for your support. I appreciate it very much!
Best Regards
Kiu

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@Kiu178

Sorry for late response.

 

If you're running stock multiplier settings for CPU frequency, then your undervolt values are too aggressive. I'm working on updating the stable undervolt values and will update the post shortly (most likely in May). When you've set your values, you have to cross check with baseline to verify that the settings have taken. Undervolt should use less power at a given frequency. If power is the same, undervolt didn't take. My CPU couldn't hold values that you've shown for more than a few hours before crashing.

As far as I'm aware, making changes to iGPU voltage and GPU slice voltage doesn't make any difference. I've done extensive testing that confirms that. Only CPU core and cache work. When I update the guide, you'll be able to see exactly what works and what doesn't, along with power response, frequency response and different CPU frequency profiles for undervolt aggressiveness. 

 

Best regards,

LY

 

 

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On 4/7/2022 at 4:56 AM, Duckysaysquack said:

So I have an XPS 9710. I followed your guide and and applied a -70mv undervolt for several months. However recently, my laptop automatically upgraded to the newest 9710 1.7.2 bios due to UFEI auto upgrade. Unfortunately my Throttlestop voltage offsets stopped working. I tried the bios edit several times and I have even tried to downgrade my bios to 1.6 and 1.5 and even 1.1.3, the lowest bios version available. Unfortunately the bios edit no longer works. 😞

 

I am wondering if anyone else has had this issue? Is there something else blocking the new mods? Thanks.

Hello,

 

I haven't heard from anyone updating to a new bios and suddenly wasn't able to get the undervolt to work anymore. If more cases like yours emerge, I'll update the post to warn people about this issue. I'm sorry I'm not too familiar with 2021 9510 and 9710 models, since I've only been using the previous 2020 generation. I hope you resolve the issue!

 

Best regards, LY

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On 4/8/2022 at 5:02 AM, sophware said:

I'm exaggerating a bit, but your information helped turn my 9500 from a paperweight into something I can use.

Put me down as another 9500 where 1.13.0 works.

I'm not a gamer and just want battery life. The lack of searing, roaring winds and frying-pan lap temps is crucial, too.

Thank you. Seriously.

That's really the main reason people do these. Although it is possible to get upwards of 15% more performance in some frequency ranges, most people just want quiet operation and longer battery life. I'm glad you've got a better experience out of what would otherwise a hot loud annoying chunk of skin searing aluminum. XPS lineup really is a completely different beast with undervolt and repaste mods.

 

Best regards, LY

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 3/14/2022 at 9:28 AM, Kiu178 said:

Hello @Light-Yagami,
first of all, thanks for the great tutorial and the kindness to share it with the community.
I came across this guide after already applying the latest BIOS update on the XPS9700 (v. 1.13.0, release date: February 10, 2022).
In ThrottleStop, after following your instructions, I still see +0.0000 in the FIVR settings table (top right) for all offsets. So I assume that I am missing something or the two "Undervolt-Unlock" command lines are not fully compatible with the current BIOS version.
After entering the two commands I got this feedback. Could it be that the first command does not work?

____

grub> setup var CpuSetup OxDF Ox0
Searching for variable store "CpuSetup".. store name: CpuSetup, store size: 18, store guid: b08f97ff-e6e8-4193 - a9-97-5e-9e-9b-0a-db-32
Expected a different size of the Setup variable (got 820 (0x334) bytes) . Continue with care..
Successfully opened "CpuSetup" from VSS (got 820 (0x334) bytes).
Offset 0xdf is: 0x01
Writing 0x00 to offset 0xdf

grub› setup _var CpuSetup 0x43 0x0
Searching for variable store "CpuSetup"...store name: CpuSetup, store size: 18, store guid: b08f97ff-e6e8-4193 - a9-97-5e-9e-9b-0a-db-32
Successfully opened "CpuSetup" from VSS (got 820 (0x334) bytes).
Offset 0x43 is: 0x00
Writing 0x00 to offset 0x43
____
Thanks so much
Kiu

Hey, had the same problem (xps 9500, bios 1.13.0, 10750h). Switched to win 11, updated bios all the way to 1.14.0 and somewhere along the way lost undervolting. Tried the method  explained above but got same messages as you and no undervolting (was working before all the bios updates and swith to Win11).

 

Anyway there was also another issue where CoreTemp was showing wrong CPU frequency (way over 5K). Looking for the answer I stumbled on https://forums.aida64.com/topic/8854-aida64-showing-wrong-bus-clock-speed/ where user suggested to fix wrong frequency with "bcdedit /set hypervisorlaunchtype off" ( warning: Hyper-V vm (used by Android/Ubuntu subsystem) will be disabled). Also I was messing with wsl V2 earlier so I've been disabling/enabling hypervisor.

 

After running the command and reboot, CPU frequency was accurate and ThrottleStop was  able to undervolt again (go figure). This was just my experience, hope it will help someone restore undervolting. Use at your own risk 🙂

 

@Light-Yagami thank you for the excellent waypoints and for keeping original info from NotebookReview

 

 

 

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