Undervolting 2020 Dell Laptops like the Vostro 7500 and More Tips to Improve Thermals, Battery Life, and Speed

2021 Update: Based on post and Reddit comments, the approach to unlock undervolting works for a number of models, including the XPS, Inspiron, G5, 11th Generation Intel processors, and 2021 Dell models and other lines. If it works for you, please leave a comment below so others may know!

Disclaimer: Changing voltages or editing BIOS settings not surfaced by your laptop manufacturer is risky and thus I give no guarantees or warranties that any of this will work well for you. This is merely a recap of my own experiences with making my Vostro 7500 run faster!

In July 2020 there was a deal-stacking slick deal on Dell’s new Vostro 7500 laptop with the Intel 10750H processor, so I went for it. But as hot as the deal was, it turned out the laptop runs even hotter. HWiNFO showed that the that the CPU package and cores quickly hit 100C, and the CPU thermal throttled upon opening pretty much any application. And unlike Intel laptops of the past, many in 2020, including the XPS, Vostro, and Inspiron, have undervolting disabled by default due to the Plundervolt vulnerability.

But I discovered there are a few ways to keep the laptop cooler, including the ability to unlock undervolting for the Comet Lake 10750H processor (skip to this section for this) without needing to flash a modded BIOS. The following steps allowed me to double my battery life, drop my idle temps by 20°C, and improve my FPS, in reversible ways that shouldn’t void the warranty, and most apply to other 2020 Dell models like the XPS and Inspiron as well:

  1. Easy BIOS Changes
  2. Enable Advanced Windows Power Plan Options
  3. Initial Throttlestop Tweaks
  4. Disable Unneeded Startup Processes with Autoruns
  5. Undervolt your NVIDIA GPU with Afterburner
  6. Enable CPU Undervolting by Toggling Hidden BIOS Options
  7. Manually Set Fan Speed with HWiNFO
  8. Miscellaneous Vostro 7500 Learnings

Easy BIOS Changes

The fans rarely kicked on in my laptop even with temps above 70C, and I found out that the BIOS defaulted to an option where fans were a bit quieter/less aggressive. If you enter the laptop BIOS and navigate/search for Thermal Management, you’ll see a “Ultra Performance” setting which allows the fans to be a bit louder / run more often. I switched my Thermal Management plan to Ultra Performance and it seemed to help a bit.

And while you have the BIOS open you might consider changing a few other options:

  • EcoPower Mode (Disabling this stops your screen brightness from changing on its own and allows your own brightness setting to stick.)
  • Lid Switch (disabling it prevents the computer from turning on/off automatically when opening/closing the lid, which is annoying)

Enable Advanced Windows Power Plan Options

  • Type “regedit” in the taskbar Search field & open Registry Editor
  • Go to the folder HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Power
  • Set the CsEnabled value to 0 (change it from 1 to 0)

After a system restart, you will have extra options to choose from when you go to the Power Options area in the Control Panel:

Before the registry edit, there were only two plans to choose from!

I have had a good experience with the Ultra Performance plan, with some settings customized. If you click “Change plan settings” you can further tweak your power profile. If you want to have even more tweak-able options, you can use more Registry edits to unlock additional power savings settings within the “Change plan settings” menu as well.

Initial Throttlestop Tweaks

Throttlestop is a free program that allows adjustments to processor-level settings not visible in the BIOS and Windows options. You can make multiple profiles which is great: I have a battery-optimized profile and a performance-optimized profile which are automatically applied based on if my charger is plugged in or not. Here are some Throttlestop suggestions for maximum battery life:

  • Speedstep/C1E/Power Saver: turn these on
  • Speedshift – EPP: set to a high number like 255 for maximum battery life, pick a lower number for maximum performance.
  • Disable Turbo: turn on for maximum battery life; won’t let your computer achieve higher clockspeeds but 6 cores at 2.6ghz tends to be more than enough for the things I do on-the-go.
  • BD PROCHOT – always keep this on so your computer won’t reach too hot a temperature!
  • PROCHOT OFFSET (Under Options) – My Dell Vostro thermal throttles when it hits 100C, but at this point my laptop is hot to the touch. Setting this offset to 10 for me had my computer instead throttle at 90C. The CPU won’t hit as fast speeds but it keeps my laptop more comfortable to use and keeps the laptop speed down.
  • Turbo Boost Power Limits (Under TPL) – the maximum wattage your CPU can hit. I set my Long Power Max and Short Power Max values to a much more conservative 35w/40w. (Clamp forces the processor to abide by these limits even if it has to throttle itself.)
  • Speedshift Max Ratio – Changing this from 50 to 40 should keep your CPU from trying to hit too high clock speeds. If you set conservative power limits, you probably don’t need to worry about this since your power limit will also prevent higher ratios from being reached.
  • Enable Speed Shift when ThrottleStop starts – turned this on because I always want the above option to be utilized.

The most fun/useful Throttlestop options are under the FIVR menu, but are locked by default on most new Dell laptops. I’ll discuss later on how to unlock this menu so you can undervolt your CPU, but be warned it takes a lot of effort to do (but definitely worth it if you have the willpower!)

Here is what my battery-optimized Throttlestop profile looks like (note some options are redundant, certain SpeedShift levels won’t be reached if Turbo is off anyway, Clock Modulation doesn’t do anything for new CPUs, but this works for me!)

Here’s what my performance-optimized profile looks like (note that the TPL options are profile agnostic. For more performance, my power limits and Speedshift max profile could probably be higher, but I’d rather keep my CPU cooler):

Another thing to look at in Throttlestop is your processor’s C-states. Clicking the C10 button opens a window to show you how often your processor is entering certain processor states. Ideally when you are idling, you should have your CPU package enter the C10 state at least some of the time so your CPU wattage is as low as possible / your battery life will be longer. Certain programs, drivers, or processes can sometimes prevent this from happening, and if your CPU never enters a C10 state, updating drivers or removing startup processes can sometimes help fix this.

If your package C-States C7-C10 are never reached (e.g., they remain 0.0 in the view above) when absolutely nothing is open on your computer (including background processes like updates or virus scans) you might want to experiment with turning off processes and updating drivers.

Disable Unneeded Startup Processes with Autoruns

The less processes running on your computer, the longer your battery life. Especially if any of those processes are preventing your CPU from entering a more power-efficient C-State, as mentioned above. Autoruns is a great Microsoft tool to quickly disable processes you don’t have a need for.

Download and extract the tool, right-click Autoruns64.exe, and run as Administrator. Uncheck any/all processes you know you don’t need, which for me included a whole lot of pre-loaded Dell tools. You can be more aggressive and disable all of the things, but you’ll probably end up needing to re-enable some of them for things like your sound or brightness hotkeys to work properly.

I disabled every Dell service and nothing bad happened, A++ would recommend!

Undervolt Your NVIDIA GPU with Afterburner

The Dell Vostro 7500 has a dedicated GeForce GTX 1650 Ti card, which allows for gaming at moderate settings. However, it also generates a lot of heat which quickly affects the CPU temperature as well. While there’s no way to reduce the power limit or set a voltage offset for a dedicated GPU on many Dell Laptops, you can still undervolt the GPU by setting a custom voltage/frequency curve.

MSI Afterburner is probably the most popular tool to tweak graphics card settings including frequency/voltage curves. When you open the app and select your dedicated graphics card, you can hit Ctrl+F to open the frequency/voltage curve, which for me, looks like this by default:

The default frequency-voltage curve for the Vostro 7500 GTX 1650 Ti

You can look at the frequency (Y axis) and voltage (X axis) to see that this default curve has the GPU hitting a max frequency of 1875mhz at 1.04v. But for me, this generates lots of heat that ends up generating heat that makes my CPU throttle sooner. So I edited my GPU voltage curve to look like this:

Editing the curve can be unintuitive and clumsy at times, but this video should help you learn how to change the settings and get started.

With this flat voltage curve, my GPU won’t ever hit a clock speed above 1455mhz, but it will also stay at a steady voltage around 0.7v. This keeps my GPU and CPU much cooler when gaming. It’s kind of counter-intuitive, but limiting my GPU to a lower max frequency can give me higher FPS in CPU-bound games as decreased heat from the GPU means my CPU doesn’t thermal throttle until much higher clock speeds.

There’s one big caveat about undervolting your GPU this way though: in my experience MSI Afterburner is among the processes that can prevent your CPU from entering lower C-States. Which means if you are not gaming, this can end up hurting your battery life. I thus don’t have MSI Afterburner open at startup and simply open it up/apply undervolting before I open a game. This might not be the case for everyone, but Afterburner potentially affecting CPU C-States and battery life detrimentally is something to be aware of, as it’s been reported by others as well.

Edit EFI Variables to Enable CPU Undervolting

The most effective way to reduce the heat and improve battery life is to undervolt the CPU. These options are disabled by default in Throttlestop and Intel Extreme Tuning Utility (XTU) in most Comet Lake laptops because of Plundervolt. It takes a number of steps and tools, and is not for the faint of heart, but there is a way to unlock undervolting in 2020 Dell laptops. The following steps in 2020 work for, at the very least, my Dell Vostro 7500, someone else’s G7 7700 (h/t to this poster who helped me find the right setup_var tool to use), and likely many other Dell models. This is the most technically complicated part, and I’m not responsible for any inadvertent damage done by trying the following steps. What follows is a step-by-step breakdown of what worked for me, and it may not work for you.

Step 1: Dump a copy of your BIOS.

Download HWiNFO to see which version of Intel Manageability Engine your computer is using (it is listed under Motherboard > Intel ME)

My Dell Vostro 7500 has Intel ME Version 14.0

Based on the version of Intel ME you are using, download the proper version of Intel ME System Tools listed here under header C2.

Unzip the Intel (CS)ME System Tools folder, and open up a command line or Powershell shell terminal window as an Administrator and navigate to the location of the “Flash Programming Tool” folder in the directory you unzipped, by changing directory with a command like the below:

cd "C:\Users\<username>\Downloads\Intel CSME System Tools v14.0.11- r1\Flash Programming Tool\WIN64"

Once in the FPT folder, run the below command (different depending on your terminal of choice) to dump your current computer’s BIOS to your PC (don’t forget the -bios part, and definitely don’t type something other than -d by accident, this tool can be dangerous if used improperly!):

# if using cmd.exe (Command Prompt)
FPTW64.exe -d "bios_dump.rom" -bios

# if using Powershell
.\FPTW64.exe -d "bios_dump.rom" -bios

Step 2. Extract Your System’s Setup Settings with UEFITool

With the above BIOS dump in hand, it is now time to use UEFITool to search for the settings we care about, specifically the Overclocking. Download, extract, and open the Windows app, and use the tool to open the BIOS dump we generated above (File…Open Image File)

Once the BIOS image is opened, do a search (Ctrl+F) on the Text (not Hex Pattern or GUID) for “Overclocking Lock”. You should find one match, within the BIOS section of interest (“Setup”)

The Search match will be a child Section of the File we want to extract.

Right click on the parent File that matched your search (e.g., Click the row that has the Text “Setup”) and click “Extract as is.” Save this .ffs file somewhere, we’ll need it for the next step!

Step 3. Get a Human Readable Version of Your BIOS Setup Settings with IFR Extractor

The file we just extracted contains all of the toggle-able options your computer BIOS has, many of which Dell hides by default. We will need one more tool to get a human-readable version of these options, which is LongSoft’s version of IFR Extractor. (Older versions of IFR Extractor do not provide the location of the EFI variables you need to edit, but this one does.) Windows warned me the file might be unsafe, but I had no problems with it; for those who want to do due diligence, the repo/source code is here.)

Simply open IFR Extractor, point it to the .ffs you extracted in Step 2, and click extract. It will prompt you to save a .txt version of the file somewhere. You now a nice, human-readable text file that includes all the possible options you can change. Time to open it!

Step 4. Find BIOS Setup Options of Interest

When you open the IFR extracted text file, you’ll see pages and pages of BIOS settings as well as the location of these settings variables (variables are accessed at a given VarOffset within a given VarStore) in your NVRAM. In simpler times, most BIOS options you wanted to edit were conveniently stored in a single Setup VarStore, but now they are spread across multiple VarStores, which makes things trickier.

The beginning of pages and pages of BIOS settings.

Before we go further, it’s important to note that lots of these settings, if enabled or edited, can cause problems. I learned this when trying to force my Vostro 7500 to run a 32GB stick at its rated XMP timings which soft bricked my laptop. It refused to boot until I removed both the laptop battery and CMOS battery, which reset the NVRAM. So while there are lots of seems-cool features listed in the BIOS, it doesn’t mean they’re all going to work properly for you. Just because you can set a insanely high or low voltage offset for your CPU, doesn’t mean it won’t fry your CPU or cause it to be too unstable to boot.

That said, there are many settings which, for most Dell laptops, may not cause any issues, and can allow you to do things like undervolt. For my Dell Vostro 7500, I scrolled through the text file output by IFR Extractor and found two BIOS settings of interest (pictured below). Disabling each of them allowed me to undervolt my CPU with either Throttlestop or Intel Extreme Tuning Utility (XTU), with no ill-effects.

Overclocking Lock – This option is stored at VarOffset 0xDA within VarStore 0x3. If this variable is set to 0x0, the lock is disabled. If it is set to the default 0x1, it is enabled. A overclocking lock doesn’t just prevent you from making your CPU run faster, it also prevents you from changing your voltages, including undervolting.

CFG Lock – This option is stored at VarOffset 0x3E within VarStore 0x3. If this variable is set to 0x0, the lock is disabled. If it is set to the default 0x1, it is enabled. I’m unsure if you need to disable this for undervolting, but I did disable it in case I wanted to try the Hackintosh route in the future.

The VarStore that contains the Overclocking and CFG locks on my Vostro 7500 has VarStoreId 0x3. But we need the VarStore name. A Control+F reveals this: VarStoreId 0x3 has the name CpuSetup.

We now know everything we need to move on to the next step:

  • Both the Overclocking Lock and CFG Lock options are stored in the CpuSetup VarStore.
  • To disable the Overclocking Lock, we need to set VarOffset 0xDA to 0x0 (replace 0xDA with the VarOffset you see for Overclocking Lock on your own machine, as it may not be the same as mine!)
  • To disable the CFG Lock, we need to set VarOffset 0x3E to 0x0 (replace 0x3E with the VarOffset for CFG Lock you see on your own machine, as it may not be the same as mine!)

Step 5. Prepare a EFI USB Boot Drive

We now will prepare a special USB flash drive that will allow us to set the above “lock” variables to 0x0. For readers who have used setup_var to modify EFI variables before, note that I am using a newer, special version of setup_var someone made that allows users to modify variables at a specific VarStore name. Using the older, more popular setup_var command that’s hardcoded to look at the VarStore named Setup won’t work here!

  1. Download the grubx64.efi file from v1.0 alpha release available here.
  2. Get (or format) a blank FAT32 flash drive.
  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!

Step 6. 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. Then you can access the Boot Menu and select your flash drive to boot into a modified GRUB terminal. You should now have the ability to execute the command “setup_var” to read and edit settings of interest, which are stored as EFI variables.

Before you attempt to modify the values of our EFI variables, you should check that the variables identified above (Overclocking Lock and CFG Lock) are able to be read and are set to 0x1 as we expect them to be. It is always good to first test reading the variables before writing them!

You can use the setup_var command along with the VarStore and VarOffset values associated with your BIOS CFG Lock and Overclocking Locks to read their current values:

 setup_var [VarStore] [VarOffset]

For my Dell Vostro 7500, this returned my Overclocking Lock value:

setup_var CpuSetup 0xDA

Step 7. Edit EFI Variables of Interest

After you confirm you can read the CFG Lock and Overclocking Lock EFI variables, you can attempt to change them to a value of 0x0 to disable them with this usage of setup_var:

 setup_var [VarStore] [VarOffset] [Value]

For my Dell Vostro 7500, the following commands disabled my Overclocking Lock and CFG Lock:

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. Everything should seem the same as it was before, except now you can change CPU voltages in Throttlestop or XTU!

Step 8. Use the Newly Enabled Throttlestop FIVR Control to Undervolt Your CPU

Now that the Overclocking Lock is disabled, voltage changes in Throttlestop will actually work. Install and open Throttlestop and look for the “FIVR” button towards the bottom middle of the Throttlestop window. Clicking it should open the below screen:

FIVR Control, unlocked at last! Pictured are my actual Vostro 7500 day-to-day settings.

You can now change the voltage offsets of your CPU. As always, undervolting your CPU can cause instability and crashes, and undervolting is rarely a good idea in a laptop. For my Dell Vostro 7500, I was able to have a stable system with a CPU/Cache undervolt of -0.100V and a GPU/System Agent Undervolt of -.0500V. The ideal values for you will probably differ, and if you are new to undervolting I extremely recommend reading through this great Throttlestop guide before touching any voltage controls.

Once you find the optimal undervoltage settings for your processor, you might find it handy to have Throttlestop open/apply the settings at startup so you can always have better battery life and lower temperatures. Here’s a guide on how to get that set up.

Step 9. (Optional) Prevent Dell from taking your undervolt away!

Congratulations, you made it so far (look at that scroll bar!) All that work, and you hopefully have a undervolt. But watch out: Dell has a history of rolling out automatic BIOS updates with Windows 10 that can undo the above steps, forcing you to repeat this process each time your BIOS gets updated. Worse, Dell could potentially roll out a BIOS that prevents you from undervolting at all!

Luckily, most Dells have an option in the BIOS to prevent Windows from automatically updating your firmware, keeping your undervolt safe (but potentially exposing you to security flaws that go unpatched). If you’d rather have undervolting than security fixes, look for the “UEFI Capsule Firmware Updates” setting in your BIOS and turn it OFF. Nice try Dell, but this undervolt is here to stay!

Disabling UEFI Capsule Firmware Updates in the BIOS will reduce the risk of you losing your undervolt, but also prevent Dell from automatically providing fixes and security patches.

Manually Set Fan Speed with HWiNFO

If you find your fan isn’t running as aggressively as you’d like and you’re trying to run benchmarks or otherwise want the fan kicking into full gear for an extended period of time, you can manually set the fan speed with HWiNFO.

Launch HWiNFO and click the “Sensors” button towards the top of the window. You may first be met with a warning screen, but afterwards you should see this window:

If you click the fan Icon next to the arrows in the bottom left, you should get access to fan control for your laptop fans:

Note the scary warning at top, this is also a step that can end poorly if you run your fans harder than they’re meant to run. But for me, I was able to set Fan 1 and Fan 2 speed manually, and/or adjust the respin period to a more aggressive 100ms so the fans kicked on much more quickly.

Miscellaneous Vostro 7500 Learnings

Here are some other things I wish I knew about the Vostro 7500 before getting it:

40GB RAM Possible

The official Dell documentation suggests that the maximum supported RAM capacity is 24GB. This is not the case, as I put a 32GB HyperX Impact 2933 SODIMM into the RAM slot and my system sees the full 40GB of RAM. One caveat is that the RAM runs at a lower speed: 2666 instead of 2933.

This blog post that looked at a similar 10750H laptop suggests a negligible difference in performance differences between 2666 and 2933 RAM speeds, even when RAM timings were the same. My RAM running at 2666 has much tighter timings than my 2933 RAM, so the overall RAM increase to 40GB is definitely going to help my performance even if my RAM runs a little slower.

DP1.2 Limits Potential of USB-C Hubs

Thunderbolt 3 gives the Vostro 7500 an edge: it enables the use of eGPUs and super fast external drives. But one downside is the DisplayPort spec on the Vostro 7500 is 1.2, not 1.4. This limits your ability to drive 4K video at 60Hz to multiple displays, and will prevent you from taking full advantage of USB-C hubs that rely on DP1.4 for pushing multiple displays at higher resolutions and refresh rates. Still better than a normal USB-C port though!

Anyway, I hope this was helpful to those in the same boat as me who wanted more battery and less heat out of their new Dell laptops. Please post any questions, ideas, or other findings/comments on the Vostro 7500 in the comments below. Cheers!

  53 comments for “Undervolting 2020 Dell Laptops like the Vostro 7500 and More Tips to Improve Thermals, Battery Life, and Speed

  1. Michael
    September 9, 2020 at 3:14 pm

    Hi, thank you for posting your experience with this system. i just got mine (the i5-10300H version) about a week ago, and am looking to upgrade the memory to 16GB (or more depending on RAM prices). i am noticing that 2666MHz or 3200MHz seem to be more available, and sometimes cheaper, than 2933MHz. if the price is better, should i buy the 3200MHz, or the 2666MHz?

    for reference, here’s what i see on amazon.ca for HyperX Impact:
    32GB
    2666MHz, CL16 = $154.99 CAD
    2933MHz, CL17 = $210.39 CAD
    3200MHz, CL20 = $234.99 CAD

    16GB
    2666MHz, CL15 = $79.99 CAD
    2933MHz, CL17 = $134.74 CAD
    3200MHz, CL20 = $119.99 CAD

    8GB
    2666MHz, CL16 = $36.99 CAD
    2933MHz, CL17 = $76.81 CAD
    3200MHz, CL20 = $64.99 CAD

    • Brendan
      September 9, 2020 at 5:01 pm

      Hi,

      I actually put the HyperX Impact 32GB 2933MHz stick in my Vostro 7500, but it only ran at 2666MHz. I am unsure if the 2666MHz will work at 2666MHz, run at a slower speed, or not at all. Likewise the 3200MHz stick might run at 2933MHz, 2666MHz, or might not run at all. (The system won’t run above 2933MHz so 3200MHz will be overkill regardless.) The challenge with me using RAM above the specified supported amounts is there isn’t any support or guarantee of compatibility, so I don’t know if the downclocking of my HyperX Impact was because of the RAM volume or RAM itself. I’d probably look for a seller with a generous return policy over anything else so you don’t end up footing a bill for RAM that doesn’t work. I’d look for reviews for RAM where people say it worked well in a Dell XPS or Dell Inspiron, as chances are those sticks will work well in a Vostro too.

  2. 0xD6
    October 29, 2020 at 9:30 am

    Will this work on an XPS 99570 with latest BIOS (1.17.1, after plundervolt “fixes”) and with CPU microcode 0xD6? Are the strings to look for (CFG and Overclocking lock) or are they different? Thanks in advance. Sadly i couldn’t do like other people that just reset their BIOS settings or downgraded and got to undervolt. Mine is still locked.

  3. Angelos
    November 20, 2020 at 7:59 am

    Hi there, i followed all your steps for enabling undervolt again, made sure in boot that offsets are set to 0x0 but no voltage offsets are possible to change in either XTU or in throttlestop.. any ideas why?

    Have XPS 9500 with intel i7-10750H.

  4. Angelos Youssef
    November 20, 2020 at 8:57 am

    Hi there! I have a XPS 9500 with intel i7-10750H. Followed exaclty all your steps, everything seemed to be working fine. booted the USB and changed the values to 0x0, read the values and indeed it showed me the offset was changed succesfully. However, when booting windows back up again, after going back to factory BIOS values, still no offset change possible in XTU and in Throttlestop. Any ideas what i could do to fix it?

    Kind regards

    • Vincent
      August 12, 2021 at 3:31 am

      Yea it’s not working on mine either. I have the same spec, XPS 9500 i7-10750H.

      I am certain the flags value are changed accordingly, but when adjusting the voltage offset in ThrottleStop FIVR, the offset value remain at constant 0.000. I am suspecting a later XPS 9500 model may have some sort of hardware lock? I am not sure.

  5. Alessio
    December 2, 2020 at 11:58 am

    Hi, will this process work with the new XPS 13 9310? I used to undervolt my XPS 15 and it helped with heat and battery life.

  6. Matt
    December 16, 2020 at 5:03 pm

    When I went to grab the Intel CSME tool, I wasn’t sure which to get. I have Intel ME v12.0 for an XPS 7590 Coffee Lake i7.

    Do I want to use this one?
    Intel CSME System Tools v12 r29 – (2020-12-05)
    For 300/C240-series systems which run CSME v12

  7. Seth McPherson
    December 27, 2020 at 9:25 pm

    Hi there, I’ve followed all of your steps up until the creation of the EFI boot drive. I’m on a Dell G5 5500.

    I formatted a 128GB USB 3.1 flash drive as exFAT with default allocation unit size. However, when modifying the boot order directory and adding the EFI\Boot\bootx64.efi nothing occurs and the laptop boots to windows as normal.

    I am unsure how to get the device to boot to the bootx64.efi file on the USB drive. Thoughts?

  8. Michel
    January 12, 2021 at 11:58 pm

    I did the same procedure for the Dell XPS 15 – 9500 with the i9 on bios 1.5.3. The var store offsets are identical.

  9. Joe P
    January 19, 2021 at 8:52 am

    Amazing, detailed article.
    Very happy with my Vostro 7500 after this. Similar specs as yours.
    What worked great for me with gaming is setting the Turbo boost at 36 for all cores, and undervolting by -0.75. Temps are always under 80 degrees Celsius under full gaming load and no throttling, with GPU also overclocked. Thank you for sharing this.

  10. Jamie
    January 22, 2021 at 11:55 pm

    I tried hackintoshing my Dell Inspiron 7501,you don’t need to disable CFG lock for it… OpenCore has a built in quirk AppleXcfmCPU or something that allows your laptop to boot with CFG lock on. Anyways, thank you for your guide and check out my hackintosh repository! https://github.com/jamieernest/Dell-Inspiron-7501-Hackintosh

  11. maffle
    February 2, 2021 at 8:59 am

    “There’s one big caveat about undervolting your GPU this way though: in my experience MSI Afterburner is among the processes that can prevent your CPU from entering lower C-States.”

    Easy fix for this: In Msi AB, click with the mouse on the graph in the bottom and click “pause” ( https://i.imgur.com/wb3AsNE.png ), problem solved (: It wont change anything about the undervolt / clock curve, that will stay working.

  12. Giovanni
    February 6, 2021 at 5:08 am

    Man that was a perfect guide.
    I own a Inspiron 7001 (2020 model) and the only think that worked for me, was follow your guide, and in the mid time learn something about the BIOS.

    Great Work!

  13. February 19, 2021 at 5:18 pm

    This Worked On my Dell G5 15 5500! Thank you so much! i was able to use the exact same commands as you did! Note: Intel XTU doesn’t seem to be working, but Throttlestop Works PERFECT

  14. Masoud
    February 27, 2021 at 8:17 am

    Unfortunately, it didn’t work on my XPS 17 9700 with the BIOS 1.4 version and Intel 10875H CPU. But anyway, thanks for your great tutorial.

    • B
      March 24, 2021 at 6:22 pm

      This worked for my Dell XPS17 with Intel i9-10885H CPU. Thanks!

  15. Aaron
    March 15, 2021 at 9:15 pm

    Maybe this is a dumb question, but any chance that this might work on a surface pro 7? This is the only place I can find that mentions any kind of workaround for the plundervolt issue. I can’t see the comments for some reason so I don’t know if this has already been asked.

    • Brendan
      March 17, 2021 at 12:11 am

      It may work on other kinds of laptops, most modern laptops store BIOS settings in NVRAM/EFI variables, though not all allow access to edit them from a flash drive like Dell laptops. (An older HP Envy TS 15 laptop I have requires a physical BIOS flash since the EFI variables are write-protected)

  16. Claudiomiro
    April 15, 2021 at 11:22 pm

    This worked for my Dell G3 3500 with GTX 1650 Ti. Thanks!

  17. Comp_U_Tron
    May 5, 2021 at 1:34 pm

    Unfortunately my XPS 15 7590 (bios 1.9.1) refuses to boot windows using this method and bios changes. It locks up on the hello screen. It also does the same thing if I try to restore the bios factory settings as well… What a bummer. This design really needed CPU undervolting to perform well with an i9.

  18. Bob
    May 11, 2021 at 6:48 am

    Thank you so much bro, it worked on my G3 3500, with the same register addresses!

    • rafiul
      July 9, 2021 at 8:46 am

      will it work if i do things according to everything told here? or i have to change something ..i also have g3 3500 ..ty

  19. B I
    May 11, 2021 at 1:03 pm

    First of all thank you for your excellent guide!
    I am currently trying to enable undervolting on my Dell g5 15 5500 with i7-10750h to fight the thermal throttling.

    When I try to execute this line in command prompt or PowerShell (launched as an admin):

    FTPW64.exe -d “bios_dump.rom” -bios

    I get the return:

    ‘FTPW64.exe’ is not recognized as an internal or external command, operable program or batch file.

    Can you please help me to get it executed?

    • Andi
      August 1, 2021 at 7:46 am

      I get the same error. How did you manage to get it work?

  20. B I
    May 11, 2021 at 11:06 pm

    It worked!!
    I found info that my Dell g5 15 5500 EFI Values are the same as in the guide, so after I booted from USB flash stick, I was able to change them and – voila! FIVR controls work in ThrottleStop. XTU’s Voltages are still greyed out, though.

    I managed to get a stable profile with -89.8 mV on CPU and Cache, idling at 40-45 C and no thermal throttling at all!

    My exact model is Dell G5-15 5446, so if someone has the same laptop, this guide should work for you.

    Brendan, you are a saint.

    P.S. Do you think that BIOS or Win 10 updates could change or lock the EFI values back?

    • Brendan
      July 16, 2021 at 12:26 am

      Yes, Dell could deploy a BIOS update via Windows 10 to potentially block undervolting. I added a step to the blog post on how to prevent such updates, if desired.

  21. M.Ale
    May 15, 2021 at 6:29 am

    Hi!
    Very detailed guide but I’m not already trying it out cus I’m kind of a noob of this stuff and I wanted to know first if I need to downgrade my bios and at which version (current 1.19.1).
    I have an XPS 9570 (i7 8750h) and recently I cannot run games smoothly anymore like I was used before so I tried some workaround and the best solution without undervolt is to set the power to “cool”(inside dell power manager) so the CPU runs slower and the games run… I guessed is a thermal throttling issue, so when I tried undervolt with throttlestop or XTU I noticed the voltage lock and here I am to understand how to fix this out.

    In TS I tried different comibinations of settings and with the TPL very low (max 10 min 10) my cpu runs between 0.8 and 1.4 GHz (…very low) but i can play AC Odyssey at 35 FPS average… Isn’t that weird ??

    As said.. I’m a noob so please teach me!

    Thanks in advance

  22. Brano
    May 23, 2021 at 3:47 pm

    I have DELL Inspiron 7501 with i7 10750H and was looking for some solution to unlock undervolt, but it looks little bit hard for me. It is really so hard? Or its possible to do it for everyone?

  23. Rogério C.
    June 19, 2021 at 3:36 pm

    My Dell G3 3500 i7 10750H could not get the undervolting done.
    Changing the EFI variables successfully unlocked the sliding controls in ThrottleStop, but their values do not get applied (offset shown at top-right table shows 0.0000 on all values, and base voltage shows 1.2980 no matter what I do).
    In XTU the voltage controls are greyed out. In ThrottleStop they were greyed out before editing EFI values, and became unlocked after editing – but appear to have no effect.
    I’m trying and retrying everything mentioned in the guide, since 17 of June, but so far I could not undervolt.

    • rafiul
      July 20, 2021 at 1:05 am

      u should select “ok,save voltages immediately” in the bottom right corner

  24. Nate
    June 28, 2021 at 4:27 am

    Following this very well written guide, I was able to unlock voltage settings for my XPS 9560 on the most recent (1.22) BIOS.

    Thank you very much for putting this together!

  25. Winfred
    July 4, 2021 at 5:07 pm

    Hey there, thank you for the extensive guide. I’ve done it on my Precision 7710 w/ i7-6920HQ CPU. At first sight it worked well, I was able to change the variables for overclocking and CFG. However, the overclocking value only stays for one boot after changing. So basically I boot into EFI -> change value -> reboot -> undervolting is working -> reboot -> undervolting is locked again, the value is set to 0x1 again. CFG seems to stay at 0x0. Anyone else here with this problem or tips how to fix?
    Thank you in advance

  26. Owen
    July 6, 2021 at 4:05 pm

    First of all, great write-up, Brendan. Easy to follow and excellent info. Unfortunately, I’m having the same issue as Angelos and Winfred. On my Dell XPS 9560, BIOS rev 1.22.1, I’m able to get the modifier unlocked and change voltages as described. However, after a second reboot, the EFI change to the Overclock variable is reset and the Unlock option is again grayed out. The CFG is still at 0x0. Just guessing here, but this EFI edit might not actually be affecting the ROM at all. I have no idea how to make this change persist, but if I find something I’ll post it here.

    • Brendan
      July 15, 2021 at 11:53 pm

      Hey, I actually had my ability to undervolt revert this week too! It turns out Windows Update automatically upgraded my Dell Firmware (including my BIOS) to 1.8.0 which seemed to undo the changes I made via the EFI tool. Seems like a lot of Dell models had BIOS updates rolled out in the last week or two this way, which might explain why some people lost their ability to undervolt after a recent power cycle. Repeating the steps in the post may bring the undervolting back for some BIOSes, but I wonder if Dell updated some systems in a way that prevents this kind of tweak from persisting. I reapplied the edit to my own BIOS and it has survived two power cycles so far, but I’ll keep an eye on it to see if it goes away again.

      Should be able to prevent automatic BIOS updates from undoing your undervolt ability via steps outlined here: https://www.reddit.com/r/Dell/comments/8543gj/psa_set_bios_to_disable_uefi_firmware_updates_to/

      I added a new step in the blog post for users who prefer undervolting to Dell BIOS upgrades, hope it helps 🙂

  27. rafiul
    July 20, 2021 at 2:13 am

    Just undevolted my dell g3 3500 (i5-10300h with 1650ti )today. It works. I got scared when I heard a loud beep sound after exiting GRUB terminal..1st time doing anything with bios..but it worked. Thx

  28. Andi
    August 1, 2021 at 7:43 am

    I get the following error when trying to dump the bio, with command ‘FTPW64.exe -d “bios_dump.rom” -bios:

    FTPW64.exe : The term ‘FTPW64.exe’ is not recognized as the name of a cmdlet, function, script file, or operable
    program. Check the spelling of the name, or if a path was included, verify that the path is correct and try again.
    At line:1 char:1
    + FTPW64.exe -d “bios_dump.rom” -bios

    I am in the correct FPT folder. Any ideas?

    • Brendan
      August 2, 2021 at 2:41 am

      By default Powershell won’t run a command from the same folder without a .\ in front of the command name. Try “.\FPTW64.exe” instead, updated that section to clarify it is a different syntax for Powershell vs the traditional command prompt.

  29. MO
    August 1, 2021 at 11:17 pm

    I’m facing a problem with the command on power shell like this
    https://prnt.sc/1i8kucg

    • Brendan
      August 2, 2021 at 2:40 am

      Have you tried “.\FPTW64.exe” instead?

      By default Powershell won’t run a command from the same folder without a .\ in front of the command name. Try “.\FPTW64.exe” instead, updated that section to clarify it is a different syntax for Powershell vs the traditional command prompt.

  30. Dhalsim
    August 6, 2021 at 3:29 pm

    I’ve tried with del XPS 9560 bios version 1.23.1:
    Works after setting values Overclocking Lock and CFg Lock to 0x0 with USB stick at first reboot in both Linux and Windows.
    Once you powrdown or reboot again undervolt don’t works either in Windows or Linux.
    If you read the values with USB stick the option Overclocking Lock is resetted to 0x01 no matter if you reboot twice into Windows Or Linux or simply with external USB. I’ve tried to restore factory default and again no matter after two reboots undervol can’t be applied.

  31. Hung L
    August 7, 2021 at 10:27 pm

    Dell XPS 13 (9360), 7th gen Intel
    Attempt: Successful!

    CFG Lock: 0x4de
    Overclocking lock: 0x58d
    VarStoreID: 0x1
    Name: Setup

    Notes: Bios 2.16 did not work but 2.13 did. I didn’t test anything in between.

  32. BennyHill500
    August 22, 2021 at 5:39 pm

    Hello, i got a 9500 with 10750H and bios version is 1.8.1 and when i change the value for Overclocking lock from 0x1 to 0x0 it does work and enable undervolting, but at the same time it disables the turbo boost, limiting the CPU to 2.6GHZ.
    Changing it back locks the voltage controls again, but then it turbos properly again.
    changing the CFG Lock has no effect on this

  33. Richard
    August 30, 2021 at 2:03 am

    Dell Vostro 3501 11th Gen i5
    Attempt: Failure!

    CFG Lock: 0x43
    Overclocking lock: 0xDF
    VarStoreID: 0x1
    Name: CpuSetup
    Bios 1.7/1.6

    Notes: Even though the values successfully change – confirmed with
    setup_var CpuSetup 0xDF
    setup_var CpuSetup 0x43
    commands
    both show value of 0x0
    however, undervolting is still disabled!

    Anyone else had success with this particular machine?

    PS, Greetings and thanks to Brendan for your great guide from Cambodia – I think the image at the start of your blog is one of the Angkor Temples?

    • Brendan
      August 30, 2021 at 11:33 am

      Thanks for the data point and sorry it didn’t work for you. And yes, it is a photo I took while visiting Siem Reap a few years ago! It was a wonderful visit and the temples were amazing

  34. Jon
    September 1, 2021 at 12:39 am

    Dude. Big thanks for the walkthrough. Very very detailed and worked through some first time editing of variables I didn’t know existed.

  35. John
    September 9, 2021 at 4:46 pm

    This worked on my xps 15 7590. Really great tutorial and excellent instructions. I do have a question if you could answer please.

    I undervolted and it worked perfect for about a week however my laptop started powering off randomly only on AC power even when temps are not high. I decided to completely remove all the undervolting and even reset the values and update/default the bios and my laptop is still randomly shutting off.

    I understand its quite safe to undervolt however my laptop is a dell refurbished and I’ve only had it 2 weeks so maybe its just a coincidence and the fault was already there.

    Do you know if after having removed all the software/settings. Updated the bios and restored default settings – is there any way for Dell to know that I undervolted and changed the bios manually as per your instructions? I am going to return/repair.. Obviously I will not tell them about it.

    Usually their tech support is over the phone and hardware is sent out to be replaced however if they decide to replace the motherboard, I am wondering if the change will be saved in a log or something if they take it away and do further diagnosis?

    • Brendan
      September 9, 2021 at 9:16 pm

      Hey; I would just reflash your BIOS using the latest version on Dell’s website and reset to factory defaults and it should overwrite any BIOS variables you changed.

  36. Steven Nelson
    September 17, 2021 at 5:17 pm

    This guide was super helpful.

    System specs
    2020 Dell 9500 10750H
    32GB DDR4 2933MHz
    1.5TB Nvme 2.0

    Note — even after updating the CpuSetup Vars via the Grub terminal, Intel XTU still greyed out/prohibited me from tuning — this seems to indicate that they’ve updated the application to identify the chipset and prohibit alterations even with the correct bios values. I WAS able to get what appears to be a stable undervolt on Throttle Stop using FIVR settings of ~86 MV. Cinebench scores showed a pretty sizeable improvement. I was able to get better scores at -90MV but in back-to-back benchmarks, I got some hanging/instability.

    Thanks for the guide!

  37. Skapheus
    September 26, 2021 at 7:10 pm

    Awesome guide!

    I’m on Alienware M15 R6 and it worked like a charm. Now it’s time for undervolting!

    • Skapheus
      October 2, 2021 at 12:01 pm

      By the way, my system specs:
      Alienware M15 R6, Intel i7 11800H, RTX 3070, 32 GB DDR4 3200 MHz RAM
      I’ve been able to achieve a stable undervolt with TS of 89 mV. Any more than this results in blue screen.
      Bios 1.5.1
      VarName CpuSetup
      0x43 cfg lock
      0xDF overclocking lock

  38. Owen
    October 1, 2021 at 8:38 am

    Awesome guide, Brendan! Thank you so much for taking the time to write this up. I have a Dell XPS 9560, BIOS is v 1.23.1 (latest release). Thanks to your excellent guide, I have my undervolt back! My variables were a little different than yours and some of the others, so I thought I’d post the commands I use here.

    setup_var Setup 0x4ED 0x00 (this one actually seems to persist through reboots, could actually omit it)
    setup_var Setup 0x59C 0x00

    Note that on yours, the VarStore name is CpuSetup, but on mine it is just Setup. Also, my system expects a longer hex value, so there are two zeroes. 0x0 works, but it complains about it.

  39. Clemente Fu
    October 7, 2021 at 6:47 pm

    Thanks! It worked perfectly for a Dell G7 with I7 8750H

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