Dell re-enters high-end Linux laptop market with Red Hat Enterprise Linux

Dell re-enters high-end Linux laptop market with Red Hat Enterprise Linux

Summary: UPDATED: Through the years, Dell has had an on-and-off relation with Linux. It looks like they’ve kissed and made up, judging by the pair of new high-end laptops running Red Hat Enterprise that Dell unveiled today. These systems will be available worldwide.

TOPICS: Linux, Dell, Laptops, PCs


Dell has blown hot and cold on the Linux desktop over the years. Dell was the first major original equipment manufacturer (OEM) to offer consumer Linux desktops in 2007, while  Ubuntu Linux-powered laptops  have often only been available from Dell by special order, Dell is recommitting itself to desktop Linux.  Besides the upcoming 'Sputnik' Ubuntu Linux developer laptop, Dell is now offering two new high-end mobile workstations with Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) 6 for Desktops

Dell claims the two new systems -- the Dell Precision M4700 and M6700 -- are the "world's most powerful 15-inch and 17-inch mobile workstations." Citation needed, perhaps, but on the face of it do have a good aesthetic quality about them. 

Both models come with the latest Intel Core i5, i7 and Extreme Edition processors with Turbo Boost Technology, and a range of graphics cards including NVIDIA's Quadro K-series GPUS and AMD FirePro graphics. The top of the line M6700 also offers AMD FirePro M6000 with PCIe x16 Gen 3 for fast data throughput. With any of these you can get up to high-definition 1920x1080-pixel resolution.

You can cram as much as 32GBs of DDR3 SDRAM and up to 16GBs of 1866MHz memory for high performance and fast access to large data sets. For permanent storage, you can get 512GB solid-state drive (SSD), a 256GB SSD, or a 750GB hard drive. You can put up to three storage devices in the M4700 and four in the M6700, meaning for enough money you can have to 1.8TBs in the former and up to 2.8TBs of total storage in the latter. Dell, for one PC maker, clearly still believes in local PC storage instead of cloud computing.

On both systems, the I/O ports include two USB 3.0, two USB 2.0 and one eSATA / USB combo ports and three integrated video ports: VGA, HDMI and DisplayPort 1.2.

What about Ubuntu Linux on Dell? You can still order it in some countries and, of course, Ubuntu 12.04 will be on the Sputnik.

Dell is currently selling Ubuntu powered laptops in China and India retail stores. In the States and most other countries, you'll need to special order Ubuntu laptops. Dell, Lenovo, and HP all have many systems, which have been certified with Ubuntu.

Dell has informed me that the RHEL-powered workstations will be available throughout the world. The audience for these systems will be  developers and engineers with the deep pockets needed to spend $1,649 for the Dell Precision M4700, $2,199 for the M6700 and $3,579 for the M6700 with all the trimmings,

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Topics: Linux, Dell, Laptops, PCs

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  • Good thing Dell builds on demand, otherwise there'd be a lot of dust

    collecting going on. And holy crap Dell what's up with "exceptional portability"? From the photo these things look like friggin'n boat anchors. I foresee a dismal sales future for these. Maybe in Brazil or somewhere where they haven't woken up to the fact that linux just isn't going to compete on either consumer or lob apps.
    Johnny Vegas
    • Dust? Like stardust?

      Johnny Vegas wrote:
      "linux just isn't going to compete on either consumer or lob apps.

      These are workstations for scientists, engineers and other specialists who need powerful hardware. And an operating system that doesn't get in the way.
      Rabid Howler Monkey
    • China India....

      It seam that it's us WEST that did not waked up to the fast that you can live without MS Win.

      And you need to have moneys to earn to spend moenys on training your sale force about Ubuntu+Dell offerings.
    • baremetal

      they do look pretty hefty. but, why package an OS at all, just gimme a lightweight bare metal hypervisor and load any os you want on top, especially if this is geared towards sci and dev. $3700? i can see loading xen or kvm on this and then running any flavor os or multiples thereof.
  • Dell re-enters high-end Linux laptop market with Red Hat Enterprise Linux

    A low end OS on high end hardware, I don't see this selling at all. Given the fact that linux does not fully support hardware it would be a waste to put linux on it. They have very generic drivers for hardware and can't take full advantage. That's the reason you always get skipping sounds and 2d video in linux. I'm going to just chalk this one up as another of linux's retail failures.
    Loverock Davidson-
    • Do you mean Linux failures like:

      Google and Redhat?

      As to hardware drivers, what are you talking about? Dell wouldn't supply RHEL if it didn't support all the hardware in the systems.
      As to skipping sound, maybe you should retire that 8Mhz IBM/AT 286 system you are running Linux on, as my Linux systems playback 2d/3d/1080p video just fine, and my CAD program's 3D rendering is faster than anything anyone has on any other OS. But then again, my Linux systems are running on 3+ year old hardware.
      • Since when did Google and Redhat start selling their own server hardware?

        LD's talking about OS/Hardware combo from a hardware manufacturer, you're talking about softwar from a software manufacturer.

        Is he wrong in stating that earlier Linux based laptops were not a glaring sales success story?
        William Farrel
        • How to spot the terminal cases. Lesson 1.

          They (Farrel) treat Davidson seriously.
          • Why not

            They're one in the same.

    • Check again...

      Your 10 year old data about Linux are not... fresh?

      Nvidia and AMD both use their on-gpu chpis to accelerate video. Problems with sound sound stranger yet.

      Not to mention suggestion that Dell is unable to provide drivers for its own hardware....
    • And by the way:

      If you retire the AT/286 system, you could stop complaining about having to re-compile Linux all the time, as the base system for pre-compiled Linux binaries is an i386. So come on, LD, break out $5, walk down the alley to the nearest garge sales, and treat yourself to 33Mhz i386 or spend the extra buck and get 33Mhz i486 system. You could live large, and spend $0.50 more and even replace your CGA card with a VGA card. That will fix your Linux performance issues.
    • I was going to comment

      @ Loverock Davidson- ...but oh, it's Loverock again. Nevermind.
    • A low end OS on high end hardware

      No Loverock, that's what you get when you buy a windows PC, just take a look at Supercomputers, they are dominated by Linux, heck a couple of years ago a windows Supercomputer broke the petaflop barrier but windows didn't get entered into the top 500 list because that same Supercomputer achieved higher speeds using Linux.
      Sad for windows, but true.
      • It depends

        It really depends on what version of Windows you use in a super computer. The Server Editions would be very suitable for such a purpose, but if you're goal is to get maximum performance, then perhaps a really lightweight version of Windows with minimal features is what you need. Such a version could be either Windows Server 2012 with GUI disabled, or either use WindowsPE or perhaps Windows CE.
    • Who is that lurking under the man hole cover?

      Can it bee, I think it is's the one and only Loverock Davidson ....... Say Loverock did you find anything slippery (negativity) or slimly (FUD) while down in the the sewer to spew here about Linux. A day without your usual regurgitation would leave everyone here at ZDNet without anything to chuckle about. But I see you have left us with plenty ........... Loverock so much merriment from such a lovely Troll ......... now that you've finished drooling for the day ......... lift the cover and go back into hiding.
      Over and Out
    • Hey...

      Wow, you didn't say anything about re-compiling...did you forget? Jeez. Oh, by the way, I've been using SimplyMEPIS Linux for 8 years or so, haven't had more than little niggles with it (usually solved within minutes of trying to find out how to fix them), and haven't compiled anything. I wouldn't know how to start. I spend 10x the time maintaining my wife's computer (which runs Windows) as I do my own...
    • I had a dream...

      Wow, this reminds me of a really strange dream I had last night. I was zipping around in this series of tubes, going all over the place and seeing strange stuff from around the world. Then, all of a sudden, there was a huge rumbling in the tubes and I could see something in the distance, it was headed right towards me. Yikes! There was no place to go and escape what was coming, then it hit me, like a massive swarm of killer bees or something, a DOS attack.....

      I awoke to find myself relaxed, comfortable, all surrounded by clouds or fog, something, but it was a nice feeling. After a few minutes the fog or clouds gave way to an awesome scene. In the near distance was a white stage with two huge white ergo type office chairs. Sitting in the chairs were two men dressed in shrouds or robes, something like biblical times. At there sides were white bearded men with laptops taking notes and reading some times. I found myself in a line of other guys. There were two in front and several behind me as we approached the two daunting figures in the chairs.

      Come forward jestered the two men in the chairs. It was then that I noticed a large amount of cafeteria type chairs stacked behind one of the two men. I also saw two name plaques above the two men, one on my right read “Linus” and the one on my left read “Steve”, the cafeteria chairs were stacked behind the one named Steve. They both signaled the first man in line to go forward and stand before them while one of the guys with a laptop read something aloud. “You were once a Windows user, were you not?”. The man answered, “Yes but that was a long time ago”. The man reading continued, “Then you tasted the forbidden fruit, Yes?” The man in line answered, “That is true, I am an Apple user now”. At that time the man named Linus looked at Steve and said, “OK, I think we have established that he is to languish in Cupertino for eternity”. Pointing with one hand he said, “Go that way and follow the dotted line. Don't forget to pick up your pad, pod, and what not...” Steve looked at Linus and said as he shrugged his shoulders “Yeah, we loose some that way.”

      The man walked away and the next one stepped forward. “You are a good Windows user who likes to play games and spends lots of money on hardware and software, are you not?” the man proudly answered, “Yeah, that's me!”. Speaking again the man with the laptop went on: “In your gaming career you have killed many opponents, have you not?”. The man proudly answered, “Yep!”. At that point Steve turned to Linus and said with a huge smile, “He's mine, all mine!” and at that point two huge doors swung open reveling a reddish glow and terrible screams of agony. The man looked terrified as Steve pointed his finger and said, “You are here by sentenced to eternal upgrades, malware, blue screens, viruses and invasive ULAs until the end of time! Go to the doors and follow the Mr. Clippy to the gates of Redmond, hahh, hahhhh, ha, ha.....”

      By now I was getting a bit concerned, as I was next in line. It was Linus who said step forward my son. OK, that seemed nice enough, I thought as I proceeded to step up the the two men. One of the men with a laptop then read aloud, “You were once a Windows user, were you not?”. I nervously replied, “Yes, um yes I was, but that was many years ago. I am a Linux desktop user now”. I was startled as Steve jumped up in a fit of rage, grabbed a chair from the stack behind him and hurled it across the room. This one is your, he said as he turned to Linus”. Then everything got really bright as I woke to find myself reading this blog. “Thank Linus it was only a dream”, I said to myself....
      • Ummmmm....

        Windows hasn't had any major malware problems or exploits for awhile. In fact, Windows's security model is probably one of the most secure ones in the world. It's just an illusion that Windows is more vulnerable and Linux/Mac OS X invincible. The fact is, Linux and OS X are just as easily exploitable, maybe more so. Since Windows controls over 90% of the desktop market, any hacker would rather spend time and resources on hacking Windows because they have a higher chance of getting a larger return. There's more people to target on Windows basically. If Linux ever controls a large portion of the market, it'll definitely be filled with malware and exploits (Android).

        And what's so bad about upgrading your computer? A lot of people enjoying upgrading. As a Linux user, you should know better than anyone about upgrades including software updates. Depending on which version of Linux you use, you might even get more updates than Windows. Also, the NT Kernel in Windows is stable enough to the point where Blue Screens are rare and usually only happen in cases of a hardware malfunction or if you corrupted files yourself through negligence. Basically, what it takes to cause a Blue Screen is about the same as what it takes to cause a Kernel Panic in Linux (Black Screen).
        • Ummm is not up to date ...


          "Also, the NT Kernel in Windows is stable enough to the point where Blue Screens are rare" ...

          this is not the only available point in the game - not everything is related to stability
          in Linux - I can take a deep look into my new kernel if I really need ( as a 3d software developer ...)

          this is not available under the magnifficent Windows environment and will never be ...

          unfortunatelly ...this is crucial for developers in order to optimize their work - noone need to guess, waiting on the very end of MSDN documentation
    • The LHC is ran by a Linux server farm...

      Granted, it was hacked in 2009 if I recall rightly, but Googley is your friend...