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

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.
Written by Steven Vaughan-Nichols, Senior Contributing Editor


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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