Dell refreshes Precision laptops with Ubuntu Linux pre-installed

The fourth generation of Dell's mobile workstations features Intel's latest Coffee Lake processors and optional Nvidia Quadro P600 and Radeon WX graphics.
Written by Sean Portnoy, Contributor

Dell Precision 3530 mobile workstation

It's been a little over a year since Dell updated its Precision mobile workstation line, which is notable for its inclusion of the Ubuntu flavor of Linux as an operating system option alongside Windows 10. But last week, the company refreshed the laptop lineup without much fanfare, starting with the entry-level Precision 3530.

Priced from $942.59, the base 3530 configuration ships with Ubuntu Linux 16.04, with the option to upgrade to Windows 10 adding a little over $100 to the cost. It ships with an eighth-generation Coffee Lake Intel Core i5-8400H processor with more powerful Coffee Lake chips available as options. Other specs on the base model include 4GB of RAM, 500GB hard drive, and 15.6-inch 1,366x768 display.

Of course, that's pretty bare-boned for a workstation, which makes that sub-$1,000 price point a bit misleading. For instance, you may not be satisfied using Intel's integrated graphics, which means you'll need to tack on another $89.25 for the Nvidia Quadro P600 graphics card. Likewise, 500 gigs of storage is wholly inadequate for almost any laptop, much less one geared to content creation, so you'll have to spend another $60.07 for a terabyte drive and $77.48 for a 2TB one.

It does include built-in 802.11ac dual band Wi-Fi, along with the Dell Precision Optimizer software to perform one-click application performance enhancing. Upgrading to a Core i7 processor gives you Thunderbolt support, which is useful if you want to spring for Dell's Business Thunderbolt Dock.

According to Barton George, a Dell Senior Architect in the office of CTO, the 3530 is just the first of four refreshed Precision workstation lines, with the remaining trio will be available soon, though an exact release date and pricing were not disclosed. George says the 5530 family squeezes a 15.6-inch display into a 14-inch chassis for better portability; it will also come in an onxy color option in addition to platinum silver. Its top graphics card moves up to the Quadro P2000.

Rounding out the 15-inch Precision workstations, the 7530 emphasizes power, with support for up to 128GB of RAM, 6TB of solid-state storage, and a choice of Quadro and AMD Radeon WX graphics cards. If your back is strong enough to carry around a 17-inch workstation, Dell will offer the Precision 7730, which offers the performance options of the the 7530 with a slightly larger display.

All of the new Precision laptops are RHEL 7.5 certified and include the necessary drivers to run the latest version of Red Hat Enterprise Linux.

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