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Dell Precision 5530 And 3530 Mobile Workstations Get Ubuntu Linux 18.04 Upgrade

Dell has been championing Linux for nearly 20 years, having shipped it on client systems since 1999. I was recently surprised to learn that Dell has shipped various flavors of Linux on more than 160 unique platforms just this year. When it comes to consumer-level systems, Dell’s amazing XPS 13 Developer Edition (my current daily driver) has been the guiding light. But for those users who crave more processing and graphics horsepower, the Precision 5530 and 3530 mobile workstations are worth a look. Especially since Dell has just upgraded them to Ubuntu 18.04 LTS.

Precision 15 Inch 5530 Mobile Workstation | Dell, start showing us some Ubuntu screenshots 😉DELL


“Ever since Sputnik launched there was a group of customers who were asking for a beefier system beyond the original XPS 13 developer edition,” writes Barton George in his latest Project Sputnik blog. “With this in mind, Jared got his hands on an M3800 and put together a rough set of instructions explaining how to get Ubuntu up and running on the system. Rather than satiating folks however, Jared’s instructions only made the customers’ hungrier for an officially available, workstation-class system. On January 27, 2015 that request was answered and the Precision M3800 joined the XPS 13 as a part of the Project Sputnik portfolio.”

Since then, Dell has rolled out select Precision mobile workstations with out-of-the-box Ubuntu compatibility on a yearly basis. Which brings us to this week, when Dell announced that the decidedly beefy Precision 5530 and 3530 are now shipping with Ubuntu 18.04 LTS pre-installed. How beefy are these laptops? You can equip the 5530 with Intel’s six-core E-2176M Xeon processor or Intel’s six-core i9-8950HK, up to 4TB of storage, Nvidia’s Quadro 2000 and 32GB of RAM.

At that point the system’s optional IGZO 4K touchscreen is just icing on the cake.

The base price for Dell’s Precision 5530 is a fairly reasonable $1210 in the US (but the laptop is available worldwide). That includes Ubuntu 18.04, an Intel Core i5-8300H, a 1080p IGZO touch display, 8GB of RAM, and a 500GB hard drive. I disagree with Dell offering any spinning hard drive by default on such a classy system, but perhaps I’m not in the majority. It’s worth mentioning, however, that Ubuntu 18.04 absolutely screams with an NVMe drive.

I haven’t had hands-on experience with these systems yet, but Dell describes them as the thinnest, lightest and smallest 15-inch mobile workstations they’ve ever released. If the XPS 13 design philosophy is anything to go by, they’re probably stunners.

COMING UP: I had an illuminating discussion with Dell’s Barton George and Jared Dominguez (whose personalized plate is DEBIAN by the way) recently about Project Sputnik and the team’s plans to make a lot of noise about Linux in 2019. Watch for that interview here in January!







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