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Dell is a company we don't often cover here, however we're now on their press lists and they sent over something quite interesting today with their new XPS 13 laptop models which come with the latest 11th Gen Intel Core processors.

This is the model that since 2012, Canonical the maker of Ubuntu has teamed up with Dell for their "Developer Edition" that was originally known as "Project Sputnik". With this latest generation, Dell take the crown for being the first to officially do Linux + Intel Tiger Lake.

Not only does this mean some will come with Intel's surprisingly powerful Xe graphics, you're also getting access to Thunderbolt 4, a RAM boost from 3733MHz (older models) to 4267MHz LPDDR4x and something else a little special. Dell have said, that based on "input from our developer community" they will offer "added functionality" to allow Windows users to switch over to Ubuntu 20.04 even if their original XPS 13 model was not one ordered with Ubuntu (or dual-boot).

So even if you go for a Windows-model initially for some reason (different specs perhaps across the models), Dell won't mind at all if you end up with Ubuntu on it. We're waiting to hear back on some specifics of how this operating system moving will work. Either through a Dell-provided app that sets it all up for you, or just not getting in your way support / warranty wise if you do it manually. Once they clear that up we will update the article.

Update 29/09/20: the press team got back to me about the above, sharing a message from Canonical:

Users who buy a Dell XPS 13, are now able to install a certified Dell/Ubuntu image even if they didn't buy the pre-installed version. During the installation phase, the hardware will be recognised as an XPS 13 and optimized bits will be installed where applicable. This allows end users to get the best possible experience on the XPS 13 without having to track down a platform specific factory image. (or without using the matching factory image, or while using a generic image).  

It's good to see more vendors be supportive of Ubuntu on more models. We need more like this and hopefully in future Dell will go even further.

Interested? Here's some specs for you of what will be on offer with the different choices:

Processor
11th Generation
Intel Core i3-1115G4 processor (6MB cache, up to 4.1GHz)
Intel Core i5-1135G7 processor (8MB cache, up to 4.2GHz, 4 cores)
Intel Core i7-1165G7 processor (12MB cache, up to 4.7GHz, 4 cores)
Intel Core i7-1185G7 processor (12MB cache, up to 4.8GHz, 4 cores) (post launch)
Display 13.4-inch 4K Ultra HD+ (3840 x 2400)
InfinityEdge touch display, HDR 400, 500-nit,
100% sRGB + DCI-P3 90% color gamut, 1500:1
contrast ratio, 0.65% anti-reflective, anti-smudge

13.4-inch FHD+ (1920 x 1200) InfinityEdge touch
display, 500-nit, 100% sRGB color gamut, 1800:1
contrast ratio, 0.65% anti-reflective, anti-smudge

13.4-inch FHD+ (1920 x 1200) InfinityEdge
display, 500-nit, 100% sRGB color gamut, 1800:1
contrast ratio, anti-glare
RAM 8GB LPDDR4x Dual Channel SDRAM at 4267MHz
16GB LPDDR4x Dual Channel SDRAM at 4267MHz
32GB LPDDR4x Dual Channel SDRAM at 4267MHz
Note: memory on-board
Storage 256GB PCIe 3 x4 SSD, 512GB PCIe 3 x4 SSD,
1TB PCIe 3 x4 SSD, 2TB PCIe 3 x4 SSD
Graphics
Depends on processor
Intel UHD Graphics
Intel Iris Xe Graphics
Wireless KillerTM Wi-Fi 6 AX1650 (2x2) built on Intel chipset +
Bluetooth 5.1
KillerTM Wi-Fi 6 AX500-DBS (2x2) built on
Qualcomm ® 6390 chipset + Bluetooth 5 (available post launch)
Ports 2 ThunderboltTM 4 (USB Type-CTM) with DisplayPort
and Power Delivery
1 microSD card reader
1 3.5mm headphone/microphone combo jack
1 TypeC to USB-A v3.0 adapter ships standard
Size / Weight Height: 14.8mm (0.58”) x Width: 295.7mm (11.64”) x Depth: 198.7mm (7.82”)
Starting weight: 1.2kg (2.64lbs.)

This is going to be an Intel "Evo" certified laptop too, which is Intel's way of showing a verified top-tier model that offers up fast response times, like waking when you open the lid to a long battery life of no less than 9 hours.

Here's where it gets real interesting though, as Dell said in their facts sheet that with the integrated 52WHr battery they're targeting "up to 18 hours and 49 minutes of battery life on FHD+" which is an insane amount of work and play time. That will obviously vary greatly depending on what you're doing though. If you get one with Xe graphics, that's going to be a great little unit for some gaming while waiting on those emails coming through.

There's going to be a few different models including 2-in-1 and some colour variations including platinum silver with black carbon fiber and a frost machined aluminium with arctic white woven glass palm rest.

When will they be available? They're rolling out in the USA and Canada starting October 1 for both the platinum silver model and the  frost aluminium with arctic white woven glass palm rest. Certain European countries will be getting it across the next few weeks.

No price confirmed yet. Once more details come in about pricing and a wider launch, we will aim to let you know. Keep an eye on their XPS 13 Developer Edition page for when the new one lands.

Update 01/10/20: it's live now at an initial price of $1,049.00. As expected, some of the specifications they announced are only for the non-Ubuntu models. However, that's less of an issue since (as highlighted above) both Dell and Canonical are supporting moving the other models to Ubuntu as well which will not affect warranty or support conditions - something Canonical has also confirmed on their blog.

Article taken from GamingOnLinux.com.
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18 comments
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CatKiller 28 Sep
It's worth highlighting, because I'm not the only person that it's important to, that all of those displays are 16:10.
poke86 28 Sep
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I'm really tempted... I got the XPS 13 Developer Edition in 2013 and it was really great but it's starting to show its age. I wish it wasn't so damn expensive
slembcke 28 Sep
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Sounds quite nice indeed. If I had waited a few more months, I maybe would have gotten that instead of my Lemur Pro. Though not what I bought it for, the extra graphics oomph would be nice to have. On the other hand, I do love the absolutely stunning battery life on the Lemur.


Last edited by slembcke on 28 September 2020 at 7:41 pm UTC
scaine 28 Sep
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I love my 4 year old Sputnik XPS13. It cost a fortune - I went for the then-top-of-the-range model (hiDPI touchscreen, 500Gb SSD, 8Gb RAM), but it's starting to show its age a little now. Still runs well, though I had to open it shortly after buying it to replace the dodgy Atheros WIFI card with an Intel 7260 and just last month, I had to pay £20 for a new AX200 replacement because the WIFI kept cutting out. The case comes off with 11 screws and the WIFI card just slots in nicely. No more WIFI drops.

I'd love a new lappy, but it's quite low on my list after all the money I've spent on my main PC this year. Plus, do I really want another Intel laptop when you just covered the AMD-powered Tuxedo gaming laptops (albeit with Nvidia GPUs) a few weeks back? Or the earlier Tuxedo slimbook? Or the KDE Slimbook??

Decisions, decisions.
Hori 28 Sep
I think manufacturers selling laptops with Linux preinstalled is crucial in growing our market share.
And I see more and more doing this, which is really good news.

We obviously won't become mainstream overnight, but this is a very important step, one that we can't do much without.
They must include good pre-installed Linux games.
KohlyKohl 29 Sep
Quoting: Comandante ÑoñardoThey must include good pre-installed Linux games.

Like minesweeper and pinball?
Thetargos 29 Sep
About that Broadcom Wifi-Bluetooth combo, I wonder which driver they are using on Linux for it, as BCM usually requires a blob for it to work well (or at all).
Geppeto35 29 Sep
Nice laptop, not fan of 13 inches, I prefer 14 or small 15 for less 1.4 kg. It misses one or two usb port (for one usb-key and one mouse) and one HDMI port (for presentation). Adaptors are not long-term viable solution (get lost, etc.).

I can't wait to see the performances and electricity consumption of those iris Xe in in-gnulinux-game conditions ^^
Arehandoro 29 Sep
I use an XPS 13, originally with Windows, at work. Performance is nice, but the screen is horrible, flickering constantly -a lot of garbage when unplugged- and the keys and feel aren't of my like. I'm even considering returning the laptop to my employer and get one that I like for myself and use it for work.
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