You are not logged in.

#1 2020-11-18 01:22:21

cloverskull
Member
Registered: 2015-10-01
Posts: 335

Linux workhorse laptop - New Dell XPS 15 vs Lenovo X1 Carbon Gen 8?

Hey folks,

My job is requiring me, once again, to brave the skies and travel for work every week. I have had a great time recently using my desktop computer but alas, will need a laptop for personal use. This laptop will accompany me on business trips alongside my official work computer, so size of the laptop is a concern.

I don’t intend to do much heavy gaming, aside from some ScummVM and retro gaming. A GPU would be nice, but isn’t a serious sticking point.

Let’s assume for fun that budget is not a serious concern. smile

I know Dell and Lenovo have marketed specific linux laptop configurations - I’m interested in the new Dell XPS 15 and the Lenovo X1 Carbon Gen 8. Does anyone have hands on experience with these machines, maybe their predecessors if not these specifically? I know Lenovo is a bit pricier, but I also understand their quality control and support is a bit better. Dell feels a bit more like the WalMart mass produced computers of our era...that’s not to say their products are bad. In fact, that’s what I’m trying to ascertain here! So any feedback is appreciated.

Thanks!

Offline

#2 2020-11-18 10:48:39

brontosaurusrex
Middle Office
Registered: 2015-09-29
Posts: 2,155
Website

Re: Linux workhorse laptop - New Dell XPS 15 vs Lenovo X1 Carbon Gen 8?

I got to run some games on this hp omen 17" that I have now, but I really can't stand the small screen size (Redirecting gaming stuff to hdmi connected tv) due to not being the youngest anymore.  Also It gets really hot really quickly. Productivity stuff is running mostly fine (video editing). So I think it will be screensize vs portability problem in the 1st place (and it mostly depend on age of your eyes).

Offline

#3 2020-11-18 11:26:44

Martin
Member
From: Stockholm, Sweden
Registered: 2015-10-01
Posts: 487
Website

Re: Linux workhorse laptop - New Dell XPS 15 vs Lenovo X1 Carbon Gen 8?

I have a Dell Latitude E5570 as my work computer since several years. 15" XPC was an option but the sleeker design was not worth the extra money. Several colleagues use 13" XPCs. If I understand the user gossip correctly the lower weight and sleeker design of the XPS have a few drawbacks: Servicing and upgrading is harder or even impossible. Durability is not as good as for the Latitudes.

My 15" E5570 is a 2 kg machine.

All these machines runs a company-tweaked Ubuntu so Linux is fine.

I don't know about the Lenovo you mention. I write this post on my own ThinkPad X230. It gives the impression of near indestructibility and runs BL Lithium with no issues. I bought it as a refurbished machine on the second-hand market. Its battery is ailing, that all.

/Martin


"Problems worthy of attack
prove their worth by hitting back."
Piet Hein

Offline

#4 2020-11-18 14:20:36

glittersloth
...village idiot
Registered: 2015-09-30
Posts: 1,198

Re: Linux workhorse laptop - New Dell XPS 15 vs Lenovo X1 Carbon Gen 8?

Not used the models you listed, but I have sampled the XPS 13 from a couple of years ago (the one with the webcam placed to look up your nostrils) and the 6th and 7th gen X1 Carbons. Fwiw, I didn't like the keyboard on the XPS13 and think the keyboard on the X1C7 is a step down (less travel) from the X1C6.

Note that with either of these models, you're paying a premium for the slimness. As @Martin stated above, Dell has other laptops in their enterprise line like the Latitude while Lenovo offers X and T series ThinkPads. Most of the models in those lines offer better customization options, and maybe even bigger batteries and better repairability. Also, thicker laptops generally start throttling the CPU later, if that matters to your workflow.

With regards to Linux support (aside from the guaranteed compatibility), both vendors seem to support their enterprise lines pretty well with regards to firmware via the LVFS. Good idea to check out fwupd.org for update histories of your particular line of laptop. Even if the models you're looking at aren't listed yet (maybe too new), the update history of their predecessors should give you a good idea of how well they're supported.

With regards to QC, I feel it's a bit of a wash. Dell's current enterprise laptops aren't quite as bad as many make them out to be, while modern ThinkPads aren't quite as robust as their predecessors - so both brands kind of meet in the middle. It's basically down to luck of the draw, like with almost everything these days. Both manufacturers are guilty of various hardware related problems as well.

I suggest you do a lot of reading on notebookcheck.net, reddit and tech forums. Support forums on Dell and Lenovo are also good places to get an indication of reliability.

Some tips;
Forget 4K displays. They sap battery faster than politicians sap taxpayer money. For 14" (X1C) and 15" (XPS15), 1440p or 1600p (depending on aspect ratio) seems a good compromise between acuity and power consumption. Back when I was looking at laptops, Lenovo offered 1440p options for the X1C line (though non matte, sadly) while Dell only had the choice of FHD/1080p or 4K/2160p. Not sure what the options are now though. There's also aspect ratio. 16:10 is considered better than 16:9 for most workflows. I'm not sure whats available now, but last year Lenovo were still at 16:9 while Dell were already switching some models to 16:10. WRT keyboard, it's really personal preference. I didn't like the XPS13 keyboard back then, but it might be better now. ThinkPad keyboards are generally a safe bet if you care about typing experience and can't sample a model bin person beforehand. Sadly, even if you select Linux pre-installed models from either vendor, you'll still get the Windows swastika painted on the Super key.

Black Friday sales are around the corner. Keep an eye out for deals.

Edit I:
1.Not sure if Dell's still doing the "MagLev" keyboards on some of their bigger (15") XPS models. Those are horrible. Stay away. The keys feel more like "MeltLard".

2. Lenovo's delivery times (if buying directly from them) are horrible, especially if you buy on sale. I waited over a month for my X390 to arrive, though it was a good deal overall with 3yr battery replacement, 3yr accidental damage coverage and 3yr on-site support (plus an ugly backpack) thrown in with the discounted price. I can only imagine how bad wait times are now with the beervirus. It doesn't seem to vary by region either. Reddit is full of complaints from people all over the world.

3. If buying direct, both companies' web stores are full of tracking scripts.

Edit II;
Oh, almost forgot. I vaguely recall a review of the Dell XPS Linux "Developer Edition" somewhere (maybe Ars Technica) a few months ago where the reviewer mentioned that it came with wifi hardware that required a binary blob which only came in the pre-installed version of Ubuntu the laptop shipped with, meaning you probably had to do some additional fiddling if you installed BL or some other distro. Not sure if that still applies today, but it's something you should take note of. Back when I was laptop shopping, a common complaint Linux/BSD people had with Dell was their insistence on putting some gamer brand of wifi chipset in their laptops instead of the normal Intel or Atheros.

Last edited by glittersloth (2020-11-18 15:10:07)

Offline

#5 2020-11-18 19:29:54

ohnonot
...again
Registered: 2015-09-29
Posts: 5,026
Website

Re: Linux workhorse laptop - New Dell XPS 15 vs Lenovo X1 Carbon Gen 8?

Budget is always an aspect for me.
The other thing in a laptop is compact size - not necessarily flatness though.
Meaning, I want as small a screen as possible with a keyboard with full-seized keys.

So I'm not sure how much help I can be...

Anyhow, I'm very happy with my 5 year old thinkpad x250.
A very nice, though not hi-res, 12.5" IPS screen.
All-intel.
The keyboard is not the best.

A word of warning about Lenovo: some of their products are pretty crappy, no comparison to their thinkpad heritage. Ideapads, mostly, but one or two also carry the thinkpad label sad


Search youtube without a brwoser: repo | thread
BL quote proposals to this thread please.
my repos / my repos

Offline

#6 2020-11-18 20:19:26

vic
Member
Registered: 2018-06-16
Posts: 10

Re: Linux workhorse laptop - New Dell XPS 15 vs Lenovo X1 Carbon Gen 8?

X1 without doubt for me. Got a Gen 4 that makes other machines feel like clunky bricks in comparison now.  Very light easy to carry around. Do not know about gaming though. The Dell machine is much heavier at the least the specs I read. Take your time and do some research.


"Sorry guys, I am busy with my favorite K-drama."

Offline

#7 2020-11-19 07:25:23

cloverskull
Member
Registered: 2015-10-01
Posts: 335

Re: Linux workhorse laptop - New Dell XPS 15 vs Lenovo X1 Carbon Gen 8?

Thanks folks. This is all excellent feedback.

Looks like the Lenovo might be the winner - skip the 4k screen, find a model ready to ship fast, max out the RAM and potentially upgrade the HD myself. This’ll be ideal, especially after reading reviews on the keyboard (which is pretty important to me).

I really do appreciate the feedback here, this is a lot of depth. Thanks guys.

Sadly I recently found out I was exposed to COVID 19 and as of today am symptomatic. My company will be putting me up in an AirBNB to let the virus burn through me without putting my family at risk (I haven’t seen my fiancee or dog or anyone else since exposure so that’s not a concern). I guess having a shiny new laptop to play with during that time will be useful!

Offline

#8 2020-11-19 08:25:47

cog
Developer
From: The Southwest
Registered: 2015-10-27
Posts: 536
Website

Re: Linux workhorse laptop - New Dell XPS 15 vs Lenovo X1 Carbon Gen 8?

^ Well you better get some soup and provisions to eat.  The laptop won’t keep your body going dude.  Take care of yourself.


The worst day of fishing is better than the best day at work.

Offline

#9 2020-11-19 16:59:36

glittersloth
...village idiot
Registered: 2015-09-30
Posts: 1,198

Re: Linux workhorse laptop - New Dell XPS 15 vs Lenovo X1 Carbon Gen 8?

@cog
Is that all you did back when you got sick? No meds?

@cloverskull
Take care. Good on your company for putting you up like that. Get better soon.

Offline

#10 2020-11-19 17:46:33

ohnonot
...again
Registered: 2015-09-29
Posts: 5,026
Website

Re: Linux workhorse laptop - New Dell XPS 15 vs Lenovo X1 Carbon Gen 8?

cloverskull wrote:

Sadly I recently found out I was exposed to COVID 19 and as of today am symptomatic. My company will be putting me up in an AirBNB to let the virus burn through me without putting my family at risk (I haven’t seen my fiancee or dog or anyone else since exposure so that’s not a concern). I guess having a shiny new laptop to play with during that time will be useful!

Sorry to hear that. You sound lighthearted enough about it though, so I guess you're still quite young and have no other health trouble, and your chances of survival are pretty good.
Let us know how it goes, we all need more first (or rather second in this case) hand knowledge about this disease.
Get well soon!


Search youtube without a brwoser: repo | thread
BL quote proposals to this thread please.
my repos / my repos

Offline

#11 2020-11-19 17:47:21

DeepDayze
Like sands through an hourglass...
From: In Linux Land
Registered: 2017-05-28
Posts: 1,035

Re: Linux workhorse laptop - New Dell XPS 15 vs Lenovo X1 Carbon Gen 8?

@cloverskull, yikes...hope you can beat this and also nice your company is putting you up someplace safe. Also seek medical help if your symptoms worsen.

My prayers to you sir!!

Last edited by DeepDayze (2020-11-19 17:48:43)


Real Men Use Linux

Offline

#12 2020-11-19 19:16:39

cloverskull
Member
Registered: 2015-10-01
Posts: 335

Re: Linux workhorse laptop - New Dell XPS 15 vs Lenovo X1 Carbon Gen 8?

I’m trying to be lighthearted but I’m in fact terrified. I was in the US Military for a number of years and during my fifth deployment discovered I suddenly developed asthma. Since then I’ve had very serious cardiovascular issues with no end in sight and am considered high risk.

This morning I have a mild fever. This really sucks. hmm

So, since this is now my official COVID-19 blog, I was exposed Monday morning. It is now Thursday morning and I’m feverish and have a headache and am exhausted. My test happens later today (and another one in 48 hours) though each will take a couple days to get results. Let’s hope it’s all in my head and I’m just psyching myself out and am actually just fine.

I looked at the Lenovo and Dell sites to see how long ship times are for these laptops...hmmm...may have to rethink some things. I need a new shiny toy to occupy myself ASAP while stuck in an AirBNB. Any recommendations for a linux laptop workhorse that’s also not...yuge? tongue

Offline

#13 2020-11-19 19:58:32

glittersloth
...village idiot
Registered: 2015-09-30
Posts: 1,198

Re: Linux workhorse laptop - New Dell XPS 15 vs Lenovo X1 Carbon Gen 8?

^ Crossing fingers for you. If you're considered high-risk, would it be possible for the medical facility to admit you and keep under observation (if found positive, and assuming wards aren't overcapacity where you live), or is that considered even riskier since you'll be in the same vicinity as other infected patients?

If you're in the US and budget isn't an issue (is your company paying?) like you stated in your opening post, then maybe System 76? Pricey, but Linux compatibility guaranteed plus open source firmware for bootloader and embedded controller (you can basically write your own fan curves for the four seasons) and a lot of configuration options (at extra cost) like PCIE4 storage and up to 40GB RAM (on the slim Lemur Pro model). Their shipping page still says "ships out within 6-10 days after placing an order" though. If you want faster delivery and lower cost, then you'll probably need to look for used or refurbished models. If you insist on buying new, regardless of manufacturer, anything you add options to (eg: more RAM) will be considered "build to order" which means you're limited to "ready to ship" base models that'll probably have anemic memory and storage. Also worth noting that couriers are pretty stretched. Your local USPS is currently struggling on all fronts so you'll probably need to fork out extra for business-class drug runners like Dope Holdings Limited (DHL) or United Pot Smugglers (UPS) if you want a quick fix.

Best of luck on both health and tech fronts.

Last edited by glittersloth (2020-11-19 20:16:52)

Offline

#14 2020-11-19 20:25:21

twoion
ほやほや
Registered: 2015-08-10
Posts: 3,028

Re: Linux workhorse laptop - New Dell XPS 15 vs Lenovo X1 Carbon Gen 8?

Wish you all the best, Clover. Hopefully this will not have lasting effects on your life.


Per aspera ad astra.

Offline

#15 2020-11-19 22:08:24

hhh
Meep!
Registered: 2015-09-17
Posts: 10,783
Website

Re: Linux workhorse laptop - New Dell XPS 15 vs Lenovo X1 Carbon Gen 8?

So, computer shopping aggravates one's health? That's the takeaway I'm getting. Don't buy a computer, it will make it hard for you to breath.

In a way, this is eerily accurate.

Hope you feel better soon!

Online

#16 2020-11-20 00:44:37

cloverskull
Member
Registered: 2015-10-01
Posts: 335

Re: Linux workhorse laptop - New Dell XPS 15 vs Lenovo X1 Carbon Gen 8?

@glittersloth I'm high risk but not yet symptomatic enough to go to the ER. For what it's worth, I live about five minutes from the Stanford hospital, and the AirBNB I'm in is nearby as well. If I need to go in the middle of the night, I'll be able to smile

I looked at the System76 computers but had a difficult time comparing the different models easily. I also ended up just optimizing on what could ship the quickest, and it was hard to discern those details from System76. I ended up going with the Lenovo X1 Carbon G8. Wish me luck!

Offline

#17 2020-11-20 05:26:53

cog
Developer
From: The Southwest
Registered: 2015-10-27
Posts: 536
Website

Re: Linux workhorse laptop - New Dell XPS 15 vs Lenovo X1 Carbon Gen 8?

@cloverskull hope you get feeling better buddy.

@glittersloth, well they gave me antibiotics but there was no infection linked to the pnemonia...  this was back in March before New Mexico had tests.

Last edited by cog (2020-11-20 05:27:23)


The worst day of fishing is better than the best day at work.

Offline

#18 2020-11-20 06:23:35

johnraff
nullglob
From: Nagoya, Japan
Registered: 2015-09-09
Posts: 7,423
Website

Re: Linux workhorse laptop - New Dell XPS 15 vs Lenovo X1 Carbon Gen 8?

@cloverskull hoping you get better soon! Meanwhile get rest, nutrition, and don't try to brazen it out if you feel worse - get whatever care you need.


...elevator in the Brain Hotel, broken down but just as well...
( a boring Japan blog (currently paused), idle Twitterings and GitStuff )

Introduction to the Bunsenlabs Lithium Desktop

Offline

#19 2020-11-20 09:59:31

phuturism
Member
From: Jakarta, Bali, Singapore, Melb
Registered: 2016-07-15
Posts: 103

Re: Linux workhorse laptop - New Dell XPS 15 vs Lenovo X1 Carbon Gen 8?

Get well soon @cloverskull! 

I have a Carbon X1 first gen, which I love, but is getting a bit dated now.   As with all the slimline models it does tend to get hot, fast.   My next one I'll stick with Lenovo, but might get something more upgradeable and chunkier.


L I N U X  -  M O T O R B I K E S  -  B O O K S  -  T R A V E L  -  A S I A

Offline

#20 2020-11-21 08:33:11

ohnonot
...again
Registered: 2015-09-29
Posts: 5,026
Website

Re: Linux workhorse laptop - New Dell XPS 15 vs Lenovo X1 Carbon Gen 8?

Thanks for reporting back, and again: get well soon.
johnraff puts it well I think: "don't try to brazen it out if you feel worse - get whatever care you need".

Now we're hooked and will start to get worried if you don't report back...
Every other day fair enough for you, cloverskull?
wink


Search youtube without a brwoser: repo | thread
BL quote proposals to this thread please.
my repos / my repos

Offline

#21 2020-11-22 13:21:16

cloverskull
Member
Registered: 2015-10-01
Posts: 335

Re: Linux workhorse laptop - New Dell XPS 15 vs Lenovo X1 Carbon Gen 8?

Hey guys, doing fine here smile So far so good. If I start having breathing problems, it’ll be time to panic, but so far I have a fever and a headache but am otherwise ok.

Offline

#22 2020-11-22 20:20:42

DeepDayze
Like sands through an hourglass...
From: In Linux Land
Registered: 2017-05-28
Posts: 1,035

Re: Linux workhorse laptop - New Dell XPS 15 vs Lenovo X1 Carbon Gen 8?

cloverskull wrote:

Hey guys, doing fine here smile So far so good. If I start having breathing problems, it’ll be time to panic, but so far I have a fever and a headache but am otherwise ok.

That's great to hear and I've also been under quarantine because of possible exposure because a family member was tested positive and so far so good for me.

Stay safe!


Real Men Use Linux

Offline

#23 2020-11-24 15:08:44

mariopepper
New Member
Registered: 2020-11-24
Posts: 2

Re: Linux workhorse laptop - New Dell XPS 15 vs Lenovo X1 Carbon Gen 8?

2 days before I I would have took Lenovo one because I've been using Dell for a while - it doesn't have any advantages compared to Lenovo gaming laptops. But I've made a research about Dell XPS 15 and checked its owner's manual http://dell.manymanuals.com/laptops/15/ … nual-11823 & some youtube reviews about this Dell model and I've changed my mind. It's a good option.

Last edited by mariopepper (2020-11-25 20:30:55)

Offline

#24 2020-11-24 20:37:38

ohnonot
...again
Registered: 2015-09-29
Posts: 5,026
Website

Re: Linux workhorse laptop - New Dell XPS 15 vs Lenovo X1 Carbon Gen 8?

Keeping our finger's crossed cloverskull!


Search youtube without a brwoser: repo | thread
BL quote proposals to this thread please.
my repos / my repos

Offline

#25 2020-11-24 22:27:28

cloverskull
Member
Registered: 2015-10-01
Posts: 335

Re: Linux workhorse laptop - New Dell XPS 15 vs Lenovo X1 Carbon Gen 8?

I have a low grade fever and can’t taste or smell anything, but beyond that feel pretty much fine. Thanks everyone for all the support. smile

My new laptop arrives tomorrow! I’ll install BL on it. Any gotchas for a fresh install? I have used primarily arch for the past couple of years on my personal machines, but am ready to migrate back to Bunsen.

Offline

Board footer

Powered by FluxBB