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Dell XPS 15


This is a compatibility guide to running Linux with the Dell XPS 15 laptop.

This page is just for discussing using Linux on the Dell XPS 15. For a general discussion about this laptop you can visit the Dell XPS 15 page on LapWik.

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For full specifications see the Dell XPS 15 specifications page.

There are two versions of this laptop, L501x and L502x.

NameDell XPS 15
ProcessorIntel® Core™ i5-2410M processor 2.30 GHz with Turbo Boost 2.0 up to 2.90 GHz
Intel® Core™ i5-2520M processor 2.50 GHz with Turbo Boost 2.0 up to 3.20 GHz
Intel® Core™ i7-2630QM processor 2.00 GHz with Turbo Boost 2.0 up to 2.90 GHz
Intel® Core™ i7-2620M processor 2.70 GHz with Turbo Boost 2.0 up to 3.40 GHz
Intel® Core™ i7-2720QM processor 2.20 GHz with Turbo Boost 2.0 up to 3.30 GHz
Intel® Core™ i7-2760QM processor 2.40 GHz with Turbo Boost 2.0 up to 3.50GHz
Intel® Core™ i7-2820QM processor 2.30 GHz with Turbo Boost 2.0 up to 3.40 GHz
Screen15.6“ (1366×768) Widescreen
15.6” (1920×1080) Widescreen
RAMUp to 8GB
HDDup to 750GB
Optical DriveDVD+-RW
GraphicsNVIDIA® GeForce® GT 525M
NVIDIA® GeForce® GT 540M 2 GB
Network10/100/1000 Ethernet
Intel® Centrino® Wireless-N 1000 (1×2 bgn)
Intel® Centrino® Wireless-N 1030 (1×2 bgn+ Bluetooth)
Intel® Centrino® Advanced-N 6230 (2×2 agn+ Bluetooth)
Intel® Centrino® Advanced-N + WiMAX 6150 802.11 b/g/n (WiMax + 1×2 bgn)

Linux Compatibility

Processorgood Note that with kernels 3.3 and 3.4, you must set intel_iommu=off on boot to use proprietary nvidia-drivers.
Screengood Screen is very glossy, and would make a nice mirror.
Optical Drivegood
GraphicsgoodThe machine will always boot to the Intel GPU. Using Bumblebee and the bbswitch driver, you can have the nvidia card automatically turned off (or at least to a low power state), and turned back on and utilized for rendering to a virtual buffer, which is then copied to the Intel GPU, which renders to the screen. I have found that the bumblebee service should be restarted before each time optirun is used, as it often does not exit gracefully, and will leave things in broken state so that the next attempt to use it will hard-lock the system.
SoundgoodUnder Debian unstable (24/01/12) headphone jack sensing wasn't working. I fixed this by running 'amixer -c 0 cset numid=9 1; sudo alsactl store' You will have to find the appropriate setting to change with amixer and then save using alsactl.
Wirelessgood The standard issues with iwlagn throwing hissy fits with some APs applies. I have an Atheros card that operates flawlessy, but the Intel card this laptop came with (and that I have had in other laptops) will often drop connections and then fail to report the loss of connectivity to the OS.
Card ReadergoodWill read card if booted with one. Requires running PCI rescan (cat 1 > /sys/bus/pci/rescan) to detect a card inserted after boot. Simply run the command each time you insert a card.
TV TunerNot Tested
Keyboardincomplete eg the function keys Fn-f1 (maps to ctrl-alt-p or mod4-p) and the funny 'additional' keys above the keyboard don't map to anything useful (the gears? key maps to ctrl-alt-x or mod4-x; the tripod? key maps to 'dim display'; the comb? key maps to “no entry”/forbidden???
Backlight works, all orange Fn keys work, but some udev/userspace communication is missing, as the touchpad Fn F3 turns on the orange light above the touchpad, but does not actually disable it. Having the mute button take up a key by itself rather than moving all the volume keys left by 1 (starting on F7) and therefore having no scroll-lock key is somewhat disappointing. I very much dislike keyboards that lack standard keys.


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dell_xps_15.txt · Last modified: 2012/06/05 15:21 by petteyg359
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