Announcing the budget-friendly, Linux-based Dell Precision mobile workstations

Now available Precision 3541 mobile workstation, dev edition


Dell makes some pretty brawny Linux-based workstations. Witness the uber-powerful Dell Precision 7000 tower and rack workstations.  These beefy systems can be ordered with either Ubuntu or Red Hat preloaded and are perfect for exploring intensive workloads like Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML).

Getting started at the right price

If you’re just starting out however and are looking to get going with a budget-friendly mobile workstation you may find some of these workstations a bit out of your price range.  Well look no further.

Dell Precision 3540 - front side_cropped

Introducing the Ubuntu-based Dell Precision 3540 mobile workstation, developer edition

Today we are announcing the latest addition to the Project Sputnik line up — the next generation of the Dell Precision 3000 series mobile workstations, the Dell Precision 3540 and 3541 developer editions.

The Precision 3540 which is available today, is our most affordable mobile workstation and comes with all the essentials (see specs below).  The Dell Precision 3541 mobile workstation, which will be available in late May, kicks it up a notch offering the option of either a 9th generation 8-core Intel® Core™ or 6-core Xeon® processor and NVIDIA Quadro graphics (4GB).

Dell Precision 3540 and 3541 specifications

Dell Precision 3540 mobile workstation, developer edition Available today

Power within reach

  • Latest 4-core Intel® Core ™ 8th generation processors
  • Ubuntu 18.04 LTS preloaded
  • Certified for Red Hat 8.0
  • Up to 32GB of DDR4 memory
  • Optional AMD Radeon® Pro graphics with 2GB of dedicated memory
  • Up to 4TB of storage
  • Optional Thunderbolt™ 3 connectivity
  • Starting at 4.04 pounds
  • Available worldwide

Dell Precision 3541 mobile workstation, developer edition

Powerful, yet affordable

  • 9th generation 8-core Intel® Core™ and 6-core Xeon® processor options
  • Ubuntu 18.04 LTS preloaded
  • Certified for Red Hat 8.0
  • Up to 32GB of DDR4 memory, Optional ECC memory with Xeon processor
  • Next generation NVIDIA Quadro® professional graphics with 4GB of dedicated memory
  • Up to 4TB of storage
  • Thunderbolt™ 3 connectivity
  • Starting at 4.34 pounds.
  • Available worldwide

We want to hear from you

Dell’s Project Sputnik has been driven since day one by input from the community.  While we have continued to gather input on an ongoing basis we recently decided that it was time to step back and get a broader view.  To that end we have partnered with Canonical to produce the 2019 Desktop developer desktop survey

If you have the time, please fill out this short survey and help us deliver software and hardware to better meet your needs.

Stay tuned

Project Sputnik keeps rolling and today’s announcement represents the first of the fifth generation of the Precision developer editions.  If you’re a developer, data scientist or student and are looking for a Linux-based mobile workstation at a budget-friendly price you owe it to yourself to check out the Dell Precision 3540 and 3541 mobile workstations.

Watch this space for more news in the upcoming months around the Project Sputnik portfolio.

Extra-credit reading

  • The Dell Precision 3540 and 3541 Mobile Workstations – Making Workstation-Class Performance Accessible for All Budgets – Direct2Dell

Pau for now…

24 Responses to Announcing the budget-friendly, Linux-based Dell Precision mobile workstations

  1. Bryan says:

    (en-us) I can’t get it to add to cart due to
    Microsoft Office 30 Day Trial

    I’m just trying to price it out (not ready to buy today).

    There is definitely demand for non-workstation/XPS class machines pre-installed with Ubuntu. The Precision 35XX is the series that does get closest and this one is definitely an improvement in weight.


  2. Hi. Are you related to Dell? Can I ask you about one simple thing that’s making Dell XPS laptops just awful for developers? )

    It’s the lack of SEPARATE Home/PageUp/PageDown/End keys. Furthermore, somebody is carrying out additional creepy experiments with keyboards on recent models. For example, Dell XPS 15 9575 has separate PageUp/PageDown near arrow keys and no Home/End at all.

    PgUp/PgDown/Home/End are the MOST important keys for developers. Combining them with arrow keys was a silly idea of some marketing managers, copying Apple’s awful design. The process seems not to be unidirectional though: Apple itself recently copied horrible HP’s arrow key design where arrow keys are not of the same size.

    The best layout was on Dell XPS L502x and on all earlier laptops: Home/PgUp/PgDown/End row on the right side of keyboard. This design was gone after L502x.

    I own a Dell XPS 15 9550 – I bought it just for the screen. The screen is wonderful! But I’ll never use this laptop for work. I can’t write code efficiently without separate home/pageup/pagedown/end keys.

    Can you please raise this issue if you have any influence on people who’s making decisions about Dell laptops?


    • Moriel says:

      I had no idea that Apple did that (I don’t have a reason to buy Apple products, too expensive, horrible ethics, and nothing that I need that I cannot get in better, cheaper, and more powerful devices from other manufacturers), however I can tell you that I think that combining them is absolutely terrific in my opinion, since it really helps free up space for the arrow keys, and for someone like me, who uses them most of the time, it really saves time (I turn on Numlock when I actually need it).

      What annoys me is the tiny arrow keys that lately, almost everyone are using, since it makes them barely usable.

      I personally would prefer a mash of what Dell, Lenovo (on some laptops), and Asus are putting, without the Home/End/PageUp/PageDown keys, shortening the width of some of the main keyboard keys (though not by too much), and putting a little extra space between the main part of the keyboard, the arrow keys, and the numpad.

      The closest I had seen too that was an old Asus ROG laptop we had repaired for a customer (I do not game), however they did that by moving the arrow keys downwards, and I think that neither the spacebar, the arrow keys, nor the bottom rows of the main keyboard and the numpad, need to be taller than the other keys (they shouldn’t be shorter either). The function row can be half height, though, and the numpad should be pushed upwards to make space for the arrow keys.


      • Vitaliy Filippov says:

        I also like full-sized arrow keys slightly more, but half-sized keys don’t annoy me as long as they’re of the same size 🙂 which is not the case with ALL HP laptops. I wonder if their managers treat it as an advantage 🙂 that would be funny…

        But what do you mean by that it frees up space for the arrow keys? Arrow keys sit in the bottom-right corner, home/pgup/pgdown/end can be put just above them. All current 15.6″ laptops with combined arrow keys have large margins on both sides of their keyboards. There’s plenty of space for a single 4-key column. I think the best would even be to not remove the combined function from the arrow keys to not break things for those who already got used to it.

        13.3″ laptops usually don’t have extra space, but that’s the point – either you want a full-sized machine and buy 15.6″ or you want a superportable one and then you try to get used to 3-finger combinations for ctrl or shift + pgup/pgdown/home/end 🙂


      • Moriel says:

        I had meant to put a full numpad, but without the Home/PageUp/PageDown/End on top, as they are already replicated by 1/3/7/9 on the numpad, and use the additional space for proper spacing between the the different parts of the keyboard.
        Most 15.6″ laptops with actual full keyboards (including full size arrow keys) have small margins on the sides of the keyboard.
        For 13.3″, I agree that a 4-key column brings the same effect, and therefore should be preferred.


      • Vitaliy Filippov says:

        I think there are some laptops with a numpad and spacing around arrow keys, however I don’t understand the point of numpad itself. Who’s still using it? Maybe some accountants? 🙂 Also why is it flipped upside down? 🙂 i.e why does it have 789 at the top? I think developers don’t use the numpad at all… It would even make sense to replace it with Ins/Home/PgUp + Del/End/PgDown rows as on wired keyboards, with a spacing between them and the arrow keys.


      • Moriel says:

        Actually, many people utilize the numpad for numbers, since they manage to type numbers much faster that way, probably due to muscle memory from phones and the like.

        I personally find using Home/PageUp/PageDown/End much more comfortable on a numpad, due to their locations (Home, a.k.a. beginning, on 7, End on 1, PageUp on the top 9, PageDown on the bottom 3.


    • Ariel says:

      On windows you have tools like autohotkey and touchcursor that make solving this problems trivial, I have had laptops with terrible keyboard layouts but windows allows you to magic. Unfortunately Linux is a couple of steps behind on this too.


      • Vitaliy Filippov says:

        I think it’s impossible to solve if there just aren’t enough keys. Where to map them? except Enter and Backspace… 🙂


      • Moriel says:

        Excuse me? Then can you please explain to me why it is that I do not have to install anything on Linux to be able to map the keys to whatever I wish, while on Windows I need to install apps (such as AutoHotKey) that have to be running all the time?
        In this case, the opposite is true, Windows is behind.

        Examples: Win/Super + Numpad Enter = Calculator
        Win/Super/Search (chromebook) + FN controls (due to FN shenanigans) = Working FN controls.


    • Luiz Cardoso says:

      I entirely aggree with Vitaliy Filippov. Separate Home/PageUp/PageDown/End keys are extremely useful, and not only for programmers, but also for academics of any area, who often need to write/edit lots of texts. I am a university professor and senior scientist, and most of my work involves writing and/or editing projects, critical reviews, and manuscripts for publication. I use a Linux-based operating system on all of my computers, and I am aware that Dell laptops are one of the best — if not the best — for running this OS. I very much wanted to own a Dell XPS, especially a 15″ model, to use as a workstation at home, but lack of those separate editing keys is a deal breaker for me. Indeed, the XPS 15 keyboard is even worst than that of the XPS 13. Dell did a commendable job by managing to squeeze separate Home/PageUp/PageDown/End keys on a 13″ laptop. Bravo, Dell! However, removing these keys on a higher-end 15″ laptop, and providing just a bare bones keyboard with lots of empty spaces around it, is something I can not understand. The XPS line is certainly not primarily aimed at gamers, I presume.

      Half-sized arrow keys, as well as the HP style with full-sized right- and left-arrow keys, are Ok for me.

      So my workhorse at home is a 14″ HP Pavilion. This size is perhaps the best compromise between portability and comfort of use, and it also has a Home/PgUp/PgDown/End row on the right side of keyboard, which is extremely handy for my text editing chores. My suggestions to Dell are therefore: (1) Consider making a 14″ XPS; (2) Definitely add a “Home/PgUp/PgDown/End row on the right side of keyboard” to all of your higher-end 14″ and 15″ laptops.


  3. […] più grazie alla serie developer edition, portatili di fascia alta equipaggiati con Ubuntu.Gli ultimi arrivati sono i nuovi Dell Precision 3540 Mobile Workstations Developer Edition e Dell Precision 3541 […]


  4. Marcin Skarbek says:

    One thing I really don’t like in Dell offering is enforcing Xeon/Quadro pair. I am first in line for a Xeon with ECC and integrated or AMD graphics. Just get rid of Nvidia.
    Even better give me a full AMD build with ECC and I’ll be throwing money at Dell. 😉


  5. Nils says:

    I think it’s great that Dell is offering Ubuntu and other non-Windows options. However, why can’t I just buy the whole line-up without a pre-installed OS? For security reasons alone I wipe the pre-installed OS – give me an empty disk and I’m happy.


  6. […] this month we introduced the entry-point system in Dell’s next generation of Ubuntu-based Precision mobile […]


  7. Akshay Chandrakar says:

    You have mentioned that precision 3541 will be available worldwide, but on dell’s indian website 3541 is not present, One more thing like dell’s us website why customization option is not available for precision model in indian website and no pricing details are mentioned for them


  8. Cust Mer says:

    It’s great that Dell has Linux preloaded laptops. However, despite the fact that Precision allows pre-installed Ubuntu, when I go to the Dell US website and select “Ubuntu” as the OS in the filter list, only XPS 13 Developer version is shown. Nowhere can I see the Precision laptops. I think the search facility of the Dell website is quite disappointing.


  9. Boyko says:

    Dell sells Precision Tower workstations preloaded with Ubuntu 18.04 now. However I cannot load the image for my 7820, initially sold with 16.04. The machine is practically brand new and the latest supported Ubuntu version is supposed to be fully available.

    Dell Support line is totally hopeless and claims to be Windows-only trained. If the service tag is for Linux box the call must be forwarded to the relevant Linux support team. How can I reach the relevant team at all. This is really disappointing.

    Any chance to get direct access to Ubuntu 18.04 images for Precision laptops/desktops?


  10. […] We review the Dell Precison 3540. […]


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