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There are other questions about the XPS 15 (such as this one) but they all seem to be several years old and relate to an older XPS model. This question is specifically about the XPS 15 9560 released in 2017.

I am considering buying this laptop and I am, as always, concerned about dual boot support and lack of driver functionality in Linux. I would appreciate if someone who has this laptop and runs both Windows and Linux (or has run both at some point) comment on the following:

  • Driver support, both audio/video, in terms of things like multiple monitors, GPU performance etc.
  • Battery life -- is Ubuntu a drain compared to Windows, or maybe vice versa?
  • Any additional comments? Was anything "functional" but very annoying to set up?

I've seen plenty of reviews about the laptop itself, but I'd like to get some comments purely from an Ubuntu dual boot perspective.

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    I would suggest to broaden your search scope when looking for linux support for a laptop, here's a pretty extensive thread about XPS 15 9560: bbs.archlinux.org/viewtopic.php?id=223056 I have both a Dell XPS 13 (2015) and a Dell Precision 5510 (2017, business version of XPS 15) and I haven't had any problems with either of them. – mgor Mar 16 '17 at 19:12
  • @mgor the question isn't "what's a good Linux laptop to buy". – pzkpfw Mar 21 '17 at 18:02
  • Do you know yourself what the question is? The laptop comes with Windows. So will it run Windows: check. I gave you a thread with great details on how well it will work with Linux. So will it run Linux: check (maybe not everything will work out-of-the-box though). The comments about my Dell laptops maybe wasn't really clear, the intention was to say that in general Dell hardware does not have any problems running Linux. Dell does great work for Linux with project Sputnik. Does grub have any problem with dual boot: no. – mgor Mar 22 '17 at 6:23
  • I didn't ask if it runs Windows. How Dell performs in general was also not my question. – pzkpfw Mar 22 '17 at 8:18
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    +1 This question could have better answers, given that there are users who have attempted to install Ubuntu on Dell XPS 15 9560 and actually wrote down their experience. – clearkimura Mar 28 '17 at 5:00
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I have been using the Dell XPS 15 9560 in a dual boot configuration for a few weeks now. I am running Windows 10 and Ubuntu 16.04. It all works fine, except the finger print reader under Ubuntu, which I didn't manage to have detected.

I mainly use it for programming, and for machine learning I use Tensorflow and the laptop GPU. I haven't yet run battery intensive applications (e.g. games) while under battery, but I can say that, under Ubuntu, switching from NVIDIA to the integrated graphics (under NVIDIA X Server Settings) and lowering the display brightness, I would get an estimated battery life of 6-8 hours. With NVIDIA GPU and display brightness maxed out, 2-3 hours.

Installing Ubuntu Desktop from USB was quite easy, just had to disable the RAID support under BIOS (the provided SSD is anyway not a RAID). I had tried installing Ubuntu Server, that usually detects and handles RAID at installation time, but with this laptop it didn't.

Under Ubuntu I am running the latest NVIDIA drivers automatically installed by Ubuntu updates, 375-51; under Windows, the latest NVIDIA drivers available.

  • Is it full HD or 4K? – Phil May 7 '17 at 3:50
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    The one I have is Full HD with matte IPS display. – Fanta May 8 '17 at 8:40
  • What kind of programs were you running for the 6-8 hours? Do you have TLP installed btw? – Phil May 9 '17 at 13:00
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    I was developing a program, so running the IDE (PyCharm) and my program itself, VLC to test the output, Firefox to read the documentation. I didn't install TLP. – Fanta May 10 '17 at 13:27
  • How did you manage install nvidida ? see my post here: askubuntu.com/questions/1007981/… – Attila Naghi Feb 20 '18 at 19:09
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I dual boot this laptop with Ubuntu 16.04. I had to do a bit of tinkering to get everything working right, particularly the NVIDIA GPU.

  1. Upgrade to mainline kernel (at least 4.9.10, but latest version is at 4.9.15). I however use kernel 4.10.2 presently.
  2. Use nvidia-375, not nvidia-378 drivers
  3. Add some GRUB boot params
  4. update to latest BIOS from DELL

Battery life when using Intel is good - I get up to 7-8 hours, but drops when I use NVIDIA (I've to admit that I did not tweak the power consumption. Dual monitor support works, all other hardware works, like touchpad, wifi, camera, sound etc.

Here's a link to a Github page that outlines what you need to do.

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    "some grub boot params" isn't very helpful as a point, also please don't answer by linking to external sources, normally answers should be self contained – pzkpfw Mar 17 '17 at 11:13
  • Was yours FHD or 4k? – Phil May 7 '17 at 17:54
  • Add some grub boot params. Could you give any details? – neuronet Jan 10 '18 at 4:41
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I currently dual boot Windows 7/Ubuntu 16.10 on an older Dell XPS (17 L702X) so I'll only speak from experience with a similar but older setup:

  • Driver support (graphical): Generally good, but requires proprietary drivers for full gaming support. Note that due to the dual video card setup, you'll almost certainly end up using the NVidia drivers to switch between the two; attempting to use open-source Mesa drivers and the older bumblebee software is/was a headache. Unless truly system independent or Linux-optimized, most Steam games will run slightly slower on Ubuntu than on Windows 7. I don't have any experience running things with multiple monitors; I generally stick with 1080p on one monitor.
  • Driver support(audio): For headphones or 2.1 audio, it works right out of the box. I can't speak for 5.1 or other more complicated setups.
  • Battery life: I found it to be generally dependent on which video card is enabled moreso than what OS was in use. If you want to use your XPS for 3d-accelerated gaming, you'll want to be plugged into a wall somewhere, as the Nvidia card and all the fans will burn through battery life.
  • Functional but annoying things: Without additional sorcery, Windows doesn't recognize (or even see/detect) the Unix-type filesystems such as the "ext4" that Ubuntu defaults to for making its partition, so any shared files or configurations will need to be on the Windows (NTFS) partition, which you will need to tell Ubuntu to mount at startup. I've managed to get some programs such as Thunderbird and Pidgin to use the same profile on both OS's by placing the profile on the Windows disk and using symbolic links on the Ubuntu side to point the profiles to the right spot. Thus when I open my email, I'm right back to where I left off. This doesn't work with some programs, notably Steam: If you want the same game installed on both Windows and Ubuntu, you'll have to install it twice; if you attempt share libraries, each version of Steam will see the other OS's games as incompletely downloaded and will overwrite them, ad infinitum.

Overall I've been pleasantly surprised with driver support in Ubuntu, and in some cases, such as with USB controllers, I've had better luck with Linux than in Windows (e.g. PS3 controllers windows recognizes but won't allow to function; aftermarket N64-style USB controllers recognized and supported in Ubuntu, but required additional drivers in Windows).

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I don't have XPS 15, but I have an Asus ux501vw, and its configuration is the same as the Dell XPS.

I use Windows 10 and Ubuntu 16.04 as Dual boot, though I rarely switch to windows; just sometimes for using Microsoft Office. I think everything is fine, but there is just one problem in both these OSes: high resolution and a lot of programs have scale problems. I think Microsoft and Ubuntu make their programs scalable, but there are a lot of programs from third parties that are not ready for High resolution like telegram, until, virtualbox, spyder...

In Ubuntu you can scale your screen and increase font size to become more comfortable as in windows. I think Gnome Desktop is better than Unity in this case.

And for battery consumption: yeah, Linux consumes more than Windows, but there are lots of configurations you can make it a little better (I think the big problem belongs to two graphic cards) maybe with proprietary Nvidia graphic card battery consumption be better: I didn't test it.

Touch Screen: Windows Touch is mature and when you work with it and compare to Ubuntu you sense that Ubuntu needs much work to be a competitor in this big challenge. So yeah, Touch Screen works in ubuntu but you don't enjoy it.

Touchpad: With Default Configurations the Windows Touchpad driver works very better: it can detect you palm and doesn't bother you when you are typing or coding but in ubuntu you have to configure it (with synclient) and after that it can still be annoying.

All Functional keys work fine: you can increase and decrease volume, brightness, backlight.

SSD works absolutely fine with Linux.

I hope this information helps you and this arch wiki may help you in the future.

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I have a Dell XPS 15 9560 that I have been running in dual boot with Windows 10 Professional and Ubuntu 18.10 for quite some time. I initially used 18.04 but did have problems with battery life, as well as with the cooling fans running almost constantly. I usually stick with LTS versions of Ubuntu, but in this case, 18.10 had some updates that aided in longer battery life. I have definitely found this to be the case with my XPS 15.

The most annoying issue I have experienced in installing Ubuntu 18.10 is that after the initial install, Ubuntu will freeze up on shutdown or restart. This is due to Ubuntu using the XORG driver for the Nvidea graphics card. The way to fix this is by going into the software updater and changing the driver to the proprietary Nvidea driver in the settings. This also helps with the fans running all the time. Since the driver was changed, I have had very little trouble with Ubuntu. I hardly ever use my Windows 10 at all.

I believe Dell is actually releasing a "Developer" edition of their XPS 15 with Ubuntu 18.04 preloaded. That being said, I feel like the hardware on this laptop should be super compatible with Ubuntu, and my experience has confirmed it.

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