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Dell offers new laptops with Red Hat Enterprise Linux

Dell's commitment to the Linux OS grows

Dell is expanding the range of laptops with Linux, with its new Precision mobile workstations being offered with Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6 OS as an option.

The company announced two models, the Precision M4700, which has a 15.6-inch screen, and the Precision M6700, which has a 17.3-inch screen. Dell will offer Windows 7, but is also offering Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6 for specific regions. Dell did not provide information on the countries in which RHEL would be available.

The company over the last few years had scaled down its Linux offerings on laptops, saying the OS is targeted at specialist users. But Linux is staging a comeback on Dell's laptop, with the company planning to offer the XPS 13 thin-and-light laptop with Ubuntu 12.04, code-named Precise Pangolin, later this year. Dell is also pushing Linux to companies moving away from legacy Unix servers to industry standard servers.

The new Precision laptops run on Intel's latest third-generation Core i5 and i7 processors code-named Ivy Bridge. With powerful processing capabilities, multiple storage slots, and memory support for up to 32GB, the laptops are for users looking to run demanding graphics and scientific applications.

Dell claims the Precision M6700 is the industry's "lightest 17-inch mobile workstation." With a nine-cell battery, the laptop weighs 3.52 kilograms and is priced starting at US$2189.

A special M6700 edition called Covet will be available with an optional 3D screen and glasses from graphics company Nvidia, which could be useful for programs such as CAD/CAM. The price for the laptop starts at $3,579.

The M4700 weighs roughly 2.78 kilograms with a six-cell battery and is priced starting at $1649.

The laptops have optional Nvidia Quadro or Advanced Micro Devices' FirePro graphics card to boost imaging or scientific applications. The laptops can show images at a high-definition 1920 by 1080-pixel resolution, or buyers can choose lower-resolution screens. Through VGA, HDMI (high-definition multimedia interface) and DisplayPort video ports, the laptops provide multiple monitor connection options.

The laptops offers three storage slots where users can combine a 512GB solid-state drive, a 256GB SSD and a 750GB hard drive. Standard laptops today come with 256GB SSDs, but newer high-performance laptops are being offered with 512GB SSDs, such as Apple's latest 15.4-inch MacBook Pro with Retina display.

The Precisions have USB 3.0 ports and USB 2.0/eSATA ports, and the laptops can be remotely managed and secured by system administrators through on-chip VPro management technology. The laptops can withstand high temperatures, altitude and shock, according to Dell.

Agam Shah covers PCs, tablets, servers, chips and semiconductors for IDG News Service. Follow Agam on Twitter at @agamsh. Agam's e-mail address is agam_shah@idg.com


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