While Dell is offering the option of Ubuntu 18.04 LTS as the Linux option with their new XPS 9380 laptop, what happens if the Bionic Beaver isn’t of interest to you? As part of our testing of the Dell XPS 9380 with Core i7 8565U laptop, I’ve just finished up testing six different Linux distributions on this 13-inch laptop.
As part of installing various Linux distributions and seeing how the compatibility was for the new Dell XPS 9380, in the process I also ran a variety of benchmarks on each Linux distribution tested.
The Dell XPS 9380 under test has the Core i7 8565U processor at four cores / eight threads and 4.6GHz turbo boost, Intel UHD 620 Graphics, 16GB of memory, and 256GB SK Hynix NVMe solid-state drive.
The Linux distributions tested on this new Dell XPS laptop included:
Dell Ubuntu 18.04 LTS – The stock OS shipped by Dell with the Linux 4.15 kernel, GCC 7.3.0, and other current components of this Ubuntu LTS release.
Ubuntu 18.10 – The current non-LTS Ubuntu release with its default Linux 4.18 kernel, GCC 8.2.0, Mesa 18.2.2, etc.
OpenSUSE Tumbleweed – The 20190126 state of openSUSE’s rolling-release with the Linux 4.20.2 kernel, Mesa 18.3.1, GCC 8.2.1, and Btrfs+XFS file-system setup. The GNOME version of openSUSE was installed to match the desktops of the other Linux distributions under test.
Fedora Workstation 28 – The current updates to Fedora 28 take it to the Linux 4.20.5 kernel, Mesa 18.2.8, GCC 8.2.1, and EXT4 file-system.
Antergos 19.1 – The Arch-based rolling-release distribution with the Linux 4.20.6 kernel, GCC 8.2.1, and EXT4.
Clear Linux 27600 – The latest release of the open-source Intel Linux distribution with the Linux 4.20.6 kernel, Mesa 19.0-devel, GCC 8.2.1, and EXT4.
To little surprise, the Dell XPS 9380 responded fine with all of the tested Linux distributions. I hadn’t run into any hardware issues with any of the Linux distributions tested, the only caveat is with Clear Linux first needing to use a USB-C Ethernet adapter as a wired Internet connection is required there for installation, but after which using WiFi works just fine. The touchpad, keyboard, audio, graphics, web camera, WiFi, and other standard functionality was just fine with these distributions on Linux 4.18~4.20.
It’s not too surprising though as at least for core functionality, Intel-powered laptops tend to work just fine with current Linux distributions — that’s been the case for a number of years going now where the Linux support is generally in good shape except in rare cases of missing PCI IDs or needing new quirk entries, etc. There are the usual annoyances with some laptops having issues with hot keys or other quirks in select cases, mostly of less popular laptops, but in the case of the Dell XPS 9380 it was running great in my testing of these Linux distributions.
With each Linux distribution I ran a range of benchmarks while the laptop was running on AC power. Following that I also ran some additional benchmarks while on battery power in order to look at the power usage between these different distributions on the same hardware.