Is the Dell Precision 15 5000 (5510) good enough for Blender?

I am currently looking to buy a laptop with Linux preinstalled. I was looking at what Dell has to offer and I was really intrigued with the Dell Precision 15 5000 (5510). However, I was worried about whether or not the machine would be to handle doing Blender work.

Mainly I want my laptop to be able to:

  • load and interact with models that are Wii U or 3DS quality without slowdown (I am starting a hobby for modding Nintendo games)
  • Be able to code Python and handle PyOpenGL (I think this should not be a problem for any laptop)
  • Very portable and thin
  • Have a built-in 4k display

To be honest, the first two are mainly the big concern that I have. It would nice to do very light gaming with it (running Hitman Go on Steam for Linux, even if it means lowering down the resolution and quality). But if I can't game on it at all, then I am fine with it.

I really want to emphasize on portability (and official Linux support). I want to stay away from Gaming Laptops because I have always had bad luck with them. My Asus Gaming Laptop died when I got it two - three years ago and the Toshiba laptop also died before I got my Asus laptop.

The big reason why I went with this laptop is the fact that if Thunderbolt 3 gets well supported on Linux, then I can do something like this.

It would be great if I could get the slim external GPU and have the heat be in a separate enclosure instead of within the computer.

However, that is a risky bet to assume that there will be support, so I want to make sure that built-in GPU (Intel HD Graphics 530 and Nvidia Quadro M1000M (2GB GDDR5)) can handle displaying Wii U models in Blender if there are no plans for thunderbolt 3 support in Linux.

If you have a suggestion for another laptop preinstalled with Linux, my price range is from 1000$ to 1600$ without tax.

It'll be able to handle blender fine. I have a 3 year old toshiba with the same cores and clocks (Only difference in cpu is that mine has hyperthreading, is branded as an I7 and is a few generations old) and a AMD Radeon 7670M (Which I can't use with blender on Linux anyway), it handles blender flawlessly, whether I'm modelling or video editing.

Thank you for responding. I was looking up benchmarks and I was worried since the discrete GPU was not that powerful in comparison to the recent MacBook Pro. But, if the laptop is able to handle Blender then I don't mind getting a weaker GPU.

If possible find a decent laptop cooling solution if you plan on running a program like Blender or anything that puts a strain on the CPU and GPU. The heat in such small space as a laptop will start throttling the CPU and GPU and you'll notice performance degrade as a result. I purchased the SVALT-D. Pricey and I was skeptical, but it really does keep the temps down on both my MacBook Pro and Dell XPS 15. Both quad i7s.

Yes, heat is a big issue (and I am hoping that the machine should be able to handle heat dissipation on its own). Although that device is not really an ideal solution for me since I would like to do blender stuff on the go. Plus, I am assuming that blender relies heavily on the GPU more than the CPU. I could get a portable GPU dock (assuming that support was added), and have the heat be on a separate device instead.

With that being said, if I didn't have a Gaming Desktop then I could definitely use this with a GPU dock for long term gaming.

P.S. Please don't take this personal, but seeing that you just join 2h ago (at the time of the writing) and wrote 2h ago is making me raise my eyebrow in suspicion.

Well MacRumor seems to say good things about this adapter, but 150$ is a lot of money for a cooler...

I've never noticed any throttling on my laptop when using blender personally. Even when I was living in Australia in 35c+ heats, but I don't know how that laptop would compare. Given that it a newer generation laptop I'd imagine the heat given off by the cpu and gpu won't be a big deal, but I can't say for sure.
In any case blender scales pretty well across both cpu and gpu. I have to use my cpu in blender on Linux because for some reason I can't select my gpu as a compute device. I don't know if that's Linux or blender but it shouldn't affect you

Yeah, that is true. But I am also going to add a built-in 4k display to the machine, so that may give more stress to the CPU and GPU.

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Wouldn't worry about heat on this chassis. I have a Dell XPS 9550 (almost identical except it has the nVidia GTX960m opposed to the Quadro and you can't spec a Xeon CPU) and even playing games for a decent duration it doesn't seem to throttle at all.

Numerous reviews on the laptop praise it's cooling ability and I agree with them, Linus done one recently.

Reason I went for the XPS was the faster GPU for gaming and general productivity, I use AutoCAD and the Adobe suite however, I don't have the need for a workstation class iGPU. I'm waiting on the Razer Core for a eGPU solution although will stick with a consumer card.

Not 100% but I think the HDMI port on these is 1.4. The thunderbolt dock is "coming soon" to add display ports for 4k displays. I currently have my UHD monitor (NEC PA322UHD) hooked up via HDMI although it doesn't support HDMI 2.0 so can't test UHD @ 60Hz.

Internal touch screen is 4k and is absolutely stunning however, the colour reproduction is sublime for a laptop.

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I actually would want to get the XPS 15 instead, but on the sputnik forum, the only 15 inch that was getting official Linux support was the Dell Precision 15 5000 (5510). (I could get the XPS 15 and install Linux on it, but I want to support the Sputnik project [and show Dell that I care about Linux])

I also hope that Razer Core and other devices don't need specific drivers and can work as a standard for Linux.

Having used my Dad Macbook Pro Retina, I was amazed at how sharp it was! Just thinking about the high-quality 4k monitor is making me drool lol.

That's a relief. I tend to get scared about the cooling aspect since ultrabooks are very slim.

I was sure the XPS 15 was available with Ubuntu although a quick search on the 'home' and 'small business' sections doesn't list it... Not sure what happened to that machine - or if I just dreamed it!

I'd love to run Linux although AutoCAD and Adobe just don't support it, wish they would just port them over.

The screen is so much better than the MBP retina, I came from one and the resolution but more importantly colour accuracy are a whole new level.

Sadly, there is no plans:
It would have been nice, but it is not the end of the world for me.

I know how you feel. Having been exposed to the Surface pen support and OneNote application, I can not live without Windows when it comes to writing notes by hand. There is not really a good alternative for writing hand written notes on Linux.

I use a Precision M3800 Developer Edition as my daily laptop. I have no idea in regard to the Wii stuff. However I do a lot of development work in python and c++, with most of my problems being CPU bound.

It runs perfectly fine as a laptop. The only real complaint is the battery gets crushed when switching over to the nvidia card. It's fine if the laptop will be mostly plugged in though.

Out of curiosity, what do you with python and c++ that makes the CPU not powerful enough?

I should of expect this downside when dealing with discrete GPU on Laptops, but I was hoping it could last around 4 to 5 hours when on the road. O well, not really a big deal. I am going to use this at school and there are plugs everywhere.

Scientific, mostly optimization and machine learning. The main reason I bought the laptop was because it comes preinstalled with Ubuntu and also the ability to run 4k. The majority of my work is done remotely in a cluster.

The battery on mine lasts maybe 3 hours tops when running w/ the nvidia gpu; however it will do 5-6 on the intel gpu.

How is BumbleBee (Assuming that your ability to switch between NVIDIA and Intel has to do with the NVIDIA Optimus technology)?

Thank you for the replies! I have bought the laptop and am now waiting for it to be produced and shipped. Hopefully it won't take long...


I don't use bumble bee, I use nvidia-prime which has had no issues.

Interesting, this is the first time that I have to deal with Nvidia Optimus technology before and I heard about bumblebee, but I did not know that Nvidia had their own solution that works with switching to Intel drivers also (at least from reading online about the Nvidia-prime). I feel more relieved hearing that.