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Inspiron 15-3521 DELL OEM Ubuntu image

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Inspiron 15-3521 DELL OEM Ubuntu image

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I recently bought an inspiron 15-3521(the one with i5 and radeon 7670), which had Ubuntu 12.04 LTS preinstalled. I wiped the whole disk shortly because I wanted to install windows 8 and then dual boot it with 'buntu 12.10.

Then I tried the 'normal' version of Ubuntu. It was a disaster - fan was almost constantly running on max power,  it really didn't like the Integrated GPU/Radeon combo and as a result the battery was dying for about two hours. In windows, it easily lasts 5-6 hours. I tried Ubuntu, Mint, ElementaryOS, Fedora and openSUSE - same thing.

Turns out the version of Ubuntu, that was preinstalled was some kind of special OEM release for dell laptops/for the 3521/.

So my question is - Is it possible for me to get that OEM image, that was preinstalled on my computer before I formatted the hard drive? Also - is it even available in the 'my DELL downloads' page, I can't seem to get through the service tag check.

All Replies
  • Hi vinqvmraka,

    I would like to inform you that, we do not have a special OEM release of Ubuntu 12.04 LTS for laptops. I suggest you to download and install Ubuntu 12.04 LTS from the following link:

    “To know more about Dell’s products, services and drivers & downloads, please go to

    Thanks and Regards,
    Rajath N
    Dell Social Media and Community Professional
    Order Status :
    Download Drivers :

  • Please note that for pre-installed systems:

    1. The system is available in some regions with a special image of Ubuntu pre-installed by the manufacturer. It takes advantage of the hardware features for this system and may include additional software. You should check when buying the system whether this is an option.
    That's what the ubuntu site says about the inspiron 3521, and that's why i thought there was a DELL image of ubuntu. I'll try the 12.04 alternate download in your link and will infrom you if it works as it is supposed to.
  • 12.04 LTS works kinda okay, although the problem with battery ocnsumption still persists. I guess it's a linux problem - battery discharge rate goes between 18 and 26W, which is A LOT.

    Thanks for the reply.

  • Hi svinqvmraka,

    Thank you for your reply and for providing an update on the status. I suggest you to run a hardware diagnostics to check if all the hardware components are working fine by following the steps provided in the link below:

    You may also try charging the battery when the laptop is switched off so that the battery can be recalibrated. Let me about your findings.

    Thanks and Regards,
    Rajath N
    Dell Social Media and Community Professional
    Order Status :
    Download Drivers :

  • Hello svinqvmraka,

    Could you tell me please, which Ubuntu has you downloaded from the Alternate Download page, that  DELL-Rajath N linked? I've got the same problem.



  • Hey Wrezter,

    I downloaded the regular Ubuntu 12.04.2(desktop installer) amd64 .iso.

    The 'alternate' installer is, as far as I know, the regular ubuntu with a comand line installer instead of a graphical one.

    The 12.04.2 however didn't solve my main problem - seriosly bad battery consumption on every single linux distribution I've tried. The problem is not hardware, as I get awesome battery life on Windows 8(like 5-6hrs of internet browsing and light tasks). The problem occurs ONLY on linux. I eventually gave up, and installed Ubuntu in a VirtualBox. I still have 12.04 installed on a partition on my HDD and it works well with the exception of the battery problem.

    I suspect it doesn't turn the discrete GPU(the Radeon 7670) off, but I don't have neither the time nor the patience to dig deeper.

  • Thank your for your quick answer!

    I will try that installer as soon as possible, I hope it will solve my all-time-running fan problem.

    Hybrid graphics is a common problem on Linux, but I thought that it was the cause of my fan problem, so I have gone deeper in the question. Now I can switch between the two cards (even with Linux Kernel Options or AMD Catalyst Control Center). I don't know if it works or not, because since now I tried to solve only the problem with the fan, I didn't bother with the battery consumption.

    However, if you would like to, maybe I can help you with the hybrid graphics.


  • Well, the quick battery discharge is actually a consequence of the always running fan problem. The installer in the link is nothing special, just the ordinary 12.04. Before that I tried the latest Ubuntu - 12.10 and it was even worse. On 12.04(at least for me), the fan is not running constantly but it definetely runs a lot more than it should. Judging by the warm air that comes out of the vent, it runs because it's getting hot in there for whatever reason.

    So basically we have the exact same problem and sadly I don't think installing the LTS version of Ubuntu will solve it.

    According to 'powertop', on Ubuntu the battery discharge rate is between 18 and 26W. In windows 8, at this very moment(and most of the time in power saving mode), my discharge rate is 10w. I don't really like Windows, but I need my computer to last, so I'm kinda stuck with it.

    Good luck, and if you manage to solve the fan problem, please drop a line here :)

  • Oh, I see. I thought that this download fixes the fan problem - however I found that interesting.

    I have installed many distributons too, and none of them used the fan with normal speed. It's ok that Linux has problems with hybrid graphics, and when I finally mamanged to switch between the cards, it wasn't affect on the full speed running fan. It's ok that Windows can handle it normally, BUT:

    It's an Ubuntu Certified Device. It must run Ubuntu in a normal way. Was the fan running at full speed on the originally pre-installed Ubuntu too? To be honest, I don't know, but I don't think and I think I would remember this very loud noise.

    There's another thread on this Dell Community site:

    It's theme is that some people have this laptop with Windows 8, and the fan problem appears on Windows, not on Linux. Dell recommends here a BIOS update, but it won't work.

    I hope they can find a solution to this problem.

    Best wishes,


  • Yeah, I regret not using the preinstalled version of ubuntu for a few days. Bad thing is I almost instantly wiped the disk and installed windows and then the latest ubuntu, so i have no idea if the preinstalled one worked fine. I hoped there is an OEM, dell made image of ubuntu for dell laptops, that works as it is supposed to work, but apparently there isn't. Too bad really, I find windows 8 terrible and linux is practically unusable right now.

    I guess the catch is, it says 'Ubuntu certified(preinstalled only)'. Which again makes me think there is something in the preinstalled OS that makes it work properly.

  • Hello again, status update:

    I updated the BIOS to the latest version(A06 I think, mine was A02) and disabled the Radeon GPU with vgaswitcheroo(in ubuntu) and I think it works okay now. Fan is not constantly running, temperatures are normal. I haven't tested the battery life yet, but I think it will be better.

    For anyone that has the same problem, here's what I did:

    1. Updated my BIOS.

    2. To disable the radeon card(source: -

    chmod -R 705 /sys/kernel/debug


    chown -R $YOURUSERNAME:$YOURUSERNAME /sys/kernel/debug/vgaswitcheroo   (where $YOURUSERNAME is your user name)

    and finally:

    echo OFF > /sys/kernel/debug/vgaswitcheroo/switch   (this will turn off your currently unused card. This is normally the discrete one.)

    You'll be using the intel graphics only but I think they'll do the job. They do for me at least. I'm not entirely sure this works, but it's definitely better. Let's hope for better times when 'ubuntu certified' devices will actually work with ubuntu without the user disabling parts of his computer. I love the machine as such but my next laptop probably won't be a DELL.

  • Hi there!

    I've tried your way with the updated BIOS and the vgaswitcheroo method. Unfortunatelly it doesn't work. :/

    My BIOS was already updated, so I've installed a clean Ubuntu 12.04 LTS 64bit and switched graphic card with vgaswitcheroo. (Before I've tried this method with the previous BIOS versions, it didn't work.)

    After I switched the Radeon GPU off, I checked the switch file and it was really off. I've waited some minutes, but the fan didn't stop. Later it stopped, but when I try to open either a web browser, it was on full speed again.

    However I've called the local (Hungarian) Dell technical support and they said, that it's a known problem and they are working on the fix. This was the first "usable" official answer from Dell to this problem.

    All we have to do is wait. I hope so.

    It would be great, if here at this forum Dell would make some reply on this problem too.

    Keep in touch,


  • Hey,

    Yeah it's not a perfect solution but, at least for me, it's better than with both the GPUs working - if you have installed lm-sensors and type 'sensors' in the terminal, you can see how hot the ATI GPU gets and for me that was part of the problem. The fan still runs more than it should but it's bearable now. It also resets after reboot, so it has to be a script, run at startup if one wants to avoid typing the commands every time.

    "However I've called the local (Hungarian) Dell technical support and they said, that it's a known problem and they are working on the fix. This was the first "usable" official answer from Dell to this problem."

    That's great news, let's hope they come out with a fix soon enough.

    cheers, svinqvmraka

  • Has somebody found a fix already?

  • You may want to install LXDE from the repositories (synaptic) and switch to it during your log-in or end your session and switch to it. It if far less CPU hungry and should cool down your system considerably and extend battery life.