Dell has unveiled a new concept PC that the company says would have about a 50% lower carbon footprint than a typical laptop. That’s achieved through a series of design choices that not only bring down the up-front environmental impact, but also the long-term impact by making the computer easy to repair and making parts easy to reuse.

Unfortunately Dell says its Concept Luna is just a proof-of-concept device for now, so you can’t actually go out and buy one just yet. But with the success of other repairable PCs like the Framework Laptop, maybe Dell will go out and build a more sustainable notebook if the company feels there’s enough demand.

Here are a few of the things that make Concept Luna different from other laptops:

  • The motherboard is about 75% smaller than a typical laptop motherboard and uses 20% fewer materials, cutting the carbon footprint in half.
  • The smaller mainboard is located in the cover/display area, where it’s separated from the battery and exposed to a larger surface area for improved cooling.
  • That lets Dell use passive cooling for a fanless design and improved efficiency could also allow the company to use a smaller battery while still offering long battery life.
  • Dell chose a “deep-cycle cell battery” that’s designed to hold a long charge for twice as many years.
  • There are just four screws that need to be removed to access the internal components for repair or replacement.
  • You can easily remove the palm rest and/or keyboard for repair or replacement – there are no adhesives holding them in place.
  • The battery, display, and other components are also easy to remove – Dell says a modular design makes it possible to reuse any of the components in another laptop.

The concept laptop also has an aluminum chassis that’s easy to recycle (and Dell says it was processed with hydro power), and the printed circuit board (PCB) is “made with flax fiber in the base and water-soluble polymer as the glue,” which reduces the use of plastics and makes recycling easier.

Dell says all told, it would take about 1.5 hours to completely disassemble a laptop and harvest its parts for use in other hardware. You know, assuming the innovations Dell developed for Concept Luna ever actually show up in real-world hardware that you can buy.

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18 replies on “Dell’s Concept Luna PC is a repairable, sustainable laptop”

  1. I like it, but I’m not willing to pay ‘premium flagship’ prices for one of these. I might buy one for under $600, but a $1k+ price tag won’t get my business.

    1. Why not? If it has premium level performance, why would you prefer an XPS design to this?

  2. “The smaller mainboard is located in the cover/display area, where it’s separated from the battery and exposed to a larger surface area for improved cooling.
    That lets Dell use passive cooling for a fanless design and improved efficiency could also allow the company to use a smaller battery while still offering long battery life.”

    Yes, Yes, Yes!

    I’ve been wanting this for years. And this is why I just bought a Surface Pro 7+, even though I would have preferred a clamshell laptop.

    Dell, MAKE THIS! I will buy the hell out of this laptop if they make it.

  3. I really like this idea of being modular and having reusable parts. Unless the screen breaks, it would be nice to reuse it with a newer processor. And being able to upgrade ports would be a very welcome change.

  4. I hope they make it and there’s a “small” variant so it can replace my Surface Go LTE.

  5. Are you sure the motherboard is in the display housing? At about 1:24 it looks like it’s in the left rear of the main body. The passive cooling animation showing the back of the display after showing the motherboard is confusing things I think.

    1. That’s not the motherboard, it looks like it’s just some secondary daughter-board for the USB port, the rechargeable battery controller, and possibly a few other small things. Perhaps the controller hardware for the trackpad and keyboard might be in there too.

      The board probably prevents them from needing to route dozens of wires and ribbons through the hinge. This board probably condenses the need for cables in the hinge down to just USB and power.

      Not that this matters, this isn’t a real product anyways. It’s just a showcase for some design ideas. The render being correct doesn’t matter.

  6. If there really is some kind of trend toward repairability, I think it’s got everything to do with supply chain issues.
    “Can’t get adhesive? Don’t use adhesive, it’s just a bit more tooling charge from the injection molding vendor who we can’t do anything without anyway. Not enough copper for heat sinks? Not enough fans? Put that sucker in the lid. Electric cars eating all the battery materials? Undo our artificial shortening of battery life. What’s that? They want enough ports to make the computer actually usable? Screw them we could only get enough stuff for one or two USB ports.”
    Note that if you’ve got a problem with storage, RAM, or the CPU, they’re soldered to the motherboard. And if they resorted to ARM to shrink the motherboard, and it’s not a Systemready SoC, then you are stuck if Microsoft thinks you no longer should get new software.

    I really don’t mind most of the ideas but there’s more than enough space in there for a m.2 2280 card and some more ports.

  7. It would be nice if they just brought back features like upgradable RAM, and replaceable batteries and storage.

    1. With the motherboard in the screen-half of the laptop, I seriously doubt they would ever offer upgraded ram. The SO-DIMM connector alone adds like 0.5cm of thickness ontop of the motherboard.

  8. Really neat concept, and all of the design choices sound like great ideas.

    But I wonder if we would ever actually see a product with all/most of these features, or if perhaps we’re just going to see 1 or 2 of these features scattered across their laptop lineup.

  9. Looks like a great notebook.

    It’d be nice if they also make sure they choose components that work well with Linux.

    I wonder what’s a “deep-cycle cell battery”. Is it still a Lithium based battery?

    1. Dell already does this. Their Precision, Latitude, and XPS 13 product lineups all use Linux-friendly components, and can even be delivered with Ubuntu.

      Dell is usually considered to be one of the more Linux-friendly of the mainstream laptop brands.

  10. Even if this wasn’t easily user repairable, it sounds like a great notebook. Their design decisions seems pretty innovative from a general notebook point of view.

  11. Decision to put the mainboard in the lid section is actually really smart … keeps the hot bits on top where they can radiate upwards, plus when the lid is open it’ll be vertical which is more efficient for convection. Clever. Most laptops have the hot bit sandwiched between your legs and your hands. But the weight needs to be low enough to maintain balance.

    1. Not really. As a Surface Book user, I can tell you that it makes the device top heavy, and uncomfortable on your lap. Let alone the fact that the mainboard close to the screen creates more heat…

      1. The Surface Book also has a battery in the lid through, doesn’t it? Being a tablet and all.

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