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CES 2018: Dell upgrades Latitude notebooks, begins making motherboards from gold e-waste

Dell's new Latitude 7490 uses an active steering antenna to improve Wi-Fi performance by 155 percent, while its Latitude 5285 notebooks will begin shipping with motherboards made from gold e-waste as of March.

Dell has announced a pilot to produce the motherboards in its Latitude 5285 2-in-1s with recycled gold from used electronics such as smartphones as of March.

Announced at CES 2018 in Las Vegas on Tuesday, the pilot extends Dell's closed-loop supply chain from plastics to precious metals, with the closed-loop gold process to enable the production of millions of motherboards during 2018, Dell claimed.

"It's estimated that Americans throw away $60 million in gold and silver every year through unwanted phones alone," Dell explained.

The tech company said that using reclaimed gold has a 99 percent lower environmental impact than traditionally mining gold, and fits with its Legacy of Good Program to recycle 100 million pounds of recycled content into its products by 2020.

According to Dell, it has recycled more than 50 million pounds of consumer goods into new products since 2012.

"Materials innovation -- where and how we source things like plastic, carbon fibre, and now gold for our products -- is increasingly important for us," Dell vice chairman Jeff Clarke said.

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(Image: Dell)

"When you think about the fact that there is 800 times more gold in a ton of motherboards than a ton of ore from the earth, you start to realise the enormous opportunity we have to put valuable materials to work."

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The gold will also be upcycled into other electronic products, and a line of jewellery made of gold reclaimed from Dell e-waste in partnership with actress Nikki Reed's Bayou with Love brand will also be produced.

Consumers wanting to recycle their products can drop off used electronics at participating Goodwill donation centres across the US.

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(Image: Dell)

Dell had originally partnered with Goodwill on recycling e-waste over a decade ago.

"Back in 2004, we decided we wanted to test out a new donation program with Goodwill. We started working with them here in central Texas," Dell told ZDNet in 2011.

"Our consumer recycling programs are a direct response to customer feedback. We wanted to make it easy and free and convenient for them to recycle their old equipment to be able to purchase new equipment from us.

"At the front-end purchasing, we let them know that we have a number of options available to them. We developed a portfolio of recycling options. Our most popular donation program is Reconnect, which is our partnership with Goodwill."

Dell also used CES to announce upgrades to its Latitude notebooks, including the addition of an active steering antenna on its Latitude 7490 product.

"We're putting a new active steering antenna design into that notebook, and we're seeing as much as 155 percent faster Wi-Fi performance thanks to that technology," Frank Azor, VP and GM of XPS, Alienware, and Dell Gaming, told media.

"We're also putting in a new super low-power display, which is giving us about 20 hours of battery life on that product thanks to that display. It uses about 50 percent less power than an average notebook LCD display without compromising colour or brightness or any of those things, and it's all thanks to a new technology we worked with our partners on delivering."

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The new Latitude 7490

(Image: Dell)

The Latitude 7490 has a starting price of $1,049, and is available as of January 9. Powered by an 8th-gen Intel Core iv Pro processor, it has an embedded touch display, touch fingerprint reader, contacted Federal Information Processing Standards (FIPS) 201 smart card reader, and contactless smart card reader with Control Vault 2 FIPS 140-2 Level 3 certification.

At CES, Dell also unveiled its new XPS 15, which uses an 8th-generation Intel quad-core i5 or i7 processor integrating AMD Radeon RX Vega M GL graphics; the Dell Premium Active Pen; two new Thunderbolt 3 storage devices; Alienware command centre software; a new Inspiron VR gaming desktop PC; two Ultrathin monitors; and Mobile Connect smartphone-PC integration.

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