SoC behind the LCD?
But that hasn't accounted for the extra heat from the LCD backlight. It would also mean giving the PBP a metal top cover, as the current plastic one is surely a far worse heatsink that the metal bottom panel.

You could try removing the denim and adding thermal grease to legs.
But you isolate variables to make comparisons, so do it with the backlight off. Then add the backlight increase, but with a magnesium cover in stead of plastic, which would be needed for a re-design.

Room temperature air is going to be better cooling than a living person's legs, thermal grease or not. The top cover of a computer in this form factor all but always has better cooling than the bottom. If it's not on your lap, it's a very short distance from a tabletop, which isn't likely to be colder than air temperature.
When you put the SOC behind the screen, will you keep the connectors in the keyboard part?
And what will the screen part look like?
Will it have a bulge near the hinge (or where do you want to put the SOC)?
Without a bulge, what will you do with the extra room behind the screen?
Space for add-ons.

I sure wouldn't want a bulge. But I don't particularly like the current wedge-shape. I'd make it thicker and more rectilinear. It's too hard to grasp the way it is currently.
I don't think you should rule out active cooling anyway, it would be really quite good to have active cooling whilst doing sustained heavy workload. The PineTab even with it's potato A64 can get noticeably hot to the touch where the CPU is if you push it hard for a while. It could even be thermal throttling in this state...

Active cooling could just be some large fan running really slowly (likely mostly off). This way you can also then get away with not needing any metal chassis at all, further reducing costs.

> When you put the SOC behind the screen, will you keep the connectors in the keyboard part?

As I said before, I think you would opt for a slower, more robust connection to the lower keyboard. Maybe low-speed mode USB2 (on a hub) for the lower keyboard, with USB3 and HDMI connectors from the display part. If anything it becomes more reliable and easier as you don't need to have high speed cables (such as display) going through the hinge.

Having the keyboard separate to the main-board could also bring in some nice options, like having a tablet mode (merging the laptop and tablet products) and being able to do per-customer upgrades. I for example would be happier with a chunkier machine if the keyboard was mechanical (using micro-switches). I would love to see what keyboard-parts the community could build.
For what the Pinebook (both models considered) is, would it really be a problem if it was *really* thick? Then you could easily have everything in the top half, with a fan, and plenty of room for SSD and hobbyist miscellanea. For rigidity's sake, I'd still have a stamped metal cover on top.

Imagine a quick-release hinge with integral contacts, just two, one for positive power and serial data, and one for ground.
I have to admit, I rather like the concept behind MS Surface Book - two parts, one is essentially a tablet with weaker but more power-efficient integrated GPU, and a keyboard dock with extra battery and a more powerful dedicated GPU that effectively turns the tablet into a fully-featured laptop. I'd prefer most of the connectors to be in the keyboard base - mostly for the sake of weight while docked to be mostly in the keyboard base rather than in the screen. That would require putting some high-speed connections between the tablet and the keyboard dock, but it would also reduce the stress on the hinges. I also like the idea of active cooling - unless the SoC used is ultra-efficient, most likely the limiting factors for sustained maximum performance will be power and thermals, and unless the SoC has plenty reserve performance it _will_ at some point be pushed to its limits for a prolonged period of time on a modern desktop (as in use case, not form-factor) system. If both active cooling and Surface Book-like form factor can be combined - great, if not - between active cooling to maintain top performance and a tablet-like form factor I'd prefer active cooling.
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i dunno about you but my pbp already feels top heavy gonna have to put lead weights in the base haha

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