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The upcoming modular Framework Laptop sounds super exciting

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Will there finally be an easily repairable and upgradable laptop? The Framework Laptop sounds like it might fit and it has me stupidly excited to see what happens.

The upcoming hardware is a thin, lightweight, high-performance 13.5" notebook that can be upgraded, customized, and repaired "in ways that no other notebook can". Not only is it modular it's also coming with good hardware too like a 3:2 screen with 2256x1504 resolution, a 1080p webcam, hardware privacy switches and a reasonable 55Wh battery.

It's not an ARM laptop either, it's a traditional Intel unit with 11th Gen Intel Core Processors configurable with Wi-Fi 6E, up to 64GB of DDR4 memory, and 4TB or more of Gen4 NVMe storage - meaning you'll be able to run most things with it including a fair amount of games.

  • Our Expansion Card system makes adapters a thing of the past, letting you choose exactly the ports you want and which side of the notebook you want them on.  With four bays, you can select from USB-C, USB-A, HDMI, DisplayPort, MicroSD, ultra fast storage, a high-end headphone amp, and more.
  • Along with socketed storage, WiFi, and two slots of memory, the entire mainboard can be swapped to boost performance as we launch updated versions with new CPU generations.
  • High-use parts like the battery, screen, keyboard, and color-customizable magnetic-attach bezel are easy to replace.  QR codes on each item take you directly to guides and the listing in our web store.
  • In addition to releasing new upgrades regularly, we’re opening up the ecosystem to enable a community of partners to build and sell compatible modules through the Framework Marketplace.

Framework say they're trying to reduce waste with it too like using at least "50% post consumer recycled (PCR) aluminum and an average of 30% PCR plastic" and their packaging is going to be "fully recyclable with no single-use plastics". So they're coming at it from all angles.

Annoyingly it will come with Windows 10 as standard. However, they're also doing a Framework Laptop DIY Edition where you get to build it yourself from a kit of modules and they directly mentioned Linux for this part too. There's a joke to be made here about Linux and making it all yourself but in this case - it's actually seriously cool!

The Framework Laptop is available in a range of pre-configured models running Windows 10 Home or Pro.  For those of you who love to tinker, we’ve also created the Framework Laptop DIY Edition, the only high-end notebook available as a kit of modules that you can customize and assemble yourself, with the ability to choose Windows or install your preferred Linux distribution.  Regardless of the path you take, we include a screwdriver in the box so you can upgrade over time.

Hopefully though, with enough interest, they will also supply one pre-configured with Linux. Do let them know if you want to see that.

We've been told we're now on their press list, so once they're ready to talk more about specifications and different models we can let you know all the sweet details.

Article taken from GamingOnLinux.com.
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25 comments
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dpanter 26 Feb
Not to be dismissive but... every previous attempt at this exact thing has failed, utterly. Perhaps this time the tech is mature enough to make it viable?

The biggest issue with this concept is that big OEM's don't see this as profitable. Letting consumers repair their own devices conflicts with the endless pursuit of making us buy new devices, so they will not jump onboard, meaning the concept is doomed to be small scale and thus quite costly for the consumer.
Those who have tried something similar have been burned bad or even killed.

Also, expensive means tiny market in normal times, and launching now? During the current global pandemic that's only getting worse every day? With electronics in desperately short supply in every industry? Hmm.

I really like the idea of a DIY kit, that would make an awesome gift to a tech hungry kid.
Fingers crossed this isn't vaporware or pipe dreams...
I really want this to succeed.

Lenovo Thinkpads, at least the T-series that I'm familiar with, have always been great on user/field serviceability to replace parts. The full service manuals are PDF downloads, entirely free, and parts tend to be readily available for not-crazy prices.

This looks to be taking the idea of Thinkpads and running with it. A year from now, if Framework looks like it's going to survive for the long term, and the costs are acceptable, than it's going to be at the top of my list for a new laptop.

Quoting: dpanterFingers crossed this isn't vaporware or pipe dreams...
You and me both.
poisond 26 Feb
Quoting: dpanterNot to be dismissive but... every previous attempt at this exact thing has failed, utterly. Perhaps this time the tech is mature enough to make it viable?

*sigh* no, it's not about maturity, it's about profit. Planned obsolescence is more profitable. There used to be socketed mobile CPUs, RAM wasn't always soldered, we had standardized extension module formats for notebooks (PCMCIA) ... 2 friggin decades ago.


Quoting: dpanterThe biggest issue with this concept is that big OEM's don't see this as profitable. Letting consumers repair their own devices conflicts with the endless pursuit of making us buy new devices, so they will not jump onboard, meaning the concept is doomed to be small scale and thus quite costly for the consumer.
Those who have tried something similar have been burned bad or even killed.

M.2 is a standard, it's just a PCIe connector. Adding a standard for expansion modules based on that should be trivial.
Proprietary expansion modules are absolutely pointless, you need standards, otherwise you're at the mercy of the company's pricing strategy for the expansion modules/upgrade, their willingness for providing upgrades and the companies existence.

If you have to discard your device because you can't replace the battery: more profit. If you buy a new laptop because your RAM isn't sufficient anymore: more profit.
Unless we have laws to punish manufacturers for assaulting our environment and our wallets with this absurd tactic it won't change.

Apple isn't just not supporting repairs, it is actively suing companies that repair their products and doing everything in their power to make repair impossible. How this can be legal practice is beyond me. I just hope others aren't following Apple on this trend also, but seeing as they copy every atrocity Apple commits these days I see little hope.


Last edited by poisond on 26 February 2021 at 6:22 pm UTC
I'm most excited about this laptop because my wife likes the look of it and if she gets this over a Zenbook it will mean a much easier repair process for me down the road.

Quoting: HJno amd?

I am actually preferring the Intel GPU myself as I plan to want to run a FLOSS distro on it and AMD GPUs won't work for that.

Quoting: hm11cool! how much we talking about? ...5K?

I'd happily pay the 5K if I had it and it did cost that. Sometimes you have to put your money where your mouth is on certain issues. This laptop gives me many things I want, some of which no other laptop does.


Last edited by PublicNuisance on 26 February 2021 at 6:12 pm UTC
Korhaka 26 Feb
As someone who currently works in a computer repair shop in the UK this does sound interesting. Wonder if I could encourage my manager into getting a bunch of parts for these in stock so we could build laptops to order for customers while they wait - that could be pretty cool if it works out. Would want to see the hardware for myself once it comes out first though.
Quoting: KorhakaAs someone who currently works in a computer repair shop in the UK this does sound interesting. Wonder if I could encourage my manager into getting a bunch of parts for these in stock so we could build laptops to order for customers while they wait - that could be pretty cool if it works out. Would want to see the hardware for myself once it comes out first though.
Sounds like a great marketing concept (to a certain class of people): "Come in and build your own computer from our vast selection of parts!"
xavi 27 Feb
Two really nice decisions:

  • "3:2 screen"

  • "great feeling keyboard with 1.5mm key travel."




Last edited by xavi on 27 February 2021 at 12:20 am UTC
Ezequiel 27 Feb
From what I read in the past, many types of plastic when recycled leave lots of C02 behind, because you have to select it from the landfill, transport it to a facility, melt, purify, recolor, re-cast and do a new finish on all the pieces. In many cases the carbon footprint can be even larger when you recycle it, in comparison with creating new plastic parts, which are cheaper too.

This is a nice idea, and having waste piling up is horrible, but I don't think having this PC is either going to help the environment, nor the consumer, which has to rely that all the interconnects are well made, and that the company is going to stick around at least a decade, offering replacement parts and upgrades at a reasonable price.
Klaus 27 Feb
Quoting: poisondApple isn't just not supporting repairs, it is actively suing companies that repair their products and doing everything in their power to make repair impossible. How this can be legal practice is beyond me. I just hope others aren't following Apple on this trend also, but seeing as they copy every atrocity Apple commits these days I see little hope.

And yet I have my iPad Air 2 without any issues for now nearly 6 years, while the iPad mini that I replaced is still going strong for my mother and only recently has started having issues due to the Youtube app not being updated anymore. No other mobile devices in the household have remained in service for so long. I got burned particularly bad with the Galaxy S7, because I learned only much after the purchase that SD cards are not fully compatible extension storage after all. Adding insult to injury, this is because Samsung first removed the adoptable storage option from the GUI, and when people started doing it by ADB, eventually patched it out on a lower level.

When I compare my previous longevity experiences, Apple comes of quite well compared to any portable Android or Windows device.
dpanter 27 Feb
Quoting: poisond*sigh* no, it's not about maturity, it's about profit.
Not sure what you are sighing about since we are in complete agreement, you even quoted me about profitability.
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