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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.

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I am the owner of GamingOnLinux. After discovering Linux back in the days of Mandrake in 2003, I constantly came back to check on the progress of Linux until Ubuntu appeared on the scene and it helped me to really love it. You can reach me easily by emailing GamingOnLinux directly. Find me on Mastodon.
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HJ Feb 26, 2021
no amd?
Klaus Feb 26, 2021
Count me as a sceptic. Past promises of upgradable laptops, in particular work station notebooks with nominally upgradable graphics cards, don't have a good track record, of compatible upgrades actually being available.

I suspect it will be the same here -- an interesting concept, but you'll probably have a better device at any given time for the same total amount of money spent by buying standard mass-produced laptops.
Ananace Feb 26, 2021
That's a really good idea, seems like they're reusing Thunderbolt/USB4 as a common denominator for the expansion slots, just a bit sad of the low number of ports that the design allows - as I tend to use quite a few ports on my laptop rather often.
Hopefully they'll have multi-port modules at some point to help that, things like combined USB2 + ADC/DAC headset jack, mini-DP/HDMI combo, maybe one of those foldable ethernet ports.

Though I guess nowadays you're expected to use an external dock in case you need the added ports.
Baker Feb 26, 2021
This strikes me as something that will be expensive
ObsidianBlk Feb 26, 2021
I wish them the best of luck. I really do. I find the idea exciting... but I'm skeptical about whether the mainstream will care enough about this to be viable. I loved the idea when this was talked about for phones and that never materialized. I doubt businesses will care about these sorts of laptops, as, on average, they seem to only keep their machines for maybe 5 years before buying new models all together. As for home users... IDK... I guess I'll give them another look when their product is available and has been around for a year or two.
poisond Feb 26, 2021
Uh yeah, again.
My first two laptops were modular, up-gradable and you could obtain replacement parts.
You know, socketed CPU, RAM slots, plug-in batteries, ...

And along came Apple with their glued together throw-away landfill crap and other manufacturers noticed they could get away with planned obsolescence, selling unmaintainable and irreparable landfill products to increase profits just like Apple. And so they did.

Last edited by poisond on 26 February 2021 at 2:34 pm UTC
M@GOid Feb 26, 2021
It was all nice and dandy until they said ultrathin and Intel. Untrathin laptops tend to run hot and underclock to survive. They also tend to be a bitch to do maintenance, lets see if they change that. The choice of a Intel CPU is also unfortunate, since the high core count AMDs are the ones to get nowadays.

I wish them luck, tough. Today's laptop market can use a little innovation and swap-able components are very attractive to any PC enthusiast.
hm11 Feb 26, 2021
cool! how much we talking about? ...5K?
nattydread Feb 26, 2021
It would be great if laptops could have modular GPU's too.
dmoonfire Feb 26, 2021
My hopes for getting a laptop with a full 104 layout continues to elude me. I want my inverted-T with mobility. :) Plus, I found that after eye surgery and many seconds on the clock, tiny screens are agony to read. But, still hoping it works out and they end up with a bigger chassis and screen. (And modular keyboard, having a mechanical one would be awesome).
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