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The Framework's first major laptop upgrade lets you switch the brains of your system

The Framework’s first major laptop upgrade lets you switch the brains of your system

framework It launched last year with the promise of building laptops you can do Raising the level of With just over a screwdriver and a little patience. Now, 12 months after it debuted, the company is shipping its first set of upgrade kits to keep these devices up to date. It’s a great start, as the company delivers on its promise to make a repairable modular machine and bring in existing users along with any future system changes. After almost accidentally replacing the first generation motherboard, I can say that we are approaching a whole new era of computing.

To show how easy it is to upgrade, the Framework sent its 2021-era model, which was powered by an 11th-generation Intel Core chip. In the package, but in a separate box, there was a new 12th generation Intel Core (Alder Lake) chip attached to the motherboard. The idea, in simple terms, is that you can remove the motherboard that contains the CPU and I/O, leaving nothing else. RAM, SSD, WiFi card, battery, audio equipment, monitor, etc. All existing items can be reused until they break or require upgrading as well.

Upgrading or replacing any component within the frame housing requires the use of a Torx T5 screwdriver (included in the box). Of course, replacing the motherboard is the most complicated update you can make, as it requires you to disassemble everything else to get to it. Fortunately, the Framework produces iFixit style guides to follow, and each component is either color-coded or labeled. And there are QR codes on each unit that link to our instructional videos and support pages to help you get where you need to go.

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contracting Announced earlier this year It will offer three new options for motherboards to suit different budgets. You get $499 for the 12th-generation i5-1240P, while you get $699 for the i7-1260P. If you’re keen on living with the latest technology at all times and have the cash to spare, you can buy a Core i7-1280P for $1,049. This is steep, but the argument is that buying a new laptop will cost you more. However, I don’t expect users to go crazy about these annual updates, but they are more likely to look for a new motherboard every two years to keep up with the latest developments.

As for the upgrade process, not necessarily blame, but there are some things worth mentioning. If you get there as a beginner, it will take much longer than the 15 minutes promised in the how-to guide. With practice, it will get faster, but I think these guides should be more user-friendly for the uninformed hobbyist. Likewise, I’m not a big fan of ZIF connectors, which gently require you to insert a ribbon cable no larger than your fingernail into the necessary attachment. Especially since it’s small, and I’m afraid an early sneeze will cost you $699 of your own money.

Daniel Cooper

At the same time, Framework is launching two other products that demonstrate its commitment to listening to its users and making sure OG shoppers are not left behind. The first is that the company is releasing its first new expansion card, a 2.5 Gigabit Ethernet switch. In short, it’s pretty cool, ditching the standard all-metal chassis for a clear plastic casing that makes it look like a Game Boys special from the ’90s. Covers the fact that, to accommodate the Ethernet port itself, it’s much larger than the rest of the expansion cards – it stands out from the laptop side, but in a nice way.

This really came in handy during setup, as a missing WiFi driver (thanks Microsoft) prevented me from going online after the initial upgrade. (This has since been fixed, but one of the shortcomings of the hardware testing is long before it hits the public.) Being able to shut off the ethernet port and connect it to my network to fix the problem was a godsend. Not to mention that, like all of the company’s aftermarket expansion cards, it’s another step toward turning the laptop into something more like a Swiss army knife.

Then there is the top cover. Now, I didn’t have many complaints about the amount of flex in the device when it was launched last year. But the chassis engineers weren’t happy, so they redesigned the screen’s casing to be CNC milled from a solid block of aluminum. It adds extra rigidity to the frame and is standard on all new laptops sold in the future, as well as offered in motherboard replacement kits. But, again, instead of leaving existing customers who don’t want a new wizard on the fence, you can also opt for a standalone top cover for $89, and if the company can honor that commitment to always bring in existing buyers, it will gain a loyal and loving fan base.

Finally, once the upgrade is complete, the little question remains of what users will do with the now-defunct motherboard. The framework provides users with open source blueprints for creating desktop-like instances of boards to encourage reuse, and hobbyists are already using them as the basis for their cool mod projects. For example, GitHub user Penk built this old model motherboard terminal Looks like he fell off the back of a copy of to fall or fall. If I don’t have to send all this over again and have some skills building things, I’m sure I’ll try to build something cool myself.

And that’s probably another gift the Framework can continue to give – the idea that users should feel empowered to get their hands dirty after knowing their hardware has been off limits for so long.

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