Framework Laptop: 13-inch now with AMD CPUs, 16-inch model by the end of the year
Framework is expanding its range of repair-friendly and therefore sustainable notebooks: After the eleventh and twelfth Core i generation, the 13-inch model not only gets the expected upgrade to the thirteenth CPU generation, but can now also be used with AMD processors of the Ryzen 7040 series available for pre-order. Intel models are to be delivered from May, AMD version for the first time in the course of the third quarter.
The mainboards have the same design as previous laptops, so that older copies can be repaired or upgraded with them. With the Intel boards, the framework continues to rely on plugged-in memory in the DDR4 variety, so that previous bars can continue to be used when upgrading. The AMD model, on the other hand, already uses faster DDR5 memory – also plugged in for easy tinkering and not soldered on. The AMD version was a customer request that had been brought to Framework since the first laptop and is now being satisfied.
The company has also taken other suggestions to heart – such as a matte screen. Until now, you had to get a suitable matting foil and do the work yourself if the reflections on the reflective panel surface bothered you. The 2023 versions of the Laptop 13 also get further refinements, including revised hinges, louder speakers and a battery that now offers 61 Wh instead of the previous 55 Wh capacity with the same dimensions.
As is typical for Framework, previous laptop buyers are not left out: Since Framework issues the “Right to Repair” as a company credo, all components can be bought individually as spare parts in the in-house web shop and transplanted into your own copy. You can also find optical gimmicks such as differently colored screen frames in the marketplace. Incidentally, black, silver and orange will be joined by a transparent frame in 2023 – and in future you will also be able to choose your desired color when ordering a laptop instead of having to buy an alternative to the standard black.
If you upgrade a laptop, you don’t have to throw the old mainboard in the e-waste if it still works: Since last summer, Framework has been providing template files that 3D printers can use to spit out a suitable housing – discarded mainboards can thus lead a second life as a stationary PC. Because not everyone owns a 3D printer, Framework has recently started collaborating with Cooler Master: the case specialist has designed a ready-made case for laptop mainboards that is sold on the Marketplace for $39.
Something similar is also planned for the battery: A power dispenser may be discarded because it no longer lasts long enough – but that doesn’t turn it into garbage. Instead, Framework is planning a battery case that will mutate into a power bank that recharges smartphones and other gadgets on the go.
Finally, Framework has taken care of all those who want a larger notebook: By the end of the year, the Laptop 13 and the Laptop 16 will also be available. This is far more than just a larger case for previous mainboards, but far more ambitious. There are six instead of four expansion slots that can be equipped individually with interface modules.
Unlike the 13-inch model, the Laptop 16 no longer has a built-in analogue audio output. Instead, there will be a new plug-in module with a 3.5 millimeter jack if you want one. This also allows you to create exotic configurations with multiple audio outputs if you need them – just as you could previously put together a laptop with two MicroSD card readers, which no other notebook offers.
In addition to the interface slots, the Laptop 16 has a large internal expansion slot. This should accommodate exchangeable modules with GPUs and thus also the upgrade to future graphics chip generations. This promise has been made several times around MXM or manufacturer-specific modules, but they have all been broken so far. Framework wants to pull it off with the Laptop 16, among other things, by not limiting GPU modules in terms of installation space or power supply. Of course, this also means that a laptop 16 can have a different thickness or depth depending on the graphics solution selected.
Framework wants to freely provide technical specifications for the internal connector that connects GPUs to the rest of the mainboard (with a different format). And if the graphics unit integrated in notebook processors is sufficient, you can use the expansion slot for other purposes – for example for much more SSD storage space thanks to the M.2 double adapter.
Optional numeric keypad
After all, Framework does not want to answer the big question with the Laptop 16, whether the keyboard of such a large notebook should have a separate numeric keypad or not. Instead, there is a novelty: the user has a choice. There is a keyboard module without a number pad with a touchpad placed in front of it, which can be inserted into the case on the left, middle or right using placeholders. Or you can leave out the placeholders and put a numeric keypad module next to it.
As with other laptop modules, all specifications should also be freely available here, so that hobbyists or other companies can pursue their own ideas. In a demo video, Framework shows ideas such as a second screen placed next to the keyboard, but also a Qi charger for smartphones.
Framework has not yet given any details about the technical inner workings of the Laptop 16. Unlike its little brother, you can’t order it at the moment, but will have to be patient until the end of the year.