Framework has announced a new addition to its lineup of modular, repairable laptops — the Framework Laptop 16. It’s far from just a larger version of the Framework Laptop 13, though. It takes the idea of modularity to the next level, adding a number of new expansion systems that can be customized to your heart’s content — especially for those who need more powerful graphics.
Before we get to those neat expansion systems, though, just take a look at this design. The two-tone design takes the best of an Alienware gaming laptop and a MacBook Pro, while still feeling totally fresh. I dig it.
The big feature of the Framework Laptop 16, though, is the ability to swap out discrete GPUs. Framework has always championed the ability to upgrade your system each year (or whenever you want to), but discrete GPUs were never an option — and for good reason. It’s been an engineering challenge that no one in the industry has seemed to figure out. But Framework claims to have a solution with its new expansion bay system.
These completely independent modules can be swapped out separately from the Mainboard, allowing you to upgrade your graphics year over year. Framework did not specify which brand or model of discrete graphics would be supported.
The expansion bays go beyond just graphics, of course. As proof of concept, the company even designed a dual-m.2 riser card that could allow up to 16TB of storage or an external GPU enclosure that could plug into any compatible laptop.
The magic of Framework’s approach is its open-source mindset. Allowing for the developer community to take these modules to the next level, the sky’s the limit on what could be added or customized on these laptops.
The other really interesting addition to the Framework Laptop 16 is the ability to customize the keyboard. Torn between adding a number pad or not, the company opted for a modular keyboard that could support a centered standard keyboard or one with a number pad. You can even choose to slot the number pad in on the left since both the keyboard and touchpad can all be moved to make room.
Beyond just keyboard additions, Framework showed some other potential use cases for these modules, which include adding secondary screens, scroll wheels, or an LED matrix. These different parts, in theory, would all be available in the Framework Marketplace, where the company sells upgrades and third-party accessories for its laptops.
The Framework Laptop 16 also includes broader ports, with three expansion cards on each side, as well as a new audio expansion slot to move the headphone jack around (or add multiple).
It’s an exciting moment for the startup company, which is attempting to overturn the conventional business models and upgrade cycles of the rest of the tech industry.
Beyond the Framework Laptop 16, the company also announced upgraded an Intel 13th-gen Mainboard, as well as its first AMD option, the Ryzen 7040 series. In the new prebuilt configurations the company sells, Framework has also made some tweaks to the systems, including a new matte display, a higher-capacity 61-watt-hour battery, louder speakers, an option for a transparent bezel, and more.
Preorders for the Framework Laptop upgrades start today, though the AMD models won’t be available until Q3 of this year. The Intel 13th-gen Mainboards will be available in May, starting at $849 for the DIY model and $1,049 for the fully configured model.
The Framework Laptop 16 will open up for preorders sometime this spring and will ship in “late 2023.”
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