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posted by Fnord666 on Saturday February 27 2021, @08:16PM   Printer-friendly
from the laptop-construction-kit dept.

The Framework laptop is coming this spring (hopefully) a laptop that can be upgraded and repaired easier then most machines today on the market.

The Framework Laptop is an upgradable, customizable 13-inch notebook coming this spring:

A San Francisco-based startup called Framework has just launched an ambitious project: a thin, lightweight productivity laptop that it claims can be "upgraded, customized, and repaired in ways that no other notebook can."

Framework founder Nirav Patel told The Verge that the company aims to address his long-standing frustrations with consumer technology companies. Patel was one of the original Oculus employees and has worked for Apple as well. During that time, he says he "saw an industry that felt incredibly broken across the board."

"As a consumer electronics company, your business model effectively depends on churning out constant tons of hardware and pushing it into channels, and into market, and into consumers' hands, and then sort of dropping it and letting it exist out there," Patel explains. "It encourages waste and inefficiency, and ultimately environmental damage."

To that end, Patel sees the Framework Laptop as more than a product — he sees it as an ecosystem.

The Framework comes with a 13.5-inch 2256 x 1504 screen, a 1080p 60fps webcam, a 55Wh battery, and a 2.87-pound aluminum chassis. Inside, you’ll get 11th Gen Intel processors, up to 64GB of DDR4 memory, and “4TB or more” of Gen4 NVMe storage.

[...] Framework will be taking preorders this spring, and the device is expected to ship this summer. Pricing hasn’t yet been announced, though Patel says it will be “comparable to other well-reviewed notebooks.”


Original Submission

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Framework’s Software And Firmware Have Been A Mess, But It’s Working On Them 1 comment

Arthur T Knackerbracket has processed the following story:

Since Framework showed off its first prototypes in February 2021, we've generally been fans of the company's modular, repairable, upgradeable laptops.

Not that the company's hardware releases to date have been perfect—each Framework Laptop 13 model has had quirks and flaws that range from minor to quite significant, and the Laptop 16's upsides struggle to balance its downsides. But the hardware mostly does a good job of functioning as a regular laptop while being much more tinkerer-friendly than your typical MacBook, XPS, or ThinkPad.

But even as it builds new upgrades for its systems, expands sales of refurbished and B-stock hardware as budget options, and promotes the re-use of its products via external enclosures, Framework has struggled with the other side of computing longevity and sustainability: providing up-to-date software.

Driver bundles remain un-updated for years after their initial release. BIOS updates go through long and confusing beta processes, keeping users from getting feature improvements, bug fixes, and security updates. In its community support forums, Framework employees, including founder and CEO Nirav Patel, have acknowledged these issues and promised fixes but have remained inconsistent and vague about actual timelines.

Patel says Framework has taken steps to improve the update problem, but he admits that the team's initial approach—supporting existing laptops while also trying to spin up firmware for upcoming launches—wasn't working.

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  • (Score: 2) by AnonTechie on Saturday February 27 2021, @08:26PM (14 children)

    by AnonTechie (2275) on Saturday February 27 2021, @08:26PM (#1118021) Journal

    I think this is a good initiative and I hope that, when released, the product works as advertised. We need many more such products in our daily life !!

    --
    Albert Einstein - "Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former."
    • (Score: 2) by leon_the_cat on Saturday February 27 2021, @08:30PM (3 children)

      by leon_the_cat (10052) on Saturday February 27 2021, @08:30PM (#1118023) Journal

      Yes I hope they succeed but this has been tried before and failed every time.

      • (Score: 5, Interesting) by toddestan on Sunday February 28 2021, @06:15AM (2 children)

        by toddestan (4982) on Sunday February 28 2021, @06:15AM (#1118130)

        Personally, I'd settle for a laptop with an easily replaceable battery, socketed RAM, socketed CPU, NVMe slots, and possibly SATA bays that are all relatively easy to access (no glued parts). Plenty of USB ports, Displayport, headphone jack, Ethernet port. Expresscard slot would be nice. SD card slot would be nice. I'm okay with the mainboard being non-upgradeable. I'm okay with the discrete GPU being integrated on the mainboard. I'm okay with the screen being non-upgradable, but it should still be relatively easy to replace should the need arise.

        Or to put it more simply, a modern version laptop like I could buy 15 years ago. And to be clear, I'm fine with it being being similar thickness and weight as my 15-year old laptop.

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday February 28 2021, @03:05PM

          by Anonymous Coward on Sunday February 28 2021, @03:05PM (#1118190)

          Look up Clevo and their various rebrands.

          They have a few models right now that are built around the AMD AM4 desktop socket, that can support any number of AMD CPUs at 65W TDP and lower.

          The major problem is that GPUs have become insanely TDP heavy. Nividia's offerings for example can hit close to 200W.

          Thus a laptop with a dGPU ends up dedicating most of the edge space for fan vents in order to dissipate all that heat, leaving precious little room for USB and like.

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 01 2021, @05:50PM

          by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 01 2021, @05:50PM (#1118525)

          Is AMD significantly better than Intel for maintaining CPU socket compatibility for years for laptops?

          There could also be thermal issues if the replacement CPUs run hotter.

    • (Score: 5, Insightful) by takyon on Saturday February 27 2021, @10:41PM (3 children)

      by takyon (881) <{takyon} {at} {soylentnews.org}> on Saturday February 27 2021, @10:41PM (#1118064) Journal

      This sounds like it will go the way of Intel Compute Card or Google Project Ara. And the article even brings those up.

      Better to focus on the classic highly upgradeable desktop while the market for it is still around, and pick up cheap laptops that are good enough on their own for light use or can be used as dumb terminals.

      --
      [SIG] 10/28/2017: Soylent Upgrade v14 [soylentnews.org]
    • (Score: 3, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday February 28 2021, @12:10AM (4 children)

      by Anonymous Coward on Sunday February 28 2021, @12:10AM (#1118082)
      This is, at best, aspirational. Andirons will be yet another case of history repeating itself - it will fail.

      Pay a premium for an upgradable laptop? Why not just take the same money and get a better spec laptop?

      Cheapie laptops last - especially nowadays when most people do their computing on their phones while the notebooks gather dust.

      Need something you can upgrade as time goes on by, say, adding another hdrive? Get a desktop. At least this way you don’t lose the investment in the original drive since you have room for 4 or more drives in most cases.

      Does this business even really exist? It sounds like some guy trying to generate buzz for a non-existing product. “Pre-orders will start in the spring. Pricing hasn’t been set.” So at this point maybe at most a mock-up or prototype stage “business.” Existing manufacturers can announce upcoming products with some credibility since they have existing products and customers. Here - nada!

      Also there are plenty of small shops that will replace a cracked screen, coked-out keyboard, defective storage drives or ram. So your broken laptop can still be a donor machine for parts.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday February 28 2021, @03:03AM (1 child)

        by Anonymous Coward on Sunday February 28 2021, @03:03AM (#1118098)

        "cheapie laptops last"

        No they don't; that's the problem. Flimsy paperthin plastic parts break on them--stuff that would be trivial to make last longer, but they are designed to break before too long. Go ahead and tell me about your super long lasting laptop. I bet it was either quite expensive, made many years ago when quality was higher, or else babied.

        • (Score: 1, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday February 28 2021, @01:16PM

          by Anonymous Coward on Sunday February 28 2021, @01:16PM (#1118178)

          No they don't; that's the problem. Flimsy paperthin plastic parts break on them

          I don't get it. I have the original intel Apple MacBook and it still works even without a battery. And yes, some bits are fragile, but the thing is running Intel Core Duo which is like 2006.

          And I don't understand the entire comment "unused so not getting broken".... You either take care of your shit or you don't. That's how most gets broken. Not because it's used or not but because of abuse.

          Upgradable is also a little strange since the only thing you would upgrade on a laptop anyway is storage and RAM, and in most you could do that anyway. Battery? You have that option if you look already. So what do they bring? I don't know, more garbage would be one result. Changing bazel style and ports? Why? it's just internal dongle and more garbage.

          https://www.tuxedocomputers.com/ [tuxedocomputers.com]

          All I would need in a laptop right there. No need to change a freaking bezel.

      • (Score: 2) by mhajicek on Sunday February 28 2021, @03:58AM (1 child)

        by mhajicek (51) on Sunday February 28 2021, @03:58AM (#1118114)

        In my experience even expensive laptops don't last. Which makes an investment in an upgradable one rather questionable.

        --
        The spacelike surfaces of time foliations can have a cusp at the surface of discontinuity. - P. Hajicek
        • (Score: 1, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday February 28 2021, @03:36PM

          by Anonymous Coward on Sunday February 28 2021, @03:36PM (#1118200)

          Same here, I haven't personally noticed much difference in terms of life whether it's a cheapie or a higher end one, they both tend to get about 3 years worth of life. Those modules seem like the most recent iteration of the old PCMCIA cards that were in laptops decades ago. And laptops had the ability to upgrade and replace storage and memory for ages.

          Personally, give me a laptop where I can replace the HDD and possibly add more RAM as well as be easy to clean and that's likely the one I'd get. This whole business of upgrades doesn't really make much sense as the laptop case is going to dictate the thermal envelop that you're needing to operate in. And yes, processors do more with the same cooling needs, but the various constraints to make this work is rather extreme. Especially when it tends to be heat that kills laptops anyways. Make the thing easy to clear the dust bunnies out of and it'll likely last long enough that you don't really need to upgrade it. My desktop is roughly 5 years old at this point, I'll likely upgrade it later this year, but for most people they don't really need a faster computer at this point, a longer lasting one would be more desirable.

    • (Score: 2) by Tork on Sunday February 28 2021, @03:20AM

      by Tork (3914) Subscriber Badge on Sunday February 28 2021, @03:20AM (#1118101)

      We need many more such products in our daily life !!

      What you'll get is larger, more expensive, more fragile, less reliable money pits that .. if you're lucky .. will catch on long enough to get a couple of generations of updates.

      --
      🏳️‍🌈 Proud Ally 🏳️‍🌈
  • (Score: -1, Troll) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 27 2021, @08:28PM (4 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 27 2021, @08:28PM (#1118022)

    It's supposed to be a "summary." Why don't you put in a word or two about what makes this different, instead of the meaningless marketing drivel?

    • (Score: 1, Touché) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 27 2021, @09:15PM (2 children)

      by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 27 2021, @09:15PM (#1118031)

      What part of the job title "editor" leads to to think they should be editing?

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 27 2021, @09:49PM (1 child)

        by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 27 2021, @09:49PM (#1118040)

        The "editor" part.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday February 28 2021, @12:20AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Sunday February 28 2021, @12:20AM (#1118084)

      What makes it different from what’s on the market today? It doesn’t exist, there’s no way to order one (you can sign up for an email), and nobody knows how much it will sell for because the guy hasn’t set the price yet. There’s no user reviews, no manufacturing facility, no warehouse, and no product.

      But hey, what can go wrong?

  • (Score: 2) by Arik on Saturday February 27 2021, @08:34PM (7 children)

    by Arik (4543) on Saturday February 27 2021, @08:34PM (#1118025) Journal
    "As is the case with all kinds of consumer laptops, buyers can swap out and upgrade various internal parts of the Framework, including the RAM, battery, and storage."

    All kinds? These guys ever hear of a little company called Apple?

    Even without Apple that's hardly true. The need to make every cubic centimetre count has always made this sort of thing problematic, and manufacturers love to use it as an excuse to add more lock-in as well.

    It does sound very interesting, though the ETA is still a ways down the road and the details are slim.
    --
    If laughter is the best medicine, who are the best doctors?
    • (Score: 2) by leon_the_cat on Saturday February 27 2021, @08:38PM (5 children)

      by leon_the_cat (10052) on Saturday February 27 2021, @08:38PM (#1118026) Journal

      These guys ever hear of a little company called Apple?
      It says the founder used to work for them, so no :P

      • (Score: 1, Flamebait) by fakefuck39 on Saturday February 27 2021, @11:31PM (4 children)

        by fakefuck39 (6620) on Saturday February 27 2021, @11:31PM (#1118077)

        I'm 90% sure Arik is literally mentally challenged, so I'm 90% sure he thinks someone working for a company does not in any way mean they've heard of that company, and it makes perfect sense to him. He also thinks most laptops are apple despite them having like 9% marketshare. And in 5 minutes he'll think it's lenovo when the article is about lenovo, and in his mind the marketshare will have simply changed in those 5 minutes, and again, it makes sense to him.

        the way you can tell is like seeing a retard in a helmet walking. his helmet is the fixed-width font.

        • (Score: 2) by Tork on Sunday February 28 2021, @03:24AM

          by Tork (3914) Subscriber Badge on Sunday February 28 2021, @03:24AM (#1118103)
          Heh. Basically you just told us you made up a backstory for him and you believe it.
          --
          🏳️‍🌈 Proud Ally 🏳️‍🌈
        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday February 28 2021, @04:05AM (2 children)

          by Anonymous Coward on Sunday February 28 2021, @04:05AM (#1118117)

          PS: if buzzy boy thinks I am fakefuck he can fuck right off and stop the paranoia

          fakefuck is an asshole

          frequently has decent points, but buried under a superiority complex that makes runaway look like a decent human

          • (Score: 1, Redundant) by fakefuck39 on Sunday February 28 2021, @04:47AM (1 child)

            by fakefuck39 (6620) on Sunday February 28 2021, @04:47AM (#1118120)

            newsflash, comments people post on the internet have zero to do with their actual personality, things they say in real life, or anything real. it's like saying people who like to kill their friends in a video game need therapy because they're violent and disturbed. this forum is entertainment, not socializing. well, for those of us who have real socializing that is. that's not you. you have to settle for some anonymous random text for human contact, because let's face it, it's all you can get from the other humans on this planet.

            • (Score: 2) by hendrikboom on Monday March 01 2021, @03:55PM

              by hendrikboom (1125) Subscriber Badge on Monday March 01 2021, @03:55PM (#1118471) Homepage Journal

              No, comments placed here do give an indication of a real personality -- it tells us what comments they like to post. Which may have very little to do with anything else in their lives.

    • (Score: 0, Troll) by fakefuck39 on Saturday February 27 2021, @08:48PM

      by fakefuck39 (6620) on Saturday February 27 2021, @08:48PM (#1118028)

      lol there are plenty of laptops that have replaceable components, are easy to service and swap out parts or batteries, and even replace things yourself. They are a little thicker because of it. There is a tiny market for that kind of laptop, and hence there are few laptops like that - but you absolutely can buy one.

      "even without apple that's true."

      glad you said that. Apple has less than 10% of the laptop market, and their laptop caters to people who don't give a crap about wasting their time replacing components, but do care about it being a little thinner. While I myself couldn't care less about any apple product, that form factor and laptop build is exactly what I want. I'm techy enough to service a laptop, even if it requires a soldering iron. I got better shit to do. Upgrade components? No thanks. I pay double for the top specs of any given laptop, so it lasts a long time, then I toss it. Because I'm not wasting my time on that shit. Others don't have the tech know-how. Either way, me and the non-tech crowd are most people, and hence most laptops cater to what most people want.

      If you want what's being built here, well great - that has always been available to you, and you can buy one like that now. But taking a product that's not made for you, and asking the majority of people to adjust to your minority needs, then bitching when they don't - well that makes one a stupid clown.

      This is the same argument had many times over many features. SD cards, removable batteries on phones, and removing the headphone port - same example. You know who wants all that shit? Almost no one. I get a maxed out phone, and use it till it dies. And if I break it - cool, early upgrade! Battery is perfectly fine and still lasts a couple of days - after 7 years of use. I just degoogle the phone and don't let it discharge past a quarter left. And the non-tech masses? They want a new phone every two years because shiny. And you're free to buy a different laptop or phone - and there are plenty that fit your needs. But bitching about an industry that delivers on the market demand proportionally - again, that's just being a stupid clown.

      No one's going to buy this shit and they'll go out of business after losing a shitload of cash.

  • (Score: 1, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 27 2021, @08:39PM (5 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 27 2021, @08:39PM (#1118027)

    They're charging you a premium so they can sell you replacement parts. I'm sure people who love to customize shit will enjoy it, but anyone seeking long-term upgradeability is going to have to gamble on the company surviving longer than their products.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday February 28 2021, @12:49AM (4 children)

      by Anonymous Coward on Sunday February 28 2021, @12:49AM (#1118088)
      Long term upgrade ability? In the long term all the significant components will be obsolete. Better to buy a new machine at that point.
      • (Score: 1) by pTamok on Sunday February 28 2021, @05:31PM (3 children)

        by pTamok (3042) on Sunday February 28 2021, @05:31PM (#1118239)

        Nope.
        USB-A sockets from 1996 are still going strong, despite laptop manufacturers trying to use USB-C instead. The upgrade to USB 3.0 is worth it, but old form-factor devices still work in the upgraded sockets.
        The misnamed RJ-45 Ethernet socket (actually 8P8C) used first for 10baseT Ethernet in 1990 is still going well. Again, laptop manufacturers are trying all sort of tricks to avoid offering it - USB 'mini-docks', or offering only WiFi.

        Decent size function keys, and a proper 'inverted-T' for the cursor keys on the keyboard are also useful. My current laptop has both the inverted-T and a numeric keypad.

        My current laptop processor is an AMD A10, which is beginning to show signs of stress on some script-heavy websites. The HD is currently upgraded to a 1TB SSD. I've 'only' 8Gbyte RAM, but running GNU/Linux it manages to have several hundred tabs open in Firefox without breaking a sweat. What really chews up memory are YouTube tabs, but I don't have many of them - maybe a dozen or so.

        For me, I'd want a processor with higher compute power at lower TDP, so I can run fanless. Fans are very irritating.

        • (Score: 3, Informative) by takyon on Sunday February 28 2021, @07:06PM (2 children)

          by takyon (881) <{takyon} {at} {soylentnews.org}> on Sunday February 28 2021, @07:06PM (#1118257) Journal

          AMD has laptop chips that should beat your old A10 (which model?) at fanless TDPs. The problem is that these will typically be put in cheap, thin laptops, and may never be paired with Ethernet or a numpad (perhaps if you can find it at 14"). Probably a lot of max 4 GB soldered (although that should give way to 8 GB soon) and some with USB-C only too.


          "Dali/Pollock" dual-core Zen (6 W): Athlon Silver 3050e, AMD 3020e, AMD 3015e.

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_AMD_accelerated_processing_units#%22Dal%C3%AD%22,_%22Pollock%22_(2020) [wikipedia.org]
          https://www.anandtech.com/show/15953/amd-zen-now-at-6w-tdp-dual-core-for-education [anandtech.com]

          AMD is rumored to release Van Gogh [videocardz.com] this year, with dual/quad-core Zen 2, RDNA 2 graphics, and LPDDR5 support. This would be at a slightly higher ~9W TDP which is probably good enough for fanless. Van Gogh would be followed by Dragon Crest which is expected to be a simple refresh. Maybe that one adds DDR5 support?

          If you are willing to use Intel, their Atom cores are improving rapidly. Tremont [wikipedia.org] is in the latest Jasper Lake (Pentium Silver N6000, Celeron N5100, N4500). It will be followed by Gracemont. Gracemont cores could have performance similar to Skylake, except at lower clocks and without hyperthreading.

          Lakefield (1 big core, 4 Atom cores) is at these TDPs but is an expensive disaster last time I checked. Basically a beta test for upcoming Alder Lake. They may have improved its performance in Windows, beats me about Linux.

          --
          [SIG] 10/28/2017: Soylent Upgrade v14 [soylentnews.org]
          • (Score: 1) by pTamok on Sunday February 28 2021, @10:19PM (1 child)

            by pTamok (3042) on Sunday February 28 2021, @10:19PM (#1118300)

            Thank you for the info.

            cat /proc/cpuinfo shows

            vendor_id : AuthenticAMD
            cpu family : 21
            model : 48
            model name : AMD A10-7300 Radeon R6, 10 Compute Cores 4C+6G
            stepping : 1
            microcode : 0x6003106
            cpu MHz : 1265.204
            cache size : 2048 KB

            I have a preference for AMD chipsets, more from gut feel than anything else.

            • (Score: 2) by takyon on Monday March 01 2021, @01:36AM

              by takyon (881) <{takyon} {at} {soylentnews.org}> on Monday March 01 2021, @01:36AM (#1118348) Journal

              Comparing PassMark, Athlon Silver 3050e [cpubenchmark.net] at 6 W is faster than the A10-7300 [cpubenchmark.net] at 19 W. That's actually a surprise because I didn't know how old the A10 was or the TDP.

              Ideally, Van Gogh will compare favorably to the bottom-of-the-barrel Renoir: the 4-core Ryzen 3 4300U [cpubenchmark.net]. The CPU would be slower but it *should* have better graphics performance.

              Van Gogh could be passively or actively cooled depending on what each laptop designer wants to do with it.

              --
              [SIG] 10/28/2017: Soylent Upgrade v14 [soylentnews.org]
  • (Score: 3, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday February 28 2021, @01:04AM (1 child)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday February 28 2021, @01:04AM (#1118089)

    Laptop and phone batteries should be required to use a standard shape and size. A manufacturer can simply add more or fewer of the standard battery to differentiate their product. And, the battery must be user replaceable. This would save a ton of phones from the landfill, and also a significant quantity of laptops.

    Ram and storage in laptops, should be required to be user replaceable. This would save a ton of laptops from the landfill.

    These small steps would cut e-waste substantially.

    • (Score: 5, Insightful) by takyon on Sunday February 28 2021, @02:46AM

      by takyon (881) <{takyon} {at} {soylentnews.org}> on Sunday February 28 2021, @02:46AM (#1118097) Journal

      For phones, they'll say no user removable batteries because of waterproofing.

      For laptops, thinness and cost are the excuses for soldered RAM.

      We just had the story about France requiring a "repairability index", but that's short of a requirement.

      https://grist.org/climate/why-frances-new-repairability-index-is-a-big-deal/ [grist.org]

      “We think that the moment something becomes a requirement, it’s no longer really a problem for a manufacturer,” said Vallauri. “They just have to deal with it as one of their variables in bringing a product to the market. So the more some manufacturers choose to make products more repairable, it will motivate others, if nothing else for fear of missing out, to improve their practices.”

      Shame, FOMO, or they will just slap the 1.5/10 score on the product and call it a day.

      You can still find phones with removable batteries (for now). Gaming-oriented laptops tend to be chunkier, with 2x SO-DIMM. Like this one [slickdeals.net] that has 16 GB and can take 64 GB. It will be a good sign if we see some stories about DDR5 SO-DIMM modules. Here's one already [tomshardware.com].

      --
      [SIG] 10/28/2017: Soylent Upgrade v14 [soylentnews.org]
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