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[Discussion] Framework Laptop 16: A Modular and Upgradable Gaming Laptop

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Framework, a company known for its modular, upgradable laptops, is now turning its sights to the gaming market with its latest release, the Framework Laptop 16. While many companies have attempted to create upgradable gaming laptops, they have all failed due to various reasons, including technology advancements and a lack of support from manufacturers. However, Framework is looking to change this with its new laptop, which promises to be entirely modular and fully repairable, with the ability to upgrade the GPU independently of the rest of the system.

Founder Nirav Patel believes that Framework is "delivering on the holy grail in high-performance notebooks," with the ability to upgrade the GPU without being constrained by size requirements. The laptop's expansion bay system is designed to be flexible, with the ability to reconfigure any internal or external aspect of it to make sure it works. The company has made room in the chassis to support both current and future generation GPU modules, allowing for complete flexibility in supporting changes when it comes to GPUs. Additionally, the mainboard is set up to allow a connection over PCIe x8, offering enough high power and display support in both directions for a laptop of this intended size and class.

Apart from its unprecedented level of internal customization, the Framework Laptop 16 offers hot-swappable keyboard, mousepad, and anything-else-on-the-top-deck modules. The top deck is user reconfigurable, allowing owners to remove the keyboard, remove the numpad, slide the keyboard into the center, and add input modules to the left and right, all while the machine is running. Framework is opening these tools up to developers as well, hoping to see fans building their own "jog wheels, sliders, touchscreen displays, e-ink notepads, smart card readers, and more."

Framework plans to open up the bay and its connection to its developer community, enabling them to build their own modules. The company has already developed a dual M.2 SSD that uses the bay, offering up to 16TB of additional storage. It envisions a wide variety of other tools that could be plugged in, like a video capture card, streaming hardware, dedicated AI modules, or even a software-defined radio transmitter.

The Framework Laptop 16 will be available for pre-order towards the end of spring. While there is no word on pricing, Patel encourages interested buyers to use Framework's existing cost structure to compare against the market as it stands. Shipments are expected to begin towards the end of the year, with Framework promising to deliver upgrades and longevity to its customers.

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