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Framework updates Laptop 13 with new AMD options, announces modular gaming laptop

The idea of a modular, repairable and upgradeable laptop sounds even more appealing after Framework's latest announcements.
Written by Jason Cipriani, Contributing Writer
The Framework Laptop 13 side by side.
Framework

Framework just wrapped up a special event in San Francisco where the company that's pioneering truly modular laptops announced a long list of new products and upgrades to its existing product portfolio. 

Also: The best laptops for every type of person and budget

Before we get into some of the finer details about the brand new Laptop 16 which features an expansion bay that can house discrete GPUs and an input module bay that allows you to hot swap the keyboard and number pad, let's take a closer look at the improvements coming to Framework's existing Laptop 13

The Laptop 13 gets some big updates

If you've been holding off on taking the modular plunge because of the lack of an AMD CPU option, your wait is nearly over. Starting today, you can preorder a Laptop 13 with an AMD Ryzen 5 or Ryzen 7 series CPU. The addition of an AMD build was one of the most requested features from Framework. In fact, if you already own an Intel-powered Laptop 13, you can upgrade to the AMD mainboard as long as you have or upgrade to DDR5 memory and a compatible Wi-Fi card. 

Framework also announced a 13th Gen Intel option and mainboard for the Laptop 13 in i5 and i7 configurations. 

Review: Framework Chromebook: Most repairable, future-proof laptop yet

New processors aren't the only improvements the Laptop 13 is receiving, however. Framework has taken the feedback from reviews and users and made improvements to battery life by using a new 61Wh battery that results in a 20-30% increase in battery life. There's also a new matte display option (shown below), louder speakers (specific to the Intel build), and new, stiffer hinges. 

A matte display kit for the Framework Laptop.
Framework

You can preorder the Laptop 13 and any of the new kits starting today. The Intel version of the Laptop 13 will begin shipping in May, and the AMD version of Laptop 13 will begin shipping in Q3. Standalone mainboard upgrades will begin shipping at the same time. 

Framework is also expanding the countries its products are available in, adding Belgium, Italy, Spain, and Taiwan. Pre-orders in those countries will begin this summer. 

A novel way to repurpose that old mainboard

For longstanding Framework users who choose to upgrade their mainboard as boards with newer and faster processors are announced, they're left with the question of what to do with their old component. 

Also: The best Raspberry Pi alternatives

Framework already offers some 3D-printed designs for cases and other accessories to reuse the mainboard, but soon you'll be able to buy an official Mainboard Case made by Cooler Master. 

Assembling the mainboard onto the Framework.
Framework

The case effectively turns the mainboard into a portable computer, albeit without a display or battery pack. However, Framework has now open-sourced documentation that details its display and battery modules, in turn allowing accessory makers and DIY users to turn the mainboard into a miniature PC of sorts. 

The case will cost $39 and launches later this spring. 

Framework goes big with the Laptop 16

In addition to all of those modest upgrades to Framework's current hardware lineup, the company also spent some time previewing the Laptop 16, a bigger, more powerful laptop that's expected to launch by the end of 2023. Pre-orders are currently slated to start this spring. 

As its name implies, the Laptop 16 will have a 16-inch display and feature all of the same modularity and upgradability features as the Laptop 13. 

Framework Laptop 16
Framework

But the Laptop 16 isn't only about providing a bigger laptop option to Framework customers. With Laptop 16, Framework is also releasing a new Expansion Bay and an Input Module system. 

The Expansion Bay makes it possible to insert a Graphics Module to convert the Laptop 16 from an everyday use setup to a gaming laptop, or a laptop for creatives -- anything that requires a more powerful GPU than what's included with the laptop's CPU. Or if you don't want better graphics, you can swap in a card to add more M.2 SSD storage, for example. 

Framework also demonstrated a proof-of-concept external GPU bay that uses an Expansion Bay GPU card as an eGPU, with either Framework Laptop model. 

Also: The best M.2 SSDs right now

The Input Module allows you to hot-swap the keyboard and number pad directly on the laptop's deck. This also allows you to decide if you like your keyboard centered, off center, or even add an LED matrix or a slider to your Laptop 16. 

Today's announcement was just an early preview of the Laptop 16. Framework isn't talking specs, performance or pricing yet, which is disappointing, but totally understandable. 

Pre-orders for the Laptop 16 will begin this summer, with deliveries expected by the end of the year. 

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