Framework is finally prepared to deliver on its core promise of upgrading its namesake laptop. The company has announced a new version of the Framework Laptop with 12th Gen Intel Core processors along with new mainboards to modernize its existing notebooks.
Like the original, the prebuilt Framework Laptop with Intel's latest chips will come in three models: base ($1,049), performance ($1,449) and professional ($2,049). There will also be new DIY Editions in which you bring your own RAM and storage, starting at $819 with a Core i5-1240P, $1,119 with a Core i7-1260P and $1,529 with a Core i7-1280P.
The new version of the laptop will also have a new CNC aluminum lid. This should help address some complaints of flex on the original model (though for me that issue was bigger on the keyboard), And yes, the new laptop lid is also being sold as a separate piece on Framework's marketplace, too. It will cost $89 on its own.
If you're an existing Framework Laptop user that wants a new chip and a new lid, those will come together in "upgrade kits," starting at $538 with a Core i5-1240P.
The 11th Gen Framework Laptops aren't going anywhere. In fact, they're getting slight price drops. The base version with the older chip will start at $899 (down from $999) and the barebones DIY editions will begin at $679 (down from $749).
Framework is putting these laptops and components on pre-order today, though it's unclear when you'll get them. The company said in a blog post that it's manufacturing at a new Compal facility in Taoyuan, Taiwan, which is apparently within driving distance of its fulfillment center. This should prevent supply chain issues, but the company is asking potential buyers to get in early "to hold your place in line and give us a better read on production capacity needs."
Lastly on the hardware front, there's a new expansion card: a 2.5 Gigabit Ethernet port. There's no price yet, and the card should be available later this year. On software, the company is reiterating its commitment to Linux, and claims that Fedora 36 works out of the box "fantastically well," while Ubuntuy 22.04 needs only "a couple of workarounds" that it's trying to fix.
The sale of the 12th Gen hardware, particularly as a new mainboard, inspires confidence in Framework. Sure, the original laptop was a great idea, especially as big manufacturers like Dell, HP and Acer all continuously make announcements about recycled materials and greener packaging. But for a smaller outfit like Framework, it had to actually ship a second generation to make its laptop fully upgradeable. Now that it's about to do that, the whole project feels like it's on more solid footing. As we've seen, it's even difficult for major laptop vendors to make notebooks compatible with parts across generations.
There's still more that I'd like to see Framework try, including mainboards with AMD and ARM processors, more form factors and maybe even something with a discrete GPU. But in between the first generation of Framework Laptop and this new announcement, we've seen plenty of progress. Just last month, Framework began selling mainboards separately for repair, upgrades and maker projects and open sourced a case to turn the board into a standalone computer, like a Raspberry Pi. That's useful for those who want to use the Framework mainboard outside of a conventional laptop, like one YouTuber who built a 60% mechanical keyboard around one.