Framework 12th Gen Intel Upgrade Kit is welcome first for laptops

Framework, the company that makes a fully modular laptop, has just announced a series of new Alder Lake motherboards for your laptops. This will allow users to upgrade existing 11th generation laptops to the latest technology. Alternatively, if you want to get into the Framework game, you can buy an all-new laptop built around these new 12th-gen modules.

Framework isn’t the first company to promise upgradeable CPUs – Alienware promised support for the same in 2019, although it never delivered and was sued for that too. With these new motherboards, the Framework is delivering.

These new motherboards are built around 12th Gen Intel Core processors, with eight Efficient cores and, depending on the model, four or six Performance cores. With Hyper-Threading, you are seeing up to 20 threads. Three different motherboards are available: i7-1280P, i7-1260P and i5-1240P. These motherboards support sustained 30W performance with a 60W boost.

The accompanying press photos show the new motherboards with DDR4 memory, although it is unclear whether separate DDR5 motherboards will also be available.

We first talked about Framework Laptops in July 2021, and I’ve been following the progress with interest ever since. In case you missed it: Framework laptops offer a fully modular approach to laptop design that supports real-world upgrades and repairs that are much easier than traditional laptops. You can also decide what is important to you – from the main configuration of which CPU to the ports available.

These laptops are great news for the Right to Repair initiative, as you don’t have to throw away a perfectly good laptop to keep it up to date.

We reported last month that Framework is making its own motherboards now, and doubled that with the announcement of its 12th Gen Intel Alder Lake motherboards. It has also redesigned the cover assembly to improve rigidity, optimized battery life, and is working on releasing a new 2.5Gb ethernet expansion card soon. It is also now shipped to the UK.

To celebrate the release of these new models, Framework is also reducing the price of the first generation models. That means you can buy the original thin and light Framework laptops for $899 (£899), while the newer 12th-gen machines are just over $1,049 (£1,049).

(Image credit: Frame)

It’s worth remembering that you won’t have to throw away the entire machine when it comes to upgrading, so this isn’t really a bad deal. You can also buy these machines as DIY editions, where you save around $230, but you have to provide your own RAM and storage options.

Model Price
Framework laptop (12th generation) Basis $1,049 | £1,049
Framework laptop (12th generation) acting $1,449 | £1,449
Framework laptop (12th generation) Professional $2,049 | £2,049
Laptop DIY Edition Framework (12th Generation) i5-1240P $819 | £819
Laptop DIY Edition Framework (12th Generation) i7-1260P $1,119 | £1,119
Laptop DIY Edition Framework (12th Generation) i7-1280p $1,529 | £1,529
Motherboard (12th generation) i5-1240P $449 | £449
Motherboard (12th generation) i7-1260P $699 | £699
Motherboard (12th generation) i7-1280P $1,049 | £1,049

The pale pachyderm in the room for many PC gamers will be the lack of graphics card modules and while this is something we would like to see in the future, we can fully understand why the Framework is focusing on getting the core functionality right before moving on to the wonderful world of GPUs.

(Image credit: Frame)

The fact that modern CPUs have decent integrated graphics doesn’t hurt here, with the Iris Xe graphics on Intel’s 12th-gen chips providing a decent enough experience for older games and even more up-to-date titles at lower settings.

I would definitely be interested to see a Ryzen 6000 motherboard mind with RDNA 2.

You might be wondering what do you do with old motherboards when you upgrade? Framework highlights some of the ways to use the old hardware, including some delightful retro machines like the Structure and the motherboard terminal.

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