https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=u01AbiCn_Nw mental outlaw video:

hi everyone, i was planning on getting a new laptop cheaply for about 500ish but then i stumbled upon this near-totally modular laptop rhat starts out at above 1000 bucks. do you think the cheaper laptop in the long run is just a false economy and i should go for the framework or what? if you want to ask questions go ahead but im mainly concerned about the longterm financials (and how well it will keep up over time)

  • Billiam
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    8 months ago

    Hi, Framework laptop owner here!

    I love my laptop. I got it back in June (13th gen Intel) and have used it near-daily ever since. It’s got a nice build quality, I like the way it looks, and the modular slots are a nice concept (though I haven’t seen a need to swap out mine- I elected for 2 x USB-C and 2 x USB-A. You also need to pay attention to which ports go where because not all the slots support USB charging). I bought the barebones laptop, and added my own RAM and SSD to it which was significantly cheaper than getting it from Framework. I currently dual boot Linux Mint and occasionally Windows 11 and have had no significant issues with either, but there are a couple of little annoyances with Mint- the light-sensor to automatically adjust the brightness and the brightness keys conflict, so one or the other or both may not work correctly.

    To your real question, is it worth it? Honestly, if performance is your sole metric, then no- there are cheaper alternatives out there for comparable performance. The premium you pay for a Framework is an investment in repairability and customizability- investments that may not pay off if the company doesn’t exist in the long term. All the promises and commitments in the world to letting users have the right to fix or modify their own hardware mean nothing if there’s no one to supply parts. I was aware of this before buying mine, so I was fine accepting that risk- after all, at one point in time Tesla was risky too but now it seems they’re poised to be the charging standard for EVs- and there are a couple of higher-ups at AMD who like the concept and are invested in Framework, which means it may be around for a while. But that’s still something you should keep in mind.

    That said, you said you were looking for a $500-ish laptop, and are now asking about one that will cost you over double that? It’s not for me to tell you how to spend your money, but it sounds like you saw a cool idea and want to jump on the bandwagon. You should be extra sure that what you’re looking for fits your needs within your budget and you’re not just trying to “keep up with the Joneses.”

    TL;DR: If you have the money, and are okay with the risk of a small company existing long-term, and it has the performance you need, then yes, I think they’re good buys.

    • @[email protected]OP
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      78 months ago

      do you need to biy usb c modules as theyre already 4 usb c’s built-in. also, how do i check if a memory stick will fit in befroehand

      • Billiam
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        338 months ago

        The memory modules are standard laptop SO-DIMM DDR4-3200 for the 13th Gen Intel (though the AMD version launching later this year will support DDR5). The storage slot is a standard M.2.

        Do you absolutely need to buy the USB-C cards? Probably not, since the motherboard connections are USB-C. But you’re gonna have four gaps on the bottom of your laptop, it won’t be easy plugging or removing cables, and as someone else already said, the weight of a cord will put strain on the slot whereas the expansion cards put that strain on the case itself instead of the motherboard.

        But they’re also only $9 each. The laptop itself is $1000+ and you wanna skimp out on $36 for expansion cards? If that’s where you’re looking at saving money, I’m seriously gonna suggest you look at other laptops that are much cheaper.

      • @[email protected]
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        78 months ago

        Expansion cards: In theory, no, you don’t need to buy USB-C modules but it’s highly recommended. At the back of each expansion card slot is a fully functional USB-C port that the card plugs into and if you need to, you can plug cables directly into them. But because those port are, as said, at the back of the expansion card slots, this means you’d have to turn your laptop upside down every time you want to plug something in. Also, accessories that are thicker than just a cable with a standard plug (such as USB-C flash drives, card readers, and so on) probably won’t fit. Another downside is that having four expansion card sized gaps under your laptop is just ugly.

        I would highly recommend that you pick up at least four expansion cards so all slots are filled. My standard setup is 2x USB-C, 1x USB-A and 1x HDMI. I have another 1x USB-C, 1x USB-A and 1x ethernet in my backpack in case I need to swap something.

        Memory: The type of memory you need depends on the mainboard you choose. The intel ones need DDR4-3200 SO-DIMMs, the AMD ones need DDR5-5600 SO-DIMMs. Note the difference between DIMM (physically larger, for desktop PCs) and SO-DIMM (physically smaller, for laptops). Capacity-wise, they all have space for two sticks of memory with up to 32 GB each. If you’re unsure, you can buy framework laptops with the RAM included. It’s a bit more expensive than buying separately but you can be sure everything fits.

    • @[email protected]
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      78 months ago

      investments that may not pay off if the company doesn’t exist in the long term

      FWIW, framework has open sourced all their schematics for building parts for their laptops. So in theory, even if they go under, other companies could continue building compatible parts.

      • Billiam
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        17 months ago

        Yep, there is that too. However, I expect that if Framework ever goes under, nobody else would build the parts because there’s nothing stopping any other company from making them right now.

  • @[email protected]
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    668 months ago

    To be honest you probably won’t save money as you’ll be more likely to upgrade regularly. I bought my Framework 13-inch last year and already bought a gorgeous new matte screen for it, and I’d been eyeing upgrading the mainboard with the new AMD one now. In the past with laptops I’d hold onto them for years until they couldn’t perform, and now I’m considering upgrading my device a second time within only a year?

    I really do love my Framework, but the easier upgradability makes upgrading more likely, which means more expenses - unless you can restrain from upgrading more often than you would on a laptop. Since budget seems to be a concern for you this may be worth keeping in mind. On the other hand though, I’d be concerned about how long a $500 laptop will last you anyway (the ones I used for years were more like $1200).

    One final thing - some parts can’t necessarily be carried over when upgrading to a new generation. For example, to upgrade to the AMD mainboard I’ll also have to buy new RAM as the generation upgraded to a newer variant. If I want to use my old mainboard as a home server, I’ll also have to purchase replacement parts for what it loses in the upgrade (new hard drive, new expansion ports, cheap case). It’s great if you had an existing need for a home server, not so much if you didn’t. Since I hate throwing out electronics I’ll end up buying more to keep it operational, even though in practice I won’t use it very much.

    TL;dr - Framework makes upgrading and reuse cheaper and easier, which if you’re like me makes you spend more money and upgrade more frequently.

    • @folkrav
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      • @UPGRAYEDD
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        68 months ago

        There is one main difference in this comparison. If you upgrade your desktop consistently, those old parts are valuable on the used market, which can make the upgrades more affordable. Used laptop parts are less desirable due to their inoperability.

        • @folkrav
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    • @Waker
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      Could you also sell your 2nd hand old main board? That would lessen the blow of a new upgrade (considering you have no need for a home server).

      I have thought about a framework laptop but my laptop is a humongous gaming laptop so I don’t think framework has the horsepower I’m looking for. The fact that it’s modular is soooooo tempting though…

      • @olympicyes
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        68 months ago

        They have an adapter that turns it into a desktop computer, sort of like an Intel NUC.

      • @[email protected]
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        38 months ago

        It’s not a bad option, but probably the best choice would be to just buy a new Framework entirely and sell the old one. Other than other home-labbers I’m not sure who’d be interested in buying a last-generation Framework mainboard, as anyone with a Framework already would likely upgrade to the latest.

        Big laptops aren’t really my thing, but you may be interested in the 16-inch Framework that’s coming out as it has a slot for a dedicated GPU.

        • @[email protected]
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          58 months ago

          There is a market on eBay, but the longer you sit on it, the less it will sell for.

          People have broken parts they need to replace, and there’s a semi-active community of people who use framework parts to create mini-servers that need a little more power than a Pi.

          Not selling when you don’t need it is just hording.

    • @[email protected]
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      7 months ago

      You could either sell the old mainboard or turn it in to a server imo or if you’re really hardware knowledgable take up the challenge of making a discount lenovo yoga book 9i

  • Bappity
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    418 months ago

    framework is VERY worth it.
    modular slots on the side mean you can choose your inputs and where they go.

    everything inside the laptop is easily replaceable so if any individual part breaks you can replace it instead of the whole laptop. you can also easily make upgrades if better hardware comes out instead of waiting for a newer model if one ever comes out.

    • @[email protected]OP
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      108 months ago

      how do the modular slots get inputted? if i wanted a usb a one is it a usb a to c converter and if so wojld i need to buy a usb c slot?

      • @[email protected]
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        98 months ago

        I believe the slots are all USB-C, since they’d need to be the fastest currently possible connector to properly support all the others.

        If you wanted a USB-A slot you just need to buy the USB-A module.

        • 𝘋𝘪𝘳𝘬
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          38 months ago

          since they’d need to be the fastest

          “USB C” only describes the connector and has nothing to do with speed.

          • @accideath
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            138 months ago

            Yes and no. USB-C is “the faster connector” compared to USB-A 3 because it supports faster protocols like USB 4 and even Thunderbolt 5. USB-A does not. It tops out at USB 3.2 Gen 2x2 (gawd what an awful naming scheme) with 20Gbps and even that’s rare. The newer, faster protocols with 40Gbps (USB4) or even 120Gbps (TB5) need the USB-C connector.

            • 𝘋𝘪𝘳𝘬
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              It supports faster protocols, yes. But “USB-C” on it’s own just defines the plug and the socket, and nothing more. That the hardware supports faster protocols does not mean that it can be used to describe a faster connection.

              It’s nitpicking, but it is important nitpicking 🙃

              • @Aceticon
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                8 months ago

                The point here, for those downvoting this post, is that if you go out and buy something “with USB-C” it could for example only support the Low Speed rate of USB 1.0 (that’s all of 1.5Mbps, only good for stuff like mice and keyboards) and still be absolutelly legitimatelly be listed for sale as “having USB-C” because that’s just the connector format.

                (Actually it’s even worse, as there is a charge only mode for that connector which does not require supporting any USB data modes at all)

                There is indeed a connection between the connector (pun not intended) and the maximum speeds supported (but not necessarily present) because USB-C adds additional data lines not present in USB-A or any of the USB-B connectors, which allow higher data throughtput, but the connection is only in the direction of “higher speeds require USB-C”, not “USB-C implies higher speeds”.

                All this to say that, IMHO, the previoua poster is right in calling attention to the difference.

          • @[email protected]
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            27 months ago

            Yeah I’m aware but you cannot support the fastest speeds without the additional contacts a type C port provides; unless they went with a proprietary port they wouldn’t be able to do the faster USB speeds.

            So while type C doesn’t mean fast by itself, it does allow the capability to carry just about anything.

        • @[email protected]OP
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          -18 months ago

          but if i wanted a usb c slot it’d be best not to even buy one and just use the ones built in already

          • Bappity
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            8 months ago

            you can do that but I would recommend against it. it might put strain on that port and if it breaks or is damaged you won’t be able to use that slot for anything else

            • smallaubergine
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              118 months ago

              Plus the built in USB c slots are recessed underneath which might be a pain to plug and unplug things.

  • @[email protected]
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    408 months ago

    Hi. Let’s set the table here. Context: What future advantage or benefit do you expect to get by investing?

    • Your budget was initially $500.

    • The absolute cheapest you can have a brand-new complete Frame Work 16 is $1,621 and 5 to 8 months (Ships Q2) assuming you get the cheapest of everything and don’t purchase secondary storage. You will have a low-end laptop with the ability to trivially upgrade it later.

    For an additional $1,100 what do you expect to gain? In reality you can get an equivalent performance for $200, so the question then becomes $1,300 for what?

    For $2,187 you can have an equivalent to this $1,100 ThinkPad that will likely last you 7-10 years unless it breaks first. What are you investing in for $1,087?

    For $2,734 and ~8 months, I can have a high-end laptop, not the most expensive options, but my personal preference to tide me over for 10 years. Is whatever I’m looking for worth $2,200? Possibly.

    • For hardware I can have schematics to, after signing an NDA.
    • For hackability.
    • For a laptop I won’t void the warranty for fixing.
    • For never having to remove 17 screw, 5 stickers, 5 more screws, an excessive amount of plastic tabs, and possibly adhesive.
    • For almost indefinite access to parts. Parts that won’t disappear from the market in 1-3 years, unless the company goes under. (Yay Cali for the 7 years of parts… we’ll see how toothy it is and how long it can withstand legal and technical sabotage. Like Apple’s software locks.)
    • For a laptop with parts I like. (AMD open-sourcing like mad-lads, but not quite FLOSSing.)
    • For a company that I can trust for a decade before they see the dollar dollar bills. Like Google, Facebook, Reddit, etc.
    • For sustainably sourced parts.
    • To support a company that won’t put me through a hoop circus just to tell me I have to buy a new product because they screwed up?

    If I could get it in 30 days, maybe. If I have to wait a financial quarter, or 2, and a half… maybe I’ll wait until they ramp up production, and see what innovations they have in a year. (Related: The week I decided to buy, was legitimately the day they opened for Framework 16 orders, which I would’ve sworn was Framework 15. Must be losing my mind. In any case, maybe I’ll still get the 13 and save $500.)

    Is it worth it for you? Depends on your financial situation and what you value.

    • @[email protected]
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      37 months ago

      In theory, you’re paying up front for their long-term loss by not driving conspicuous consumption with planned obsolescence. They lose out on at least 4x the cost of selling you entirely new devices every 5 years, and you get a computer that only requires a few hundred in repairs for the next 20 years.

      In reality:

      1. new standards take hold all the time. Sorry, your laptop takes DDR7 RAM, everyone’s moved on to DDR10—which won’t cause a noticeable performance improvement, but it will give you FOMO because the numbers are bigger. So we’ve ceased manufacturing those old DDR7s; good luck with used DIMMs on ebay.

      2. Startups with amazing business models go under all the time. Sure, it may be “bad market strategy,” aka not being money-grubbing scrooges, and the resultant investor pull-out. It might be a lack of hype outside a niche market. It might be a hurricane. Too bad, ypur “lifetime” computer now has no one manufacturing parts. See also: what happens to early adopters of robotic prosthetics.

      3. Enshittification, plain and simple. That idealistic company that was going to defeat the ills of capitalism by beating it at its own game? Well now the investors want their money, and the shareholders are upset as their stocks plummet. Time to start cutting costs and fucking over the users! Suddenly we’re okay with child slavery and nonfree firmware because it doesn’t violate our core value of sustainable laptops probably. Have a subscription about it.

      And the longer it lasts, the more likely one or more of the above is to happen.

      If you don’t mind that and just want to “send a message,” then go ahead. The more viable (profitable) Framework is, the more likely it is others will follow suit.

      If you’re really just worried about e-waste and sustainable tech, buy used and fix it up. We’re past the point of Moore’s law where you’re missing out on meaningful performance gains if your device is a few years old, and have you see what people will throw away just because the screen is cracked?

      If it’s about ethical business models, support non-profits. They don’t have the same financial incentive to enshittify. (They just have their own ecosystem of ethical issues)

      Or get two birds stoned at once by joining/starting a non-profit tech mutual aid network, where you help maintain and upgrade each others’ tech.

  • @tallwookie
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    328 months ago

    bought a refurbished 5 year old Thinkpad via Amazon for $150. put linux on it, no regrets

    • @themusicman
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      88 months ago

      Second hand ThinkPads are the way to go

      • @[email protected]
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        98 months ago

        A good general rule of thumb is to avoid the E and L series, and stick with the X, T or P series, or the X1 Carbons. Depending on your use case, choose one with the processor and display you want.

        I have a T460 with linux on it that I use for work and it has been rock solid even when I spilled coffee on it.

        • Liz
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          I have an E560, I like it, but I’m not will versed enough to know why I shouldn’t. So why did I make a terrible decision? :P

  • AlmightySnoo 🐢🇮🇱🇺🇦
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    298 months ago

    i was planning on getting a new laptop cheaply for about 500ish

    What are you hoping to do with it? I got a used Thinkpad T480 that was like new for €180 and added a couple of upgrades to it (1TB NVMe, 64GB RAM, Intel AX200 Wi-Fi card) that cost me €137, meaning a total of €317, and I’m very happy with the laptop right now, it’s very responsive with Arch Linux and an i3 desktop and I think this baby will be good for many years.

    • @[email protected]
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      128 months ago

      I third that motion. Doing similar with a T440p. I’ve spent $400 total between upgrading the CPU to a 4712 and putting 16g of RAM. Running WoW happily every night on Debian. Second hand Thinkpads are the way to go.

    • @jecht360
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      7 months ago

      Seconding a used Thinkpad. They are plenty modular/repairable compared to other laptops. I’ve got an X270 and it’s a great little machine.

        • @[email protected]
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          98 months ago

          I’ve bought about a dozen from friends and family.

          Search on eBay.

          Find a seller with many of the same model. These are tech contractors offloading the laptops they just replaced under some contract - you’ll get a laptop that’s been sitting in some managers drawer for the last 3 years.

          Next go to the contractors own website, not ebay. See what stuff they have.

          I usually email them and just try to express interest in buying 2 or more laptops, ask what peripherals they have - get a dock or something. Ask about RAM or SSD upgrades, things like that.

          You’re helping them offload their second hand stuff, avoid ebay fees, not being a dick.

        • @SpeedLimit55
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          58 months ago

          There are various ebay sellers who carry certified refurbished laptops with warranty included. You can also buy some directly from Lenovo.

          • @[email protected]
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            48 months ago

            Seconded, I have been very happy with my last 2 purchases of Acer refurbished laptops from the official Acer store on eBay.

        • @[email protected]
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          48 months ago

          Amazon sells used thinkpads other than general age of the hardware love mine that I got for about $300

        • AlmightySnoo 🐢🇮🇱🇺🇦
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          Got mine on Ebay, and you usually have to be careful like with any purchase of a used item: ask for detailed photos if you can’t judge the state of the item from the photos that are there, ask questions about things that were left out in the description, look for sellers with very good ratings and look at their reviews, see if you can return etc…

          Amazon also sells refurbished ones, but so far I’ve seen the best deals on Ebay.

          EDIT: important, make sure the BIOS is unlocked.

      • be_excellent_to_each_other
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        28 months ago

        I’ve got a X270 and it’s a great little machine.

        Same. X380 here. Cost ~$200 refurb a yearish ago. Love it so much I steered my mom onto one a couple months back, and she’s been loving it too. Manjaro on mine and Win10 on hers, both great little performers. They fall short on tasks you expect to need some grunt for, but are great for everything else. I recommend it for anyone who will listen.

        Having said that, I really am eyeballing the framework to be in the running the next time I’m in the market. Whenever I reach that point I’ll need to do some comparisons. I could theoretically be convinced to spend a bit more to enable ongoing piecemeal upgrades, desktop-style.

      • Dudewitbow
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        68 months ago

        due to the nature of arch and its rolling releases, it tends to get bleeding edge updates/features rather than having to wait for a major update to iron itself out then get rolled out. If you’re a gamer for example, if Valve fixes a bug in the gpu driver, then Arch would probably get it asap (especially given that Steam OS is arch based)