You can now buy a Framework mainboard and turn it into the weird computer of your dreams

When the Framework laptop was launched, it had all the potential in the world to be both a great laptop and a repairable, upgradable laptop. But – and there is always a but – it would only work if the ecosystem worked. Framework was needed to build a market around the laptop so it can be bigger than one company’s feature ideas and release cycles. And more directly, it had to prove that it was invested in the idea itself, that Framework wouldn’t just carry on with newer and glossier stuff breaking with its upgrade path.

On the larger ecosystem front, Framework’s success is still largely to be determined. But his own intentions don’t seem to have deviated. This week, Framework announced that the Framework laptop motherboard — including storage and memory slots, connectors for four Framework expansion cards and four displays, and three different configurations of Intel’s 11th-generation processors — is now available separately through the Framework Marketplace† The cheapest version, which comes with an i5-1135G7 chip, costs $399. The most expensive, with an i7-1185G7 processor, is $799.

Framework also shared all the documentation and 3D printable designs you need to build your own case or device around the motherboard. And you could really build almost anything: if you add some storage and power, the Framework Mainboard quickly becomes a functional computer, sort of a souped-up (and much larger) Raspberry Pi.

Marketplace of Framework has continued to grow since the laptop launched last year, although it’s still mostly simple computer parts: lots of interchangeable ports, removable memory, and different types of keyboards, but not much in the way of bold new ideas about devices. That makes sense, since Framework’s own focus has always been more on upgrades and fixes. And Framework’s primary plan for the motherboards seems to be giving people ways to reuse their old ones after buying new upgrades. (Like, for example, when Framework will hopefully start offering 12th Gen Intel chips.)

But making the motherboard available separately could also be a way to kick-start another kind of ecosystem, where users and developers can build different kinds of computers from Framework’s template. That is all to say, someone please make a framework based cyberdeck and tell me where i can buy it.

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