Home Technology Turning my Framework laptop computer right into a tiny desktop was enjoyable. Now it wants a job.

Turning my Framework laptop computer right into a tiny desktop was enjoyable. Now it wants a job.

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Turning my Framework laptop computer right into a tiny desktop was enjoyable. Now it wants a job.

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Framework board inside a Cooler Master case
Enlarge / The Framework Slabtop, as I dub it. Not a NUC, not fairly a desktop.

Kevin Purdy

Many business pundits had been skeptical when the brand new laptop computer firm Framework introduced a repair-friendly, upgrade-ready laptop computer in 2021. Might you actually swap elements between laptops—moderately skinny and light-weight laptops—yr over yr? Would that even work as a enterprise mannequin?

Framework launched the primary version of its machine, and we discovered that it lived as much as its guarantees. The corporate adopted by way of with a second-generation laptop computer, and we reviewed the third iteration as “a field of elements” that upgraded the earlier model. The improve experiment has been successful. All that is left are, effectively, the elements left behind.

It is 2023, and people who have Framework’s first technology of laptops, containing Intel’s Eleventh-generation Core processor) is likely to be itching to improve, particularly with an AMD mannequin across the nook. Or perhaps, like me, they discover that system’s middling battery life and tricky-to-tame sleep draining (since improved, however not completely mounted) make for a laptop computer that does not really feel all that moveable. Or they’re simply prepared for one thing new.

What are you able to do with these outdated inside organs? You may at all times checklist them on the market. Or, like me, you possibly can purchase a custom-printed Cooler Grasp case (or 3D-print your individual), switch your laptop computer’s mainboard, reminiscence, and storage over, and create a desktop that simply suits on prime of your precise desk. I can not suggest it sufficient as a small weekend challenge, as a method to get extra worth out of your buy, and as a thought experiment in what sort of job you can provide to a skinny little slab of Framework.

Gathering your elements and instruments

It was straightforward to overlook the announcement earlier this yr that Framework would collaborate with Cooler Grasp to design and promote a $40 mainboard case. It is custom-built to the Framework board’s persistent form, so it really works for no matter model of the Framework 13 laptop computer you have got. It has smoked translucent plastic on the entrance and inoffensive mild grey/beige on the again, and it has all of the slots crucial for fan consumption and exhaust, the Framework’s USB-C growth modules, and VESA mounts or a tiny rubberized stand. And there is a little energy button.

I had an Eleventh-gen i7 Framework, plus variety of growth ports. One subject I knew I might see was the Intel AX200-series card inside, which I’ve seen some Linux-based methods (together with ChromeOS) complain about. So I added Framework’s personal Ethernet growth card to my order. This was removed from crucial, as I may have used any Ethernet-to-USB-C converter and plugged it into the USB-C receiver for an growth card. However I most well-liked the clear plastic to the dongle, so I added it to my order.

There’s room within the case to carry over your audio board (i.e., headphone jack) and a Wi-Fi/Bluetooth card, although you may have to purchase your individual SMA antenna cable setup. If you recognize you are not going to make use of the Framework chassis once more and really need Wi-Fi inside your new slab, you possibly can most likely pluck the antennae from contained in the case, hinge, and monitor bezel, however there’s no restore information for that but.

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