Launched a little over a year ago, the start-up Framework promised a customizable laptop, but above all capable of evolving over time. Today, the manufacturer offers for sale a motherboard equipped with the 12th generation Intel processor in order to update its Framework Laptop, released with an 11th generation Intel processor.
Usually, when we have chosen a laptop, we are often stuck with the same processor throughout the life cycle of the device. Since this is soldered onto the motherboard, no manufacturer retails a motherboard, let alone one with a newer processor. Framework, it allows this update. So that’s what we did with our copy of the Laptop Framework, moving from a Core i7-1185G7 with 4 hyperthreaded cores to a Core i7-1280P with 8 efficient cores and 6 high-performance hyperthreaded cores. On paper, even if it’s only a generation away, the switch to Alder Lake’s hybrid architecture represents a real technological leap.
A heart-lung transplant
As we saw when receiving the Framework Laptop, opening the PC and accessing it proved to be particularly easy. Changing the motherboard only requires a little patience and organization, especially since Framework has posted a complete and very detailed tutorial.
Once the modules and the keyboard have been removed, you must disconnect the battery from the motherboard then remove the RAM and the SSD in order to install them on the new motherboard.
Separating the card from the chassis requires removing four cables connecting the screen, the speakers, the webcam and the sound card.
Last element to extract, the wifi card. No need to disconnect the antennas, but make sure to note the routing of the cables.
It only remains to unscrew the five screws that hold the motherboard to the chassis. No need to disassemble the cooling system since it is already in place on the new motherboard.
To install the new motherboard, simply repeat all the steps in reverse. No additional manipulation is required.
By taking our time, and even if we are used to performing this kind of manipulation, the complete operation will have required about fifteen minutes.
Sharp increase in performance
Equipped with its new motherboard, the Framework Laptop now features an Alder Lake processor and its hybrid architecture. It benefits from 20 logical cores with its Core i7-1280P, compared to 8 logical cores previously with its Core i7-1185G7.
With its Core i7-1280P, the Framework Laptop obtains a performance index of 123, a gain of 41%. It thus displays higher performance than the ZenBook 13 Oled with an AMD Ryzen 7 6800U processor (111) and the Samsung Book2 Pro 15 with its Core i7-1260P (115).
Controlled temperatures, more ventilation
Following the change of motherboard and therefore of processor, we ironed the Framework Laptop under the sensor of our thermal camera. From one processor to another, the temperatures vary very little, ultimately.
The same cannot be said, however, for noise pollution. With the Core i7-1185G7, we find 42.2 dB after our traditional encoding under HandBrake. Now equipped with its Core i7-1280P, the Framework Laptop tends to trigger its fan at the slightest request. Result, we measure 45.7 dB, a feeling almost doubled. It will be necessary to go through the Windows power management to calm the flights of the fan.
Status quo on the autonomy side
On the autonomy side, the Laptop Framework takes 6 hours away from an electrical outlet. Either the same duration as with its old motherboard. The hybrid architecture of the 12th generation Intel processor foreshadowed better management with its efficient cores, but the founder preferred to rely on the performance of its architecture to catch up on AMD.
Framework succeeds in its bet to offer a portable PC that is both customizable and scalable. If the customization may seem anecdotal and allows the brand to stand out from its traditional competitors, the update of the processor to the latest generation is a success. Users will probably not do the manipulation with each new generation; however, knowing that it is possible adds real value to the Laptop Framework.
Framework: a portable PC that relies heavily on modularity and scalability