Framework CEO Nirav Patel, leader of the first company to fulfill the promise of a truly modular laptop, doesn’t just want you to buy new parts for his computers. He’d like you to keep using the old ones, too.
For example: this spring, you’ll be able to turn your old Framework mainboard into a desktop PC with this tiny $39 case.
The company partnered with PC case giant Cooler Master to produce the transparent chassis, which may need some additional parts to function — at the very least, you’ll need a USB-C PD charger to act as the power supply and a USB-C cable to your monitor, and you’ll need to supply storage and memory if they aren’t coming along for the ride.
(Framework’s mainboards, which come in its 13-inch laptop and are also sold separately as of 2022, are composed of the motherboard, CPU, heatsink, fan, slots for laptop memory, and NVMe storage — plus four USB-C ports that branch out to the various I/O modules and expansion cards you can additionally buy.)
The case also comes with the same four expansion card slots as the 13.5-inch Framework Laptop, so you can add additional storage, USB-A, USB-C, ethernet, HDMI, DisplayPort, microSD and storage that way — one port at a time. Framework lists a $29 “refurbished expansion card pack” with two USB-C ports, one USB-A port, and one HDMI port as “coming soon,” and that’s what I’d buy to go with this case if I were upgrading a laptop.
For $39, you’re just getting the plastic case — in addition to the mainboard, there’s room for a Wi-Fi antenna, Wi-Fi card and the 3.5mm audio jack module from the Framework Laptop, but you’ll need to add those yourself.
It does have a power button, though! It’s hidden, but Cooler Master surrounds it with an orange ring to make it easier to find.
Framework is also showing off a proof-of-concept battery case today that could turn your old laptop battery into a USB-C charger for other devices, alongside the news that it’s introducing a higher density, higher capacity 61Wh battery pack for the Framework Laptop 13 that might make you inclined to swap the old one out.
Patel tells us the company hasn’t yet decided if it’ll put the battery case into production but that the company will “open up design documentation around the display and battery” so users can reuse them both.
The company also introduced its first AMD mainboard for the Framework Laptop 13 as well as a 13th Gen Intel Core mainboard and previewed its second laptop, too: the 16-inch Framework Laptop 16, which comes with a new, larger format expansion bay and the promise of modular upgradable graphics for gamers.
Update, 1:24PM ET: Added images from Framework’s event, and how it comes with a power button but not a Wi-Fi antenna.