Framework's DIY laptop shames Apple and Microsoft with its upgradable CPU and makes me excited for the future

A lifestyle image of the Framework laptop surrounded by replaceable components
(Image credit: Framework)

Framework announced brand new upgrades for its DIY laptop line that should greatly improve performance. These upgrades can be installed into older models, with two main upgrades for the motherboards: one that brings them from the Intel 12th-gen CPUs to the 13th-gen CPUs, and another that brings AMD CPUs to Framework laptops for the first time.

The 12th-gen Intel chips used in previous Framework laptops negatively affected battery performance but the manufacturer stated that 13th-gen chips are far more battery efficient and "firmware optimizations" will improve battery performance even further. 

The AMD upgrade is a bit more mysterious but we do know that it will combine Zen 4 CPU and integrated graphics using AMD's current-gen RDNA3 architecture, which will give the laptop a major performance boost so it should even handle low-end gaming.

Framework is doing what Microsoft and Apple aren’t

However, the main story here is that Framework has and continues to do what many other laptop manufacturers have only just started at the most in terms of Microsoft and have been skirting around the concept as Apple does.

One of the worst aspects of laptops by far is their lack of sustainability. The fact that you can’t easily upgrade components that naturally age like CPUs, GPUs, or even motherboards, means that eventually your nice and shiny laptop will die and will produce more e-waste. It’s an extremely wasteful cycle that only benefits short-term profits.

But Framework creating a laptop that can be upgraded with new parts while keeping the same modular base is a stroke of genius. Even better is how easy and accessible disassembly is, which is the major roadblock to DIY laptop maintenance, if the laptop manufacturer even allows for it in the first place.

In recent years, Microsoft has finally loosened the reins on ‘right to repair,’ allowing users to open up their Surface Laptop SE laptops and repair them — even featuring the steps in a how-to video, though the tech giant hasn’t been clear on whether this would void your warranty. When it comes to other Microsoft products, however, users are still forced to use first-party repair services.

It’s still better than Apple, which has refused to budge on its own stance regarding ‘right to repair’ when it comes to laptops and PCs. It does offer Apple Self Service Repair, but that only works for some phones.

As a refresher, a consumer’s ‘right to repair’ means that they are given the tools, knowledge, and legal leeway to repair their own tech and hardware, a movement that has grown increasingly popular as laptops have become more widespread. And compared to two multi-billion dollar corporations, Framework is light years ahead of them in progress.

Dell does have its own version of Framework’s DIY laptops called Concept Luna, which would offer the same features. It even bragged that you could take apart a laptop in two minutes, and watching the process unfold in live demos is quite impressive. However, Dell hasn’t released said project or even announced a release date for it, which means it’s still just a concept.

Allisa James
Computing Staff Writer

Named by the CTA as a CES 2023 Media Trailblazer, Allisa is a Computing Staff Writer who covers breaking news and rumors in the computing industry, as well as reviews, hands-on previews, featured articles, and the latest deals and trends. In her spare time you can find her chatting it up on her two podcasts, Megaten Marathon and Combo Chain, as well as playing any JRPGs she can get her hands on.