An expansion bay with usb ports and thunderbolt

Hi! I got an idea, an expansion bay with audio jack, usb ports, and a thunderbolt port for an eGPU. Would this be possible? I was thinking of making a home setup where i could just slide in a framework 16 and have everything plugged in and ready to go.

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Hi and welcome to the forum

Anything is possible, are you offering to built such :slight_smile:

Hi! Yes I am going to try to build one as soon as I can get my hands on a framework 16

My understanding is that the expansion bay is not hot-swappable. I believe you have to take off the keyboard to swap it, and there is some speculation that its required for the cooling solution.

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Is this new information? I hadn’t seen anything on that topic up to this point, but I may be out of the loop.

Just looking at pictures of the connector, it didn’t seem hot-swappable. Looked like holes for screws in the center of each group of pins.

Then look at Framework’s github, and it seems like there’s no way it’s hot-swappable. They even show an example of it screwing together with two m2 torx.

The connector is labeled as FXBeam from neoconix unimicron. Checking their site, they show it as screw-down too. Don’t see any other option mentioned.

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You can basically already do that with a single thunderbolt link. For example the Razer Core X Chroma eGPU case has a built-in USB hub (you can either utilise the audio stream through the HDMI/DisplayPort or use an audio USB dongle).

Appreciate the info! It does look like that connector is present on the development samples, which would make it not hot swappable. Unfortunate.

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I’m confused why OP needs it to be hot swappable… But on the topic, would be interesting if someone created an expansion module with another 2 or so expansion card slots on the back of the laptop. Not sure how many extra expansion card slots would be possible given the interface (2xM.2) and physical constraints but would truly be an excessive amount of hot-swappable ports!

Would be nice if Framework just went ahead and made the default expansion bay shell have an additional 2 expansion ports but given there are already 6 on the laptop I doubt it would be worth the effort. However, it might be fairly low effort for them to make the shell just store spare expansion cards instead of users carrying them around separately. That would be super nice!

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Given that the expansion bay doesn’t appear to be hot swappable, I’d think the best way to do this would be to design an expansion bay that has a hot swappable port that connects to a dock. You could leave the dock plugged in (GPU, keyboard, mouse, etc.) and just dock when you’re at home/work. I imagine that bottom port you’d see on older laptops (probably Dell if I recall correctly).

This also ends up being a very obtuse way to go about this when you could just get a Thunderbolt/USB hub, or use an eGPU with sufficient ports, and plug in a Thunderbolt/USB-C cable.

Personally I’d rather just use USB than designing and creating an expansion bay and a dock. Unless you really need to utilize the most out of a desktop GPU and/or storage I think USB works well enough.