ARM-based CPUs

I’ve seen a lot of posts talking about getting AMD CPUs on the Framework laptop, but what about chips based on ARM or RISC-V? Either of those instruction sets would be able to increase the battery life significantly, let the unit run cooler, and potentially free up space from not needing a fan to be able to get a secondary NVMe slot or something else. This of course comes at the cost of software compatibility, but there are a few reasons this would not be a huge problem; namely, someone who needs x86 software would choose an x86 motherboard, 32-bit programs can be run (at least on Linux) fairly well with Box86, 64-bit program compatibility is in development with Box64, and by moving towards ARM the market can be pushed in that direction as well, leading to more natively compatible apps. I think that with the existence of Box86 and Box64, it would be a mistake to not make an affordable laptop which packs some power and can last for multiple work days.

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I’d be very interested in RISC-V. Maybe we should buckle down and make one :slight_smile:

I imagine that assuming the appropriate drivers exist for the ARM variants (trivially true for any hardware they’re currently using if Linux is the OS, as those drivers would be open source and able to be built for ARM manually; Windows is less clear), it wouldn’t be incredibly difficult. I’d definitely love an ARM variant though.

From the ‘The Upgradable Mainboard’ blog post:

“We architected the mainboard to maximize adaptability to future generations of x86 and ARM (and we hope eventually RISC-V!) CPUs”

So yes, I hope for a bright, RISC filled future! Apple already proved the power of RISC, and I hope both ARM and RISC-V continue to have more serious adoption rates. Hopefully Alder Lake and future generations of CISC processors in general get to be a lot more efficient as well!

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A repairable laptop

That you can use :
Intel
Arm
Amd

Can you imagine… I hope they can accomplish this

Oh my gosh, yes, I’d take both ARM and RISC-V (well, the latter just for tinkering, since RISC-V isn’t ready for it’s prime time yet).

More realistically an AMD x86_64 option would be nice.

The big thing for me is feature parity. Performance isn’t 1:1 comparable so I care less about that, but things like Thunderbolt (USB4) are a MUST for compatibility with add-ons and docks. Currently there’s nobody selling an ARM-based laptop with thunderbolt/USB4 except for that one fruit company, but the first company to sell a linux-compatible device with ARM that I can use with my thunderbolt dock can take my money!

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At this point for everyday types of tasks, most processors are complete overkill anyway. Even if an ARM based Framework laptop didn’t outperform or even match the latest Intel i7 mobile chips, I’d still be extremely interested if it allowed long battery life and cool, quiet operation. If I need to do more intensive tasks, I’ll fire up my desktop computer. But a 13" laptop with decent performance, 15 hours of battery life, a decent screen for content consumption, and no fan is basically my ideal, general use laptop.

And because of that, my current, general use laptop is a MacBook Air M1. I’ve never had it feel any temp other than ambient, it has no fan and is totally silent, it has a decent screen, the battery usually lasts me two or three days of general use, there is no intake/outlet to worry about when setting the computer on my lap, the arm of a chair, or wherever. I purchased it well before I heard about the Framework laptop.

I LOVE the concept of the Framework, and I’ve complained for years about devices removing features, reducing repairability, etc. I put my money where my mouth has been, and purchased a base, DIY Framework laptop. I will use it to learn Linux and to do some general “tinkering.” So far it works great and I’m happy with it. As much as it pains me to say it, it won’t be replacing my M1 Air just yet. Unfortunately, the M1 Air is essentially a throw-away laptop. If some component on it dies in a couple years, I’m sure there will be no economical avenue to keep it going. If it wasn’t so perfect for my use case otherwise, I never would have bought it. If I didn’t already have the Air, I probably wouldn’t buy one. I’d just use the Framework laptop. But since I already have it, I’m going to keep it since it is working so well for my everyday use.

But if the M1 Air ever dies, I’ll switch to full use of the Framework. And if Framework has a laptop with similar attributes to what I described above by then, they’ll get my money again.

Even for high-performance stuff, I honestly just run that stuff in the cloud these days. My only high performance tasks are

  1. Blender (but aside from rendering the iGPU does this fine)
  2. Gaming (slowly becoming less of an issue because I mostly run older/indie titles)
  3. Tons of monitors (4-6) for productivity (which I use a Thunderbolt GPU for)

Everything else I either run in the cloud (AWS) or have been able to do since my Lenovo T400 with a Core 2 Duo. Battery life matters WAY more than raw power, since my job is mostly writing with software development/research/3d modeling/GIS on the side.