Building a Framework Desktop

I’m toying with the idea of a building a framework desktop because of the sale prices.

Here is what I am looking to place into it:

I figure with the dock, I won’t need either an audio or Ethernet module. Have no desire for it to be wireless

Does this look viable?

I decided to not use the Framework charger because I wanted a little more headroom on the power.


Can’t see any reason why this wouldn’t work!

Only two things to figure out:

  • case. 3D print? Machined metal? Wood? Acrylic?

  • thermal management/airflow. Will you be using case fans? How will you get fresh air to the fan intake? How will you exhaust hot air?

Note that there are M.2 1 GbE and 2.5 GbE adapters which can be installed in the M.2 WiFi slot (A+E keyed) if you wanted to go with a simpler hub or get 2.5 GbE. I’ve always been curious about these and forum regulars are probably getting sick of me talking about them.

This is a very interesting project, please keep us updated!

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For the case I debated between a printed case or just using the Cooler master case that is made for the Framework Board. I was opting on lower aggravation and went with the Cooler Master case especially after seeing YouTube video about the Cooler Master Case from Elevated Systems

It is a case and screws, so it has everything to get up an running up and quick. The only complaint that he had was the fan produced a high whine during certain speeds, but I don’t have any qualms with taking a dremmel to open the top or bottom of the case to open it up for more air flow.

Not really worried any Ethernet speed above 1 Gbe because I don’t have any Network components that can handle 2.5.


Duh, you said so in your original post. Guess my enthusiasm got the better of me.

The headroom with 100W should be more than enough. These motherboards are more efficient that I could imagine. Initially I was going to get the FW adapter, but I could even power my setup using a 11th Gen Intel board with a Nintendo Switch adapter which only goes up to 39 watts. Granted, my USB hub I/O is more modest with just a single 3.0 port and several 2.0 ports, so you should need more power with yours just to be safe.

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I have used a 30 watt MacBook Air power supply and a 25 watt Samsung Note20 Ultra power supply with my 11th Gen batch 1.

I prefer a minimum of a 45 watt Samsung power supply though.

Went with the following:

All working fine, but I had to reset the BIOS for it to get to work, which is weird, but hey it is up


Would love to see what it looks like!

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Nah, don’t worry! We just learn to tune you out when we spot “GbE” in a post! :laughing:

Jk of course

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LOL, but is that not the proper technical term? Gigabit Ethernet?

If not I’ll stop using it. :slightly_smiling_face:

No, I mean it’s just easy to spot in a post. :smile:

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Sure, it is nothing exciting


Didn’t want to mount it behind the display to reclaim some desk space?

My monitor doesn’t have VESA mount points.

I might move it down by where the mouse is. Right now I enjoy just having it on the desk.

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Zipties and ducktape exists XD.

But if you have the space there is nothing wrong with showing it off.

If air doesn’t move through that little pocket, you could get toasty mouse hand.

You’re correct – if you are going to use it with a dock, you won’t need the wireless components (the antenna assembly and WiFi card) or the sound board. People who are building a desktop for use without a dock will probably want those things.

I have one that I built up with an 1135G7 motherboard, and I’m currently using it with a Dell Thunderbolt dock that provides power as well as ports. I got it for free, surplus from a nearby university. (There were a bunch of docks at the surplus center; I’m guessing the laptops they used them with were sold but the docks got surplused.) It’s a thin one that’s only about 3/4" tall; it has two USB 3.0 and a 3.5mm audio jack in front, and HDMI, mini DisplayPort, gigabit Ethernet, VGA, and another USB 3.0 and two USB 2.0 in back. No USB-C outputs, alas. It has a 140W power brick (Dell also offers larger ones), and probably supplies 100W to the computer unless the USB ports are loaded down heavily; the rest is to power the ports in the dock. I put it under the Framework in the Cooler Master case. My monitor is connected to the HDMI port on the dock, and that works as well as the Framework HDMI card does.

The combination works well. I’m using it right now. I do have the WiFi and the sound board so I can use my Framework desktop without the dock if I like, but currently the dock is the only thing plugged into the Framework; the other three expansion ports have nothing plugged into them.

Curious thing; some of the ports in the dock appear to be automatically powered down if nothing is plugged into them. They don’t even show up in Device Manager. The first time you plug something into that port, Windows goes through the process of adding a new device.

I contemplated adding the Sound board, but wanted to see how the Lenovo dock works as a complete solution, and so far so good.

The only issue with my current dock is that I have 1 2.0 USB-A and 1 USB 3.0 A, so to attach a keyboard and mouse, and have connectivity for a USB dock, I needed to purchase another small USB 2.0 dock to split and add the keyboard and Mouse.

Might just get the Frame.Work USB-A Adapter for either mouse or external USB drive.

Also looking to see if could place a SSD in the wifi slot.

The Latte Panda ethernet card should work with the Framework, it is something I am eyeing for once I decide between the current AMD or the next Intel mainboard release as I prefer wired solution.

I am thinking to put a larger heatsink, small single fin stack downdraft coolers or single/dual fan GPU heatsinks instead of the Framework’s cooling.

Would be great if there’s a carrier board that allows us to plug a keyboard and mouse into the ribbon cable connector for the input cover.

Same applies to the the display connector to output as DP via a carrier board (I think I have seen it on certain laptops).

Probably skip on the eGPU because it is finicky to work with.

That’s my ideal state for the 12th gen mobo I have.

I have a Framework desktop, it’s just a Cooler Master case, and Dell USB-C monitor, and done.
The USB-C monitor has ethernet, USB hub, power delivery, everything I need (except audio out, had to buy a card for that). USB-C monitors are basically monitor/docking station in one.