I have been contemplating buying a framework laptop, and I have been looking at the different expansion cards. From my understanding, all of the ports for the expansion cards have a female USB-C port that the cards plug into to work. I know it is probably not recommended, but can you plug other USB-C devices into the port and have them work? If so, I could get four non-USB-C expansion cards, and just unplug one to use USB-C.
Technically you can do that, but the modules provide a stronger support for the cables. The inner USB-C are just meant to be an interface connector. And a USB-C module is $9 … And swap out quickly… Same as having to pull out a module to use the inner USB port.
But it’s your machine, your choice…
FYI, a lot of us have a bevy of modules… So we can do any configuration anytime. (I have 15 of them, for various reasons)
Ordering them with the laptop is going to be cheaper than buying them later and paying for the shipping of a few modules.
Internal port sits very close to the laptop frame, so even a USB stick would not fit easily. You’d have to use an extender cable which kinda makes the whole idea useless.
In addition, the internal USB-C ports are direct soldered to the motherboard. So if you plug a cable directly into it, any stress you put on that cable (e.g. if someone trips over it) stresses the port solder pads on the motherboard. If you use a USB-C expansion card it takes the stress instead, insulating the much more valuable motherboard.
I can’t stress this enough. There is no reason you should be stressing the port on the mainboard if longevity is important to you. The ports on the outside of your framework through an expansion card can take abuse and wont stress the mainboard. This is an excellent design choice, and one I highly recommend using.
Some laptops do have external ports soldered to the motherboard, and this contributes to a higher failure rate vs. those that use a ribbon cable in between.
Louis Rossman mentions this during his teardown video of the Framework. He was concerned about the ports being direct soldered instead of using ribbon cables, but theorised that was because the expansion cards made it unnecessary. Framework confirm that in a comment.
@2disbetter - how do you quote a post? I can’t see an option for it.
If you highlight text, a quote option appears.