Layout ideas for a 17“ variant with dedicated GPU

Hi there,
I’ve been thinking about a design for a larger Framework Laptop that’s centered around the existing components, so they can be reused and swapped between different sizes. So here’s what I’ve come up with:

The larger variant would have a screen size of around 17”, according to my back of the envelope calculations. It would still use the motherboard, battery, speakers, RAM, SSD, Wifi card and expansion card positions from the current model. There would be space for three new modules inside thought:

The first new module could house a GPU. This GPU would be connected to the mainboard via Thunderbolt. Due to its location towards the back of the device, it could have a dedicated additional fan, which is very important for a separate GPU that has any kind of power. The GPU module should also split the second Thunderbolt port into six that would connect to the expansion modules and the second and third new module. For users that just want a bigger screen and no extra GPU, this space could also be used as a kind of USB C Powerbank inside the device, because a bigger screen will probably consume more energy.

Because of the larger footprint of the laptop, there would be space for at least two additional expansion module slots next to the existing ones, which many of us would really appreciate.

The second new module is so skinny that it would most likely just house a second battery. The old battery could plug into this one to connect them in parallel and this module would also pass through one of the USB C connections for the additional expansion module on the other side.

The third new module could fit next to the existing battery. When scaling up the current machine to 17”, there would be an additional 70 mm of width. This module could beautifully house a 2.5” SATA drive connected via USB-C for people that want tons of cheap storage with a spinning HDD or just more space in an additional SSD. Since storage drives don’t get super hot, the placement below the palm rests wouldn’t be uncomfortable. Alternatively, this would be another great spot for some extra battery.

I’m sure someone in the Framework team already thought about a layout like this and knows why it won’t work, but in the off chance they didn’t consider something like this already, I wanted to share my idea. And also, I just enjoy thinking about product design :blush:

What do you think?

2 Likes

This seems like a great idea (besides if someone does know why it would not work), and another idea I had for the new module 2 that you proposed would be something like extra ram/ nvme cards that could be used for upgrading performance.

The issue with having a GPU connected via thunderbolt is that it has 2 controllers, on the mainboard for the left and right sides. From what I understand it uses 2 lanes out of the 4 PCIE lanes for both controllers plus the lane for NVME so with 1 lane remaining that may be used by wifi or other internal devices.

I’m pretty sure each thunderbolt controller has access to a full 4 lanes for each side, to the only issue would be having say, 2 eGPUs on one side where they’d need to split that 4 between them.