Modular gpu idea

I love the framework laptop. It’s an ingenious device but I am yet to purchase one for one reason, no integrated GPU. For most people, it isn’t much of a deal breaker but for me being someone moving around with school and work this is annoying.

I thought of a solution though. What if we took a thunderbolt to PCI-E adapter and then added a PCI-E to MXM 3.0 adapter and some drivers? I’m designing something to fit under the chassis with some fans. and a heatsink and a whole other pile of heat control.

Would something like this work? This way you wouldn’t need a whole other power supply. The laptop is still sleek. and people who don’t want a big bulky extra GPU making their laptop resemble a brick can still have their sleek ultrabook.

What do you guys think about this? It’s something I’m gonna be working on and if the framework devs would like to give me some ideas or would like to take my idea let me know.

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It’s not worth it, each thunderbolt port is gen 3 or gen 4 but 4 lanes.

The Framework laptop wasn’t initially designed as a gaming device and as such integrated GPUs aren’t a focus as of right now. Using Dell’s XPS 13" line, they don’t offer iGPUs because there’s not enough room. If you’ve looked inside the Framework, there’s nowhere you could fit a GPU into. Your best option right now is too use an eGPU.

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I like the initiative, as it’s a concept a few here (me included) have discussed but not done anything about. My main input on that is that it sounds a lot like you’re designing an MXM eGPU enclosure. I don’t have issue with that, but I’m just pointing out that not many people have reason to go mxm over standard PCIe GPUs. Another point would be that you will still need to feed external power. One option is if the MXM card requires fewer than 100W using USB-C PD, and enabling passthrough if even less peak power (50W?) is required. However the laptop ports only output 5V/3A so they won’t be enough to run all power and data combined to the MXM card.

That being said I have a possibly dead, possibly alive full-fat GTX980 module lying around (don’t ask me how) so if you get this working I’d be first in line to try it out.

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I think you mean dedicated GPU’s or dGPU’s but your overall point is correct.


It won’t be a full egpu enclosure brick, It is meant to be a module that clips onto the bottom of the laptop making it slightly thicker and adding the mxm port and some adapters and cooling.

Ment for those programs that require more firepower such as video editing and designing. If the GPU is not needed you can turn it off with the click of a button or remove it altogether for more portability and better battery life.

I do like the idea of a more “modular” gpu enclosure the only issue I have would be this.

The whole idea of dedicated gpus is that they allow you the graphical power of a desktop on the go. As soon as you introduce eGPUs (or whatever Framework decides to come up with) you lose that mobility or on the go aspect of laptops and honestly, it isn’t much better than a full blown desktop.

Whatever they do design, I strongly feel it’ll need to be an under the hood module vs a separate piece of hardware you’d plug in or connect to. I don’t really like the idea of having to carry around a larger module that would house the gpu. As soon as they figure that out and start selling it. You bet your haunches I will be the first in line to buy one of their laptops.