The Upgradeable Mainboard

I assume you meant TB3 since TB4 isn’t a thing yet.
And yes, the maximum speed is supposedly 40Gbps and because of overhead there’s always a drop here and there.

I think TB 3 inherit many of the USB protocols such as PD, 3.2, and the DP 1.4, as well as its own PCIe protocol (basically that. Dell docks are really just PCIe bridge with some other stuff attached to the other end. Some of the old docks come apart and reveal those golden fingers)

I also think USB 4 inherit many of the things mentioned above. Those two are a bit of the same thing (although it seems not, since either TB 3 support USB 4 or the other way around)

Just like how Dell 9360 have a half-speed TB port because it only get two lanes of PCIe (as mentioned earlier in my post I think)

For those that say TB4 isn’t a thing yet, it’s got fully released products already. You can find TB4 compliant docks and such online. Additionally it’s even safe to start talking about the future TB5 release, as there were Intel internal specs unintentionally released regarding a new standard that supports 80GB/s transfer, right in line with what speculated TB5 performance would be.

Framework laptops are supposedly already supporting TB4. There isn’t a big difference between TB3 and TB4 other than with TB4 you need 4 PCIe 3.0 lanes instead of 2 for the full 40 Gbps speed. Also a lot of laptops already claim having TB4 support and being USB4 compatible.


Main reason to get TB4 is simply the guarantee that it supports all the features that TB3 made optional. Including the aforementioned full set of 4 PCIe lanes that TB3 didn’t make a requirement for compliance.


Can you elaborate on what the power profiles are under Windows 10? I’m bringing my own OS, it will be Windows 11, and I’m just curious. Thanks.

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I still have every confidence that the board will do as advertised in the future, getting everything done right out of the box is difficult as you have to pick your battles. Especially if you are working with a 3rd party who provides the bios.

It should a bios change, or even a plug developed to supply power via the battery connector in the future as well (hoping for that one) - both will make me happy at the right time.


The only thing I do wish we could know is the exact part numbers of the connectors that plug into the motherboard and the pinouts (the full schematic is not necessary) … So we can be working on our own needs for in the future.



I wonder if an actual battery is needed.

Is it possible a connector with the proper wiring - a sort of loopback plug - would allow the board to power up?

@CJ_Elevated pulled the battery after powerup, so it may be that some circuit needs to be closed, not that battery power needs to be present, in order to boot.

Exactly, and I hate to tell you how many times I have wanted to go into the weeds with a full explanation of things and the interview format & time restraints didn’t allow it.

I’m still so happy with the unit. Especially mine as it is clicking along hitting 5.1 at times with one heck of a load as I work.


the motherboard to not work without a battery is kind of …
If you look at how the fact USB PD require negotiations before the laptop is fed 20V power, and how it need to have power in order to do said negotiations, actually able to pull anything like that off is quite remarkable.

The battery also acts as a redundancy or back-up in case the flimsy USB-C (because it’s a consumer connector, rather than a industrial barrel jack) fails, the system won’t just die.

Which means that the best workaround is to have some kind of industry-standard way of powering the board without having to result to flimsy USB-PD or other things (like a power port on the motherboard that provide the necessary power).
Like a 12V jumper. This way you can even have the board just hooked up to some 3D printer or other industrial unit.
Or maybe because the battery is 3S (11.1V -12.4V), we can just supply that through the battery connector
Now obviously other consumers just wanted to use it like a cheap desktop computer. In that case, why not just leave the laptop as-is and connect external devices?

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In case anyone didn’t see @CJ_Elevated ’s Youtube update, BIOS v3.06 just fixed this issue and he’s confirmed the mainboard works without the battery!


That’s amazing news, all I hope now is lvfs in production, so I can get the firmware updates.


This opens up an interesting possibility – not just upgrading the mainboard in a Framework laptop, but using the mainboard in an alternative laptop chassis, for those who want to minimize e-waste or prefer designs substantially different from the Framework’s. (Of course you’d miss out on the expansion cards, but some users could live with that trade-off.) I imagine the use of eDP and USB internally would make much of the I/O relatively straightforward, and while the Framework is quite fully packed some laptops have more space for arranging the non-mainboard parts (although they’d probably require adapter cables and other parts for things like USB connectivity). Cooling and power obviously might be problems. But I wonder if there are laptops with which it’s physically compatible, where the mainboard (and maybe some other Framework parts) could be used to upgrade an old laptop or revive a bricked laptop (I have a dead ThinkPad x270, for example, which I believe uses eDP and has at least one USB-C port).

(Reading the full thread, I see @1111 and @Frosty had similar ideas! :slight_smile:)

Provided that Framework is still around in a few years, long enough to release an upgraded mainboard, I’m planning on taking my existing mainboard and using it to create my own MAME cabinet. Even the i5 that I bought is massive overkill for retro gaming, but the form factor is perfect.

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Grin another thing I had to look up… I’m not a gamer in any form.

MAME MAME - Google Search

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The upgradable mainboard in addition to the fabulous I/O was probably the biggest selling point for me.

When I’m done with the 11th gen board, I can hopefully pop a new one into the laptop chassis, then use my old board as a NAS, a media server, an emulator cabinet, or something. Maybe just build a simple bracket behind the TV and replace the Raspberry Pi that’s there now.
As I upgrade, I won’t have e-waste, I’ll have materials for crazy contraptions to support my mad-scientist lifestyle.


Ooh the 1165G7 is much faster than the aging Xeon E3-1220 v3 in my FreeNAS and consumes 1/3 the power. If only it could be installed into an ATX/microATX case, use an ATX power supply and support 6 X SATA 3.0 drives. I’d give up ECC because that’s not possible but the rest might be in a few years.

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Nice one! Have a boot drive or two off USB and that’s sorted.

FreeNAS is very particular about hardware and probably wouldn’t like it. Openmediavault is not…

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Updated as of yesterday (2021 11 07): Complete PC in a Mechanical Keyboard! Retro Concept, Modern Hardware. - YouTube

Looks like the “Cyber Deck” theory is confirmed operational!