So I haven’t seen anyone talk about doing this in the community, so I thought I’d talk about my experiences with building the framework from scratch.
I bought my mainboard (Mainboard (11th Gen Intel® Core™) - i7-1185G7) because it was on sale, so I didn’t have a DIY edition option available to me. It was also my first foray into the framework experience.
I ran into a few problems on the ordering end due to in part human error and in part a confusing marketplace experience so I ended up spending more money on shipping than I would have liked, but that’s part of the reason I wanted to make this post. I’ll include a full parts list so anyone who goes full DIY can know what all needs to be purchased.
All in it took me 6 orders to get it right
$399.00 - Mainboard (11th Gen Intel® Core™) - i7-1185G7
$49.00 - Battery - 55Wh
$49.00 - Power Adapter - 60W - US/Canada (Optional if you have 60W+ USB-C charger)
$99.00 - Bottom Cover Kit
$99.00 - Top Cover Kit - Original
$36.00 - Expansion Card (Your choice, at least one USB-C for charging recommended.)
$18.00 - Intel® Wi-Fi 6E AX210 No vPro® (Optional, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth)
$99.00 - Input Cover Kit - (Language of Choice)
$5.00 - Framework Screwdriver (Optional if you have T5 bit)
$5.00 - Fastener Kit - Bottom Cover and Mainboard
$5.00 - Fastener Kit - Input Cover and Keyboard
$5.00 - Fastener Kit - Top Cover
$179.00 - Display Kit - Original
$49.00 - Bezel - Green (Black is only $39)
$39.00 - WD_BLACK™ SN770 NVMe™- M.2 2280 - 250GB (optional if you have one)
$240.00 - DDR4-3200 - 64GB (2 x 32GB) (amount you get is optional)
$XX.XX - Operating System (depends on your choice of OS)
$1,375.00 + Tax + Shipping
16GB RAM build:
$1195.00 + Tax + Shipping
Similar Spec’d refurbished laptops same Mainboard with 32GB ram:
~$1500-$1600 + Tax + Shipping
Your costs may vary depending on marketplace pricing and choices around expansion modules.
If you don’t get the Wi-Fi chip keep in mind you won’t have Bluetooth either, and you’ll need a peripheral such as a dock to have internet. Alternatively you could get the Ethernet expansion card, but you still won’t have native bluetooth.
Getting everything put together after all of the parts came in was a bit of a hassle. There’s no build guide for putting things together from scratch and the build guides are not totally clear on the process, so it takes a bit of either experience with working with computers or combing through the provided guides to put it all together.
The biggest hassle I had was with the screws which needed to be purchased separately (wasn’t expecting that). Using the screw maps it wasn’t too difficult to figure out what all screws needed to be put where, but be ready to really read the labels closely and double check the diameter, thickness and length
Aside from that the none of the parts I ordered came with the Wi-Fi Bracket and it is not available in the marketplace from what I can see, correct me if I’m wrong about it being on the marketplace. It seems there is no way to get this part for me.
Now why order 6 different times? Well I forgot the ram and that’s on me lol. I ended up ordering the ram with the screws, those dastardly screws that didn’t come with the parts. Order your screws! Then the bezel as well which I figured would come with either the display kit or the back frame. Unfortunately you have to order that separately as well. But that only accounts for 3 you say? Why yes, I also ordered the Intel® Wi-Fi 6E AX211 No vPro® instead of the AX210. Why, you might ask, would I order a part that is incompatible with the 11th gen Intel Mainboard? Well that is due to the marketplace my dear reader, but I will get to that momentarily. As for the final two out of the 6, unfortunately, when ordering from the marketplace, some parts can not be ordered together as they come from different warehouses. As for the final order? Well, I realized, in my infinite wisdom, i ordered 4 USB-A instead of USB-C slots, which makes charging it possible, but uncomfortable.
How do you tell that this is the case? You simply cannot check-out and get a notification at check-out. Does it tell you which parts are needed to be ordered separately? Also no, you cannot. You either have to figure it out via forum posts or by removing items one by one until you figure it out. This may have been fixed by the time you read this, but alas, it was my experience.
Now for the confusing marketplace experience, you must be sure to double check the compatibility listed in the item, and not rely on the marketplace filtering to ensure part compatibility, as I discovered with the AX210 vs AX211. If you filter by the Intel 11th gen in the marketplace, it does not exclude the AX211 from the available items, you have been forewarned, fall not into the hole of 6 orders as I have. As for the second marketplace blunder I made, the Top Cover displays two images, one of a generic keyboard, Input Cover Kit - English International, and the second of the specific layout you chose. I was unclear on the difference between the English international and the British English layouts and ended up getting the British English version.
The first issue is a bug, and should be addressed eventually. The second issue is mostly aesthetic in nature and was submitted as feedback already.
Upon contacting Framework Support they allowed for the return of the incorrect Wi-Fi card and the Top Cover. No shipping cost for the return, but new parts needed to be ordered from the marketplace, and so to with shipping costs. Framework support was mostly helpful, but as one who works doing Technical Support for a living, the friendliness could not be felt. There was no rudeness, but it also felt cold, almost mechanical, from an interpersonal perspective.
Fast support, resolves issues quickly.
Price to performance ratio was good.
Marketplace discounts were pretty good.
It was a fun experience building it.
It’s doable with the build guides, but challenging.
Support felt mechanically cold.
Build guides didn’t cover my specific build case.
Marketplace experience left much to be desired. (Issues I had with it should be resolved)
Unable to get the Wi-Fi Bracket.
11th gen Mainboard has known issue with discharge of RTC circuit coin battery.
Mainboard was shipped with missing wire routing for the Wi-Fi card, and one fell off while routing the wires as well.
Overall I’d say it was a fun and worthwhile experience, and it feels nice to have built it myself. I hope my foolishness will assist those who choose to go for a from scratch build, as I have by picking up one of the discounted mainboards.