What new Expansion Card types do you want to see released?

I do believe that, that doesn’t make it any more practical.

Not really since you can’t practically use them anyway even if they would fit.

maybe with USB-C, but I thought you could do PCIe across Thunderbolt 3/USB-C?

You can indeed do that, but that is bulky (even the smallest implementations I know of are multiple times bigger than an expansion card), expensive (I have jet to find something that does that for <80$ retail), pretty complicated to implement and not really tuned for power efficiency.


I would like to see:

  1. A single expansion card with dual USB-C ports
  2. either a 2.5gbps or the normal 1gbps network port that does not protrude out. I have seen some laptop designs where there is a folding out mechanism to keep the port slim
  3. a high end DAC/amp for audiophile quality headphones
  4. an SD card reader

Welcome to the forum.

Framework is working on a full-size SD reader.

A community member is working on one. Dual USB-C ports but due to space constraints it’s USB 3.1 Gen1 (5 Gbps), no DisplayPort, no charging (no USB-PD).
Dual USB-C Expansion Card - #266 by tbe


I could definitely get behind this. Or better still, one that has a USB port plus an internal space for one of these mini-dongles. (Sunk in or not for the external one doesn’t bother me - I’d just like to not have to waste a port for my headphones.)

It would probably not be able to have a nice clean plastic cover between the expansion card and the computer, and one might even have to do some nasty things to the plastic case around the dongle, but if the idea is to make the dongle a semi-permanent addition to the laptop I’m not sure that’s too terrible (though that definitely moves it into “unofficial add-ons for nerds like me” territory rather than something Framework would likely sell).


Would like to see blank/ empty expansion cards and nano SIM card adapters.

USB-C cards are already super simple, cheap to make, and consume no power when nothing’s connected, so I doubt it would be worth the cost of setting up production lines for those compared to just using USB-C cards.

A 3rd party company is already making one.

Unfortunately it is pretty limited. In doesn’t support aggregation (combining multiple signals to boost performance), 256qam (boosts performance in low interference environments), 4x4 MIMO (multiple antennas working together to boost performance), and has limited frequency support (hurting performance/range).

Although I doubt a Framework official module would be significantly better without being way more expensive.

One of these might interest you two.

A few designs in this thread.

Then a dual port option

@Chunmeista (just adding a ping because I don’t know if a quote within another quote will actually notify someone)

They’d just need to sell the cases of the storage cards separately without the electronics. I think these would be super useful for DIY projects, even if they’d be probably the same price as the USB-C expansion cards.

Indeed, much of the reason for the limitations for our expansion card is that LTE modems are quite expensive beyond the feature set we have provided. As the market is currently, things get very expensive indeed.

I’d like to comment that although this is true, we do support the use of an optional diversity antenna. This mainly assists with scenarios where signal loss may occur due to high speed movement (e.g. in a car or train). The difference of course is nowhere near the effectiveness of a MIMO antenna, but it does help boost signal reception strength in some scenarios. :slight_smile:

Reference (pages 74-76)

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There are however a bunch of budget smartphones with better capabilities than your card. Some (such as the OnePlus Nord n200) even have all the features I listed and even 5G at a similar price to your card, and those are full phones.

I think (and you might know this better than me) that the 5G/4G capable laptop market is generally a niche with customers willing to pay a lot for it, so the companies in that market can charge high profit margins. I’m not accusing you of doing that, but wouldn’t be surprised if your modem supplier (Quectel?) is making high profit margins.

There’s also economies of scale benefits. The budget phone manufacturers are selling hundreds of thousands (if not millions) of their budget phones, I doubt you’re selling anywhere near that many Framework LTE modules.

So I understand the limitations of it, although I would like to see more.

IMO the biggest limitations with yours are the lack of aggregation (ability to be connected to multiple frequencies simultaneously for boosted performance) and limited frequency support. Lacking support for B71 (600 MHz) really cripples the experience with my carrier, T-Mobile US (B71 is their main long range band with ~2.3 million square miles of coverage). 5G, 256qam, and 4x4 MIMO are mainly nice to haves.

For me, definitely dual USB-C and maybe dual USB-A (but this will become obsolete during the next few years) – so dual USB-C. Does not necessarily have to support charging the laptop but PD out would be nice to charge devices (for example my camera (Canon R5) can only be charged using PD, not using 5V alone).

The expansion card are not large enough to fit dual USB-A.

The Framework laptop itself only supports 5v output to the expansion card, although it does support devices using PD to request a higher output amperage (3A vs the default 1.5A). Although I don’t think that is enough for the Canon R5.

IIRC @tbe is developing a dual USB-C card that has a chip to request 3A PD out.

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This is true.

It’s certainly not for everyone, yes. It’s mostly down to convenience really, do you want to carry your phone around everywhere with you and tether, which on cheaper phones drains the battery like mad? Or would you rather remain constantly connected via a USB peripheral?

For some the answer to the former is yes, for some the answer is no, hence the market exists :slight_smile:

It’s possible, but if this is the case, it’s the case with most modem suppliers to be honest, since the pricing is largely similar.

Hit the nail on the head there buddy. It’s also to do with the fact that a lot of these phones have the modems baked into the SoC, so these cheap modems may be available to them, but not to us, since we cannot fit a whole SoC. Which brings me onto our next point, space constraints. This was a large determining factor in the module we used, as I’m sure you can imagine. It was quite difficult just to find something that fits, let alone having all the latest features!

So would we, unfortunately we cannot develop our own modem, so we have to make do with what’s on the shelf :slight_smile:

Thanks for this feedback, it’s very useful :slight_smile:

Digi-Key and Mouser create their own pricing, you can get it direct from them for 20USD at 10pcs

Quite right, the markup on digi-key and mouser is pretty mad!

Full size SD card is in store now! :partying_face:
Ok not yet but very close.
Honestly a humongous achievement. Someone went out of their way to nit-pick through the hundreds of different versions of the same part to find exactly the one that fit, then designed the circuitry to work.

Is it PCIe-level fast, honestly, I don’t even care that much. would be a nice bonus, though.

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Next up Hi-Fi audio? ;3 maybe with a built in amp too?

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1/2.5/5/10Gb monomode bidi optical module with LC plug would be very nice, of course provided with the complementary sfp+ module to plug in the switch.
The connector is smaller than ethernet.

Another module that would be nice is a new release of the audio jack module with 3 jacks for 5.1 out + mic and with each jack being able a combo 3.5mm with analog and toslink.