So, as we all sit and wait for shipments of the FW16 to start, I thought maybe we could kill some time sharing our “journeys” that lead us to Framework.
I was a gamer (now just play the occasional game) and still consider myself a tech enthusiast. My first PC was a whitebox 386, and the first component I ever changed out of that system was the video card. It’s funny that today I can’t remember what that card was, but I do remember I drove a long way to get it.
I kept upgrading my PC through 2013. Over the years swapping components was still exciting, but had also become stressful. One little slip and you could easily wreck your brand new CPU or motherboard. Even swapping RAM seemed to be getting more challenging, needing a fair bit of pressure to get seated properly. Installing RAM and drives in laptops at work was actually much easier. I had also been traveling quite a bit and really wanted to have a computer with me.
My first gaming laptop was a Lenovo Y580. I was fairly happy with it until about 4 years in. It had a 15” FHD display, and I believe the CPU was the i7-3630qm (definitely the 3rd-gen quad-core i7). I had installed 16GB of RAM and a 256GB mSATA SSD in it. The GPU (a GTX660m) was the first thing that started bothering me. It just wasn’t up to playing newer games.
The “nail in the coffin” for that laptop though was a Lenovo utility for resetting the battery stats. Using that utility blew a transistor on the motherboard that would prevent the battery from charging normally (https://www.techinferno.com/index.php?/topic/3893-y580-warning-do-not-use-battery-meter-restet-function/&tab=comments). My inability to easily repair the motherboard or swap the GPU lead to my purchasing a whole new laptop.
My next laptop was the Asus GL702VM. It was an exciting time, when the specs of Nvidia’s mobile parts actually made sense relative to the desktop parts. I was excited about the promise of Thunderbolt 3 and eGPUs. I thought, here was an opportunity to extend the life of my laptop. When the GPU wasn’t powerful enough anymore, I could just get an eGPU rather than a whole new laptop. Sadly, despite Asus proudly exclaiming “up to 40Gbps” for the Thunderbolt port, no GL702 models actually shipped with 40Gbps ports. They all used the cheaper Intel TB chip that could only do 20Gbps. Even full speed TB ports impact the performance of an eGPU. The half-speed port of the Asus laptop was nothing more than a useless gimmick.
The GTX 1060 GPU of the Asus laptop was at least good enough to get me through nearly 5 years of use, but again it was the non-upgradable GPU that really pushed me to my next laptop.
I replaced the GL702VM with the pretty amazing Lenovo (yes, I took a chance with Lenovo again) Legion 5 Pro (2021). This was a model that was, for a time, difficult to find, especially the “Walmart” one that sold for $1329. I was one of the lucky ones to find it fairly early on at the Walmart closest to me. Now, this is actually a pretty solid machine. I don’t have any issues playing games on it (RTX 3070), and I like the port layout (most are along the back) even if it lacks Thunderbolt.
But I know it’s just a matter of time before I hit the same wall as the other laptops, and there is already something about it that is bothersome. Despite AMD releasing new AGESA code to address a well-known fTPM bug that can cause stutter, Lenovo has never released a BIOS with the updated AGESA code.
So here I am. (Im)Patiently waiting for my Framework 16 (batch 1). I have essentially bought into a hope. A hope that I can replace individual components only when they need to be or when I want something more.
A hope that I will be buying my last laptop.