Why isn't the headphone jack an expansion card?

I find it a bit odd that the headphone jack is the only non-replaceable port; even the USB-C charging port isn’t strictly required.

1 Like

Because everyone NEEDS a headphone jack, with it on a expansion card it would take up another slot and it is replaceable.


I agree, I wish the laptop had a built-in USB-C port on each side. You’re pretty much always going to need one for charging, and it would give you an extra two ‘free’ expansion slots to use how you like. They’re physically small enough that I would guess they’d fit without taking up too much space overall.


I think modern CPUs have pins dedicated to audio, either on the CPU itself or one of the standard support chips. If I’m right, then Framework might as well run the wires and give us a plug.


It may not be an expansion card, but from pictures, it does look like it’s on a daughter board with a ribbon value, so should plenty easy to replace


The headphone jack isn’t connected to an internal USB port, you woudn’t gain anything by removing it

If they have analog audio capability regardless of ports, I would much rather them wire it to a fixed USB C port on each side and the expansion slots, so that I wouldn’t be required to have a 3.5mm analog audio port. Then people who want a 3.5 port could also choose to put it on the right side if they prefer with an expansion card.

You can’t use those pins for anything else really. You also can’t enhance your USB ports with them either. You can always connect a USB soundcard to any USB-C port to get a 3.5mm port though but then you also loose one extension slot. Having a free 3.5mm audio port is better since you don’t need to waste one of your USB ports for it.If you want the audio port on a different side you can use an usb extension card for that. Framework was working on a extension card like that i think.
If you put the current audio jack on a expension card it would have to be an entirely new type of expension card that is incompatible with the others since its not connected over a USB interface. You would only have a single expansion card of that new type as option: a 3.5mm audio port


Why not?

True, but the same argument can be made for almost every other type of port which all require the use of expansion cards or adapters.

There are TB4 Docks that will expand out things like video and ethernet with the ability to charge the laptop. This will ensure that the port is not wasted.

Using Barrel plugs implies a propriety charging solution. So that’s a non-starter. In fact, the EU just mandated some portable devices to only use USB-C as their charging port.

You do. You can even have 2 ports on each side!

As for audio. It think that just a slap in the face of Apple, to show that you can still have a physical audio port even in an ultrabook form factor.

Well, yes, but that’s exactly my point. There’s no situation where I’m not going to need at least one USB-C expansion card, in order to charge the laptop.

That card is almost permanent, and so it would make sense to make it a real permanent port like the headphone jack - and that gives you a real choice of what you do with your four expansion slots, instead of really only have three choices plus a charging port.

It’s not that big of a deal in the grand scheme of things, but if I were picking between a headphone jack and a USB-C port to make the one permanent one, I would have made a different decision.

1 Like

But charging ports are the most commonly damaged.

By being an expansion, the USB c module is a sacrificial part that will be very easy to replace when the port is damaged, while the soldered USB c on the main board will be protected.


I don’t think you can get any more USB-C ports out of the CPU. Having all 4 of them used for an expansion card gives you the choice which one the 4 ports you want to use for charging. You would only have less options by removing one of the expansion slots for a normal USB-C port.

You can run out of expansion slots very quickly when one is used for charging and another is used for headphone or microphone. Even if you don’t need it really the 3.5mm port can still be useful when your bluetooth heaphones run out of battery. If i made a pool on weather the audio port should stay or be removed without gaining anything new i would say that most would choose to keep the audio port. There is also a certain timelessness about it in comparison to USB ports or display ports which change every few years.

USB and the audio pins use completly different protocols that arn’t designed to work together. The audio pins are fixed function and can only be used with specific hardware codecs, like an realtek ALC711, that convert the digital signal audio to analog for the 3.5mm port. With USB you can only use protocols that are designed for USB. The USB ports on the framwork laptop already support pretty much all protocols that USB can offer.

I agree it is odd that it is not an expansion card but it is easily replaceable. A new audio board is $14, and I would imagine anyone buying this laptop would be willing to open it and replace this. I believe it only requires 2 screws and a ribbon cable, so it seems very easy.

1 Like