Will the old motherboard work in Framework 16?

Or will you need to purchase a whole new laptop to use these new features?


Purchase a whole new laptop I expect. Given that there are 3 bays but only 2 on the old mobo plus no support for that dGPU on the old boards.


The framework laptop 16 uses a different sized motherboard than the 13. NRP posted about that on hacker News.


Link? I’m having a surprisingly hard time finding that.

EDIT: nm found it: more nrp's comments | Hacker News. ctrl-F for “They do use different mainboards in order to enable all of the functionality”


Great question,
My only use case is that I want additional USB ports. (and hopefully the numpad);
But buying a whole another laptop doesn’t make sense for me.

Worst case scenario, I am hoping 13’s mainboard to fit in the framework 16’s body and at least 4 ports to work.

Hoping for an official confirmation on either cases. :slight_smile:

P.S: Use a larger screen when I am traveling short distance, and a lighter laptop when I traveling for longer periods – that’s the dream; settles debate between 13 and 16inch for me!


there is no sales in my country, and it opens this year so I will directly buy the 16

I am hoping the existing boards from the 13 inch laptop will be usable as well.
If a different board has to be bought it does go against the modular philosophy Framework is promoting. My thought is that there will be a stand alone board for the ports on each side with a ribbon cable that could connect to the main board. Same with the modular GPU.

At least this is what I hope for. If it is not doable than I understand why they would switch to a different board for that model.

However, for me, ideally it would be nice if they were all interchangeable.


Only a few posts above make it clear the 13" boards are not drop in replacements.

Have you seen the video ?

1 Like

Do you mean the 16 inch promo video? I saw that but I did not see the main board in it. I saw the GPU expansion board. I will watch it closer this time. Maybe I missed it.

1 Like

Although there still may be only four board ports with fancy connections to six expansion bays, then I found this.



Well, Linus, an investor in the company, made a review about the laptop and I hear him say this: I Made a Bad Decision – Framework Investment Update - YouTube
Now, maybe I am reading too much into it, but I’ll wait for the official word before getting disappointed! :slight_smile:

The bad decision was not to invest more, it was a joke - so yes you may well be disappointed if you didn’t invest :slight_smile:

A word for what, that the boards for the 13" are not drop in replacements ?? There are even images of the boards etc. ???

And the video link you provide makes that pretty clear ??

1 Like

I think Npr’s comment technically leaves open the potential to use Framework 13 motherboard. Of course without the full functionality of the 16 though.

Direct link

nrp 44 days ago
They do use different mainboards in order to enable all of the functionality that exists in the Framework Laptop 16 (6x Expansion Cards, the Expansion Bay, and the Input Module system).

Have to assume the Framework-16 motherboard would be larger. They’ll have added room and it will certainly be easier to fit the needed additional connectors. If the mounting points are placed at the edges as they usually are then you would need an adapter plate for the Framework-13 motherboard screw locations, assuming there will be vertical room for one. The Expansion Card slots would need an adapter to bring the ports to the right location. And anyway the two extra Framework-16 Expansion Cards would require placing a USB hub on one of the Framework-13s Expansion Card ports. To keep costs down you wouldn’t have full USB4 or thunderbolt on the 3 ports coming from the hub. Extra USB-2 ports could be pulled off there for the input modules. Things like the screen display cable, webcam and fingerprint cables would probably not reach the Framework-13 motherboard connectors, so they would need extenders. Then there is having holes in the Framework-16 case that can accommodate the 13 motherboard cooling vents.

All in all, it’s sounds like too much work and cost, for limited benefit to the few users who would want to do it. The chance feels slim.


That’s putting it gently :slight_smile:
Alternative is to buy a bigger screen and a new keyboard for use at home.


The case/body of the 13" was never sold separately so you would likely have to buy the whole 16" shebang and remove the main board.

I think I’m a bit crazy but not like that.

When I’m ready I’ll jut buy one for fun and company for my 13"


They don’t sell it as an all-in-one kit but you can piece it together if you wanted. Higher prices on individual parts though.

Throwing the items into a cart for an estimate I get $505
$89 Top Cover (CNC)
$179 Display Kit
$39 Bezel
$99 Input Cover Kit
$99 Bottom Cover Kit
Display, I’m sure, would cost more for the Framework-16. Other parts you could bring over from your Framework-13.

But given the issues you wouldn’t try it unless Framework actually designed the 16" with this option in mine. Or if you just find the project fun.

Is their any hope for future backwards compatibility between the 16 and 13 inch mainboards? A future 13 or 14 inch version with a different chassis to accommodate the side cooling vents and additional expansion card slots. It would be nice to be able to swap boards for generational upgrades so the formerly high performance board can be moved to a thin and light for people with both. Obviously in

I assume it would fit with the removal of the headphone jack and perhaps an additional inch size adjustment in width. I for one can happily lose the audio jack for another USB C and I expect it could be brought back using an expansion card.

The 16 has all the wiring for the expansion bay and 6 expansion cards, so no.

Also not sure why you’d want to, the 2 devices have entirely different priorities.


I understand why, but it could have been planned better and have the 16" model use the old motherboards plus some extra wiring and chipsets. There is really no reason to have different motherboards for the 13" and the 16", since they are basically the same plus some extra connections and maybe different cooling solutions for the 16".

It is possible I am missing something, but it seems quite doable to have:

  • common 13"/16" motherboard
  • 13" cooling solution
  • 16" cooling solution
  • 16" extra connections board

If sustainability and reusability is the goal, it seems quite useless to have different boards.

There is like all of the reason to have different mainboards.

There is more space in the 16 so no need to make the sacrifices you have to make on the 13, the 16 needs more cirquitry that would just ad cost and complexity to the 13.

The 13 and the 16 are 2 very different machines.

Using 2 semi trucks instead of a bike and a semi truck just to have only one thing doesn’t make it more sustainable.


And my point is that, with a bit of planning, you could have created a 13" motherboard with the possibility to attach a small extra board to have the extra capabilities of the 16", so the motherboards, the most expensive part, are interchangeable. This would also make the production chain simpler.

Seems like a missed oportunity.