Its been almost a year since I got my framework laptop so I thought I'd do a longer term 'living with' style review.
I broke down and finally upgraded to the 12 gen motherboard from the 11th gen. Its annoying that everything is still intel, but the upgrade process itself was pretty amazing. I actually did a whole bunch of upgrades at the same time:
- Motherboard swap
- Stiffer hinges
- New top plate
- New 80db speakers
- Larger SSD (to dual boot windows, sigh)
The whole upgrade took me about an hour, while multitasking on a zoom call, so its really a very slick process. The instructions were barely needed given how logically everything is laid out, and to be honest the hardest thing was re-plugging the battery connector after the mobo swap. (Note to others who might attempt this--be VERY careful with the pins as they reccomend. I didn't bend them but its pretty easy to do so given the amount of force required)
Post upgrade, I have to say the overall kit feels MUCH more premium than the previous iteration. The top plate really makes a difference, it feels like fruit company level of finish. Although the hinges made the best quality of life difference to me. I'm not sure if my previous ones had the 'defect' that has been reported or they were just insufferably loose, but any 'adjustment' to the lid ran the risk of the display flopping over like a dead fish.
I think the most dissapointing upgrade was the new speakers. They are definitely louder, but coming from macs with their impressively overdriven speakers they are anemic and sad. But the number of times I'm not use headphones is so low anyway.
Dual Boot shenannigans
Previously I had a windows 10 LTSC install on the removable usb-c storage. This worked fine for my occasional forays outside of linux, but it had one super annoying drawback, which was the machine itself, likely because of the usb connection was unable to be suspended while booted in windows. After a bunch of back and forth I managed to get a nice btrfs Arch install dual booted with windows 11 (sigh). I really only use it for the occasonal game or audio app, but its nice to be able to just close the lid and walk away.
I also spent some time to get hibernation set up in both OSes. My battery which is going on a year old is already at 80% wear, likely due to the 11th gen motherboard's gradual power drain over time even when in deep sleep. My charge patterns of occasional use likely led to this degredation. I'm definitely mean to batteries, but hopefully hibernate will help there, and if not its not that big of a deal to swap out the battery module.