Lab – We updated the portable Framework Laptop with a 12th generation Core i7

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Framework’s customizable and upgradeable laptop gets its first update with the arrival of a 12th generation Intel processor. For the occasion, we installed the motherboard and redid our tests.

Launched a little over a year ago, the Start-up Framework promised a customizable laptop, but above all, able to evolve over time. Today, the manufacturer offers a motherboard equipped with a 12th generation Intel processor for sale to update its Framework Laptop, released with an 11th generation Intel processor.

age lake intel 12th generation laptop frame

Framework Laptop and its new motherboard.

© The Digital

Usually, once we have chosen a laptop, we are often stuck with the same processor throughout the life cycle of the device. Since this is soldered onto the motherboard, no manufacturer sells a motherboard, let alone one with a newer processor. Framework that allows this update. So that’s what we did with our copy of the Laptop Framework, moving from a Core i7-1185G7 with 4 hyperthreaded cores to a Core i7-1280P with 8 efficient cores and 6 high-performance hyperthreaded cores. On paper, although there is only a generational difference, the transition to Alder Lake’s hybrid architecture represents a real technological leap.

A heart-lung transplant

As we saw when we received the Framework Laptop, opening and accessing the PC proved particularly easy. Changing motherboards only requires a little patience and organization, especially since Framework has released a complete and very detailed tutorial.

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After the modules and keyboard have been removed, disconnect the battery from the motherboard and then remove the RAM and SSD to install them on the new motherboard.

Separating the card from the chassis requires removing four cables that connect the display, speakers, webcam, and sound card.

age lake intel 12th generation laptop frame

The new motherboard is simply placed in the housing before it is fixed.

© The Digital

Last item to extract, the wifi card. It is not necessary to disconnect the antennas, but be sure to note the cable routing.

All that remains is to unscrew the five screws that hold the motherboard to the chassis. No need to disassemble the cooling system as it is already in place on the new motherboard.

To install the new motherboard, simply repeat all steps in reverse. No further manipulation is required.
Taking our time, and even if we are used to doing this kind of manipulation, the whole operation will have required about fifteen minutes.

Great increase in performance

Equipped with its new motherboard, the Framework Laptop now features an Alder Lake processor and its hybrid architecture. It benefits from 20 logical cores with the Core i7-1280P compared to 8 logical cores previously with the Core i7-1185G7.

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performance core i7-1280P i7-1260P amd Ryzen 7 6800u macbook air m2 apple

With the Intel Core i7-1280P processor, the Laptop Framework is back in the game.

© The Digital

With its Core i7-1280P, the Framework Laptop achieves a performance index of 123, a gain of 41%. It thus shows higher performance than the ZenBook 13 Oled with an AMD Ryzen 7 6800U processor (111) and the Samsung Book2 Pro 15 with its Core i7-1260P (115).

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Controlled temperatures, more ventilation

After changing the motherboard and therefore the processor, we slipped the Framework Laptop under the sensor of our thermal camera. From one processor to another, the temperatures vary very little, finally.



Intel Core i7-1280P


Intel Core i7-1185G7

However, the same cannot be said about noise pollution. With the Core i7-1185G7 we find 42.2 dB after our traditional coding under HandBrake. Now equipped with its Core i7-1280P, the Framework Laptop tends to fire up its fan at the slightest request. Result, we measure 45.7 dB, a feeling almost doubled. It will be necessary to go through Windows power management to calm the fan flights.

Status quo on the autonomy side

On the autonomy side, the Laptop Framework takes 6 hours away from an outlet. Either the same duration as with your old motherboard. The hybrid architecture of the 12th generation Intel processor heralded better management with its efficient cores, but the founder preferred to rely on the performance of his architecture to catch up with AMD.

age lake intel 12th generation laptop frame

Laptop Framework and its interchangeable modules.

© The Digital

Framework succeeds in its effort to offer a laptop that is both customizable and scalable. If the adaptation may seem anecdotal and allows the brand to stand out from its traditional competitors, the update of the processor to the latest generation is a success. Users are not likely to do the tampering with each new generation; But knowing it’s possible adds real value to the Laptop Framework.

Framework: a laptop that relies heavily on modularity and scalability

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