Author Topic: Framework Laptop- Support a startup or do what I've always done?  (Read 1987 times)

maisymouser

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After two weeks of tinkering, I've decided that the motherboard in not one but two identical Asus laptops we own are shot. One is just completely dead and the other has some sort of major issue with receiving keyboard input (I know for a fact it's not software or the keyboard itself). On the plus side, I am proud of myself for investing the time/energy to try and repair them, but on the minus side I am going to have to plunk down some hard-earned cash.

I thought long and hard about whether I *need* a laptop, given that I have a custom built desktop that we use as a family. I'm deciding that yes, I do like to peruse the MMM forum in bed and stream yoga videos in our spare room and all the nice things that come with having a portable computer. It's a luxury I'd like to keep in my life.

Historically I've gone with either cheap new or higher-end used laptops, in the $200-500 range. This strategy has left me feeling frustrated and burned every 3 years or so, with the two used higher-end Asus laptops being the most recent in a series of failing laptops.

My brother is recommending a DIY Framework laptop (https://frame.work/). This is a startup company that is trying to offer a 'modular' laptop under a Right To Repair mindset, with swappable components and a design built with consumers in mind for years to come. I have priced out a DIY laptop for ~$1300 after taxes (picture includes specs). I'll bring the RAM and copy of Windows, they'll send the rest of the hardware. This will give me just about everything I need in a laptop and hopefully more.

I am having a really hard time justifying the price tag, though. $1300 is a TON to pay for something that I don't explicitly need. I have never spent that kind of money on a single electronic item. That kind of money paid for a family trip all the way to Finland and back a few years ago, including passports. I'm not super picky about things like a matte screen* or Extreme Gaming Performance, I just want to be able to read and stream videos on the go without a device failing outright in 2-3 years... can't I get that for <$250 in the year 2021?? Furthermore, I worry about the company failing and being stuck with a laptop that doesn't have the main feature I am paying for- repairability in the event of hardware failure.

On the other hand, I'd like to support companies that are striving for more sustainable consumer and ecological practices. I talk the talk about Right to Repair and e-waste, so shouldn't I walk the walk? I am on a good track to FI and am otherwise completely comfortable with my current earning/spending ratio. I guess I'm asking the MMM community for permission to Buy Something Expensive That I Don't Need. Or to provide me with a better alternative.

HELP ME MMM COMMUNITY, YOU'RE MY ONLY HOPE.

*If I get this laptop I can easily install a matte screen on top, which would actually probably be nice if not necessary.

jamesbond007

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Re: Framework Laptop- Support a startup or do what I've always done?
« Reply #1 on: July 30, 2021, 12:29:04 PM »
I thought of ordering one but I figured no one knows how long they will last as a company.

YttriumNitrate

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Re: Framework Laptop- Support a startup or do what I've always done?
« Reply #2 on: July 30, 2021, 12:34:25 PM »
My brother is recommending a DIY Framework laptop (https://frame.work/). This is a startup company that is trying to offer a 'modular' laptop under a Right To Repair mindset, with swappable components and a design built with consumers in mind for years to come.

If you took away the "startup" aspect, it would almost sound like your brother is recommending that you get a ThinkPad.

chemistk

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Re: Framework Laptop- Support a startup or do what I've always done?
« Reply #3 on: July 30, 2021, 02:00:02 PM »
I guess that is sort of a difficult choice.

I'll completely sidestep discussing the performance to value ratio and assume you know what you need in a laptop as far as specs go.

My gut feeling is that supporting this company explicitly to support them is like buying an Essential phone or voting for the Green party in the next election - good to do on principle but in practice it'll get you nowhere. I would bet that, at scale, you're probably going to have more or an environmentally friendly product if you bought new from Dell, Lenovo, or others. Right to Repair is important to support, but will this company get us closer to that goal?

Generally speaking, you are indeed probably better off with the boring advice of buying a couple years old enterprise Dell or Lenovo and upgrading key components.

Now, I'm going to immediately stick my foot in my own mouth and say that a few months ago I replaced our poor, decrepit 2011 Asus with a small business version of a mid-level Dell PC - I got a year of dedicated technical support and a product from an established company which will be a perfectly functional computer for the next 7-10 years. 

skuzuker28

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Re: Framework Laptop- Support a startup or do what I've always done?
« Reply #4 on: July 30, 2021, 02:02:15 PM »
For your two explicitly stated use cases, a tablet or Chromebook would be more than sufficient and significantly less expensive.

PDXTabs

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Re: Framework Laptop- Support a startup or do what I've always done?
« Reply #5 on: July 30, 2021, 04:29:32 PM »
I'm a huge fan of my ThinkPad T-14 and also interested in my next laptop being Framework.

The only thing that really gives me pause about the Framework is that I was able to buy a three year warranty with accident protection for the ThinkPad. When I did this on my last laptop (Dell XPS-13) I had them fix everything that was wrong with it after 33 months before gifting it to my son.

EDITed to add - but I write code all day on this thing. Spending $1k+ on a laptop that will last my family for years isn't that nuts when I do it. I'm not actually advocating that the average person do that.

EDIT2: don't pay for the i7. I do my full time day job on an i5.
« Last Edit: July 30, 2021, 04:36:08 PM by PDXTabs »

FINate

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Re: Framework Laptop- Support a startup or do what I've always done?
« Reply #6 on: July 30, 2021, 05:23:25 PM »
My Framework laptop should arrive next week.

I kinda sorta need another laptop, something that can dual boot Windows/Linux.

I despise the wastefulness of the current laptop model. One little thing breaks and you have to junk the entire unit. And the ever increasing practice of unnecessarily soldering/gluing all the internals together making it difficult/impossible to upgrade RAM or storage is absolutely terrible.

Who knows if the company will make it. But I sure hope they do, so happy to throw some money their way. The whole industry needs to be disrupted here. If they succeed then I think I may get 15 years or more out of this purchase (with some replacements/upgrades along the way). If they fail, well, I guess I have a decent system that'll work until some component fails. In other words, no different than any other laptop.

travel2020

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Re: Framework Laptop- Support a startup or do what I've always done?
« Reply #7 on: July 30, 2021, 06:53:06 PM »
$1300 is quite a lot for a laptop that youíll use for web surfing in bed.

If web surfing is your primarily use case, you should really consider getting a iPad or a similar Android device. You can even attach a Bluetooth keyboard to such devices to make it easier to type responses, etc.

If you want the full laptop option, you can find decent laptops from Lenovo or Dell for half that price. Iíve had good experience with both brands over multiple purchases and all have lasted 5+ years on average. The only time I had issue with a Dell, it was still under warranty(I forget if it was additional or standard) and Dell sent over a technician to replace the defective part at home.

jim555

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Re: Framework Laptop- Support a startup or do what I've always done?
« Reply #8 on: July 31, 2021, 05:51:24 AM »
I would look into a business refurb computer, they are usually much cheaper and work very well.  Replace the HD with a SSD and it will work great.

daverobev

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Re: Framework Laptop- Support a startup or do what I've always done?
« Reply #9 on: July 31, 2021, 10:34:22 AM »
Honestly I'm surprised you've had issues with used high end ones after 3 years.

I'd suggest a direct from Dell Refurbished Latitude, I've had a couple of those and they have (touch wood) been solid. Ones I've got from ebay have been less good (more dings etc).

Yes I had to replace a battery, but that's to be expected.

Paying $1300, well, it's your money, but I'd probably go for a low end new Latitude before doing that.

I wouldn't touch Lenovo because they've a history of doing nasty things. I know Trackpads are supposed to be solid but... eh.

trollwithamustache

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Re: Framework Laptop- Support a startup or do what I've always done?
« Reply #10 on: July 31, 2021, 11:32:03 AM »
I really like this laptop offering from a Waste Reduction perspective.

the display and keyboard and cases can last a long time on laptops, by upgrading the internals over time, you can keep re-using a big chunk of you machine.  If something dumb like a microphone or speaker dies, its frustrating to replace the cheapo laptop for that reason.

If every few years you upgrade internally for less than the 500  you would have paid for a new laptop/ repair instead of replace, you are starting to get a small return on the initial cost.  You are likely still going to pay a premium, but that premium is for the good cause of less net waste.

daverobev

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Re: Framework Laptop- Support a startup or do what I've always done?
« Reply #11 on: July 31, 2021, 11:40:41 AM »
@OP the other option would be to see if you can get secondhand motherboards for the laptops you already have..? You might get a year or two, or three, or five that way.

I hadn't really realised but I'm using two Dells from 2012 and... they are still fine. I've got Windows 7 on one and now Debian on the other, and my god Debian is so much better than Windows 10. It's snappy, and still does everything I need it to.

maisymouser

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Re: Framework Laptop- Support a startup or do what I've always done?
« Reply #12 on: July 31, 2021, 12:59:51 PM »
Honestly I'm surprised you've had issues with used high end ones after 3 years.

I'd suggest a direct from Dell Refurbished Latitude, I've had a couple of those and they have (touch wood) been solid. Ones I've got from ebay have been less good (more dings etc).

Yes I had to replace a battery, but that's to be expected.

Paying $1300, well, it's your money, but I'd probably go for a low end new Latitude before doing that.

I wouldn't touch Lenovo because they've a history of doing nasty things. I know Trackpads are supposed to be solid but... eh.

Oh yeah. The motherboards in these Asus laptops were supposed to be great, in principle. On non Lenovo laptops I have had lots of little issues (mics going out, webcam issues, outer shells being ridiculously delicate considering these are supposed to be portable electronics, ...). And my issue is that ALL of the major laptop companies have done nasty things, as far as I can tell. They are all designing products that are challenging to repair, with 'service centers' that charge an arm and a leg for something I should be able to do myself at home.

@OP the other option would be to see if you can get secondhand motherboards for the laptops you already have..? You might get a year or two, or three, or five that way.

I hadn't really realised but I'm using two Dells from 2012 and... they are still fine. I've got Windows 7 on one and now Debian on the other, and my god Debian is so much better than Windows 10. It's snappy, and still does everything I need it to.

I did look into this but a replacement mobo is like $200, plus the mobo failing on these Asus laptops is only the last thing that actually killed the laptop. I was dealing with other hardware issues on them that I could have lived with. So for that price I may as well but new... Which is what I want to avoid in the future.

At this point I am leaning toward a new higher end laptop with similar specs, since I worry about framework going defunct. If I made a ton of money I could probably justify it, but spending >$1k on a personal laptop is not probably in my FIRE plans.

Will keep y'all updated!

FINate

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Re: Framework Laptop- Support a startup or do what I've always done?
« Reply #13 on: August 05, 2021, 10:32:32 AM »
Ars Technica has a good review of the Framework laptop here, with a fair run down of the pros/cons. They compare it to a Dell XPS 13 which, if you spec similar to Framework (CPU, RAM, SSD, 400-nit dispaly) the price for both are in the same ballpark.

Mine came a bit earlier than expected and I've had a few days on it. Overall extremely pleased. A few notes:

Dual booting Win10, and Manjaro Linux running 5.10 LTS kernel which isn't officially supported but everything runs fine including graphics, WiFi, touchpad, sound, printing, etc. I haven't bothered to configure the built-in fingerprint reader in Manjaro, don't know if I will bother.

Shrunk the Win10 partition and disabled secure boot and quick boot before installing Manjaro, making sure to manually configure the partitions to include an EFI boot partition and a swap partition. The install itself when fine, but I had trouble getting dual boot to work with Grub, with Windows seemingly overwriting the Grub EFI entries or something. Still not sure what exactly was happening here, and my knowledge of Windows in woefully dated, so it's likely that I was doing something wrong. In any case, ended up booting the USB install media, chrooting to the Manjaro install, then installing rEFInd boot manager, which worked in getting to a dual boot scrren but I had to manually configure the root and swap devices in rEFInd to get to a bootable system.

So there you have it. No issues other than a few dual boot shenanigans, so far so good.

BrendanP

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Re: Framework Laptop- Support a startup or do what I've always done?
« Reply #14 on: August 05, 2021, 11:15:47 AM »
It's an interesting idea, I hate the waste aspect of laptops, but I would struggle to spend that much on a laptop. The killer of most of my laptops over the years had been the charging port getting damaged and the struggle to replace it myself.

I either buy refurbished for $250-300 or medium end from Costco for $400-500 (they have a 2 year extended warranty).

Meanwhile my school district pays $1K each for MacBook pros for my students which are mainly used for Google Docs and Youtube. Go figure.

FINate

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Re: Framework Laptop- Support a startup or do what I've always done?
« Reply #15 on: August 05, 2021, 11:32:48 AM »
It's an interesting idea, I hate the waste aspect of laptops, but I would struggle to spend that much on a laptop. The killer of most of my laptops over the years had been the charging port getting damaged and the struggle to replace it myself.

I either buy refurbished for $250-300 or medium end from Costco for $400-500 (they have a 2 year extended warranty).

Meanwhile my school district pays $1K each for MacBook pros for my students which are mainly used for Google Docs and Youtube. Go figure.

That's one of the great things about the expansion modules: Charging is via a USB-C port. It that wears out, just replace the module with another USB-C, which is a hot-swappable $10 part.

Mr. Green

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Re: Framework Laptop- Support a startup or do what I've always done?
« Reply #16 on: August 05, 2021, 11:53:30 AM »
In the past I have recommended the Acer Swift 3 because it felt like a great value. Very similar to a MacBook Air. 14" screen. 3 pounds, Aluminum frame. 10+ hours battery life. Looks like they've gotten a little more expensive now. The cheapest one is $700, though it appears they've shifted exclusively to the Intel Xe graphics platform. That's a pretty sweet upgrade for any kind of light gaming, if you're familiar with the Xe processor at all. We've had our Swift 3 for 4 years now and it still purrs like a kitten. It seems like the specs Acer puts into their Swift 3s are just enough for someone who it thinking long term but doesn't want a high end machine, but also needs to do more than just web surfing.

https://www.acer.com/ac/en/US/content/model/NX.A5UAA.008

neo von retorch

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Re: Framework Laptop- Support a startup or do what I've always done?
« Reply #17 on: August 05, 2021, 12:12:41 PM »
In the past I have recommended the Acer Swift 3 because it felt like a great value. Very similar to a MacBook Air. 14" screen. 3 pounds, Aluminum frame. 10+ hours battery life. Looks like they've gotten a little more expensive now. The cheapest one is $700, though it appears they've shifted exclusively to the Intel Xe graphics platform. That's a pretty sweet upgrade for any kind of light gaming, if you're familiar with the Xe processor at all. We've had our Swift 3 for 4 years now and it still purrs like a kitten. It seems like the specs Acer puts into their Swift 3s are just enough for someone who it thinking long term but doesn't want a high end machine, but also needs to do more than just web surfing.

https://www.acer.com/ac/en/US/content/model/NX.A5UAA.008

You can also get the Swift 3 with Ryzen/Radeon which is competitive with Core/Xe, but more efficient/better battery life.

https://www.amazon.com/Acer-Display-Octa-Core-Processor-SF314-43-R2YY/dp/B08YD1JLJF

But it's $750!

maisymouser

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Re: Framework Laptop- Support a startup or do what I've always done?
« Reply #18 on: August 05, 2021, 01:57:15 PM »
In the past I have recommended the Acer Swift 3 because it felt like a great value. Very similar to a MacBook Air. 14" screen. 3 pounds, Aluminum frame. 10+ hours battery life. Looks like they've gotten a little more expensive now. The cheapest one is $700, though it appears they've shifted exclusively to the Intel Xe graphics platform. That's a pretty sweet upgrade for any kind of light gaming, if you're familiar with the Xe processor at all. We've had our Swift 3 for 4 years now and it still purrs like a kitten. It seems like the specs Acer puts into their Swift 3s are just enough for someone who it thinking long term but doesn't want a high end machine, but also needs to do more than just web surfing.

https://www.acer.com/ac/en/US/content/model/NX.A5UAA.008

You can also get the Swift 3 with Ryzen/Radeon which is competitive with Core/Xe, but more efficient/better battery life.

https://www.amazon.com/Acer-Display-Octa-Core-Processor-SF314-43-R2YY/dp/B08YD1JLJF

But it's $750!

Funny you mention... I'm leaning away from Framework and toward another $760 laptop on Amazon. I've decided I'm not quite ready to put down $1300 on a laptop, but I fully support Framework's model. I'll keep my eye on it for my husband, whose laptop hardware is also beginning to fail (keys falling off, minor button issues, ...!)

Will update this thread when I get my new laptop in, which will be heavily subsidized by a CC bonus opportunity.

bryan995

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Re: Framework Laptop- Support a startup or do what I've always done?
« Reply #19 on: August 06, 2021, 07:06:06 AM »
M1 MBA for $800.
https://slickdeals.net/share/iphone_app/fp/655579

Depending on how you plan to use it, the M1 MBA may be more than plenty.

Do also consider the resale of macs 4-7 years out. They hold their value quite well. While PC (acer, asus, etc) laptops tend to freefall to $0.
« Last Edit: August 06, 2021, 07:12:28 AM by bryan995 »

maisymouser

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Re: Framework Laptop- Support a startup or do what I've always done?
« Reply #20 on: August 12, 2021, 06:33:43 AM »
Update: I didn't go with the Framework laptop. I went with a mid-range Lenovo Ideapad Flex 5*. I ended up deciding that the Framework was out of my price range, though I did spend about $800 on my new laptop- more than I've ever spent on one. Crossing my fingers that it lasts a decent while, this one. I really love it so far and realized that my old laptop was in much worse shape than I'd really come to terms with. This is my first SSD and I can't believe I've put up with slow computers for this long.

I'm never buying Apple products, so a M1 MBA was out of the question. I understand they hold their value better but I am a solid PC person. I really really don't trust Apple (that's not to say I trust other companies either!). Framework was as close as it was going to get for me to a company I'd put some faith in. If they are still around in a few years, DH might get one.

Thanks again for all your input. Next up... planning a smartphone replacement. Had mine for about 4 years now and it's starting to show. Will try to keep it for as long as possible, but there's only so many system crashes I can put up with and delays in using the phone keyboard. I'm thinking of snatching a Oneplus 7 when they go on sale (~$250 is as much as I'd spend on one).

*Details include: AMD Ryzen 7 4700U Processor, 16GB DDR4-3200 Memory, 512GB SSD PCIe NVMe Storage.

JLee

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Re: Framework Laptop- Support a startup or do what I've always done?
« Reply #21 on: August 12, 2021, 06:56:19 AM »
M1 MBA for $800.
https://slickdeals.net/share/iphone_app/fp/655579

Depending on how you plan to use it, the M1 MBA may be more than plenty.

Do also consider the resale of macs 4-7 years out. They hold their value quite well. While PC (acer, asus, etc) laptops tend to freefall to $0.

I second that, my M1 Air is phenomenal. 

Update: I didn't go with the Framework laptop. I went with a mid-range Lenovo Ideapad Flex 5*. I ended up deciding that the Framework was out of my price range, though I did spend about $800 on my new laptop- more than I've ever spent on one. Crossing my fingers that it lasts a decent while, this one. I really love it so far and realized that my old laptop was in much worse shape than I'd really come to terms with. This is my first SSD and I can't believe I've put up with slow computers for this long.

I'm never buying Apple products, so a M1 MBA was out of the question. I understand they hold their value better but I am a solid PC person. I really really don't trust Apple (that's not to say I trust other companies either!). Framework was as close as it was going to get for me to a company I'd put some faith in. If they are still around in a few years, DH might get one.

Thanks again for all your input. Next up... planning a smartphone replacement. Had mine for about 4 years now and it's starting to show. Will try to keep it for as long as possible, but there's only so many system crashes I can put up with and delays in using the phone keyboard. I'm thinking of snatching a Oneplus 7 when they go on sale (~$250 is as much as I'd spend on one).

*Details include: AMD Ryzen 7 4700U Processor, 16GB DDR4-3200 Memory, 512GB SSD PCIe NVMe Storage.

Re: Apple and other companies, their push for consumer privacy is something I appreciate.

neo von retorch

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Re: Framework Laptop- Support a startup or do what I've always done?
« Reply #22 on: August 12, 2021, 07:15:45 AM »
Update: I didn't go with the Framework laptop. I went with a mid-range Lenovo Ideapad Flex 5*.

*Details include: AMD Ryzen 7 4700U Processor, 16GB DDR4-3200 Memory, 512GB SSD PCIe NVMe Storage.

While that's "mid-range" price-wise, I think you'll find that 15-25W 8-core processor is an absolute beast in terms of processing power. Enjoy!

PDXTabs

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Re: Framework Laptop- Support a startup or do what I've always done?
« Reply #23 on: November 02, 2022, 04:26:33 PM »
I know that the OP already got a laptop but I thought that I would update this thread.

I ended up with the new 2nd gen Framework with the i5-1240P processor, 32GB of RAM, and a 2TB PCIe 4 SSD. Build quality is better than my 1st gen ThinkPad T14 that it is replacing. I compile code all day long and if you have a need for a laptop this beefy I highly recommend it. I wouldn't recommend it to just browse the web as you can do that for half the money.

PS - I only upgraded so that my son could have my old laptop.

bacchi

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Re: Framework Laptop- Support a startup or do what I've always done?
« Reply #24 on: November 02, 2022, 04:41:26 PM »
I bought an i5-1240p Framework as well. It replaced a 2012 MBP that failed.

My favorite part of the Framework? Swapping out the ports -- left to right, USB-A to USB-C, HDMI to flash drive.