Lab – We updated the laptop framework with the 12th generation Core i7

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The customizable and upgradable framework laptop gets its first update with the arrival of the 12th generation Intel processor. For the occasion, we installed the motherboard and redo our tests.

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

Alder Lake Intel 12th Generation Laptop Frame

Laptop frame and new motherboard.

© The Digital

Usually, when we choose a laptop, we often get stuck with the same processor throughout the lifecycle of the device. Since this is soldered to the motherboard, no manufacturer sells a motherboard retail, let alone a unit with a newer processor. framework, this update is allowed. That’s what we did with our version of the laptop framework, going from a Core i7-1185G7 with 4 nested cores to a Core i7-1280P with 8 effective cores and 6 high performance cores. In theory, although there is a difference between generations, the transition to the hybrid architecture of Alder Lake represents a real technical leap.

Heart and lung transplant

As we saw upon receiving the Laptop Framework, unlocking and accessing the computer proved to be very easy. Changing a motherboard takes just a little patience and organization, especially since the Framework has posted a very complete and detailed tutorial.

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Once the modules and keyboard are removed, you must disconnect the battery from the motherboard and then remove the RAM and SSD to install on the new motherboard.

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

Alder Lake Intel 12th Generation Laptop Frame

The new motherboard is simply placed in its case prior to installation.

© The Digital

The last item to extract, the wifi card. No need to disconnect the antennas, but be sure to note the routing of the cables.

It remains only to unscrew the five screws that secure the motherboard to the chassis. No need to disassemble the cooling system because it is already on the new motherboard.

To install the new motherboard, repeat all the steps in the opposite direction. No additional manipulation is required.
Taking our time, and even if we are used to performing this kind of manipulation, the whole process will require about fifteen minutes.

Sharp increase in performance

Equipped with the new motherboard, the Framework laptop now features an Alder Lake processor and hybrid architecture. It takes advantage of 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 an Intel Core i7-1280P processor, the laptop frame is back in the game.

© The Digital

With Core i7-1280P, the Framework laptop received a performance index of 123, an increase of 41%. Thus it displays higher performance than ZenBook 13 Oled with AMD Ryzen 7 6800U processor (111) and Samsung Book2 Pro 15 with Core i7-1260P (115).

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Controlled temperatures, more ventilation

After changing the motherboard and thus the processor, we settled the Laptop Framework under the sensor of our thermal camera. From processor to processor, temperatures vary quite a bit, after all.



Intel Core i7-1280P


Intel Core i7-1185G7

However, the same cannot be said about noise pollution. With a Core i7-1185G7, we find 42.2 dB after our conventional encoder under HandBrake. The Framework Laptop is now equipped with a Core i7-1280P, and tends to run a fan at the slightest demand. The result, we measure 45.7 dB, feels almost doubled. It will be necessary to go through Windows Power Management to cool down the fan trips.

The status quo on the autonomy side

In terms of autonomy, the laptop frame takes 6 hours from an electrical outlet. Either the same duration with the old motherboard. The hybrid architecture of the 12th-generation Intel processor predicted better management thanks to efficient cores, but the founder preferred to rely on the performance of his architecture to catch up with AMD.

Alder Lake Intel 12th Generation Laptop Frame

Laptop frame and interchangeable units.

© The Digital

The Framework has successfully bet on offering a customizable and scalable laptop. If customization sounds narrative and allows the brand to stand out from its traditional competitors, then updating the processor to the latest generation is a success. Users probably won’t fiddle with each new generation; However, knowing that it can really add value to the laptop framework.

Frame: A laptop that relies heavily on modularity and scalability

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