The only real Linux related quirk I've run into so far is that you have to disable panel self refresh (it's on by default and causes stuttering). Other than that tiny thing I pretty much just installed my stuff and started using it.
One little anecdote: I got a card in the mail from Framework saying that there was a problem with the cable for the touchpad, and it had instructions on how to fix it. Contrast that to my experience with Apple where they would delete forum threads for laptop problems and spend years denying issues until legal action forced them to acknowledge it.
Anyway, I'm a fan. I'm really looking forward to when the marketplace opens up with some new parts. I really want my blank keyboard. I'm hoping 2021 will be the year I can own a laptop without a god damn windows logo emblazoned on the keys.
So I love the idea of these ports (agreed, they're basically "recessed dongles").
I couldn't lose them / forget them. They wouldn't take up space in my bag while I'm traveling. I could "set and forget" them to perfectly match whatever desktop / docking setup I'm using. In five years when my wireless VR system uses some as-yet-unknown hardware interface, I can swap a single component out to support it. Seems like brilliant design to me.
USB-C x 4 (new standard blabla)
USB-A x 2
SD x 1
HDMI x 1
I applaud the modular approach but Apple’s donglevision was the pure distillation of user-hostility between the Bean-Counter in Chief and the SVP, Thin Stuff.
And all the industrial sheep who followed them. May we all recover…
At some point you have to conclude Apple is fucking with us all on purpose, just because they can.
The socket is the most expensive part of the connection and when it breaks, it’s bad news. If you’re lucky and the bean counters didn’t overrule engineering over a microcent saving, the socket is on a daughter card otherwise you’re stuck with a one-port-down device, or an expensive motherboard replacement.
Instead, the Lightning connector is as stupid as it gets, worst issue is pocket lint you can easily remove with a toothpick
USB C on the other hand has all the pins cable-side so there isn't anything to worry about ramming whatever you fancy into your phone or laptop since it's just a PCB with pads on rather than anything you can bend.
Instead all the lint collects around a hair-thin port insert which has all the pins on and can be just easily broken while trying to clean the lint.
I've removed tons of lint from my two iPhones for years, and both lightning ports work like they've worked as in day one.
I do have to say that USB-C seems to be much more lint-prone than micro- or mini-USB. I have never needed to dig out any lint on my previous phones, but have had to do so a fair few times on my latest phone.
I don't remember digging lint out of any previous USB generations either. Only a couple of USB-A connectors, which were integrated to some smaller MP3 players (yes, I remember them!).
It's just I'm carrying my phone in a jeans pocket, and I use an iPhone for 7 years or so. :)
I guess only a mechanical engineer can settle the argument. Anyone?
As for pins vs pads, you can make pads almost arbitrarily more durable by increasing the gold plating thickness, whereas it's really hard to make pins not bend.
Not sure if it's measured as significant, but it's the sort of thing that RF engineering concerns itself with (preventing anything from detuning antennas or otherwise raising the noise floor).
Given that literally every other smartphone on the market has a USB-C port, i'd say this is not the reason why Apple used a non-standard connector, failing (voluntarily) to comply with European interoperability laws/standards.
Sep 2012 for lightning shipped, and USB-C not ratified as a standard until Aug 2014.
Apple was not exactly unaware of these developments, as they have repeatedly signed the memorandums of understanding surrounding charger interoperability, according to wikipedia.
... or because Lightning has a commercial "preferable profile" - it's another form of lock-in, and at the hardware level no less; such an extremely desirable feature, from a commercial perspective, is very, very hard to give up. It would open the door to a world where phone accessories are effectively universal, and surely we can't have that.
whereas USB micro-A is 6.85*1.8mm².
The difference might not be very noticeable, but USB-C is has around 3 times the area of USB micro-A.
So no idea about RF engineer comparisons, but Apple seems to have stopped waiting for consensus on what USB-C would be, in wanting to ship something thin before Samsung and Google and LG could even design something thin, by almost 2 years.
Aug 2014: usb-c standard written, so no devices yet.
this ordering keeps being overlooked in comments.
I wonder if some research suggests a port change would stall phone upgrades among enough users of earlier models, and that phone upgrades are lucrative.
USB has to go on devices where the port already represent a sizable fraction of the cost, and there is a race to the bottom to whoever will produce the least expensive parts, and of course, it is shit. If lightning was standard, we would probably see a lot more failures, simply because not everyone has the same quality requirements as Apple.
Of course, USB doesn't have te be terrible, but when you compare USB to lightning, you compare a mixed bag of good and bad parts to only good parts. To be fair, you should only compare USB implementations from reputable, expensive brands against lightning.
In this context USB-C has failed hilariously, given how much do reliable full-featured USB4 cables cost.
Of course, Apple could pull it off if they really wanted. They’ve done it it with iPads. But please don’t frame it as customer trolling. We’re better than that here.
According to European regulations, Apple's actions are strictly illegal, but if any law enforcement actually cared to protect people from wealthy corporations, we probably wouldn't have any climate change, tax evasion, planned obsolescence, science-denial smoking ads, corporate land grabs, companies stealing water supplies from local populations... As always, laws that protect the weak from the powerful are betrayed, while laws that protect the powerful from the weak are strongly enforced.
That is false. The EUC program was about PSUs, not device ports, and Apple was compliant by providing PSUs with detachable cables. Furthermore the EUC never legislated on the subject, they considered that the voluntary covenant worked well enough and no legislation was necessary.
> Apple has changed its connectors since socket interoperability became effective and they could have adopted the standard.
They were already complying and the “standard” at the time (micro-usb) was bad, not using it was a good thing.
> They just purposefully ignored the consumer-respecting standards in order to keep their 40$-connector business flowing.
At this point you’re just outright lying.
> According to European regulations, Apple's actions are strictly illegal
You are, and I want to make it clear that this is an objective affirmation, high as a kite.
Are we talking about the same thing? You seem to reference this memorandum of understanding  promoted by the European Commission (and signed by Apple), whereas i reference further developments such as this vote  which was widely advertised in the press at the time.
I am unaware whether that vote was actually turned into a regulation, but i am fully aware that the European Commission is not the entity deciding on regulations in the EU (although it has way too much power to overrun the EU parliament).
> the “standard” at the time (micro-usb) was bad, not using it was a good thing
OK micro-USB was not the best. Still much better than using custom proprietary connectors overall. Just look at how much money/resources was saved by reusing existing cables: do you remember the hot mess we were in in the early 2000s when a phone charger broke, to find a spare compatible one?! Now i can't remember the last time i had to buy a phone charger, because there's an abundance of standard cables. It's a net win for me and my wallet, and a net win for the environment.
Also, not going with a standard you deem bad is fine... if you're working to either improve the standard or replace it with another one. Which Apple never did, as they were happy to have their custom hardware which their fanatic customers would buy no matter the price.
> At this point you’re just outright lying.
I may be misinformed on specifics, but i'm for sure not lying. If you're impying that Apple (or any multinational corporation for that matter) are good faith, you have some research to do on how industrial capitalism operates and its actual consequences on people.
>> According to European regulations, Apple's actions are strictly illegal
> You are, and I want to make it clear that this is an objective affirmation, high as a kite.
OK i'm high as a kite, maybe? Does that make my message wrong on every aspect? Apple has been known to and condemned for breaking many european regulations already    , often engaging in actions they knew were illegal. I'm not a lawyer so i can't comment on the technical legality of their Lightning connectors, but i can for sure as a european citizen say that they knowingly and willingly violated the spirit of the law to further their profit.
And as a pseudonymous person on a random orange forum, i can say you should take more time to correct facts with actual sources, instead of defending evil corporations while accusing your peers of lying.
However, i'm fully aware these were not the arguments presented by Apple when they refused the USB standards. If Apple cared for durability, which they definitely don't , i'm sure a lot of people would appreciate that and maybe standards could be improved across the industry.
The fact that Apple never cared for any form of standard that i know of  does not give them a lot of credit.
 They pioneered making it very hard to replace your own battery and flipped the finger on everyone by using non-standard screws on purpose. Seriously, how can it be legal to sell a product which requires any form of tooling to change a battery?! Let's not even get started on software obsolescence on iOS/macOS...
 USB and VGA, sure, because they were forced on them. Maybe FireWire? But even then i'm not sure it was a standard back when Apple started using it... On the software side, apart from email, DNS and WWW clients they also don't respect any standard protocols: AirPlay, iCloud, etc.
I doubt the USB-C durability is a large scale problem. I follow smartphone world quite closely and have never heard/read about USB-C issues.
This isn't an effective point as the "smartphone world" is plagued by ephemeral devices which are either susceptible to programmed obsolescence or are caught in an upgrade treadmill due to a myriad of reasons (non-replaceable batteries failing, screen problems, camera issues, hardware failing due to wear, blocked software updates, fads, etc..)
And yet not only has Apple already done exactly that for iPhones (specifically: migrating from the iPod connector to Lightning), but so has virtually every Android vendor done exactly that for Android devices (specifically: migrating from USB micro-B to USB C).
That’s the point though is it not? Apple was just out of a connector switch, which required users to throw out all their old accessories and get new ones. They were not going to do that again within just a few years.
> so has virtually every Android vendor done exactly that for Android devices (specifically: migrating from USB micro-B to USB C).
Historically, Android had nowhere near the accessories ecosystem of Apple.
I believe that is why Apple is starting the switchover to USB-C, with the new iPad using USB-C:
* the dock connector lived for about 10 years, we’re approaching the 10th year of Lightning, that’s a pretty good lifecycle for a connector
* the universality of USB-C amongst Android manufacturers means there now is a large ecosystem of accessories and Apple won’t have to rebuild their ecosystem from scratch
I wouldn’t be surprised if the ipad was basically a warning shot, and Apple switched the rest of their mobile devices over to USB-C with the 2022 releases.
Not if you migrate to the standard that every other device uses. Isn’t that the exact advantage of a universal standard?
I feel that only confirms my point. The switch happened ten years ago, yet many people are still being mad at Apple today over it.
> but so has virtually every Android vendor done exactly that
I think I’m failing to see your point. None of those vendors has any amount of control over the USB accessory ecosystem, or do they?
It disproves your point from multiple directions:
1. It demonstrates that Apple has no qualms about abandoning proprietary connectors and leaving an entire connector ecosystem stranded overnight.
2. It demonstrates that said connector ecosystem has no qualms about adapting to a new proprietary connector - let alone a standardized one.
And no, I know of precisely zero people upset about switching away from the iPod connector. The only thing about which anyone is upset about is the fact that Apple chose a different proprietary connector instead of using that opportunity to standardize.
> I think I’m failing to see your point. None of those vendors has any amount of control over the USB accessory ecosystem, or do they?
The bigger players absolutely do manufacture their own accessories, but that's secondary to my point: that the accessory market readily adapted to phone manufacturers switching connectors on its own. Apple, if anything, would have an easier time for the exact reason you indicate: Apple has control over the Apple accessory ecosystem, and can use that control to put additional pressure on accessory makers.
What do people think they're saying by saying this? No, this has literally happened here by one of "us" so "we" are clearly not better than this. Heck, "we" have done and are continuously doing far worse than this.
Speaking of good faith, a good faith reading of their comment would be that they think Apple is intentionally maintaining a non-standard connector for their smartphone range despite knowing that switching to USB-C would be beneficial to their users.
Alleging that Apple acts in bad faith hardly seems like a violation of HN guidelines. If anything, the claim that they put the needs of the users first would seem the preposterous one as one would expect them to be beholden to their shareholders (and thus profit) above all, not their customers, and there are plenty of reasons why maintaining their own connector might be more profitable.
“Acting in bad faith” seems like the opposite tail end to me. There’s still a huge bell-shaped curve in between.
Ample evidence for “Apple […] fucking with us all on purpose, just because they can?” Please elaborate.
That's the annoying bit with USB-C. We may have (almost) standardized on a single plug/socket shape, but we didn't escape the essential complexity - the fact that one type of connection cannot handle all the use cases we'd like it to. We just pushed that complexity into cables. Instead of having to deal with separate data, network and graphics ports, users now have to deal with potentially separate data, network, graphics and charging cables. I'm not convinced this is an improvement, because USB-C cables are a bottom-feeder market that will not hesitate to outright scam the buyer.
At this point I'm not sure it's an improvement. I feel like the optimum point would be a small amount of standards targeting mutually incompatible applications. That, or forcing some specification requirements on USB-C, and standardize some capability labels.
Edit: Oh and presumably the ports on the Framework are USB4, they just can't say that yet because the certification is still in the works.
I've seen some peripherals and such with it, no laptops yet though. The spec was released in 2019, so considering hardware cycle time we should start to see more devices soon. It's pretty cool that Framework will likely be on the leading edge of that wave.
Hell yeah, USB over PCIe over USB over PCIe here we goooooo!
The site says each port has 4 lanes of pcie 3.0
I do not want all my USB-C cables to support the maximum 40 GBps speed (or whatever it is). That would require them to have all the 19 wires and shielding and all and again, would make them expensive and short.
And just imagine how much a 90W maximum speed 3 meter cable would cost...
I prefer having one power cable, one fast cable and then a bunch of disposable cables for general use cases.
Standardize the colors through the IF, and bam, you can tell at a glance what a cable is capable of.
Like resistors, except I don't think cables are likely to shrink too much in the future.
I will say, they're not alone. Look at Razer, for instance. Electric green is not exactly a part of the USB 3 standard.
If it's a cable property, then Apple can do whatever it wants with its cables. And everyone else can do what they want with theirs.
I think what we've learned throughout the years is that your color coding idea doesn't work out in practice due to an earlier comment stating that the USB-C market being bottom-feeder. There has to be an exact, rigid specification of USB-C cables that all of them should follow (i.e. USB4/TB4). Any more complicated than that like color coding results in giant scams by manufacturers, outright wrong, or impossible-to-find cables on an eCommerce search engine. I just don't want to deal with any of those anymore. It feels so much nicer right now to look up TB4 on AliExpress and be done with it, no more worrying or guessing.
I don't have any idea how thick the 19 wires have to be for USB 40Gbps (GBps?) but I imagine the answer is "not nearly that thick".
The advantage of USB 2 is that it's so simple that it's very hard to screw it up. You pretty much have to intentionally do it if you want to create a dangerous cable. Even the shittiest cable will work with the vast majority of devices (it might slightly heat up, voltage may sag at the receiving end meaning it will charge slower, but it'll somewhat work).
USB-C is significantly more complex and requires active electronics in the cable itself in some cases, and the potential for higher voltages means a faulty/recklessly-designed cable could request higher voltage from the charger and blow up whatever's connected at the other end.
And the cheap cables won't have that chip, so they'll support 60 watts.
The difference between the minimum and 100W is that the cables need to support 5 amps instead of 3. That's not much difference at all considering there are data wires too.
Supporting 240W requires a couple tiny components in the plug. That's also barely anything.
So when operating at 90W the cable only needs to be a tiny bit thicker and negligibly more expensive than a normal 15W cable.
And what exactly is wrong with that?
Ever seen musician's gear?
Even the cheapest, smallest mixer boards support XLR, RCA, 1/4", and often USB for audio I/O -- and have many of them.
Because yes, everyone has something essential to their flow, and number of configurations grows exponentially.
Honestly? Presentation. That's why I consider it a dumb argument in general. People mention "Homer's car" or equivalent memes from works of fiction as some kind of ridiculous contraptions, but don't bat an eye when a show like Star Trek does the same. The big difference, IMO, is that Homer's car is delivered to you up front, a solution looking for problem(s). Star Trek's tricorder or roundabout or a starship only happen to show a different one-off feature every episode - so the realization that the equipment is deeply multipurpose, and has all those features already present, kind of flies past people who're not into this sort of thing.
A laptop should be a general computing device. So why hard-code something as weirdly specific as an SD card reader into it? Give it the functionality to have any IO device attached (USB-C) instead.
Because a laptop is a portable device, and carrying something with dongles dangling from it is something that nobody wants to do.
Now all we need is an industry standard for those.
Say what you want about the MacBook’s lack of user-replacability, but it’s basically a tiny chip board about the same size as the iPhone’s, with a big box of batteries holding it.
Looking at the insides, I'm going to guess about 2 watt hours. Or they could have made it unmeasurably thinner.
> Say what you want about the MacBook’s lack of user-replacability, but it’s basically a tiny chip board about the same size as the iPhone’s, with a big box of batteries holding it.
Framework has 55 watt hours. The obsolete macbooks have 41. Both intel and M1 macbook pros have 58. Both intel and M1 macbook airs have 50.
Sounds like that lack of user-replacability isn't necessary.
Not buying it. I'll take extra 2mm for 3.5mm and usb a.
(The answer is of the same level as question. If you want to imply that there's a significant gain, go prove it.)
The sanest system I've seen in a decade at least.
I don't even need a new laptop, and I still want this one.
Even worse when they're the pathetic failure (host-side) that is USB-C, so nothing fits without a dongle anyway. Bonus points if you have to waste one of them for charging the laptop, yay!
I guess some of those are analogue? I guess you can't squeeze those all through the same physical form factor connector. You can with digital, so let's reduce the clutter and do it!
I'm sure that other factors play a role. The economics of going digital would be terrible if it meant replacing a significant amount of equipment every time a new standard took over the market. Again, pointing to USB (since that it what everyone seems to associate with universal digital connections), we have seen three major iterations and a number of minor ones over the past 30 years. That's hardly the type of cycle that businesses want to hop onto given that a tiny operation requires thousands of dollars of equipment, where any given component may be anywhere from a couple of years old to over a decade old.
... None of which broke existing functionality. I can plug a full-speed device from 2000 into a USB-3 A port and it will work perfectly (as long as there is still software support for the vendor-specific drivers that might have been necessary for non-class-compliant devices).
3.5mm TRS, dual 3.5mm TS, dual RCA, 1/4" TRS, dual 1/4" TS, XLR cables transfer the same kind of signal, and you can easily convert between the connector with dongles.
Mixers have all of these so that you wouldn't have to.
The utility is not thinking about where the f***ing dongle is when you just want to plug something in.
The only insurance against “the USB-C downtime” is a subscription to Amazon Prime 24hrs delivery and another $68 (no kidding) Apple cable.
Not sure what you mean - I said didn't really apply to analogue.
For example getting a 4k 60FPS HDMI dongle was going to cost me >100$, and the cheap ones I had overheated. Meanwhile a budget laptop with HDMI and integrate graphics works fine. Getting a dock with gigabit ethernet, high res HDMI, decent SD reader and a fast hub was >200$ last time I checked - and not that portable either.
That covers pretty much every common scenario when travelling.
USB-C for a connecting to a dock, HDMI for a meeting room screen, USB-A for reading a flash drive.
Homer cars is a macbook with a bunch of stupid HDMI and usb-c to usb-a dongles hanging off it so you can read a flash drive or connect to a meeting room screen.
Don't get me wrong I still prefer ethernet to avoid packet loss and reduce latency but download throughput isn't a problem I notice on WiFi anymore (since I'm also only on a 1Gbit/s line)
If you carry your laptop someplace else it might not find itself in such ideal conditions.
Usually if you need to transfer large amounts of data you can still plug in an Ethernet cable in e.g. an office.
Labeled a cyberpunk but it looks like the perfect 90’s amateur mobile porn production studio.
I had heard that 802.11ax (Wi-Fi 6) was pretty good, and it sure looks that way so far. I have some good Cat 8 Ethernet cables, so I will experiment with that too.
You just need a good wireless router.
My desktop with ethernet is way more stable than my MBP WIFI. Also ping is noticeably lower for games.
if there's a bounty on it, i'll pick it up :)
Any port on any Macbook with USB-C can be used as the charging port, which is a big deal all on its own compared to most non-Macbook laptops that use USB-C charging.
Given that the cheapest USB hub allows you to plug in half a dozen USB-A devices and SD cards, and given that frequently they are not used at all by anyone, why would it be preferable to add 3 dedicated ports instead of just using one of the four available USB-C ports?
The same goes to the HDMI and phone/mic ports.
In fact, nowadays you have monitors that not only support video over USB-C but also serve as USB-A hubs, which means that with a single USB-C connector you can get everything you mentioned in your example.
There may be a kinda-permanent place, where one using their laptop most of the time. I don't see any problem having a dock station there with all the the ports and a power routed via single USB C or Thunderbolt port.
The problem is not the industry. The problem is people using laptops where they should use desktop computers. Which are, coincidentally, are modular and expandable through the roof.
I’m a longtime MacBook user myself, and I do like my new Air, but I have two adapters plugged into it half the time.
Even if it's companies, they are "companies of people".
Seems a bit disingenuous.
> Please respond to the strongest plausible interpretation of what someone says, not a weaker one that's easier to criticize. Assume good faith.
I was unable to come up with a good faith and plausible interpretation; others found one that I'd missed, and thus I retracted my objection. The author apparently later confirmed their interpretation, but that was not factored into my retraction, and is not relevant to the guideline I'm trying to adhere to.
To your comment about "disingenuous", I've spent most of my life being misunderstood for making perfectly logical statements that other people decided were some sort of slander instead of trying to understand in good faith given the context that I'm a nerd with social disorders. So I'd prefer to avoid being upset with someone else over a misinterpretation when I wish others would be less upset with me about them.
Thanks for the honest perspective!
People would actually comment about dongle gate in Meetups and I'd show them my usb-c to micro-usb cable... ...oh the look of shock in their eyes... "You mean... you never bought a dongle?". The concept of a cable with usb-c at one end and anything else at the other was completely foreign.
That 30$ dongle become either a dangling bit you'll have on your laptop all day, it will be hiting stuff, get under the laptop, or worse case scenario stuck between the screen and the keyboard when you don't pay attention. As it'd always dangling it also become loose over time and get flacky accordingly.
Back then having a HDMI port was standard, no dongle being the norm. So yeah, having the choice between needing a permanent dongle or not, the answer is obvious.
What changed for me is WFH, otherwise I thing I'd still wish for no dongle until USB-C projectors and displays rule the world.
It's also easier to just ask to quickly use the worker's computer to get a presentation going.
"Oh yeah sorry, my presentation is made in PowerShell instead of PowerPoint".
When the first full USB-C Macs went out they definitely were the odd ones out in the company, and even now there’s still that split between run of the mill windows laptops and macs. Adaptors are more common, but it’s still not great.
This should not matter as long as they also have a fully functional USB-C (which I'd guess they do).
It reminds me of asking to include decaffeinated pods in our recurring coffee orders for the espresso machine. The person had no opinion on coffee, but wasn't convinced they needed to accommodate for the minority that was concerned.
I have adapters that convert the usb-c to micro and lightning, to also charge my airpods, flashlight, etc. Each adapter is about 3/4" (2cm), female USB-C end, and male end of lightning/micro. I've glued them together so that it's just one little thing to take.
I hated carrying around 3+ cables, so this has been a welcome change.
It's true that I can only charge one thing at a time, but that's not an issue for me except in rare circumstances.
As it stands I typically have four cables in my briefcase but at least they are still smaller than a mouse collectively.
One USB-C connection powers my laptop, connects to my monitor, as well as my wireless mouse and keyboard.
The average person can walk in to the apple store and walk out with a MacBook and usb c hub just fine.
So no pulling anything apart. Think of it almost as each one as a game boy cartridge.
You act like these situations are unimaginable when they are literally every day occurrences for some people.
I don't understand how anyone can come up with that conclusion. I mean, your "cheap plastic dongles" jab is actually a testament to the extent of how superb it's interoperability is. I mean, you're for some reason complaining that we are free to even plug in "cheap plastic dongles" to a high-end device when in reality this means that we can even plug in the cheapest "plastic dongles" and expect it to work. How is this a bad thing?
Back to the "cheap plastic dongles" complain, I do use one from time to time, and the reason is quite simple: I had USB-A devices which I use for years but I also have a couple of laptops which only pack USB-C ports. Should I throw away perfectly good hardware just because a random guy on the internet dislikes cheap plastic dongles? Should I base my purchasing decisions on whether a laptop supports legacy ports? Or should I just spend $10 on a dongle intended to be used occasionally and stop worrying about inane details?
Those who prefer spending their time on relevant things don't even realize that complaining about the proper etiquete of pairing peripherals with computers is a reason for anyone to waste their time. Why do you?
> So I love the idea of these ports (agreed, they're basically "recessed dongles").
It's juxtaposing two types of dongles: the common, cheap, plastic ones, and the sleek, integrated ones from Framework's laptop, in order to show that Framework's aligns better with the design ethos of the device itself.
> Should I throw away perfectly good hardware just because a random guy on the internet dislikes cheap plastic dongles? Should I base my purchasing decisions on whether a laptop supports legacy ports?
Again, you're missing the point. Both of these types of dongles will support your USB-A devices without you throwing anything away in your pique. One will just look good, feel good, and integrate with the machine you're using, while the other won't.
Sure, if you do some weird stuff or have an extreme use case, I can see why you would want more built in ports, but for the majority of users, they only plug in the charging cable and maybe video out.
2. Most people that do need them, only need them for connecting to their own stuff, so they can just keep the dongle attached to the peripheral
And also, if you want to be able to switch out your recessed dongles, you will need to keep track of them in your bag.
And for the very few things that don't have a detachable cable, I use a micro USB-C adapter.
It's been several years since the release of the USB-C only MacBook Pros, this shouldn't be an issue if you put in a minimal amount of effort.
Some of my clients still have projectors with... vga ports.
Then you need ethernet and hdmi of course, regularly in the corporate world or at your friends house.
So yeah, dongle it is. USB-C dongle for sure, but still dongle.
Some of my clients still have vt220 terminals with... serial ports.
Then you need a 9600 baud modem and rj11 wire of course, regularly in the corporate world or at your friends house.
So yeah, dongle it is. USB 1.1 dongle for sure, but still dongle.
Even 10-15 years ago, proper serial ports were becoming extremely rare, but there are times when you need a proper one.
Around that time we resorted to pc card/express card serial ports for occasions when USB to serial isn't good enough, although they were relatively expensive (3-4 times more than a USB serial dongle).
(The use case in that scenario was field engineers connecting to a very wide variety of odd equipment, like fire alarm panels and door entry systems, that sort of thing - USB dongles were massively inconsistent and unreliable - different dongles would be compatible/incompatible with different kit, was a right mess).
Obviously, these days, express card slots are also quite rare.
(The alternative is hauling out my old IBM T22, which I think maybe came with Win98... mostly still works apart from the battery).
If you're going into an RJ45 serial connection (like I am at the moment), then an ideal laptop would have multiple RJ45s which could be used as either 10G or serial with a standard cat5 cable (not a specially wired one).
Do any (non-specialist) laptops still have VGA ports? I had a quick look on the Dell site and couldn't find any.
Those are seems to available on other markets.
Framework means in theory I could have a laptop (Well in theory) with say 4 ethernet / serial ports (switchable) and SDI, and that's far more useful to me than USB-C.
The Admin Book A4
And of course that setup still requires Ethernet. Can't setup a wifi ap over wifi.
I'm normally happy if the power cable for the screen is still there...
Framework does not even offer a VGA module, do they?
I'd be fine with a pop out style port for those ports. Won't be flush while in use, but I'd happily accept that to trade off having to carry around dongles. I'd rather pack and carry a small "stick" of these modules stacked together than a bundle of dongles.
I give it three months tops before someone starts selling a Pez-like "dispenser" that stores these modules. If the module bodies were designed to stick together though, that would spark joy in my inner Marie Kondo.
Ethernet, OK, I will give you that.
I personally really like the idea of what Framework is doing and wish more laptops followed suit, but that is a trivially solved problem you identified:
But again, the "dongle" argument is moot and not really a reason to either consider or avoid the Framework, for me at least. It's more about the device being open and repairable, and arguments about dongles are just attempts to justify one's current USB-C only device.
Agree completely. For me, Apple's USB-C only ports isn't an issue as everything I use plugs in via one or two TB3 cables (depending on personal vs work laptop) and daisy chains from the monitor or a TB3 dock so no dongles needed at all, but I still appreciate the design choice Framework made and think it's a good strategy.
Not to mention the dongle supports several ports.
But you know what is better than either ?
The framework laptop solution of letting me configure the port I want before going to my client.
I don't understand how one USB-C to VGA cable is more inconvenient?
YOU CAN USE YOUR USBC TO VGA CABLE IF YOU WANT.
Or, if you don't want, you can grab A VGA module out of your drawer you store all your retired dongles in, slide it into your laptop, and there you have it.
What I'm trying to say with this story is that for example monitor cable connectors are designed to fit tightly (vga and dmi even having screws) to give a constant signal, which you don't get from USB-C unless you stand still.
It just makes no sense spending lots of time trying to adapt to obsolete infrastructure for every person you visit. If necessary I even have a blackboard and color chalks in my car and get away with them.
When I go to the meeting room, if I don't need to use my projector, great, but I will never use VGA, too much hassle.
- some conf room don't have a projector, but flat screens, a smart white boards or some remote conf setup that needs you to plug in, and/or no walls that fits the bill for projection
- some conf rooms don't have a place to put for your projector and get a good picture. Their is own the ceiling.
- unless you buy a very good one, some conf rooms won't have the light for your projector to be readable
- it addresses only the projector problem, not ethernet, sd card, usb A, etc
- a good projector is way more expensive that a few dongles, are easier to break, harder to replace if lost/broken or if you forget it at home
Not to say it's a bad idea to _also_ have a projector.
Rather than try to sort out the cable confusion, they simply shipped me brand new monitors (which I wasn’t asking for). I also needed dongles to attach my keyboard and mouse, dongles for same were provided by IT.
My point: Dongles are still an issue, not everyone throws out their displays/keyboard/mouse every time apple comes out with some new version. My 2010 dell displays still work just fine, and it would be great if I could plug them straight into my laptop.
I got it at Target. Love how easy it makes going between my USBC only MBP and other random computers.
I would love it if all my devices had transition to usb-c, but they haven't. I still occasionally need usb-a and sometimes I need an hdmi out. So... that's what I have. And if I stop needing usb-a I'll get rid of it and put in another usb-c. You could even do a single usb-c port and then 3 storage attachments if you wanted. Nobody is ever going to sell a laptop like that, but for someone who really needs storage and doesn't care about connectivity that might be perfect.
If you're okay with dongles then you're probably fine. I'm not. They clutter up the workspace, occupy permanent space in my bag which is annoying, and often enough aren't around when I actually need them.
Luckily, USB-C means you don't have to buy any accessory from Apple, and have the world of low cost peripherals at your disposal, like the $13 version on Amazon .
Efficient markets hypothesis. Apple's cable costs $70 because it's guaranteed to work.
It means when one port wears of, fixing it is easy, cheap, and doesn't immobilize your machine.
It means you can change your port to fit an hdmi or ethernet as needed, without having the stuff coming out your laptop, all ugly and taking space on the desk.
Many other laptops aren't modular - but they offer more than enough ports to make up for it.
You need at least 1 USB-C port for charging. If you want to be able to use an external mouse and keyboard without a hub, that's 2 USB-A ports that you need. That leaves you the choice between having one USB-C port OR HDMI for the last port. There isn't even an Ethernet option at all. And you still get the potential downsides of the ports being adapters from USB-C, if I understand correctly.
If you grab a Lenovo P14s, you can't swap one of the two RAM sticks (limiting you to 48 GB), opening it takes a little bit more work, and replacing some of the more integrated components is going to be harder (SSD is trivial). In exchange, you get 2x USB-A, 2x USB-C, HDMI, MicroSD, and full-sized (not flip-out/break-off) Ethernet. Plus an optional built-in smartcard reader, plus some proprietary docking port extension around one of the USB-C ports. Looking at the Gen 2, you can get that at around 3/4 of the price with a similar or better config (including a somewhat serious GPU) as long as you order on the weekend (when Lenovo's non-ripoff pricing is in effect), and you can also add a fingerprint reader and NFC if you want.
The Framework laptop has upgradeable RAM, but you will have to upgrade it yourself (discarding the RAM that comes with it) if you want more than 32 GB, and no matter what, it won't ever support more than 64 GB. Is supporting at most 64 GB really that much better than a laptop with 64 GB soldered in?
By the time you want to upgrade the CPU, the mainboard won't be compatible, so what's really there to upgrade?
Yes. Normally some people (like me) can't afford to buy the highest spec laptop. Thus, I'll be going with a lower memory and storage version of a machine, and then expect to upgrade the RAM and storage when I've got enough. That's exactly what I did with my current Thinkpad T440. And for a current gen Apple, I can either buy a 8 or 16GB machine, and the price difference is pretty significant for me.
FWIW, if I understand you correctly, AIUI you can order the "DIY" Framework with no RAM at all, so there's no need to discard anything--but also, just looked now & you can also order the DIY edition with 64GB.
> By the time you want to upgrade the CPU, the mainboard won't be compatible, so what's really there to upgrade?
The mainboard! (Well, that's Framework's plan at least.)
And the mainboards can run standalone too, so you in theory you can use it to automate your house in the future or something too. :)
(With regard to the 2-in-1 aspect, I think it's important to remember that this is Framework's first product range, they need to limit their scope to not spread themselves too thin.)
And people are already starting to experiment with hacking together their own modules, e.g. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0_uOzNt-xwY who was prototyping with off the shelf "magsafe" style adapters & essentially "rehousing" a wireless mouse dongle.
So with a "universal" wireless mouse + keyboard dongle rehoused in a module you could get two of your ports at least. :)
> They don't even offer the obvious "2 in 1" dongles where one dongle would contain e.g. two USB-A ports.
I would have thought that by making the expansion ports slightly wider, including 2 USB-A would be possible.
At my side gig running livestreams, I often end up with more than 4 USB-A devices connected, unfortunately, so with USB-C charging and HDMI, I'd need a dongle to use this device even with such a 2x USB-A expansion.
- USB-A dongle for wireless mouse
- External USB-A sound card (to connect the mixer board)
- External USB-A camera
- External USB-A flash drive to load up PowerPoints etc
provided by the presenter
- ... and then maybe I need to plug in my USB-A Yubikey to authenticate. Or a 2nd flash drive.
That said, using a USB-C hub/dongle for cases like mine isn't the end of the world.
Framework offers a 1Tb storage module for their ports! I backup my root OS via ZFS snapshot to USB every so often now. How great would it be to have a storage port that's all the recent snapshots of your important datasets. And, the possibilities are endless. The fact that they don't change the form factor of the laptop and that they're always attached is actually a big deal.
They are replaceable when the external ports (USB-C or otherwise) wear out without the need for soldering or internal board replacement.
The design of the modules is open source, meaning that anyone can design a module that fits their needs.
With USB-C, the connector was designed consideration of a bunch of factors, one of which I would assume is lifespan of the end connectors - USB-c has thicker, more resilient plastic hooks built into the inside of the male plug and stronger mating latches in the female end of the connector.
If your laptop has a cheap connector which isn't rated for more, and you do two cycles a day (start/end of day, start/end lunch), then you'll go through the rated number of cycles in less than two years.
Doesn't mean the connector will fail right away but it might start to act up. Connectors are not forever.
Regardless, the port can be what you need it to be or just a useful USB-C, you aren't tied to whatever ports the OEM thinks you'll need forever even though it may only be valued by a small number of consumers.
That small number is still enough to drive sales for FrameWork. I'm interested if I need a better laptop and I sit at a desk with desktop in use almost all the time. This appeals to those that interested in more control over their device in configuration, expansion or modifications, and the various ports and IO options. I can't say I'd buy many of the USB modules (rarely would use most anyway) but the mentality is there and I so far have trust in the product. It's not meant to appeal to GAMERS or Enterprise execs, just those that want more control over their devices.
Dongles significantly spoil the portability experience.
It is also probably mechanically much more robust, if you plug cables into your dongle box instead of into the (motherboard mounted) port directly. If one of the dongle boxes breaks, it should be cheap to exchange.
I beg for an age where monitors and drives plugged into Macbooks worked again without flickering and random disconnects you get with dongles.
At least the "modular port" adapters are not dangling from the side of a laptop as the dongles do. Dongles totally ruin the esthetics of otherwise slick MacBook for me.
Abstracting the ports makes a ton of sense. I have some hardware laying around - headphones, e-reader - which is perfectly good, but part of me wants to replace it just because it would be much nicer to have USB-C everywhere instead of micro usb. I could see this as something which could significantly extend the lifetime of the hardware by removing those types of compatibility concerns.
A single multi-port dongle with Hdmi, extension USB-C and USB-A makes it so that I connect 1 thing to my laptop at my desk. And you don't have to press the whole laptop on some weird device that can scrape that back of your laptop.
If more people had experienced docking stations of 10 years ago they would also be excited for these dongles.
No, my workflow hasn’t transitioned to 100% USB c. I doubt it will. I will always want to plug in a HDMI monitor sometime for example.
No, I refuse to use products that require me to carry and lose shitty dongles and hubs. I refuse.
That’s also why I’ve never purchased a phone without a headphone jack, because I love listening to music on my Moondrops or whatever IEMs I like.
For those who have different needs than vendor provides - permanent or temporary - recessed or not, or in other words part of computer or something I need to carry/lose/forget/misplace can be a huge huge difference.
It is a "gimmick", but if you are frequently shuffling your laptop around, having a bag clear of dongles and "floating" stuff is a world of difference.
I mean, even thinness in laptops is a gimmick (it's actually the first thing I'd do away with to get maintainability, battery life and better cooling/performance/noise — fanless, anyone?), but it sells like hot cakes.
Headphone jack gone? Get the AirPod. Oh BT drains the battery faster of already sub capacity battery? Why don’t you have a power bank yet? And yeah, keep it on you always. Isn’t that normal? Or Apple has a shiny battery pack. Maybe buy two.
Glass back breaks? Well, you gotta lose something for wireless charging. But I don’t do wireless charging. Why not? Go buy another thing.
There was this TV show and there was something like “happy to comply” in that.
If there's enough of a market for that that they can survive that's cool, but I think there's a reason it's not the default design (that isn't some cynical one about planned obsolescence).
but the idea of needing a FN dongle whenever I want to do something is FN archaic. Plus they are over-priced, bulky and are much prone to ultimate failure of either the port (from flexing about when youre on a soft surface like a bed or something.
I have Two AOC USB screens that I use - so I have one laptop, three screens and it all fits into my backpack. the external USB screens are the only "dongles" I want.
Unless they've done research that shows the type C port on the main board is a common point of failure and needs soldering to fix I don't see the point. I've had to clean lint out of ports but I've never broken a type C port on a computer.
More importantly, they're also built into the price estimate already, so when it says "$999" or whatever, that's including four $9 cards. It doesn't cost you any more to switch some of them for USB-A's instead, and other choices like HDMI, Micro SD, whatever, will be an upcharge.
A more savvy (sneaky?) approach might be to say that 4 cards are included and then only quote the increase over the base price for the things like HDMI that cost more, but I suppose they wanted it to be seamless in terms of how the pricing appears if you want to order more than 4.
Obviously there's a real sense in which engineering went into having this system and the things take up space, so there's a cost to having them, but I don't think calling them an upcharge is really legitimate; they're built in to the quoted prices.
I was looking at the DIY edition and the price is not included in the estimate so it is an increase in price to get any modules. Looks like you are looking at the prebuilt options and I see those do include 4 type C modules in the standard configurations and price. I think they should do the same for the DIY editions and let you remove them if you want.
That said they may be planning for a situation where you bring your own modules or buy from a third party if you wish -- it is an open design after all. Consider the enterprise use case. An org could have a batch of USB-C modules for replacement that they source from a third party for a cheap price, and then order the laptops themselves on demand.
Framework is all about reducing waste, so only giving users what they ask for is part of that.
It only reduces waste if mainboard/laptops are discarded due to a failed charging port. Does that happen often with type C connections on mainboards?
With tlp and a 5.10ish kernel, my T480 handles light web browsing at 3-5 W depending on display brightness (wqhd display). Heavier websites, high-res video decoding, etc. will bring it up to 7-10 W. Maybe 20 W when compiling something, or when attempting to use the (worthless) Nvidia GPU (which I leave powered down most of the time).
It has a dual battery setup with a 24 Wh internal battery and a 72 Wh external battery (I use the bulbous 6-cell, but you can get a thinner one if you prefer), so even when setting the charge stop thresholds at 80% to preserve cell lifetime, the computer easily lasts all day on battery.
That being said, it would be easy to find a random laptop that either idles at something stupid or that can't go to sleep properly because of just one wacky peripheral, making Linux power management seem bad.
Half the battle is picking the right starting point (e.g. a Thinkpad), and then setting everything up so you can actually measure the power in all of the different states so that you can actually confirm that your setup works properly before relying on it and ending up disappointed at the airport.
On ThinkPads (and probably on others), you can monitor the instantaneous power consumption by poking around in:
You can use this to confirm that (for example) your wifi card is actually powering down when you ask it to.
I have a friend who I convinced to buy a Thinkpad and stick ubuntu 20.04 on it. Unfortunately he got a more expensive X1 one with an Nvidia Graphics card, it strangely overheats when he needs to charge it and plugs it into the AC. I suspect the power settings are all over the place. I've not had chance to get a log from him yet. How did you "power down" your nvidia card?
First I made sure X was working the way I wanted with Intel graphics. There are a handful of ways to do hybrid graphics on Linux, depending on what you want to be able to do, and how old your hardware is (including "I didn't even want this thing, just keep it powered off forever"). The Arch wiki has some pretty good guides  that are helpful even if you're using a different system.
bbswitch seems to work on my system, and the interface is really simple . But there's also this page on acpi_call , which suggests that bbswitch is old and unmaintained and that newer systems do something different. From a quick scan, it looks like the Arch wiki also mentions this approach.
As far as drivers go, I know everyone likes to dump on Nvidia for their closed source mess, but on every system I've used with Nvidia hardware (desktops and laptops), I've found that the Nvidia drivers have universally been more reliable than nouveau, so that's what I use.
 https://wiki.archlinux.org/title/hybrid_graphics (poke around in "Related Articles" too)
If you want good aftermarket batteries, KingSener has a solid reputation. Only go for aftermarket batteries that are upfront about being aftermarket and are open about the cells they use and well reviewed, or for sealed Lenovo batteries in original packaging.
I recently bought a brand new, sealed 72Wh original battery. It sat sealed for so long the batteries went down below 3.1V per cell and the pack locked itself. Looking at the self discharge curves I'd expect this to be the case for any actually new battery.
To make it work I had to open the battery and use a specialized charger to give it 0.1A of current until it got to 3.3V per cell, and I then programmed it to charge at 6A, after which the battery pack decided to start up.
On my X250 with a 72Wh external battery I can get 14h of battery life without sacrificing much of anything.
Forgotten by hardware makers, forgotten by users.
...And Cardbus after it!
It's not just the compute devices, I've been waiting for weeks for Samsung repair technician to arrive for fixing year old fridge. I remember going to showroom when I was a kid with my dad and the sales person used to pitch availability of parts, repair centers for the consumer electronic products.
> absurd that you'd buy a laptop with a bunch
> of "hardcoded" ports that you can't ever change.
Also, is there any reason to believe someone wouldn't make a two-port USB-C module provided the market for such a thing exists? Maybe off-the-shelf ICs to do this aren't available (which would make this more expensive and thus less likely), but that doesn't mean that will always be the case.
The module itself works over USB-C PD, so the only effect of such a module would be to convert the new standard back to USB-C PD with all its limitations, plus the cost of conversion.
As a thought experiment: If the Framework laptop existed prior to USB-C PD, it would have been a very cool feature to be able to add a USB-C PD module and effectively upgrade the laptop to support it.
It'll be interesting to see if the internal USB-C design works out in the long run. My instinct would have been to build a larger (proprietary) internal connector for the modules that included charging, constant and switched power, USB, and as many PCIe data lines as possible.
I know Bluetooth is a thing but you get the point. All of those tiny devices that people keep plugged into their laptop ports 24/7? This is a much better form factor for them, and you don't necessarily need to sacrifice a port for them either.
From what I can tell, they already did that:
> USB port module with an integrated Logitech wireless mouse receiver
This guy seems to be making something like that (minus the USB port): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0_uOzNt-xwY
People are working on some interesting stuff.
RP2040 expansion card: https://community.frame.work/t/rp2040-microcontroller-expans...
The engineers at framework seem to be very active on the forum engaging with the community.
- 2 USB-C (1 of which is used for charging, I'll probably have reason to use the other at some point with increasing USB-C adoption)
- 2 USB-A (1 for a wireless mouse, 1 frequently used for flash drives and whatnot)
- SD (used occasionally - cameras and with an adapter for micro SD in phones)
- RJ-45 (used occasionally, probably more often soon)
- HDMI (used somewhat regularly)
- Headphone jack (also built into the Framework)
So with the Framework I'd be missing out on 3 ports. I could survive with that, but it'd be pretty sub-optimal. Thankfully I shouldn't be in the market for a new laptop for 5+ years, so hopefully Framework will have more options by then.
- power the laptop
- plug in the mouse plug into its USB-A port
My xps 13 with 2 fans can get hot enough to be unconfortable, so i can't imagine how it will be with a single fan
For me, I've never found a laptop as good as the older thinkpads at handling temps.
I don't understand how it didn't come up in any reviews, because you don't have to push it super hard to make it happen.
peak performance is fine, but sustained speed takes quite a hit.
It was better in theory than practice. You couldn't hot-swap modules (because this was 1993, after all) and driver support was iffy. I sold that laptop a few years later and didn't own another laptop until I bought my first PowerBook in 2002. I've kept dongles in my bag from time to time for connecting to external monitors, but most of the time I never really bothered with it.
That said, these days I know exactly what I want in a laptop and most mid-spec+ laptops have an abundance of what 90% of users need.
What I LOVE about the Framework (don't have one yet) -- it hte "Cyberpunk-yness" of the thing....
Imagine the day when our kids are rummaging through a pile of various modules looking for just the right one to plug into their Deck.
This, to me, truly feels like the "deck" from Neuromancer of olde!
What will be great is once modules become a 3rd party aftermarket blast off..
Fiber interfaces, all sorts of other modules and the inevitable future HN post about fake dongles with spy-hardware from china, 'beware of keyloggers on foreign modules' etc...
I hope that certain elements are attached by magnets.
Can you directly attach two machines side-by-side with a USBC cable? What if you could chain multiple of these boxes together and have a second deck, which is headless and just swipe between the two desktops on the screen... One KB and Screen and two decks? I have always wanted this.
I truly think its absurd that we havent yet been able to use machines like legos - I think that these decks offer a path to that with multiple decks.
Very entertaining, and enlightening watch.
(A comment on the initial part of the video: Lenovo's X1 Carbon Nano has good aspect ratio screen.)
And of all these, the touchpad is by far the most important, and like you, keeps me to my Macbook.
Oh and also: where is Ethernet? :)