The Framework Laptop is designed to be modular, repairable, and upgradeable. The battery, ports, display, and even the motherboard are user replaceable. And thanks to a modular port system, you can not only choose the ports you want, but you can swap them out at any time.

That modular port system is designed around a series of USB Type-C connectors. But while those USB ports support 40 Gbps data transfer speeds, they weren’t technically certified as Thunderbolt 4 ports… until now.

In a nutshell, Thunderbolt certification means that you should be able to use any Thunderbolt-compatible accessories including docking stations and graphics card enclosures. Up until now, you’ve probably been able to use most of those with a Framework Laptop… but it wasn’t guaranteed.

Now Framework says that all it takes to gain full Thunderbolt 4 certification is a firmware update, which should be available in the coming weeks.

If you’ve got one of Framework’s new Chromebook Edition laptops, the operating system will automatically download and install that firmware update for you. Windows and Linux users will be able to download and install firmware version 3.06 manually to gain full Thunderbolt compatibility sometime in the coming weeks.

Unfortunately Framework does not expect to bring Thunderbolt certification to laptops with 11th-gen Intel Core processors. But the company says a firmware update is on the way which will bring improvements for security and power consumption.

You can find out more about the Framework Laptop in Liliputing’s Framework Laptop review.

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  1. It’s unfortunate that they do not offer AMD, a Zen3+ Framework would be an insta-buy for me. You’d think that being modular would make it easier for them to offer an AMD option.

    1. Agreed. I was seriously considering picking up a Framework Laptop this year, but while Intel’s 12th-gen chips offer great single-core performance, they’re horrible on battery life. So I picked up an Asus ROG Zephyrus with a Ryzen 9 6900HS chip instead.

      Hopefully by the time I’m ready to replace this laptop, either Intel will have fixed its power consumption issues or Framework will offer an AMD option.

      1. It took a long time for AMD to figure out laptops. Even though their Zen2 cores were good-enough in theory, the implementation was always a little off. And even Zen3 they hadn’t quite hit the mark. Zen3+ was their best try yet and it was worthwhile.

        Whereas Intel were great at laptops with 6th-gen for its time, but didn’t improve too much over the years to the 9th gen. Then came Intel’s 10th-11th gen options which were not good. Their 12th gen is good but only on the high-end where you have adequate energy and cooling.

        I think Intel 13th and Zen4 is going to be similar to 12th gen in the high end and Zen3+ on the lower end. Intel doesn’t have anything to fix in power consumption, that’s an architectural flaw/design that they have. While the choice for AMD solution is a bit tricky.

        It makes sense to prioritise the Zen4 choice, so that they can reuse that design for future cpu upgrades. That’s the way Frameworks is probably going and one direction they should be focused on.

    2. I think it will be easier to make that available, but it will take a significant redesign. I don’t know if they have enough orders to justify that expense. One other problem is that AMD tends not to have Thunderbolt support as widely as Intel does, so they’d have to be careful not to confuse people if their AMD mainboards don’t support it. If it is successful, I imagine they or even someone else will eventually bring it to us, just not right now.

  2. If I weren’t in need(?) of a laptop with a discrete GPU for the several games I enjoy in my downtime I’d buy one of these now. I’ve followed Framework since these machines were just rumors, and I think it’s absolutely the greatest philosophy ever for laptops.
    If I ever come up with enough mad money to be able to treat myself to an extra laptop it’s a done deal for an everything but gaming machine.

    1. couldn’t it also work for gaming? I mean, thunderbolt certification makes it possible to use a eGPU, right? or do eGPUs not perform as well as an internal one? I’m not being contradictory, just curious.

      1. It definitely could be used that way, and I’ve always wanted to try that. The drawback is that the cost of a Thunderbolt laptop + the GPU is most often a good bit more expensive than buying a laptop with a GPU built in.

        External GPU’s I’m sure perform better than internal ones because there’s no limit to how powerful a GPU you can connect. Plus cooling is better. But since I have a newish gaming laptop I’m happy with for the foreseeable future, this would be a pricey plaything for me.😁