MNT Reform Next: questions and expectations

Thanks for clarifying, will stop asking now that I know.

@minute Given the fact that the RCORE is available now to buy which is a great achievement, would you say that it is reasonable to have the mnt reform next campaign by this summer?

This may have been asked before - I’m wondering, as I’m in the queue for a Pocket, which is looking awesome. At that time I hadn’t seen this post regarding the “Next”, and am a little concerned regarding support / upgrades across the family of MNT Reforms. Will modules for one be compatible with other reforms, or will they each have their own individual upgrade paths?

Don’t get me wrong - they all look awesome, and I’m loving the innovation and continuing work, just concerned about spreading the net a little wide, and putting a strain on supporting more products with a relatively small team.

I have to say, too, while the Next looks fantastic, it does also look a bit “vanilla” for my taste, but will also follow it with interest.

The chart on this page shows all the current CPU modules and which Reforms they work in. It hasn’t yet been updated to include the RK3588.

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Thanks! Bookmarked! :grin:

Took a roundabout way to get here - was actually looking at the Ampere platform from Geerling - Testing a 96-core Ampere Altra Developer Platform | Jeff Geerling.

This looks like an extremely ambitious project and @minute will probably have to produce around 10X-100X more units than the original Reform.

Absolutely. Seems there are a few framework users here. Hi @2disbetter .

I’m a longtime Thinkpad user that moved to Framework in Aug 2021. As I travel 4-6 months of the year, the height and weight of the current Reform is just a no-go, but the Reform Next looks extremely promising.

There is an entire customer-base that is waiting for a certain minimum spec to swap over to a repairable, upgradable laptop with a nice keyboard. I ended up upgrading from an X60 → X200s → X230 → Framework.

The X60 on the left has the nicest industrial design of any laptop in the past 20 years between the panel, weight, size, and keyboard. The bezels are smaller on the older laptops, so the panel height of X60 > X200s > X230! I suppose this is due to the evolution of screen manufacturing, but why the large bezels?

Anyway, there’s an entire market of disaffected Thinkpad users looking for an open and repairable laptop who are waiting to upgrade. The RK3588 is already faster than the X230. It is slower than the Framework 11th Gen, but I don’t think that really matters to this market. If this was available in 2021, I might have jumped to it instead of the Framework.

Laptop Processor Single Core Multi-core
Framework 11th gen Intel Core i5-1135G7 1601 4552
Reform Next RK3588 704 2694
Thinkpad X230 Intel Core i5-3320M 514 1046

What I do think would matter to this market:

  • keyboard with trackpoint (installable somehow even from an external source). Many prefer the original keyboards pre-X230 vs the new chiclet, but they just want a trackpoint. There are so many threads about the trackpoint, it’s a bit absurd.
  • 3 to 3.5 pounds
  • 6-8 hours of battery life
  • 20mm to 28mm in height (the older thinkpads taper from back to front)
  • decent screen panel with high-nit (preferably matte).
  • usb-c charging
  • some usb-c ports and 1 usb-a port
  • audio jack
  • some sort of display out
  • ath9k wifi or better
  • ethernet (1GB or better)

And my personal preference:

  • Small bezels. Seriously look at the X60 picture. Small. Compact. Largest panel that can fit. It’s actually has a larger height than the framework panel and somehow a more compact, but nicer keyboard. Panel is 4:3 instead of 3:2 though. Regardless, it’s a beautiful design.
  • Being able to transpose a thinkpad keyboard into Reform Next

I’ve signed up for the newsletter and hope that this materializes and you can keep up with demand.

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I found these numbers in the table intriguing, are they from GeekBench 6? In any case, I just ran the GeekBench 6 aarch64 preview build on my personal MNT Reform with RK3588, here are the results: MNT Reform 2 with RCORE RK3588 Module - Geekbench

I will add more to this discussion in the coming week when I’m back at work.

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I made some other comments in the mastodon thread, but just jumping in to say I would also really support a trackpoint!

USB and USB-C stuff

I know that this is not the direction the market goes towards, but I had thoughts that USB is perhaps not a very good choice for storage or charging. This is because USB can be almost any device, so a USB stick can actually also be a keyboard in disguise or some other (worse) device. And a charger may be a device that tries to get access to your device. I have no idea how realistic these attacks are but, now I started to think that maybe our ancestors got it right and we should have just standardized the power plug to a specific radius or something like that.

I also like the idea of taking a popular device and make your power supply the same as theirs, if that’s allowed, some people do that.

Storage

And then I also heard the opinion that a good backup is “append only” (among many many other suggestions), so that someone who gains access into a system cannot delete or overwrite the backup. And we used to have optical drives (also in laptops), where the DVDs/CDs are append only by nature and everyone who made backup disks, did it right by accident.

Wishes

For a different model:

  • almost the same as the current reform
  • have optical drive maybe? that would be neato
  • a tiny tiny bit thinner if possible
  • a little bit faster (without loss of other functions), so that compiling a LaTeX document is almost instant
  • wider frame and physically bigger screen, in both directions
  • a hard toggle for wifi on the case (like the thinkpads used to have, later shown as aeroplane mode, with a little plane pictogram).
  • if the track-ball has to go, and I hope it stays, then one of these red nubs, they are also neat

The mnt reform is a super nice laptop. I hope all goes well.