From the beginning, Plugable’s founding question has always been can we build a better technology company?

With this guiding question leading the company, we recognize when other companies align with us. That’s why we have been excited to see Framework’s success with the launch of their Framework laptop.

Plugable shares a lot with Framework’s vision as a company, with a large focus on keeping consumer electronics upgradable, repairable, and sustainable. They also have a focus on reducing e-waste, something Plugable firmly believes in – we thoroughly test return units and use them for replacements or refurbished products to prevent them from simply filling up a landfill.

Shifting focus to their newest product, the Framework laptop is pretty neat because it's very much modular & upgradable, with a unique feature of swappable ports through the use of a variety of expansion cards.

So, we couldn’t resist picking one up ourselves to test across our Plugable product line and provide Framework customers with options for extending the connected desk or simply connecting this with that.

Hardware Specification
Model Framework Laptop DIY Edition
Expansion Cards 2x USB-C, 1x USB-A, 1x HDMI, 1x DP
OS Windows 11
CPU 11th Gen Intel Core i5-1135G7
RAM 16GB DDR4-3200 (2x 8GB)
Storage Phison 1TB NVMe SSD

Linux distros have not been tested and are not currently supported by Plugable, though compatibility is possible with potential additional configuration.

BIOS version 3.07 was used at the time of all product tested discussed below.

So how did it fare across our product line?


To start off, we needed to charge the laptop. With four available USB4 ports, there was no need to purchase an additional power adapter. Our Plugable USB-C 60W power adapter (USBC-PS-60W) worked great as one option to charge the battery at its maximum rate.

Buy the Plugable USB Type-C Power Delivery 60W Power Supply

But what about a charging solution that can offer other functionality?

Docking Stations

The Framework laptop comes with four full-featured USB-C ports supporting USB4. These are not officially advertised as Thunderbolt 4 capable ports as the certification process is not complete according to Framework. However, with an 11th Gen Intel Tiger Lake CPU bundled with an integrated USB4/Thunderbolt 4 controller, our testing revealed that these ports are indeed Thunderbolt capable.

Plugable has fully tested and recommends the following docks for the Framework laptop:

For a Thunderbolt 3 dock: TBT3-UDZ or TBT3-UDC3

Buy the Plugable Thunderbolt™ and USB-C Dual Monitor Docking Station, 96W Laptop Charging

Buy the Plugable Thunderbolt™ Docking Station, Dual HDMI with DisplayPort, 96W Charging

Both Thunderbolt 3 docks worked well when connected to the Framework laptop. Two displays with up to 4K 60Hz resolution is possible, while also supporting additional USB devices, Ethernet, and audio. Both docks also charge the Framework laptop at its maximum rate.

For a USB-C dock option that supports more than two displays: UD-ULTC4K or UD-3900C4

Buy the Plugable USB-C Triple 4K Monitor Docking Station with 100W Laptop Charging

Buy the Plugable USB-C Docking Station for 4 Monitor Setup, 96W Laptop Charging

The UD-ULTC4K dock supports up to three external displays at up to 4K 60Hz via any combination of DisplayPort or HDMI.

The UD-3900C4 on the other hand supports up to four external displays via HDMI. Two displays can be driven at up to 4K (one at 60Hz, the other at 30Hz), where the other two supports 1080p 60Hz.

These USB-C docks are able to drive more than two displays by leveraging a USB graphics technology known as DisplayLink. DisplayLink has been around for two decades, and is a flexible, mature, performant solution that meets the needs of the vast majority of typical web and productivity workloads. We don’t, however, recommend it for more graphics intensive tasks such as gaming or for playback of protected media content (HDCP).

USB-C Hubs

Looking for a more budget device or something with a smaller footprint? Plugable has fully tested and recommends our USBC-7IN1E.

Buy the Plugable USB-C 7-in-1 Hub with Ethernet

The USBC-7IN1E is a portable 7-in-1 USB-C hub that provides an HDMI display at up to 4K 60Hz, two USB 3.0 ports, SD card/micro card, an Ethernet port, and a USB-C passthrough charging port to connect your own USB-C power source for charging the laptop.

A simple USB hub for those just looking for additional USB-A connectivity and Ethernet support, our USB3-HUB3ME is a great option to add three USB 3.0 ports and an Ethernet port, connecting to the laptop either via USB-A or USB-C.

Buy the Plugable USB 3.0 3-Port Bus Powered Hub with Gigabit Ethernet


For high-performance storage, we tested our Thunderbolt 3 40Gbps NVMe SSDs. These blazing fast drives performed exceptionally well, with CrystalDiskMark benchmarking supporting 2400MB/s+ read and up to 1800MB/s+ write speeds!

Disk speed results for Thunderbolt 3 storage drives

Buy the Thunderbolt™ 1TB NVMe Solid State Drive

Our Thunderbolt 3 storage drives come in a few different capacity flavors, with 512GB, 1TB, and 2TB all compatible.

Plugable’s USB-C 10Gbps NVMe enclosure (USBC-NVME) is another option, for those who already have compatible M.2. SSD media and looking for speeds faster than USB 3.0. We tested a 250GB Samsung 960 Evo M.2. NVMe SSD and saw read and write speeds north of 1000MB/s.

Disk speed results for USBC-NVME storage drive

Buy the Plugable USB 3.1 Gen 2 Tool-free NVMe Enclosure

Known Compatibility Quirks

As we tested the Framework laptop, we discovered a couple of quirks that we want to be upfront and transparent about.

  • Connected Thunderbolt and USB-C devices to the Framework laptop may need to be disconnected and reconnected (hotplugged) after booting up from shutdown state (S4).
  • When a docking station is connected to the Framework laptop with less than 30% battery charge, the docking station may experience a disconnection/connection cycle.

From our testing, these quirks do not appear to be exclusive to Plugable products, and may require additional action from Framework to resolve.

Are you wondering about compatibility with another Plugable product that wasn’t listed here? We’d be happy to take additional requests in the comments below.

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