The free placement system wasn't removed from the game, but rather removed from the "In progress for Alpha 1.0", meaning it is now implemented into the game. I don't think this will really affect performance or FPS either way. That particular system looks to be mainly for the placement of locks and things like that. Now, if we are able to put an 'unlimited' (limited only by space) number of locks on a door, that may impact framerates ever so slightly since you'd have that many more objects to render.
If this system includes the free placement of physical drops/loot, then I would think it slightly increases FPS. Since items dropped would no longer fall to the ground with physics the game won't have to make those calculations.
I'd like to hope that when items are being placed they "snap" or are stuck to a (size permits) flat surface when placed, so say when you place some boxes of ammuntion/food that they are not kicked around if you move too close.
Also brings my question of, should looking at visible piles of resources/materials that you have placed/find raise your mood? and then also the other end of the scale of, lowering the mood if you don't have enough visible supplies?
I get warm tingles reading the changelog... those hand anims when driving look nice and smooth... I wonder if they are synced for each other too see?
All the stuff looks great first time round, some of it looks as if no improvement could be made... but I bet they'll tweak stuff even better in the future when development is at a (what would seem to-be) more comfortable pace and STN is out the door...