Framework brings AMD mainboards to its 13-inch laptop

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Framework has slowly broadened its product portfolio to and an . After an preliminary manufacturing hiccup earlier within the 12 months, it’s the latter that’s lastly prepared to attain keen pre-order prospects as new mainboards make their debut. Like each different Framework launch, you may choose them up as a pre-built laptop, or because the components for you to improve an present mannequin. There are some variations, each in how they’re arrange and what they will do, however don’t count on a revolution. That is nonetheless a Framework 13, in spite of everything, and it will probably do kind of the identical factor it’s at all times been in a position to.


Given Framework’s emphasis on constructing a secure platform for its modular laptops, there aren’t any modifications right here. Pop the hood and also you’ll solely discover a number of variations, like a plastic retainer on the WiFi module quite than a metallic one, however that’s it. At this level, I really feel assured sufficient that I may swap out a mainboard with out having to seek the advice of a guide.

Framework’s adopted the “Good, Higher, Finest” mode with its specs, with the bottom mannequin packing a Ryzen 5, 7640U with a Radeon 760M iGPU, 8GB RAM and a 256GB SSD. The center-tier unit I’m testing has a Ryzen 7, 7840U with Radeon 7840U, 16GB RAM and a 512GB SSD. Fancier varieties who go for the flagship get the identical Ryzen 7 7840U as the center tier, albeit with 32GB RAM and a 1TB SSD.

The one different distinction is with batteries: The bottom mannequin will ship with the older, 55Wh battery whereas the opposite two get the newer 61Wh mannequin. That mentioned, the corporate has additionally wheeled out new HDMI and DisplayPort growth playing cards for extra power-efficient video outputs. These will likely be coming to all new laptop orders within the close to future, however make their debut right here with the AMD editions.

Upgrades and Compromises

Naturally, the purpose of Framework’s platform is that if you have already got one among its notebooks, you may simply swap within the AMD mainboard. Though that course of isn’t so simple as it’s while you’re swapping out an Intel mannequin for one among its successors. Your present RAM and WiFi modules won’t work with the AMD board, so that you’ll want to get new DDR5 DIMMs and an AMD-made WiFi module just like the RZ616, which is what Framework bundles in its prebuilt editions.

A lot because the laptop’s design stays the identical, there are extra variations on the within, which is the place it counts. In the event you don’t know, every mainboard has a quartet of USB-C ports that stick out of the laptop’s deck. Every one corresponds to an Growth Card slot, letting you slide in a selected port relying in your wants for that day. So you may come out your second USB-C port in favor of a HDMI or DisplayPort-out the day you could have a presentation to give.

On Intel’s facet of the fence, this can be a stress free expertise as a result of all 4 ports are the identical. For the reason that twelfth technology board, all 4 help , each with 40 Gbps bandwidth, up to 100W energy draw and help for 2 60Hz 4K shows. Not to point out the usual permits you to add an eGPU to your setup for additional graphics muscle.

However issues aren’t as elegant on the AMD facet as a result of a) Thunderbolt is an Intel customary and b) AMD’s transportable silicon has some, uh, limitations. Solely the rear port on both facet helps USB 4, with the entrance two a mish-mash of competing requirements. As you may see from the graphic, the entrance left port helps charging, USB 3.2 and USB-A, whereas the entrance proper presents USB 3.2 and video out.

To make issues worse, there aren’t any seen clues to remind you what every port can and can’t do for apparent design and uniformity causes. I don’t blame Framework for having to cope with AMD’s mess, and it has been courageous sufficient to . But it surely’s a type of points the place you’ll both want to preserve a psychological document, or face an error pop-up while you’ve plugged the flawed port into the flawed socket.

However then I doubt there are too many people who find themselves trying to purchase this laptop who will want common entry to a quartet of 40 Gbps connections. I believe there gained’t be too many occasions AMD customers are cursing the skies for the minor annoyance of swapping playing cards over. It’s simply a type of conditions the place you want customers weren’t left coping with the implications of two chip giants who gained’t play properly.


A lot as AMD could not have the silky uniformity and consistency of its rival chip big, it does have an ace up its sleeve. These built-in GPUs are far forward of Intel’s, giving it sufficient grunt to push halfway-demanding video games with out an excessive amount of sweat. It’s price saying, as normal, that that is, before everything, a productiveness machine, however with AMD on board, it’ll play simply as arduous as it really works.

Within the time I had with the {hardware}, I performed Grand Theft Auto V on excessive settings and acquired 55 fps out of this machine. Equally, Fortnite will crank out a mean of fifty fps with the settings on excessive, simply sufficient to preserve you amused on work journeys or in your dorm room. Artificial exams aren’t the whole lot, however counsel the AMD model comes out forward in each single (by somewhat) and multi-core efficiency (by lots) in contrast to the equal Intel mannequin.

The problem, actually, isn’t with the efficiency you may wring out of this machine, however how a lot noise it’ll make whereas doing it. A standard grievance, from the earliest model of the Framework 13, is the extreme fan noise when it’s put underneath heavy load. The mainboard fan actually wasn’t designed to deal with the excessive masses you may count on to need to put it underneath, making a sound I’ll describe as “persistent” and “noticeable” and infrequently “fairly loud.”


When asserting the AMD boards, Framework dedicated to value parity between Intel and AMD editions at any time when potential. The Base and Efficiency fashions, on the entry and mid tiers, price $1,049 and $1,469 no matter chip you select. On the excessive finish, nonetheless, there’s a pretty large delta between the $1,669 you’ll pay for the AMD model and the $2,069 asking value for the Intel version.


Within the brief time I’ve had with the AMD version, I’ve been impressed with what’s now potential on this chassis. The silicon out-performs its Intel equal, however it’s all going down in the identical physique with the identical, user-serviceable design. That’s an enormous achievement, and there are many people chomping on the bit to get one among these of their lives – the primary seven manufacturing batches are already bought out, with an eighth on the best way. It stays, undeniably, a Framework 13, so you’re going to get the identical flexibility and longevity that you simply’ve come to count on, however with somewhat bit extra oomph.

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