Now You Can Put an AMD Processor in Framework Laptop

    Framework announced its 2023 edition modular 13-inch laptop. There’s a big announcement: not only will there be a 13th Gen Intel configuration available, but also an AMD Ryzen 7240 option. That’s right. Finally, AMD has an option.

    When I reviewed Framework Laptop from last year, the Intel processor did not quite match the other great features of the device. The Framework concept is fascinating to me — what could be better than a fully upgradeable and repairable notebook? As a daily driver it was unremarkable and the battery life was disappointing.

    The Ryzen 7000 Series has shown great battery life so far in this year. That could be the thing that makes this product a no-brainer recommendation. Framework has not provided battery life estimates for AMD’s model. For Intel, Framework estimates “20-30% battery life improvement in a variety of real-world scenarios on both Windows and Linux” and refused to give one to AMD when asked.The laptop will look the same whether it is Intel or AMD. This photo was taken at Framework’s event in London today. The AMD version of the laptop wasn’t actually on display.Photo by Sean Hollister/The Verge

    The Ryzen 5 7640U will be the entry-level processor. It has six Zen 4 Cores, with a base frequency of 3.5GHz. The AMD Radeon 7640M integrated graphics card with eight compute units is included.

    The AMD model with the highest specification is the Ryzen 7 7840U. This chip has eight cores and sixteen threads, and a clock speed of 3.3GHz at base, and 5.1GHz maximum turbo. The integrated Radeon graphics are equipped with 12 compute unit. Framework claims that the laptop’s cooling system was designed to handle continuous loads of 28W for these chips.

    According to AMD, the two rear USB-C expansion ports on AMD models also support USB 4 and can be used for external GPUs. The other two USB-C port support USB 3.2, and the front left USB-C port has DisplayPort Alt Mode to connect an external display.

    Logically, the AMD laptop uses the same chassis as Intel’s version. If you have an existing Framework system, you could buy the AMD mainboard separately and upgrade your device. (You’d need to upgrade RAM to DDR5 and Framework suggests installing a Wi-Fi card compatible with AMD.) It’s important to note this, as I can imagine that some people who purchased Intel systems back when they were only available might want to switch to AMD. Both the new Intel and AMD motherboards are available to preorder for $100 with a refundable deposit.

    Framework also says that it has made “refinements” to the user experience, which is always good to hear. The company released a new battery with 61Wh of capacity ( previously available 55Wh) which is also compatible with Framework laptops. This is notable, as you would not expect to be easily able to replace the laptop battery with a larger capacity version.

    There are also a bunch of new kits. The new laptop comes with a new Display Kit that has a matte-coated top layer, as well as a Hinge Kit which is more stable. Both are available in the framework marketplace (with waiting lists) and both come standard. The matte coating on the screen is different. Framework claims that the 80dB speaker kit has been integrated into Intel’s model to deliver “increased volume”. Framework claims that it will “tune the audio circuitry for AMD systems to achieve loudness and fidelity using the original speaker kit”. The audio on the 2022 Framework was particularly poor.

    Preorders are now open for both Intel and AMD models. The first Intel shipments will be in May and the AMD shipments in Q3. Prices for DIY kits start at $849 and prebuilt systems at $1,049, with a $100 deposit required at preorder. This summer, the company will expand its shipments to Spain, Belgium Italy and Taiwan.

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