2 USB C Ports

Hello! I just ordered a Frameworks laptop for a client and they had a question I couldn’t answer. Is it possible to use 2 USB-C ports? One for charging and for a hub/dock I don’t see why it wouldn’t be but according to this article it is not. Any clarification would be very helpful.

Thank you!

Hmm. From the article:

This battery life becomes a bit of a problem when you realize the laptop functionally only has one USB-C port. Even though the four expansion ports connect via USB-C to the laptop, other USB-C devices are only recognized through the USB-C to the USB-C expansion port. If you needed to, say, charge your laptop with the only included USB-C expansion card but needed a second USB-C port, you’d have to connect an adapter to the USB-A expansion card to plug in your other peripheral.

That is really weird. I have never seen this in any other review and no one here has ever reported such a thing (they’d be screaming!!)

The Framework laptop has 4 USB4 ports (Thunderbolt 4 certification pending). Through expansion cards, they can be used as USB-C, USB-A, HDMI, DP, microSD or storage modules.

You want 4 USB-C ports? Get 4 USB-C expansion cards! In fact, you could plug directly into the internal port but that’s not advised and it may be tricky.

They absolutely can be used simultaneously! You can even use a port to both charge and transmit data simultaneously - the same port - through a hub.

And there’s a lot of data on each port, so several things can share that data simultaneously, through a hub for example.

There’s something wrong with that review. The statement does not make sense.

My Framework laptop is coming shortly but I’m sure anyone who has one can dispel this rather weird issue.

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It sounds like this wise guy is reviewing that he only ordered a single USB C expansion card.

having a single USB C, if you didn’t order more, isn’t a big deal though, since thunderbolt / usb c docks can provide hub and power delivery functionality at the same time.

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Thank you so much! She sent me the article and I was very confused as I couldn’t find any mention of it anywhere else. Good to know my assumptions were correct

Yep:

Seems like a pretty decent review except for that one glaring error.

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Apparently, this is not true. @joevt you can correct me but…

There is one (1) thunderbolt controller with four (4) ports that share bandwidth, providing a max of 40gbps across all ports. Further, that bandwidth is only 22Gbps for PCIe tunnelling and the rest is for Display Port functionality.

OK, I’ll correct - but my point was, multiple devices can share this data simultaneously. It’s a lot of data.

The reviewer’s assertion that only one port can be used at a time and for only one thing is incorrect.

2 controllers, one for each side. This has been mentioned in a few posts from Framework

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On the Framework laptop, there are two thunderbolt controller, 2 ports each. The left side has one port from each controller, and so does the right.

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I picked up one of these 10 in 1 USB C hubs after seeing it on Elevated Systems Youtube review of the Framework. I then also picked up a 1 TB Crucial M.2 SSD to stick in it for expanded storage on the Framework. Probably a little overkill since I also have the 1 TB Expansion card, but it seems like it’s going to be an awesome way to get some extra bang out of the limited ports. I haven’t got it yet, but it looks like it’s going to work out fine based on the Youtube video.

https://shop.acasis.com/products/acasis-portable-10-in-1-hub-with-ssd-enclousre-kickstarter-hot-campaign

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Therefore there are 2 JHL8540 in the framework? Can you cite that source? (it’s important)

Edit: Yea saw it.

@Shawn_Lewis if you look at the comment above what you replied to, someone gave a source

Alright, so then it is technically possible to connect 4 display port displays to the framework (assuming you can still charge)?

LoL…lspci…

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Mostly correct.
4 thunderbolt ports on the model? 40GBps on each port? - #12 by joevt
I have yet to see benchmarks for Tiger Lake to confirm. The 40 Gbps number is from Ice Lake and is an approximation. It is unrelated to Thunderbolt speed (it’s a coincidence that it is close to the 40 Gbps speed of a single Thunderbolt connection). In the Ice Lake tests, the max was 4778 MB/s (38.2 Gbps) using AJA System Test Lite.app in macOS with three M.2 drives in RAID 0.

For bandwidth, it’s more correct to say there’s up to 34.56 Gbps for up to two DisplayPort connections per port. The remaining part of the 40 Gbps of a port is usable by up to ≈22 Gbps of PCIe data (maybe up to 24 Gbps if you can get 3000 MB/s).
https://youtu.be/l_mBBE4NIOE?t=136

Apple uses a trick to get up to 38.93 Gbps of DisplayPort data for the Apple Pro Display XDR (for GPUs that don’t support DSC). If the same trick could be done in Linux by poking some Thunderbolt registers, then I wonder how close to 40 Gbps you could get with a couple DisplayPort 1.4 displays. Of course that leaves very little room for PCIe tunnelling.

JHL8540 are discrete Thunderbolt controllers. Tiger Lake uses integrated Thunderbolt controllers.

There’s 4 root ports for PCIe tunnelling over Thunderbolt.

There’s only one USB controller to handle all four ports. I am guessing that it should be able to get around 34 Gbps with four USB 3.1 gen 2 devices (assuming ≈1060 MB/s read speed).

There are Two integrated NHI controllers. I don’t know how the ports are divided between them. Some testing is required. For example, if the Framework can connect 4 external displays, 2 per Thunderbolt port, is it possible to connect 4 separate (no MST Hub involvement) displays to a single side? The DROMs in the NHI controllers (visible in Linux) will probably list how many DisplayPort inputs they have.

I’m not sure what it means to have two NHI controllers or how that is a useful descriptor. Better to discuss capabilities. Consider the Ice Lake MacBook Pro: the two NHI controllers represent two Thunderbolt Buses as Apple calls them. Thunderbolt devices from one side will be connected to one bus, and Thunderbolt devices from the other side will be connected to the other bus. I think this also means that each side can only connect two displays. I don’t think they have an affect on PCIe tunnelling performance. The Ice Lake tests show that there’s a max limit shared by all 4 ports and that spreading PCIe data between the sides does not help like it does with a laptop that has discrete Thunderbolt controllers.

Is there a benchmark like ATTO Disk Benchmark.app for macOS that lets you test more than one drive at the same time without having to make a RAID 0?

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Hmmm… I think that reviewer got confused and mistakenly believed that you only get 4 slots and only one of them is usb-c…

They probably didn’t do research before doing the review (and to be fair, most of the time, they don’t need research; this laptop is the exception).

So it’s just a sad misunderstanding. That’s why I hate sites that don’t allow us to comment to a reviewer or article… humans make mistakes… comment sections can help correct them.

Disagree. Never underestimate the human’s ability to not get it.

(Edit: I agree with you that the FW Laptop does need research before reviewing it. It’s just that… so do the others.)

If they’re supposed to give out accurate information, then they should make sure the information they give out is accurate.

Like the review I didn’t complete watching the other day, because the first thing the guy did after loosening the screws was take the “bottom” off and pull the cable from the underside of the input cover - didn’t even bother flipping it back over.

Thereby (IMO) proving he’s not terribly good with nonstandard formfactors, or research, or… rehearsal.

A simple search would have proven “1 USB-C Port to Charge Them All” to be false. If you can’t be bothered with things like that, why should I trust anything else you say?

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@Jake_Richter I feel that’s not fair. Humans are being that naturally make mistakes and can naturally misunderstand things.

Even if you understand a subject, you can sometimes have a brain fart and not realize it, or you can misunderstand something you normally will not.

Also, people are creatures of habit. Normally, when reviewing a laptop, people don’t research it and they often don’t need to. And this is the case for most tech. And most of the time, even researching the laptop won’t give you much info unless if you are looking at other people’s reviews which would then defeat the purpose of your own review.

If you normally do not need research to understand the product you are reviewing, why should they believe they need to research this one exception??? Probably the first exception in their entire career even.

You often only do research when you DON’T have the product. The exception being when you have a real interest in the product.