Advice on Framework 13 vs 16 for Fedora virtualisation

Hi folks,

I’d like some buying advice please to help me choose between a Framework Laptop 13 or 16.

I’d much rather buy the 13 with an Intel Ultra 7 155U chip, but only if it will perform well for my main use-case explained below.

For security against malware, I’d like to run my email client and messenger apps in a Fedora 40 Virtualbox VM running on a Fedora 40 host installed on Framework 13. In the same VM, I’d also run various browsers for both security against malware but also for privacy to protect against browser fingerprinting.

I might also run a second VM just for added flexibility for browser isolation for work related web access.

On my Fedora 40 host, I’d be mainly using office software, and occasionally photo editing.

So my question is would a Framework Laptop 13 with an Ultra 7 155U with an be able to run two VMs with native performance for the above use case without a noticeable drain on the host OS’s performance?

Or would I need the extra cores available to the Framework Laptop 16?
Would the Ultra 7 165H upgrade make much difference?

Is 64GB memory overkill…would 32GB be sufficient? I was thinking 8GB to each VM and 16GB for the host.

Thx in advance.

#Virtualbox #VM framework-laptop-13 Framework Laptop 16

I’d be surprised if the 155U isn’t enough for what you’re describing - the stuff you’re talking about doing in VMs (browsing, messaging, email) are not particularly heavy, and you can get pretty near native CPU performance with virtualization.

I use my framework 13 (although I have the AMD 7840U variant) in a very similar way. Web browsing, and even work in a fedora VM. I feed them 4 vCPU and 8GB of RAM and they seem completely happy. My host has been fine with 32 GB of RAM. Never had a problem running up to 2 at once, although none of my workloads are computationally intensive. I use qemu/virt manager instead of virtualbox though.

If you’re really just looking at browsing and email/chat 2+8 is probably enough for you.

Where things get tricky is if you want GPU performance. With qemu machines, virgl is good enough to get hardware accelerated video playback, but that’s about it. I don’t know what options look like on virtualbox but I’m guessing not good. I would say gaming in a VM is probably not a good experience unless you have a GPU to pass through, which you’re obviously not gonna get on the 13.

Edit: didn’t realize the options on the 13 are either 125H or 155H so you’re looking at either 4+8 or 6+8. So I guess that should be… even more fine?

Thanks for your reply. Great to have feedback from someone with a very similar setup…I can now buy with confidence.

Just adding my 2 cents here.
Using linux since kernel 0.07p11 (so very long ago) and since also always hosting all internet related services @ home.
Malware is usually an issue that does not show up a lot @ home (wife and kids using linux too). Only time we had an issue was when our youngest tried some web-based games on a gaming rig running Windows 7 some years back.

To be honest - if you really want to separate work and non work, virtual machines are IMHO not a real alternative. 2 Computers + KVM is what you need (doing it here too - same for the phone).
I have now a work computer and a FW16 for private use. Needless to say that my fw16 is way more powerful than my work device (old Latitude 7440). But the essence is really on physical separation.
For malware protection, check out the RPZ databases systems - Response Policy Zones - Infoblox - they are way more preserving your security and privacy. You can also use the PiHole for that (using my own setup with self developed dynamic blacklisting @ home).
The RPZ lists can also be installed locally (hosts file) and are very efficient :slight_smile: