Any reason NOT to buy the most-souped-up 13 AMD? Upside of lower tiers?

At the time I’m posting this, the top-end pre-built Framework Laptop AMD 13 is as follows:

Professional US$1,669
AMD Ryzen™ 7 7840U | 32GB (2x16GB) Memory | 1TB Storage | Battery - 61Wh | WiFi 6E | Windows 11 Pro

Are there any benefits (other than price, of course) to going down a step or two? For example, would the battery life be better at the mid-tier?

Or alternatively, would it be worth spending less because the highest-tier isn’t significantly different from the lower tier(s)?

Here are the current lower-priced options:

Base US$1,049
AMD Ryzen™ 5 7640U | 8GB (1x8GB) Memory | 256GB Storage | Battery - 55Wh | WiFi 6E | Windows 11 Home

Performance US$1,469
AMD Ryzen™ 7 7840U | 16GB (2x8GB) Memory | 512GB Storage | Battery - 61Wh | WiFi 6E | Windows 11 Home

My top priorities are, in order from most important:

  1. Sufficient performance for my use cases.
  2. Battery life
  3. Not wasting money/parts on frequent upgrades, especially those that would require reformatting or migrating data

Also falling somewhere in the rankings: Concern over the human and environmental costs of mining materials used in electronics.

My use cases:

I do very little gaming, and I will occasionally do some data crunching. But I can plug into an outlet while I do that. While working, I consult YouTube all the time. I have a zillion tabs on multiple browsers open, but I hibernate tabs. Mostly, I’m on videoconference or word processing. I don’t do any photo/video editing.

I plan to run Windows for work. I’m going back to school (online) for computer engineering, so I guess there will also be some Linux happening one way or another. Dual-boot? Virtualization? Cloud? Whatever the kids are doing these days. Or maybe I’ll load Linux on my old laptop.

Battery life is important to me. A lot of posts have recommended a power bank, so I’m going to try that, but I carry my laptop around a lot and can’t drag the power bank with me all the time. From time to time, I will be sitting in tent in the woods somewhere working remotely.

A bit more context:

I am currently using an 8-year-old Thinkpad x250. It’s still running, but it doesn’t support Win 11, and that is finally catching up to me. I had an x220 before that, which I also liked. I have bikepacked and backpacked for hundreds of miles while working remotely, and I put my Thinkpads through the wringer without any consequences - other than marks on the screen from the keyboard pressing into the screen when it’s smashed tightly into a bag. (I’m better about using a sturdy case now.) I’m a little nervous about using any laptop less sturdy than the old Thinkpads. No, I don’t need a Toughbook. But I hope I can find an idea for a mod or case for the Framework to protect it a little more.

I’m going to miss my touchscreen and trackpoint, too, but I think I am going to make the jump from Lenovo to Framework anyway because everything I read says that the new Thinkpads just aren’t the same. I’m hoping Framework will come out with a touchscreen in the next couple of years.

I’ve been using such an old computer that I don’t have a sense of proportion - whether the differences between the new systems will be meaningful at all relative to what I’m using now. But if there’s no downside, and the mainboard will last longer, I figure that $600 amortized over the next eight years (I can hope? :sweat_smile:) is only $75/year.

Also, incidentally, why is the top-end Intel $400 more expensive than the top AMD? I keep reading that the AMD produces better battery life, so I had just assumed I would go for AMD.

So, if we’re talking AMD CPU, the 7840U is basically the 7640U with better graphics. I chose to take a ryzen 5 because I didn’t need great graphics (the most I do is CAD software or small games).

Regarding ram : I would take at least 16gb to reduce the probability of bottlenecks. I took 32gb for my use case, but it might be overkill to be honest. Also, search the web for that as I’m not sure, but I think that AMD CPUs works bad with only one stick of ram, so choose a configuration with both.

Regarding disk : I would take at least 512gb. 256gb is fine but you will probably end up needing to remove some things to install others. I took 1tb (I found a 1tb wd_black disk for very cheap, otherwise I would have taken 512gb)

And finally, I recommend going the DIY route. It’s very easy to assemble (haven’t received mine yet, but it really does look like so) and you have a better granularity of choice.


IMO, no, there’s no reason other than price to avoid the top tier.

I ordered a 7640u, but that was mostly to keep costs down, and I don’t think I’d actually use the extra performance that often. (I also have a more powerful desktop that I can remote into if I do need extra oomph.)

Honestly, I think you’ll be happy either way. But if you’ve got the money to spare, then sure, get the high end one.


If you want to go for the pre-build ones, looking at the use cases you mention, and assuming you are fine with the price, then IMHO the top-tier might suit you the most: 32gb of ram can help you to run multiple VMs / WSL instances (some kids do those these days), you will use the 12cu GPU for your casual gaming, and I don’t think you will be upgrading 1tb of storage.

But if you are fine with the diy edition it’d give that a shot. I went DIY with the 7640u 1tb of storage and 32g of rams. I wanted more ram for VMs and storage for snapshots. Moreover the 7640u is fine for me (I haven’t stressed it yet, but in every day stuff is very much faster than my previous 14nm-era intel processor, and cooler) and I saved 400€ compared to the 7840u.


I’d also recommend:

  • DIY version for flexibility of configuration/cost
  • 2 matched sticks of RAM, for Dual-channel speed
  • 32GB RAM (or more) if you want to run VM’s. Also note that memory is shared with the iGPU
  • WSL2 if your host OS is Windows 11; as a starting point for virtualization, if nothing else
  • 1 TB Storage or more, if you want. You’ll likely want to have multiple virtual machines and code bases that you’re compiling for school and you don’t want to have to upgrade your storage and you want it to last 8 years… so any less isn’t going to cut it in my opinion. That doesn’t mean you couldn’t get by with less, but I know my data storage requirements only grow (and faster than I would expect). Then factor in the cost difference of 512 GB vs 1 TB (~$40 USD if you go DIY)… and well, I bought 2 TB for myself!

A couple more differences between 7640U and 7840U:

  • 7640U has slightly higher base clock frequency
  • 7840U has slightly higher turbo clock frequency (and 2 more cores)
  • I’m not sure about power usage/battery life between the two. They have the same TDP but in practice maybe there is a difference due to the frequency/core count?

The 7840U also has 2 more (33% more) CPU cores, which is a pretty meaningful difference. It also has slightly higher clock speeds.

And Framework only offers the larger battery with the 7840U variant of the laptop.

In total the Framework Laptop with 7840U has (compared to 7640U):

  • 50% more iGPU cores
  • 33% more CPU cores
  • 11% more battery capacity
  • 9% more CPU total cache
  • 4% higher CPU boost clock speed
  • 4% higher iGPU clock speed

At the $320 price difference I think the 7640u is probably the better value (performance relative to price), but the 7840u is a reasonable choice if more performance is desired.


If you don’t need more than 16 GB of ram the mid-tier might have slightly better battery life than the top-tier, however that difference is likely very small. (More ram can consume more power, although if you are running out of ram the system will start paging which consumes even more power)

Both the top and mid tier should have significantly better battery life than the low tier. This is because the low tier has a smaller battery (55 Wh vs 61 Wh) and uses a weaker CPU.

A common misconception is that more powerful CPUs inherently consume more battery. But that isn’t automatically the case.

The 7640U is the same CPU design as the 7840U, however the 7640U has 2 CPU cores and 4 GPU cores permanently deactivated (either due to being defective or just cause AMD needed to meet demand for 7640U so they crippled some 7840U chips).

Ryzen processors tend to be pretty good at automatically putting most of the cores to sleep under low load (where they consume negligible power). So under low load the 7840U deactivates its extra unnecessary capabilities and behaves exactly like the 7640U.

Under heavy load both CPUs will consume 28w of power (what Framework’s cooling system is rated to handle), however the 7840U has more cores each operating at lower power (same total power as the 7640U). More cores each at lower power results in better performance than fewer cores each at higher power.

So both CPUs will consume the same amount of power under both light and heavy loads, however the greater performance of the 7840U will allow it to complete heavy loads quicker and overall consume less power.

IMO all but the base model Intel models are way overpriced.

Framework offers 3 models of Intel CPU: 1340P, 1360P, and 1370P.

The 1340P and the 7640U are competing CPUs and priced the same amount (in the Framework Laptop).

However the 1360P and 1370P are where AMD absolutely destroys Intel in value. The 7840U is competitive in price with the 1360P but competitive in performance with the much more expensive 1370P.

IMO the 1360P is such a small improvement over the 1340P that it just shouldn’t exist (and the 1370P should be priced at the price the 1360P is currently at).

The 1370P is just overpriced IMO. One of the selling points of the 1370P is that it supports Intel vPro Enterprise. vPro Enterprise is a suite of tools that allow a company to remotely manage large fleets of computers. It doesn’t matter to 99% of end users, however to the massive corporations buying thousands of laptops it is a feature they are willing to pay a premium for, so Intel prices vPro Enterprise capable CPUs at a premium.

The AMD CPUs tend to be more efficient and have much more powerful iGPUs.

Part of the efficiency comes from the lithography (manufacturing process). AMD is using a TSMC 4 nm process (the number loosely corresponds to the size of the transistors) whereas Intel is using their own process (which they used to call 10 nm but now call Intel 7 because they claim it is competitive with TSMC 7 nm).

So AMD is using a more modern and efficient manufacturing process, which helps a lot with efficiency.

Furthermore AMD’s cores seem to be generally better at providing high performance (at high power consumption) which under heavy load but efficiently dropping down to low power when high performance isn’t needed. Intel on the other hand has resorted to having some cores optimized specifically for high performance/high power and other cores optimized specifically for low power.


With other laptop vendors, it’s common (and good) advice to buy the most ram you might ever need, and then maybe some more, because it’s soldered on and you can’t upgrade it later. But not so with the Framework! You can upgrade later, so don’t worry so much about it.

I have the 7840U, and really … if all the CPU cores are busy, it thermal throttles in seconds. I’ve never really seen them all going (even at below-turbo speeds). But maybe it’s worth it for the GPU.

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I have the 7640U and honestly the only reason I’d upgrade for the 7840 is if I needed the extra graphics power. The 7640U has playable graphics imo but I also have low standards.

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AFAIK all modern laptop CPUs are limited by thermals. So if by “throttles” you mean that it clocks up to the turbo frequency, then quickly (seconds) clocks down so as to keep below 100 Celsius, getting to around the nominal 35W power draw, then I believe you can’t buy a laptop today that doesn’t do at least that.

But you shouldn’t see disabled cores or vector units, or frequencies dramatically lower than the base. (According to Notebookcheck and other reviewers, on the AMD Framework you shouldn’t see noticeable performance degradation on the scale of minutes, either, while other laptops do suffer from this to a varying extent.) So if you are seeing something dramatic—there have been some reports of bad thermal paste on the forum, maybe that’s your problem?

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Thanks everyone for your information and suggestions!

A couple of people mentioned looking at the DIY option, and it sounded like fun. I found all the alternative parts I wanted for a bit lower cost than the ones packaged with the Framework, but ultimately, even if I downgraded my RAM to half a gig, it was still less expensive to get the pre-built because I don’t have any parts lying around to reuse.

For reference, Framework just came out with a list of compatible RAM that they have tested:

and there’s a Poll in the forums that has a recent list of other options that people are trying from Crucial, g.skill, etc.

Since the RAM options I was considering would only save me a few bucks and weren’t on the compatibility list, I decided I’d rather be able to stay eligible for support, no questions asked. (I’m guessing the other RAM options that are truly compatible will eventually show up on the list, so maybe I’m being overly cautious.)

I may still switch out the SSD on the pre-built. I’ve read that the SK Hynix Gold P31 is good for minimizing power usage.

I am definitely going to buy a second power cord to use as the one I carry with me. I saw some recommendations in other posts.

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Thanks for your answer. I was also interested in this from a technical perspective, so that’s helpful.

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I have zero thermal throttling on mine after a PTM7950 repaste. I never got past 85C, even with a 45W CPU+GPU load ! I’m TPD limited on 7840U.

Edit: I had really bad temps out of the box.

I regret not saying that this is a choice you should make based on your own experience/comfort level. I think this forum is predominately occupied by DIY’ers, so you should take that into consideration when getting advice here.

That said, there seems to be some RAM that is consistently compatible, even though its not on the compatibility list. Kingston KF556S40IBK2, for example (which I have, but haven’t installed yet), and some Crucial and G.Skill RAM.

SSD-wise, SK Hynix P31 is popular for it’s power profile, but most NVMe drives seem to be compatible (and I think the P31 might not be as good as reviews imply due to laptop power profiles, but I digress).

So, I will summarize by saying that I still think DIY is the way to go, if you’re comfortable with this route, especially because you won’t buy a new component then immediately replace it… which goes against Framework’s ethos.

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Indeed, that’s what I expect; this laptop is still pretty snappy under full load, it’s not badly throttling, it’s just that there’s only so many watts a thing this size can dissipate. I also understand that more cores running at lower speed and power each can be more efficient than fewer cores running faster, because as voltage and speed go up, power use goes up even faster (squared, kinda). Anyway I figured 6 cores running a bit faster compared to 8 cores running a bit slower, at roughly the same total TDP, is close enough.

Hmm, my laptop seems to have reasonable temperatures under normal usage (50C?), but under load it definitely seemed worse than that. This inspired me to do some slightly more rigorous testing. I’m running linux, using turbostat to monitor freq/power and stress -cN to load N cpu cores, and ectool to monitor temp and fan, and control the fan.

What drove my impression is the default fan control, it’s really slow to react - it keeps fan below 3000 rpm for like 15 seconds, while the temperature can make it up to 94C, then the fan starts slowly ramping up. It makes sense to not be instant, and spin up and down annoyingly, but it is really slow to adapt.

But I can force the fan to 80% (6500 rpm), and then it’s mostly like yours, around 85C at 33W all-core load at about 4 GHz. Nifty.

So far my 7840U amd seems to be more limited by the hard wall power limit than thermals even without any fancy paste. I can’t really set the long term power limit high enough for it to thermal throttle once the fan kicks in (which does take a bit which I like, try to just tank it for a bit and then go into beast mode XD) but that may change in the future.

With stock paste I am barely touching 90 during an extended 35W load. Over all I am very pleased with the cooling performance of the thing. Turning a fan below 100% is a lot easier than turning it above so I am glad they went with a more powerful one than you’d find on similar laptops even if it does make them look somewhat worse in reviews.

Is yours actually thermal throttling or just pl?

It probably will be, those cores are freaking beastly. I did do some cinebench performance per watt testing, you may be able to just shift it downwards by 25% and get a rough idea.

How did you manage to keep a load above 35W? Mine pl throttles down to that and I can’t seem to set it any higher.

Appart from money, no.

Market segmentation. At least you actually get more cores on the gpu and cpu, look at the intel model. For an extra 320$ you get a whole extra 400mhz of theoretical boost clock and for an extra 720$ you even get 2 more pcores XD.


I’m not sure. Reported by powertop on battery, running the unpatched 6.7 Archlinux kernel and steam games. CPU only loads do not go above 35W, but GPU ones do.

I find it too fast actually. So many ramp up and down during constant loads, it’s annoying. It does wait until 94C exactly before turning on, even with PTM applied, then drops 15-20C and keeps the fan running.
I would rather they settle on a higher fan speed than going up-down up-down every 10 seconds on a perfectly constant load.

Ohhh you mean whole system power not cpu power. Yeah that sounds more plausible.

I was at the lowest screen brightness with no keyboard backlight and no audio. It’s less than a 5W difference, I think.

The fan at max alone draws 2W then there’s vrm inefficiencies and stuff like that. Enough for me to assume you didn’t bypass the 35W long-term power limit.

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