Admittedly am a little intimidated by this task but here goes nothing.
Skipping over kind of irrelevant details: my old laptop broke, and someone’s offered to buy me a new one, specifically a Framework. I’ve been attempting to do a lot of research on and off as to what exactly I can do with both the prefab and DIY options and to be honest I find it a little overwhelming, which brings me to the actual reasons I’m asking for advice:
I have never built a computer before. The extent of my experience in this is opening up a Dell laptop to put an extra stick of RAM in, and to be honest I couldn’t even tell you if I did that correctly.
I do not have the ability to build or buy a desktop computer at this point in time.
I want to play modded Minecraft.
I’m aware that the Framework isn’t exactly an ideal gaming laptop, but it’s pretty much set in stone as the laptop I will be getting (and will probably be my only computer for at least a few years). Initially I was planning to get the performance model and upgrade it with two 16GB sticks of RAM, which would probably serve me fine. However, it also might be an expense that I could cut out if doing the DIY build is significantly easy enough for someone new to the whole scene.
Basically, what I’m asking for advice/answers on is:
Is the Framework DIY easy for someone who’s never really touched PC building before, or am I better off buying the premade performance model and upgrading it that way?
Either way, what kind of specs/additional items should I be looking for in order to be able to use this as at least a somewhat passable Minecraft machine?
Is there anything else I should know as someone who is, again, entirely new to this?
Thanks in advance, and if there’s any follow-up questions on this I’d be happy to try and answer. I’m aware this is a pretty weird query for this specific forum but I’m hoping that someone might have answers anyway.
I have built 6 desktop PCs from the ground up, and have repaired / swapped parts on probably a hundred PCs / servers / etc. over the years. I bought the DIY Edition, and the one & only thing that I personally struggled with was the WiFi antenna connections. See this thread for more details and one guy’s horror story. They are super tiny and delicate, and you kind of have to go by feel to know if it’s connected or not.
If I had it to do over, I would probably buy the DIY Edition again, but it’s because I would want to have more control over the internal parts (RAM, SSD, etc.) than what Framework offers. However, if I had been happier with Framework’s options, I would personally pay the higher price just to not have to fool with the stupid-delicate antenna connectors, even with my past experiences and having put together a DIY Edition in the past.
Definitely was not aware of the Wi-Fi antenna issue. I’ll keep an eye out for more stuff like that but given that I’m not exactly practiced in computer building this does somewhat sway me towards the prebuilt performance model. Last thing I want to do is mess with some extremely fiddly bit and break a brand-new laptop before it’s even fully built. Thanks for the info :]
From what I can tell, the prebuilt performance model only comes with two sticks of 8GB RAM, so 16 RAM in total. In my experience that’s not really enough to run modded MC (it’s laggy and has a tendency to crash, and the low total RAM means I can’t easily allocate the 8GB that most modpacks ask for).
I’m hoping that 32GB RAM will be exactly the right amount, it’s just that if I don’t go with the DIY version it’ll be around ~$160 for the extra RAM sticks and I’ll have two 8GB sticks with absolutely nowhere to go.
My recollection is that the antenna assembly was pre-installed in the laptop, but the WiFi card was not. Inserting the card into the M2 slot was no issue at all - it was connecting the antenna leads to the card that I struggled with.
I’m definitely considering that as well. It’s a good deal less expensive (~$600 less) to get the extra memory sticks and add them onto the Performance model than it is to buy the Professional model – I’m not entirely sure if I’ll need a full terrabyte of memory.
That said, I’m keeping it in mind anyway, so thanks for the reminder that it exists :]
I checked the purchasing options, and it seems that if you’re buying the laptop in the US and Canada (can only confirm US at this time) the Wi-Fi card is still not preinstalled, but all other regions will have it that way.
The difficult part about the Wi-Fi card is attaching the antenna cables and keeping them attached while you screw down the card. It takes a little effort, but is not impossible for a beginner, especially if you follow Framework’s guides. The good part is that if you do accidentally break something, the Framework support team will be able to work with you to help you replace the parts, as they know that the Wi-Fi installation is something many have struggled with.
That said, the prebuilt configs are not a bad idea if you are worried about setup. If you have replaced RAM before you can definitely save some money by buying the Performance tier laptop and getting your own 32gb sodimm kit. Just make sure to check out Framework’s Official RAM Compatibility List. These aren’t the only kits that work, but they have been tested by the Framework team to definitely work in the laptop.
If you chose a WiFi card with your Framework on order, it’s pre-installed. (Last time I checked anyway, too many people broke the antenna connectors and they just started pre-installing them if you chose a card)
It’s quite easy to build a DIY, and cheaper since you don’t have to pay for a Windows OEM license key. You can still download Windows from Microsofts website free of charge (Home Edition). Or use any Linux distro you like.
I bought a DIY for myself and a pre-build for my wife. There where not many differences. The DIY comes almost fully assembled, the only things I needed to add where ram, m.2 nvme.
Note: I bought the DIY with WiFi card (antenna came pre-installed), but own ram and m.2 nvme.
We’ve been building a small list of stuff we’ve been running and what you can expect performance wise from it. the TLDR is that the Intel Xe iGPU isn’t the worst, and can handle some decent framerates on some decently demanding titles.
It should also be noted that as a Thunderbolt (Pending certification) device, you ‘can’ set yourself up with an eGPU if these frame rates aren’t up to par.
Thanks so much for the link to this thread! I’ll definitely keep an eye out on my performance stuff so I can pass it along (if I can figure out how to interpret the F3 screen – technical things aren’t exactly my wheelhouse).
Even if I go with the premade option (looking more likely) this’ll probably still be very helpful for me to make sure I install the RAM correctly – thank you!
That’s not bad actually. I was expecting far worse performance. I didn’t realise intel’s iGPUs had gotten so good, especially at a >1080p resolution. Usually more mods I would expect to need more RAM rather than GPU or CPU but I suppose it depends on the mod.
Bear in mind there is also a lot of games that can be streamed from another device or platform a la Geforce Now (no Minecraft), Xbox Cloud Gaming (or from your home Xbox), PSNow, PS Remote Play, Stadia, Steam Remote Play, and plenty more that I can’t even remember. I expect that more and more of this will happen in the future.
Yeah, I’ve been pleasantly surprised with what this iGPU in this laptop has been able to handle. Does it replace a dGPU? Nah, but it’s certainly giving me access to a bunch of my library on the go without too many issues. I’ll keep that benchmark thread updated as I keep experimenting.