I only heard of Framework laptops after the announcement of availability of the 12th-Gen Intel CPUs. I was thoroughly intrigued with the whole concept, and right on the verge of submitting my pre-order, but thought I’d better sift through some feedback/reviews first, which I have done.
And at this point, literally the only thing holding me back is the reporting of annoyingly loud fan noise, which is moreover somewhat unpredictable (i.e., not obviously associated with CPU load).
I (mostly) understand the tradeoffs involved with trying to shed heat from a thin, high performance laptop. And, I would frankly rather the system run the fan and maintain clock speed rather than throttle it down, even if it drains the battery. But, I have to admit that I’m fond of the quiet, and if this thing is going to ramp up to 50+ dB on even a sporadic basis (much less a regular one), it’s going to drive me nuts.
For context, my order would likely be the i7-1260P, with 32GB ram (2x16 DDR4-3200). I’m not a gamer per se, but would be doing a fair amount of CPU-intensive work (scientific computing, image/video editing, ray-tracing/rendering).
I’m sure the Framework development team is fully aware of the existing commentary on fan noise, and I hope it’s part of their future development considerations. Pending any encouraging news on this front, I remain a lurker for now, but am very much rooting for the Framework paradigm to take hold.
I run Linux on mine (a few different distros but primarily Garuda Linux) and I’m pretty sure I’ve only even heard the fan turn on a single time while I was trying out the Gnome DE a few months back. It was not noisy and turned off shortly after it had come on. I also regularly shut down the device when it isn’t being used which helps.
I’ve been able to avoid fan noise most of the time on the 11th gen i5 by disabling turbo boosting. While this may not be an option for you, it is worth noting that none of the reviews you would have seen were for the 12th gen chips. It would be a good idea to wait until the new CPUs have been reviewed, as their new performance/efficiency core design may negate some or even all of the fan noise when not doing CPU-intensive work.
Well, obviously under high sustained CPU load like rendering a video the fan will ramp up. It can get fairly loud then but I don’t think this is a framework specific thing. Any laptop in this thin and light category has two options:
stay silent and limit the power/performance
Get load while boosting power/performance
And I’m very certain that with a bit of tweaking you could decide for yourself which way your framework should behave. And on another node, the framework is rather good at cooling down again after the load is gone. So in applications where you have occasional spikes this shouldn’t be that much of an issue.
Under idle (coding / webwork) I normally don’t notice any fan spinning. And again, you could adjust power output or fan curves. I.e. start the ramp-up a little later to ensure silence under low-load.
If even occasional ramp up under load drives you crazy then you might have to consider a different device category that comes with better possibilities for cooling
As a data point:
The fan isn’t ‘loud’, relatively speaking…when placed under 28w constant load (e.g. BOINC) when compared to, say, a TUF A15. But it’s definitely not workplace friendly. A ThinkPad P15 Gen 2 is comparatively quieter when handling similar workload (and the ThinkPad is faster). The height of the heatsink & fan profile helps.
Yeah, the Framework is definitely quite a fair bit louder than the X220 when under full load (I have both of them, and X200, X230, W520, W541). The Framework laptop’s fan is louder than all of them individually…but it’s the thinnest of the bunch, so there’s that too.
Having said that, I do wish the Framework laptop fan can be quieter. Maybe through tuning the noise frequency coming from the fan.
I definitely get fan noise. It’s less than desirable, but I always chalked it up to the fact I haven’t done any power tuning yet on my Fedora install. Any time I load up a web page with video on it, be it YouTube or Reddit, my fans start ramping up. I can’t speak to Windows users though. It might be a better experience out of the box.
However, the laptop’s cooling fans occasionally kicked in during daily use, and they’re awfully loud.
So they are either different or subjective, probably both, but neither of them suggest it was anything other than “associated with CPU load” which was my point as you had said “not obviously associated with CPU load”
I’m not suggesting there won’t be noise that some find disturbing.
Think the issue might be what’s “obvious” to one person isn’t obvious to another. e.g. Does Windows Update installing updates in the background have the same degree of obviousness to everyone? Or plugging in a new device (and windows is trying to automatically install new driver in the background)…etc.
From my usage, I only ever really hear the fans kicking up whenever I start a particularly heavy compute process (namely compiling a new Linux kernel or kicking off a Rust cargo build). It’s not horribly loud in my opinion though. Compared to some other laptops it might be a bit louder when it does kick in, but general day to day usage rarely ever triggers it to run at full speed.
To be fair, though, I’m a little biased in that I use a mechanical keyboard (loud) and tend to work from a home office that has three desktop towers running constantly, each with several mid-range fans (which means a fairly constant fan hum in the background)… So fan noise may not register as much for me.
Oh, I LOVE this! but… How?
Is this limited to Linux? Or is there an specific application for that (similar to Asus Armory Crate, Lenovo Vantage, for example)? Is this only on BIOS? How much control does it actually really give you?
If it’s not too much trouble, can you show a few screenshots of this? (only when you have time, of course)
It should be possible in BIOS and under Windows you could try the App SpeedFan.
I haven’t gotten around to try it on the framework yet, as I wasn’t to bothered by the fans but I guess it should work.
I also know that there are programs to fine tune the power usage (my brother uses one) but I can’t tell you the name right now.
On Windows, you can disable turbo boosting via power settings. Google around and you’ll find a registry key that shows this option again.
Beyond that you can use the power saving modes, by clicking on the battery and sliding it all the way to the left. This changes the TDP settings for the chip, such that it pulls less power. Less power means less heat.
Now your workload is going to determine the rest.
As a point of reference, I have 6 workspaces with about 13 programs open. These programs range from music player and browser to things like VMWare Workstation (with running Linux VM) and Visual Studio. The temps stay right around 38-42 C. The fan noise is inaudible to me. My work environment at home and in the office are not whisper quite.
I’m running Linux now with the exact same workload (program wise) and the temps are the same.
My personal opinion is that the fan noise on the Framework laptop is not louder than the x220t and x230 that I have. Both are significantly louder, and their fans are ALWAYS running.
Maybe time to re-paste those ThinkPads you have if you haven’t done so. (To make sure they’re still functioning in-specs)
Having said that, capability / speed of the CPU come into the picture: Framework being the newer / faster laptop, it can handle more processing in shorter time. i.e. Old systems will be under load for longer…and longer fan on time. But the older Thinkpads are incapable of being louder than the Framework laptop (their fans are not as loud).
Or maybe your hearing / ears are just less sensitive to the fan noise frequency from the Framework laptop (predisposition).
I would say definitely fans are louder than other laptops I’ve used but they are linked to cpu intensive tasks. It’s not like they randomly ramp up. General usage for i7 hasn’t needed the fan to spin up. Although as they say YMMV.