Framework 13 vs 16 for mech engineering

Hi All,

So I’m really bad at making decisions because I over think everything. I am starting university next year and looking at getting a laptop. We require windows as os and something that is capable of running Solidworks as well as Metlab and possibly some other software.

I’ve placed a pre-order on both the 13inch AMD and the 16inch AMD with graphics card.

However my problem is I don’t know which one, I don’t have any laptops already and I do have a PC although it’s starting to age a little and was thinking about upgrading it. My situation is a little strange as I may have to travel a little for university.

I know the 16 is a safe bet but I’m trying to learn to save money when I can rather than playing it safe constantly. But a laptop is a big investment and won’t be able to afford to get both.

My real question is I don’t know if the 13 is capable of what I want but it would save me some money. So anyone with experience and a decent amount of knowledge what do you think?

Hello, going into Junior year of my Mechanical Engineering degree here with a Batch 1, i7-1165G7 Framework 13 laptop.

In terms of the Framework 13" laptop on my course work and work loads so far, its been mostly fine. My university uses Solidworks and I have been doing all my CAD-ing for the rocketry club here and classes without much trouble. It really does handle most everything perfectly well.

For complex assemblies, or anlysis based modes (an example being a visualizing tool for the thinnest parts of my cad model to see where I may have issues that I actually used recently), it will be a bit gpu limited, and will chug a bit. But, it will still be able to handle them, albeit you’ll have to put up with a bit of a lower framerate when moving said complex assembly as it tries to handle the complex geometries. I plane to conitnue to use the laptop all 4 years and have been quite content with it.

The above statements relate to my experience with the laptop alone. My personal set up has an eGPU at my dorm room desk so that I can do some gaming. It does help with the problems i mentioned above, but I find not enough to warrant me having to be at a desk to do Cad-ing, just make sure the laptop is plugged into power and your set.

AMD will also have a better igpu in the 13", so the experience will probably be completely satisfactory and will work for what you want. I’m going to be taking a class that specifically dives into Finite Element Analysis this year, which I’ve heard can be a bit more taxing on a computer, but ideally its only taxing in that it requires more time to compute, not impossible to run.

Like you said, the 16" is the safe bet (and i would probably get it if it where an option at the time). I’d probably set it up with an exteernal monitor so when I’m at my desk I’d treat it like a desktop, but when I’m on the go I’ve got the laptop (which is kinda of how I’m using my 13" now with the eGPU). But all things considered, if you really don’t want to buy the 16", I don’t think you’ll have to


I have seen this question asked mutiple times, and generally speaking most people recommend the 13. You are unlikely to need the extra GPU lift that the 16 provides, at the loss of better battery life and mobility. A laptop in my mind is for mobility and ease of use. If you need a better GPU get an EGPU, or improve your desktop for those instances.

I would get the 16 without the dGPU module for a safe middle ground. Knowing that I can add a dGPU down the road if needed. With the 13, you can only go with or without eGPU.

The price difference between the top tier 13 AMD (with 2 x 16GB and 1TB 850x storage) and the lower tier 16 (also with 2 x 16GB and 1TB 850x) is only US$260, but with a much faster processor (30-40% in multi-threaded benchmarks), larger battery, 2 more ports:

vs 13

But if you were aiming for the lower-end 13 AMD, then the price gap is almost US$600…that would then be hard to justify.

In short, if you are looking for a fast system, then at least aim for the 16 without the GPU module. If you are not, then the 16 inch won’t really benefit you much even if you throw $600 more at it.

Also, personal experience: I’m the kind of person who buy something…and then wonder “should I have gotten something faster” just so that I don’t have to “live with it”. I have a tendency to regret getting “just what I need”…because I’m impatient. So, these days, I go and get what I’m happy with, without breaking the bank, but also not getting the “bare minimum”. Middle ground is how I like to stay “happy using it”.


Another thing you might want to do is go to a store and see if the 16" form factor is something you are willing to deal with…I thought I wanted a Thinkpad P1 Gen4 until we had one for work. As a desktop replacement sure, but as something that needs to be hauled everywhere, all the time…nope. The power brick is the worst part of the setup and a usb-c one will likely be lighter but still you will be looking at roughly 1.5 lbs of extra stuff to carry around compared to the 13. Coming from Chonkpads I thought I would not mind but I made the mistake of having a Thinkpad T480s in between…lighter is pretty damn nice.