Music production on AMD Framework

I have a pre-order for the framework 16 (I’m in batch 14), but I’m a little concerned about the reviews regarding the fan noise. I will be using the 16 to replace my 2015 MacBook Pro and will use it for music production. Fan noise is a no go when recording. I didn’t order the dgpu, so it’s possible that without that it’ll be fine.

I know that the framework 13 fan noise was much better with the AMD switch. Has anyone done music production on the AMD 13 model? If so, how was the fan noise?

I do music production on the 11th gen Intel FW13.

Fan noise isn’t a problem, even when it’s loud, because nothing is piping it into the mixer.

If you have an isolation room, why is the laptop inside it? If not, you must mic up so that ambient noise is not an issue, anyway

Yeah, I don’t have an isolation room. I’m often recording myself as well, so the laptop has to stay relatively close by. I have a directional mic and try to reduce it picking up any ambient noise, but even my MacBook will pick up in recordings when the fan kicks in, but it’s relatively quiet overall. If the fans on the framework are much louder in normal use with Ableton with 10 or so tracks with various plugins it may not be viable for me.

Yeah, I guess if you have to record with a sensitive condenser mic near your laptop, no level of fan noise is going to work

You could set up a simple barrier with some wood and foam or a moving blanket to decouple the laptop from the microphone

As a DJ and producer I’m really worried about this too, specifically ordered another laptop for this reason as I was having dropouts and audio issues on a 7945 HX system…

That’s an interesting idea. Definitely worth trying no matter what I end up going with.

Do your Intel framework fans ramp up while doing basic recording/producing? I’m assuming it would take quite a few channels/plugins to heat up a newer system, but my only reference is using daws on Mac.

I don’t know if it’s noisy when recording, since I can’t hear it over my monitor headphones or the drumset and it doesn’t get picked up by the mics.

When I’m just working in ableton, the main thing that ramps up the fan is ssd usage, so exports, updates and flushing tracks to disk when you save or close. I used to use a 2015 mbp and I’d say it’s about the same overall (iirc correctly; it’s been more than 2 years now)

But Windows update or the malware service will also spin up the fan from time to time, without any warning.

Good to know! That really helps, thank you! I think I’ll be safe to switch. I can always pause updates for recording sessions, so that’s not a huge deal at all. I’m getting super excited to wave goodbye to the apple ecosystem!

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You can also just have a fan profile configured to be near silent when recording. Turn it on when recording and turn it off when you aren’t.
Also from the reviews I have seen fan noise is only a major issue for high load scenarios. I don’t think you will be pushing your laptop that hard doing music production.

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You could also just turn th fan off during the recording bit, in my testing I found that with stock paste it can do about 15-17w for extended periods. 15W on the amd chip still gives you quite a lot of performance to work with (hell at 10w it already outperforms my t480s going full tilt, at 15 it’s almost double). Sure the skin temperature gets kinda toasty over time but you could turn the fan back on between recording (not really sure how that workflow works but I am sure there are breaks sometimes).

Is this a BIOS level change, or something I could tune in Windows? It would be helpful to be able to set up a few macros instead of rebooting the machine every time.

Not sure about windows but with ectool it’s a single command line on linux. Not sure if there is a nice fronted for it. But you definitely don’t need to reboot for it.

Linux should bring down the noise if your software supports it or can be used in a container if it is that big of an issue.

Alternatively just buy ice packs and put them underneath the laptop and hope that Windows does not mess things up when it does all the background stuff. Ice Packs should keep the laptop frigid enough to not turn on the fans in the first place and is less of a hassle.

I don’t know how Framework will have it setup, but my current laptop (an MSI) has an application called Dragon Center. Among other features, one of the things it allows is adjusting the fan speed.

So, it could definitely be adjusted in Windows, without needing to go into the BIOS. At least, I think so?

Good to know! As long as that’s the case, it should be simple enough to create a quick macro to make it a simple few keys press. Thanks!

Depending on your desire to do real time audio, the latency could be a bigger concern. The vast majority of the windows laptops I’ve tried in recent years have a ton of issues with DPC latency, which makes real time audio a lot more difficult. It seems to be a bigger problem with Nvidia equipped machines due to their drivers, but it looks like notebookcheck also found problems with their framework 16 and DPC latency. There are usually some optimizations that can help, but it can be super frustrating to deal with.

Of course, if you’re not trying to do real time production, you can just crank the buffer until it’s not an issue, so it may not be a problem for you.

It’s definitely one of the question marks I have for my batch 1 unit, since audio production/live performance with Ableton is one of the primary functions my laptop will be tasked with. Soon, we’ll have the answers!

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Same, gone though two laptops in the last year before preordering, both unfixable dpc latency issues…

It’s super frustrating and seems like an issue that’s really just popped up in the past 1-3 years for new windows laptops. I have some older thinkpads that can handle real time audio just fine, and yet newer machines with MUCH more power have all sorts of latency issues. The worst one I tried was the Legion Pro 7i with an i9 and 4090. Insanely capable machine, but the DPC latency made it basically impossible to produce music on

It seems that the Nvidia drivers are the #1 culprit, but I’ve seen reports that AMD Advantage laptops also suffer from it, which is why I’m a little nervous about the FW16’s latency performance.

The ultimate insult to injury is just how much better core audio on Mac works vs ASIO on windows. I consider a 48k bitrate with a 64 sample buffer size to be a reasonable benchmark, and sadly, not a lot of modern windows laptops I’ve crossed paths with can reach it. Meanwhile, my 2020 base model M1 13" MacBook pro doesn’t break a sweat doing 96k/32.

Fingers crossed the Framework will be a serviceable warhorse for us music nerds!

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