Reviews, AMD Framework-13 Ryzen 7 7840U - "So much better than the Intel version"

Don’t be fooled by the fancy charts! Notebookcheck is good all-around, and especially thorough, but their battery life test is just scripted web browsing over wifi.

Ars ran the PCMark modern office battery test which includes writing, browsing, and video conference. It’s a real benchmark from a company that makes benchmarks. Not in any way less legit than notebookcheck’s in-house test, and it tests a more diverse use pattern that might better reflect real world performance.

Probably the big difference is video conference. I’d guess the Intel video hardware is either more efficient or better utilized by the software in the test. Depending on which of those is true, the PCMark test may be a much better indicator of battery performance for many users. It might also be that the e-cores pay off in office tasks, specifically. Someone would have to follow up in more detail to really get to the bottom of this.

1 Like

Yet Techradar used PC Mark 10 Office Test and their results are aligned with Notebookcheck, and nowhere near Ars.

2 Likes

They don’t say which battery test they used, afaict. They ran an office performance test and an unspecified battery test, (PCMark 10 offers 5 different battery tests)

If they do have such a large discrepancy on the modern office battery test, specifically, that’s another matter, but it’s not clear from the data provided

4 Likes

On one picture in the Arstechnica review there seems to be an USB-A card in the top right slot. I don’t know if the test was performed that way or if this can explain the big difference, but it is a possibility that this caused higher than necessary power draw.

For the first reviews you’d want your system to run at its best, wouldn’t you?
I just can’t grasp, why’d framework send CL46 RAM to a reviewer (Notebookcheck) instead of CL40 one…

Makes me wonder, if Intel paid them to do so… :laughing:

That’s the RAM they’ll be shipping in preassembled machines and with DIY orders that include RAM. So far the only DDR5-5600 sticks that the manifacturer unambiguously declares can run at CL40 without XMP/EXPO/PnP (which these CPUs don’t understand) seem to be the G.Skill ones, and they’re not on the compatibility list in the KB (hardly any non-Framework-branded modules you can actually find retailed are on that list, though, so they’re not special in that respect).

3 Likes

There’s also Kingston:

I hope the compatibility list gets updated until my Framework Laptop 16 ships…

2 Likes

which gskill kit are you referring to? I dont see a sku or working link…though it does have a link there to an XMP kit with related discussion.

These GSkill sticks:
32GB

64GB

1 Like

I am very curious how big the performance difference is going to be there. Also hope someone is gonna test power consumption and performance loss with slower memory.

Still probably getting the cl40 kingstons since why leave performance on the table if it costs the same bit idk how big the real impact is going to be there.

Marginal at best. We’re talking a 2ns difference in first word latency between CL40 (14.29ns) and CL46 (16.23ns) while keeping the same bandwidth and speed. For the vast majority of use cases the 2ns is virtually insignificant other than scoring a few extra points at some unrealistic (for type of device) synthetic benchmark workload.

Of course, there exist legitimate workloads with memory access patterns where the lower latency would be advantageous. But the counterargument here is if one’s workload is really that sensitive to your memory latency, you probably wouldn’t be doing it on a laptop, certainly not an ultrabook.

If you look at consumer desktop DDR5, most modules on the market today tend to default to 4800MT/s if not using their XMP/EXPO profile. Even at CL40 that’s 16.67ns latency, with higher speeds and CL ratings usually achieved with XMP/EXPO profiles (e.g. 6000 CL30). Of course, this might change as DDR5 becomes more ubiquitous and technology improves.

In my view, Framework’s choice of DDR5-5600 allows for a good balance between speed and latency, be that CL40 or CL46.

If you’re curious, Crucial have a very good blog post on speed vs latency when it comes to DDR5, as well as the main advantages of DDR5 over DDR4 and why the former can perform better even at comparatively higher latency.

3 Likes

This is interesting - I expected generally more balanced performance overall, including in more GPU heavy tasks.

We’re currently working towards looking at alternatives to Dell for general purpose CAD work, and the AMD Framework boards offer a plausible and attractive alternative to the relatively power hungry and heat inefficient combo of Intel + Nvidia DGPU (yes, the 13th gen Intel chips are heat efficient, but the Nvidia mobile GPUs really aren’t).

There are a few barriers to this…some bureaucratic, some budgetary (Dell offer cost effective RTX workstations that are great on paper, but terrible in real world performance), but Framework are a good option in terms of the ease of deployment and sustainability feel-goods.

The big one for my lot though is TB4 support: we have a tonne of Dell thunderbolt 4 docks that may or may not work with the Framework AMD boards. They work okay with my 12th gen Intel Framework, that’s TB4 compliant…but has anyone had any joy with TB4 docks getting dual display outputs and PCIe data channels through the USB-C ports on the AMD boards?

Keep an eye on the Thunderbolt dock megathread

There’s a few Dell docks on there but the AMD boards are so new I doubt much testing has been done at this time. That should change in the next few months hopefully

1 Like

I’m so torn right now. Lenovo at the moment has a ThinkPad P14s with the same 7840U (Ryzen 7 PRO), 64GB RAM, 1TB SSD, 2.8k OLED panel on sale for CAD 1,529 (but the battery is only 52.5Wh). There’s no FL13 AMD end-user reviews yet. Which should I choose?

If I were to get the FL13 AMD 7840U DIY, no RAM, no SSD, no OS, no USB-PD adapter, with 4 USB-C cards…it would still come to CAD 1,627. Hum…

On one hand, I’ve been waiting for the FL13 AMD for so long, and it’s repairable. On the other hand, I know I can (almost certainly) count on a ThinkPad.

Is OLED very important to you? Is there any other benefit?

Reliability, on-site support (one year…can extend up to 5 years on-site if needed) globally, chassis / lid rigidity, only 1 x USB 4 port though, built-in ethernet OLED is nice to have…not a must. Good track record with BIOS update frequency (in general).

Framework has great support over email and marketplace, and I can potentially re-use the chassis going forward. But the hinge bounce is a concern, bottom chassis is a tad bit on the soft side as well.

How is the repairability of the ThinkPad P14s?
I’ve read that, insanely, it can be really bad on some Lenovos now. Screens that are glued in, can’t be removed without destroying the bezel.

Is the RAM soldered?

Yes, soldered RAM. Not likely that I’ll need 96GB (2x48GB).

Good point about the panel, let me look into it. They have some kind of a protection plan…not sure how much that would cost.

Comes to a total of CAD 2,280 before tax with 5-year on-site coverage, next business day. So, I guess worry-free ish for 5 years…but questionable after that.

For the FL13 AMD, if I add RAM and SSD into the price, that would come to around CAD 2,050-ish.

Update, assuming gen 3 and gen 4 don’t differ too much…the bezel is the weakest part in a repair it seems:

Eh, I wouldn’t be so sure about that.
And I say that as a Thinkpad user (T series). Lenovo has just been riding the “Thinkpad” reputation built by IBM, while letting actual current-day quality and reliability slowly go to hell. Manufacturing defects that they won’t acknowledge, deny warranty claims on, but that Lenovo techs are informed about. I have a model with one such major defect, but luckily it didn’t hit me before I learned about it and could take precautions against it.

2 Likes

Think that depends on the regional repair partner. So far, experience in Toronto and Hong Kong has been solid in my experience between the years of 2002 and 2018. Though I can’t say how they’ve been in recent years as I didn’t t have a need for repair to begin with in the past 5 years.

A single matte screen replacement is CAD 233 on the FL13.

To be fair, I haven’t seen many reviews on the P14s Gen 4 AMD, there’s this though:

Wish there wasn’t a BIOS bug on the FL13 AMD… would be nice to compare some benchmarks from the same reviewer. I have a feeling the FL13 AMD is the faster unit between the two (base on TDP).