Hello, I’m a Belgian student, and I’ve been looking forward to buying a Framework laptop since last year.
I heard of this project in 2020, and I’ve been instantly charmed by the philosophy of the brand.
I’ve been working intensively all this year, so I didn’t take the time to do in-depth research about the options available, but I remember seeing some refurbished laptops on the marketplace for a really decent price (€799). At the time, I couldn’t afford it and hadn’t had time to ponder my choice.
I had the idea to wait for the summer holidays in order to get better prices by benefiting from the release of new laptops. Moreover, I now have the time to compare the different options available.
But, as you can see on the marketplace, almost everything is out of stock or in pre-order. Why ? And more specifically, the great refurbished program doesn’t seem to be active anymore (maybe I’m wrong ?)…
So, what would you advise me to do to get the best bang for my bucks ?
Would you advise me to order some components on other websites (as in this topic) ? Which one, and which brand, then ? (I’m totally new to the computer hardware world)
I don’t mind getting cutting-edge specs; I’d like to have a decent Linux laptop for my engineering studies at uni, and to be able to play not too heavy games like Skyrim.
My current laptop (~7GB RAM, AMD Ryzen 5 2500U) has a completely dead battery and is lacking in performance.
Thank you for reading my post, and even more if you mind answering me. Oh, and sorry for any broken English.
First off all, welcome to the forum.
IMO, it depends on when you need the laptop. 13th gen ships this month, while AMD ships Q4, and probably not in october. Best performance per dollar will be i5 / r5. The AMD option will offer a little more GPU performance. CPU performance should be fairly close, afaik, but I havent seen a lot of benchmarks yet. Current AMD is also often said to be more power efficient, but I havent seen a benchmark on that, either.
As to why everything is out of stock, Framework is only producing one gen of mainboards (afaik) and they only sell the remaining stock, until it runs out.
Also, your english is fine (at least in my opinion, but I am german and english is my second language, so what do I know).
Refurbished units are available sporadically based on usable returns that are received and are specific to one region. They generally sell out in a day, so they’re often hard to find. Keep checking. Most of Framework’s out of stock products have a “get notified when this comes back in stock” button, take advantage of this.
As for new units, we can go by the history of the previous 11th gen and 12th gen laptops. After a few batches, orders slowed down and production ramped up to the point that there were unsold units in stock ready to ship. This will probably be the case with 13th gen after a few months. It may take longer for the AMD units to get out of the batch system given the pent-up demand but it will probably happen sometime next year.
This is not an official commitment from the company, just a personal observation as to what might likely happen based on history.
And your English is absolutely perfect, much like your country’s beer.
Thank you a lot for your answers ! I didn’t know that only gen3 was currently produced, but it seems logical.
Ideally, I’d like to have an AMD CPU, and the shipping delay isn’t a big deal for me (nor my studies, which I’ll probably begin with paper notes). But if there isn’t a big performance diff, as @devryd said, I don’t see any reason to favor the red brand. Maybe it was the (over)hype of the Framework/Linux community that biased me.
Also, I didn’t find the functionality that you were talking about with the refurbished products @Fraoch. Maybe I could just make a script that fetches the availability of those every day, but I don’t know if the website allows web scraping.
I think I’ll start by searching to see if I can get cheaper RAM, storage, and charger online and buy them in advance.
Would you recommend me to pre-order this month a 13 laptop or to wait 1/2 months to see if prices fall ? Having a new laptop this summer would be practical, but not required; I’m more afraid of seeing the prices rise even higher, or more products go out of stock.
Btw, do you know (approximately) when the 16 comes out ? Maybe some people will sell their laptops at this time ?
Again, thank you for your answers and your “reviews” of my writing. And yes, Belgian beer is the best one, and don’t forget chocolate !
Until now, framework has not increased or decreased prices. The only time they discount something, if it is old stock and the next gen is already available. The 16 starts selling at the end of Q4, so this is still some time. I dont know if a lot of people will switch from 13 to 16, as its not exactly the same use case (IMO). Also I dont know if this would even help you a lot as I dont think there are a lot devices sold in Europe, compared to the US
It depends on your requirements. I dont know what sofware you will need to run for engineering (probably CAD). I guess 1TB of storage should be more than enough, if you dont want to do any video editing or gaming (almost anything else doesnt need huge amounts of storage). I would go for a more power efficient ssd vs a extreme performance one, as you will likely not notice any difference in performance. For RAM i would suggest at least 16GB, possibly 32GB, again, depending on your software. AFAIK there is a thread somewhere here with RAM that works on the fastest supported RAM speed. I dont know, how big the difference is, though.
On my current laptop I only have a 250GB SATA SSD and 7GB RAM, and I can do almost anything I want (using a bit of swap on an old hard drive). So I don’t think I need anything more than the specs I’ve listed.
After a bit of tinkering with my family, we decided that it would be too much of a hassle to wait for a minimal performance gain with the AMD r5. (with the mental burden of buying the laptop added to the adaptation to the academic world).
So I think I’ll order a DIY Framework 13 with a 13th gen i5 and get cheap RAM (Intel motherboards only support DDR4, right?), charger and SSD elsewhere (like the Crucial P3 for €62/1To).
Do you think this configuration would be sufficient to play light games, as I said in my first post?
Thank you very much for your answers and your kindness.
I am fairly certain, that you dont have 7GB of RAM in a laptop, much more likely its 8GB.
For faily light gaming this should be fine, but I would recommend getting faster RAM for it, as it will improve the iGPU performance. It should also be a little cheaper, getting the RAM form somewhere else.
This is OK, but if you will be doing some gaming with the integrated GPU make sure it’s 2 X 8 GB. Dual-channel memory isn’t as important as it once was apparently, but for heavy iGPU usage it does count.
You should look for DDR4-3200 NON XMP, i.e. it should reach 3200 speeds without the assistance of XMP timing tricks. These are normally CAS 22, but there are a few more expensive CAS 20 versions out there. (Kingston Fury?)
Post your choice here and I’m sure you’ll get a comment on it.
I’m sure you mean 1 TB, 1024 GB strictly speaking (or 1000 GB for many storage vendors). Yes, this is a good amount if 250 GB is working for you now.
@devryd I know, 7 sounds odd because RAM usually falls in the power of two (2,4,8,16,32…). My laptop was advertised as having 8GB of RAM, but, strangely, by checking my specs in the task manager of Windows or with free -h on Linux, I have around 7 GB available (6889 kb) .
Thank you anyway for your advice, I’ll try to get the fastest RAM possible for my budget, but isn’t 3200 MT/s already the max for the i5?
RAM: one of the two, I don’t really know how big is the gap between CAS 22 and 20
Crucial CT8G4SFRA32A (I think it’s the one shipped by framework): either buy two alone (cheaper) or one kit
Kingston FURY Impact: two alone (cheaper) or one kit
⇒ 18-30€ spared
Is there any difference between buying a 2x8GB kit or buying separately two 8GB sticks ?
SSD: based on this review
Crucial P3 : budget, with a 5 years warranty, but it seems that it has a “low endurance” (up to 800 TBW)
SK hynix Gold P31 : I saw some people talking about this SSD on the forum, and it seems that it has a better durability, but is of course more expensive.
WD black SN770 : I think it’s the one sold by Framework, so it should be good
⇒ 65-81€ spared
I really don’t know what to choose here, could you enlighten me a bit ? (is 800 TBW too small ?)
Docks: the extension cards for 2xUSB-A, 1xUSB-C, 1xEthernet and 1xHDMI are quite expensive (60€), and I couldn’t use them all at the same time.
I was thinking about getting only one or two USB-C cards, and buying a USB-C hub to connect my charger, my mouse, keyboard, Ethernet and monitor when I’m home. The holes would be filled by empty cards, 3D printed at a fab lab or something. But I don’t know which hub I should buy, and which brands are reliable (the megathread about hubs is so long I can’t find my way in it). It’s the point I need to address before ordering my laptop, because without it, I don’t know how many ports I’ll have to buy. Any advices ? (Maybe a hub isn’t a good idea).
Charger: already have one => 12€ spared
So, an estimation would be ~1130-1158€ instead of 1273€, with even or better specs (accounting 30€ for the ports)
I’d say get 4 USB-C cards at least. I would be surprised if you can get blank cards for significantly cheaper. You can get additional cards if you want, but probably you should get them with your machine to avoid additional shipping costs. Given the penalty the non-USB-C cards impose on your power use, you definitely want the option of having all USB-C, and you do want to have the holes filled
Both these should work. This is the choice: CAS latency 22 or CAS latency 20. 20 is faster, but the question only you can answer is whether you want to pay the 10€ premium for “faster” memory that you can maybe only perceive in artificial benchmarks. If that’s worth 10€ to you, or the peace of mind knowing that you have the very fastest memory available for this laptop, go for it.
As for single modules vs. kits, the single modules will probably work fine together, the kits are guaranteed to work fine together. Given that the only difference between non-XMP DDR4-3200 is the presence of these somewhat rare CAS 20 memory ICs, all the other CAS 22 ICs are probably so similar they will work fine together.
You will probably never wear out that 800 TBW in your lifetime. Beyond infant mortality caused by manufacturing defects, today’s SSDs last decades. It will almost certainly outlive its usefulness.
That’s a pretty appreciable difference between prices. Sure the higher endurance ones are, well, higher endurance, but 800 TBW is not bad. You would have to rewrite all 1 TB of the drive 800 times over. That’s more or less impossible usage for a home user and it will take a very long time.
Okay, thank you very much for the advice, I’ll go with the Crucial P1 then. I was checking this morning the speed of the drive and saw that it was (3500MB/s r 3000MB/s w) slower than the WD BLACK (5150MB/s r 4900MB/s w)… but I just saw that my current drive is 500MB/s read 320MB/s write lol, so I don’t think I really need that speed boost. Moreover, it seems that it has a low power consumption.
Well, if it’s only artificial as you say, I’ll take the cheaper one. But if it can help to boost my computer while gaming with the iGPU, paying 6€ more doesn’t bother.
Oh okay… I’m not sure if I completely understand why, because the module models are almost the same for the crucial CT8G4SFRA32A & CT2K8G4SFRA32A (2K seems to mean kit of two), and for the Kingston KF432S20IB/8 KF432S20IBK2/16
Yes, that’s exactly why it’s the most important point for me at the moment (but the most complicated).
40€ only to be able to charge my computer and connect my keyboard, thus having to buy an HDMI+USB-A+Ethernet dock ? I don’t think it’s the best option for me
Well I don’t think it’d be expensive to 3D print empty cards, since there is a fab lab in my town and I also have an old 3D printer at home that could do the job. Moreover, I don’t necessarily need the holes to be filled, but it would be prettier.
The thing is that I need 5 connections anyway (1 USB-A, 1 USB-C/A, 1 charging USB-C, 1 HDMI, 1 Ethernet), so I’ll necessarily buy a dock/hub (I don’t know the difference). I just don’t know which brands are reliable and what could go wrong with a bad dock.
From what I’ve seen, you do want the holes to be filled to protect the access to the mother board against dirt build-up and to smooth out the body to prevent it from catching on stuff when you slide it in/out a bag.
For hubs: when I looked at one that included HDMI and Ethernet, I found it set me back at least CA$80 (the USB-C cards are CA$12, so that’s a little cheaper than EUR price). And the ethernet on that thing keeps crashing (the HDMI and the power-through is fine). My USB-C monitor is advertised with exactly the same ethernet chip and there it works perfectly. So, based on a sample of one: USB-C hubs can be very problematic and are, compared to the Framework cards, not cheap.
The locking mechanism of the cards is sufficiently stiff that you wouldn’t want to change the cards multiple times a day. You could of course use the cards as USB-C dongles.
Considering your computation: I’d think that even with the holes maximally filled with dummies, you’d want a USB-C on either side, because charging on either side is very convenient. So you’d be looking for 2 hole-fillers: EUR 20 if you use USB-C pass-throughs for it. That’s very little room for the time, travel, filament, 3d printer access to fit into to come out ahead, but perhaps your situation makes it worthwhile for you.