Thunderbolt 5

I’m ordering the 12th gen version right now, this is my first Framework laptop and I want to have some estimations maybe about the Thunderbolt 5 support. So, imagine, the next Thunderbolt releases on the next year, how long would it take for Framework to adopt it? And what parts I’d need to replace? Looking at the picture of the laptop internals I can assume that I’d need to replace the mainboard with CPU and the connectors (2 on each side), am I right?

You would need to upgrade to a supported CPU, yes. And to do that would be to replace the mainboard. Framework will officially support Thunderbolt 5 when they are:
a. Certified
b. And the CPU supports it


Can I ask what you are doing that has you concerned about a lack of bandwidth? TB4/USB4 is basically the same as TB3. 40Gb/s is a fair chunk of bandwidth for just about any application.

However long it takes them to release a new board, none of us will be able to give you any reliable timeline, these things get released when Framework is good and ready.

Yes on the first part, maybe on the second part. Unless I’m mistaken, the USB-C modules simply act as a passthrough device, they do nothing active to the signal. If that’s the case and TB5 relies upon the same pinout as TB4, then it wouldn’t need replacing more than likely.

I’m hoping that TB5 will give more PCIe lanes to an eGPU but if not than perhaps 80Gb/s can get eGPUs closer.

I’m going to have a setup with an eGPU and external monitor. That’s kinda my dream setup to have a modular laptop for work and everything else at my desk so I can just plug it into the laptop to play and develop games as a hobby)

I see, hope the upgrade won’t cost as a new laptop)

I saw a thread with discussion regarding having PCIe connectors, that would be a killer feature for me and for everybody who is going to have eGPUs. Hope Framework will have resources to work on that.

Update: this one Upgrade path eGPU

I’ve read through that before and honestly I’m not really a fan of any of those solutions. I keep my laptop in a vertical stand behind the monitor and to me those solutions would limit your docked position / make it more of a pain to grab and go.

The biggest issue right now is the limited 4 PCIe lanes – followed by the 40GB/s bandwidth having to have some of it reserved for display. If TB5 could increase the PCIe lanes and is already going to give us 80GB/s, I’m hoping that gets us a lot closer to using eGPUs as a viable option.

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Look at the pricing today, an i5 upgrade costs just under $500 USD which isn’t so bad for a premium laptop that sell for $1k plus for the entire package. Current modules cost $9 USD.

My dream setup as well, I wouldn’t worry about the bandwidth, you’d need a top-end card to starve it for bandwidth and I would think (haven’t done any testing though) that gaming with a mobile CPU will a TDP of 30W is going to matter more than the bandwidth since desktop GPUs are usually paired with CPUs with TDP of 65W+.

EDIT: I take back what I said above, eGPU performance is already hampered by bandwidth limitations. TB3/4 isn’t even 40Gbps like I thought, it’s 32Gbps. EDIT 2: It can be either 32/40Gbps, I’m not clear on what’s up with that.

Jarrod’s Tech has some fantastic eGPU testing vids that I’ve found, I highly recommend them

I’m certain that mobile CPU’s will impact performace because of TDP limitations but it’s clear bandwidth is also a concern, I’m not certain as to how much CPU choice matters. More testing is required

If I had an 11 gen version here in Europe, an upgrade to 12h gen would cost me €1,189 ($1,261) - changing mainboard with CPU, it’s i7-1280P. I’d prefer the maximal version to avoid eGPU on CPU bottleneck as much as possible. I’m guessing when it comes to Thunderbolt 5 I’d also need to replace RAM to DDR5 at that time as well. So the upgrade in general would cost about €/$ 1.5k.

Yeah, that’s the only thing I’m worried about right now. Somewhere on the forum I found this great link - you can see that PCIe x8 1.1 preserves only 75% of RTX 3080 performance, it also has 4GB/s bandwidth (equivalent of TB3/4). So when TB5 version is available I’m going to upgrade my laptop right away. But I’m dreaming of separate PCIe port of course :smile:

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I think you should look at PCie x16 1.1 as that is the equivalent bandwidth

But that only tells part of the story, after accounting for bandwidth constraints, the CPU will be limiting no matter what. Not that I mind, its a worthwhile performance tradeoff for me. I didn’t even know TB5 was being discussed until this thread showed up and I started investigating. I look forward to it.

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Hm, at first I also thought that there’s no noticeable difference between between 1.0 and 1.1, then I found this:

But Wikipedia says that:

In 2005, PCI-SIG[49] introduced PCIe 1.1. This updated specification includes clarifications and several improvements, but is fully compatible with PCI Express 1.0a. No changes were made to the data rate.

But actually knowing that PCIe x16 2.0 for sure 8GB/s and we have better performance on it than on x16 1.1 then you’re right. On the website I looked for the bandwidth probably a typo, author specifies PCIe 1.1 = 250MB/s - per lane and calculates 8GB/s per 16 lanes, should be 4GB/s.

Yeah, I hope 1280P can handle it good enough :slight_smile:

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