Thunderbolt support on AMD Ryzen

I am considering purchasing a Framework 16 with AMD Ryzen and want to connect this with a USB-C thunderbolt docking station for two 27" monitors and more.

Do the USB-C expansion slots support Thunderbolt?

Some of the port locations do:

USB4 of ports 1 and 4 in this case means Thunderbolt 3 compatibility. Port 2 also supports display port output without Thunderbolt support.

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Thanks!

One thing to remember. Thunderbolt is an Intel technology. AMD will not likely ever be certified for that. USB4 is the closest standard. They are not apples to apples

Two of them support USB4, which in most cases is compatible.

Thunderbolt 4 is based on USB4 which is based on Thunderbolt 3.

One thing to be aware of is that there are two main ways for a Thunderbolt/USB4 dock to control a two monitor setup:

  1. The computer can send a single high bandwidth display signal to the dock and the dock can use a feature called MST to split it into multiple separate display signals. (Supported by Intel and AMD CPUs, used by most docking stations)

  2. The computer can send multiple lower bandwidth display signals to the dock. One for each monitor. (Supported by Intel and some Apple CPUs, used on a few docking stations, mainly from the brand CalDigit)

So the AMD version only supports the first of those two methods.

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I wish we had received harder confirmation of USB speeds than the version number.

The 4 directly connected ports are detailed on the AMD spec sheet : https://www.amd.com/en/product/13041

So :
2x USB 4 40Gbps
2x USB 3.2 10Gbps.

Odds are that ports 3 and 6 are using an additional USB 3.2 controller, hence no support for charging or displays.

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Framework previously stated:

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Good spot!

There’s an Anandtech review of BeelInk with a 7040HS processor, which lists the hardware layout and fills in some blanks : https://images.anandtech.com/doci/20018/block-diag.png

This is not really an answer to your question, but a suggestion to get an even better result.

Use virtual displays.

Pros:

  • With a keyboard shortcut, you can switch from one to the other quicker than you can turn your head.
  • Instead of two physical displays, you can have 9, organized as a matrix (if you use Linux; this allows to switch from any display to any other in a single step).
  • On your desk, 9 virtual displays occupy the same space as 1, and consume the same amount of energy. And they also work on your laptop when it is on your lap!
  • You have a budget of $X for your displays. You can buy two medium quality displays costing $X/2 each, or you can buy a high quality one for $X. Your eyes can only look at a single display at a time…

Believe me. Once you try virtual displays, you will never go back and you will not need more than a single physical monitor. Ever.

And the cost: a single physical display costs $X. Two physical displays cost 2*$X.
9 virtual displays are completely free!

I know. It looks like a TV ad. Please, add a like if you agree :wink:

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Thanks for the suggestion, but I’m actually going to change from a single wide screen setup to a two monitor setup, as I find that way more convenient while developing software, when I want to see the IDE “full screen” on one display and the website full screen on the other.
Virtual displays could do the same, but with less total real estate. Also in my experience when using virtual displays I tend to “mess up” the border.

Fully aware this is a very personal taste thingy …

@Bas_Schouten - Out of curiosity, are you on a Linux or Windows system? I use the first, and never noticed any mess on the border (e.g. you can prevent switching when the mouse pointer touches it, or you can set a delay).

And you can still use virtual screens in a dual monitor setup.

Windows systems here, at work I have a two monitor setup and I just prefer it.
Nothing wrong with your setup :slightly_smiling_face:

I prefere a single BFG screen (currently a 32" calibrated 4K) to be honest… Always a fall when working from the laptop alone :smiley: :smiley: :smiley:

what tool or method (e.g. fancyzones, etc) do you use for this? presumably software in windows?

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I don’t think both are exclusive. I have been using workspaces on Linux for the past 20 years and yet, I’ve been consistently increasing my physical screen capacity over time.

Workspaces are great when doing different activities and you have to switch from one to another several time a day, think multitasking.

Large physical screen are great for some tasks where you need to compare documents, copy/paste, see the live result of something you develop…

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@Jordan_Long - I have no idea about how it is possible to configure this feature on Windows.
On Linux these are standard settings of the window environment (e.g. KDE), so there is nothing to install.
For example, here is a KDE widget for customizing a subset of the parameters:
Screenshot_20240112_175314

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@samuelfw - You are right, the two options do not overlap completely. And now that large, hi-res displays have become affordable, you can use the extra space to show more information (I guess your screen capacity has been increasing because its cost has been dropping).

Having different information on the same physical monitor or on different virtual screens at the end depends on how coupled these information are…

Do you have a link to a tutorial or some tooling name about this virtual screen thing please ? I’d like to take a look. I need more virtual spaces to work but no physical space to add multiple screens on my (tiny) desk…

It depends on the desktop environment you use:
KDE: Virtual Desktops
Gnome: Switch between workspaces
Windows: https://www.howtogeek.com/197625/how-to-use-virtual-desktops-in-windows-10/

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