Framework has been selling modular, customizable, repairable, and upgradeable laptops for a few years. But this year the company is expanding its lineup in two big ways: a Framework Laptop 16 with a big screen and support for discrete graphics is available for pre-order, and after going up for pre-order earlier this year, a Framework Laptop 13 with an AMD processor is now available.
The company loaned me a new Framework Laptop 13 with an AMD Ryzen 7 7840U processor, 16GB of RAM, and a 512GB SSD to test, and for the most part it seems like a very nice upgrade over the Intel Alder Lake model I tested last summer. I’ll have a full review coming soon. But what impresses me the most about the Framework Laptop 13 is that it’s basically the same laptop as its predecessor in most respects… which means that you can easily turn an Intel-powered Framework Laptop 13 into an AMD model by purchasing a new mainboard and swapping it out for the old one.
That shouldn’t be a huge surprise to anyone who’s been following Framework since the company launched its first laptops in 2021. While every Framework computer up until now had shipped with an Intel processor, the company took great care to make sure that anyone who purchased a model with an 11th-gen Intel Core processor could upgrade to a 12th or 13th-gen chip by purchasing a new mainboard.
See if you can spot the differences between these two pictures, because there really aren’t all that many:
By keeping the same chassis design for the past three years, Framework has ensured that not only is the motherboard interchangeable, but so are the speakers, battery, display, screen bezels, and other key components. And that means that not only is the computer easy to upgrade, but it’s also easy to repair: most of the key components are available for purchase from the Framework Marketplace.
But since mobile processors aren’t socketed like desktop chips, you can’t just buy a new processor when you want one. You need to buy a whole new mainboard.
That makes upgrading the processor fairly expensive, but in addition to a new CPU, GPU, and maybe integrated AI accelerator you also get the latest memory and storage features: the Framework Laptop 13 with an AMD Ryzen 7040U processor supports DDR5-5600 memory, while all Intel models released to date top out at DDR4-3200.
One other significant change: the AMD model has an AMD RZ616 wireless card, which may cause some issues if you’re installing an operating system that doesn’t have the drivers baked in yet. But Framework offers guides for installing Windows 11, Ubuntu, or Fedora.
Another thing that makes it easy to upgrade or repair a Framework Laptop? The company includes a multi-tool in the box with its laptops: it’s the only tool you need to perform upgrades, since there’s a screwdriver on one end that fits all of the star-shaped screws that hold the components inside the laptop in place, and a prying tool on the other side.
You may not even need to use the prying tool to open the case. Just loosen the screws on the bottom of the computer (they won’t come all the way out), flip the notebook over, and you can lift the keyboard away. It’s only held in place by screws and magnets, with no latches.
But if anything is a little tough to remove with your fingers, it’s nice to have that flat plastic tool just in case you need it.
Oh, and I haven’t even mentioned the modular port system yet.
There are four USB-C connectors on the mainboard, which allow you to choose from a series of Framework Expansion Card modules depending on which ports you want to use. They’re hot swappable, so you can buy more than four cards and swap out your HDMI port for an SSD or an extra USB port when you need it, and then replace the HDMI card when you want to connect an external display.
While the 2023 Framework Laptop 13 shares a lot of DNA with its 2022 and 2021 counterparts, thus enabling all of those optional component transplants, there are a few things beside the new processor and memory options that make this year’s models different.
First, the 2023 series Framework Laptop 13 models all ship standard with a matte, non-glare display rather than a glossy screen.
And second, Framework now ships a 61 Wh battery with higher-priced configurations of the Framework Laptop 13. You get the bigger battery if you opt for a model with a Core i7 or Ryzen 7 chip. Folks who opt for the cheaper Core i5 or Ryzen 5 processors will get the same 55 Wh battery as the company shipped with previous-gen Framework Laptops.
Both batteries are exactly the same size, but the 61 Wh battery is a little more densely packed, helping you squeeze a little more run time out of the laptop.
Want the bigger battery with a cheaper model? Or want to upgrade your older Framework Laptop’s battery? No problem. The company plans to begin selling the 61 Wh battery for $69 soon.
The laptop also comes with a fairly compact 60-watt USB-C power adapter, which you can plug into any of the notebook’s USB-C ports.
Oh and about those USB Type-C ports? The two in the back are USB4 ports with support for 40 Gbps data transfer speeds, USB Power Delivery, and DisplayPort Alt Mode.
The front left port supports USB 3.2 speeds and can also be used as a charging port, while the right front port is a USB 3.2 port with support for video output.
That’s not quite as simple as the ports on Intel models, which are all Thunderbolt 4 ports with support for 40 Gbps speeds, video output, and charging. But you should still be able to plug in most Framework Expansion modules into each of the Framework Laptop AMD 7040 series ports, allowing you to decide where to place your USB, DisplayPort, Ethernet, or HDMI ports. You can even connect a tiny SSD for additional (and removable) storage.
Oh, and if you’re wondering how the Framework Laptop 13 with an AMD processor performs? Stay tuned for more details in Liliputing’s upcoming review. But the short version is that it delivers significantly better performance and longer battery life, without a dramatic price increase (the model Framework loaned me this year is the mid-range pre-configured version which sells for $1,469, or about $20 more than the Core i7-1260P version I reviewed last year.
|Framework Laptop specs|
|Framework 13 AMD (2023)||Framework Laptop 13 (2023)||Framework Laptop 13 (2022)|
2256 x 1504 pixels
3:2 aspect ratio
100% sRGB color gamut
400 nits peak brightness
|Processor||AMD Ryzen 5 7640U (6 cores /12 threads)|
AMD Ryzen 7 7840U (8 cores / 16 threads)
|Intel Core i5-1340P (4P + 8E cores)|
Intel Core i7-1360P (4P + 8E cores)
Intel Core i7-1370P (6P + 8E cores)
|Intel Core i5-1240P (4P + 8E cores)|
Intel Core i7-1260P (4P + 8E cores)
Intel Core i7-1280P (6P + 8E cores)
|Graphics||Ryzen 5: Radeon 760M (8 RDNA 3 CUs @ 2.6 GHz)|
Ryzen 7: Radeon 780M (12 RDNA 3 CUs @2.7 GHz)
|Core i5: Iris Xe (80eu @ 1.45 GHz)|
Core i7: Iris Xe (96eu @ 1.5 GHz)
|Core i5: Iris Xe (80eu @ 1.3 GHz)|
Core i7-1260P: Iris Xe (96eu @ 1.4 GHz)
Core i7-1280P: Iris Xe (96eu @ 1.45 GHz)
|RAM||8GB to 64GB|
2 x SODIMM slots
|8GB to 64GB|
2 x SODIMM slots
|Storage||250GB to 4TB|
PCIe Gen 4 NVMe SSD
|OS||Windows 11 Home|
Windows 11 Pro
BYO (Linux or other)
|Windows 11 Home|
Windows 11 Pro
BYO (Linux or other)
|Ports||1 x 3.5mm audio jack|
4 x Expansion card ports (with USB4 connectors)
|Audio||2 x 2W speakers|
2 x microphones (with hardware privacy switch)
1 x 3.5mm audio jack
|Battery||55 Wh (Ryzen 5 7640U)|
61 Wh (Ryzen 7 7840U)
|55 Wh (Core i5)|
61 Wh (Core i7)
|Charger||60W GaN USB-C|
Or none (bring your own)
|Webcam||1080p @ 60 fps|
80 degree field of view
Hardware privacy switch
1.5mm key travel
|Touchpad||115 x 76.6mm (4.5″ x 3″)|
Windows Precision touchpad
|Security||Fingerprint sensor (in power button)|
|Dimensions||297 x 229 x 15.9mm|
11.7″ x 9″ x 0.6″