Framework 16

gaming computing build laptop framework computer amd

On the 15th of September 2023, I threw caution to the wind. I put my money down for two pre-orders. One was the AMD variant of the Framework 13 laptop, which I've spoken about before. The other was the Framework 16.

While the Framework 13 was something of a safe bet - Framework had released 3 generations of their 13 inch laptop already, they had addressed the early issues & problems including releasing fixes. The Framework 16 was an entirely different beast:

  1. It was a first generation for a new product
  2. It was Framework's first attempt (and one of the very few attempts generally) at a removable discreet GPU in a laptop.
  3. I believe it's the first (I could be wrong here however) laptop with a fully modular keyboard deck.

Framework is attempting quite a few firsts here.... what could go wrong?

8 months later.....

Fast forward to mid May 2024 and it's finally here - The Framework 16.

FW16_01 FW16_04

This was the spiritual successor to my University laptop of 2 decades back. I'd gone somewhat overboard ticking all the options here.


The specifications are as follows:

  • AMD Ryzen 9 7940HS
  • Discreet GPU & the empty bay should it ever be needed
  • 64GB RAM
  • 2x 2TB SSDs
  • RGB Keyboard
  • Numpad
  • RGB Macropad
  • Blank keyboard spacers
  • LED Matrix keyboard spacers

Building the Framework 16 is super straight forward. After removing more than a dozen screws you are presented with the 16s internals: FW16_07

I popped in some RAM and then both of my SSDs.

FW16_08 FW16_10

Turns out I'm fortunate that I didn't run into some of the QA issues that are being reported by the community. Namely stripped SSD stand-off screws. What I did immediately experience is the QA issues present with the touchpad & its spacers.


The gap between the two was uncomfortably sharp to use as a wrist rest, however I managed to gently bend the metal into shape rather than resorting to support.


Once built it was time to see run it against my Framework 13.


I decided a cinebench test was in order and figured I'd make this a drag-race for 8-core AMD CPUs, so my Ayaneo 2 got thrown into the mix:

  • Ayaneo 2 (6800U, 16GB RAM) - 8599 Points
  • Framework 13 (7840U, 64GB RAM) - 11865 Points
  • Framework 16 (7940HS, 64GB RAM) - 14805 Points

All of these are my in-use devices, no clean OS installs etc.. In short, they've scored lower than what to expect on a clean machine. Likewise every device was running in its balanced power profile.

The accepted wisdom on Reddit is that the 7950HS doesn't justify its price premium. Having done some after the fact research I can't help but agree. I suspect the 7940 is hitting a thermal barrier as re-running cinebench while the FW16's on a cooling pad yielded a resilt of 15926 - Not bad.

The keyboard's customisation is brilliant. Everything snaps together magnetically, it just works. I just wish Framework had the software to back-up their hardware. The lack of per-key customisation for colour makes the RGB macropad a little useless for my use case (use colour to indicate what shortcut is what. Even better have it change dynamically as an added indicator). Likewise the LED matrix spacers are just a curiosity without much of a use-case while there's no service or similar that I can run to feed them status updates.

FW16_16 FW16_17 FW16_18 FW16_19

Big chungus

I mentioned earlier that the Framework 16 is the spiritual successor to my University laptop of 2 decades back. It really is! That laptop was a big heavy thing that needed a big backpack to lug it around. The Framework 16 is no different.


It's deeper than other 16in laptops so many bags designed for 16in laptops are either too tight or a poor fit. I eventually settled on the STM Dux. It's way more expensive than I'm comfortable with but with capacity for a 17in laptop, it fits the Framework 16 brilliantly. I've taken the 16 out with me a few times now. I love it!

My routine is now:

  • If I need to travel light or save space > take a Framework 13
  • If I need maximum power, more screen real-estate or can simply lug around the bigger laptop > take the Framework 16 every time.

First gen product how was it?

Overall the Framework 16 is surprisingly well built for a first generation product. Admittedly I managed to avoid a few of the issues that others have reported. There are still things I think Framework should be doing a far better job of:

  • The gaps on the wrist rest are excessive and just not good enough. Customers shouldn't have to bend parts of their new product to make it align.
  • The wrist rest with its 3 parts is itself a bit of an issue. I understand why they made this choice, but I feel at the risk of having to carry an additional SKU Framework should sell it as a single piece. Just 2 SKUs, one for the single-piece version, one for the 3 piece version.
  • RGB Keyboard - awesome. Non-RGB numpad - OK, but the two really clash. The numpad should really be RGB or an RGB option should exist.
  • Software, software, software. Framework has built an impressive hardware ecosystem but it now needs mature software to back it. The forums are full of requests for software to manage fans, thermal behaviour etc... I'll just settle for software to better use & manage the keyboard modules & LED matrix.

Previous Post