Whether your Framework Laptop has Thunderbolt 4 will depend on if you get the Intel CPU or AMD CPU option.
If you're looking for a great upgradable laptop, the Framework Laptop 13 really excels. You can not only tear the laptop down following easy-to-understand online guides and upgrade components like the main board, but you also can customize the ports as you see fit. Thanks to the Expansion Cards you can add as many as four ports to your laptop, like HDMI, Ethernet, extra storage, DisplayPort, and even USB-A.
One of those cards is USB-C, but whether it supports Thunderbolt 4 or not will depend on a couple factors. Unfortunately, Thunderbolt is exclusive to Intel CPUs, but AMD users aren't out of luck completely.
Only Framework Laptops featuring 12th-generation Intel Core processors or newer, including the Framework Laptop Chromebook Edition, are Thunderbolt 4-certified. This recently became possible in November 2022 by way of a version 3.06 firmware update, which you can download from here. Since you can configure your Framework Laptop with up to four USB-C ports, that actually makes the device a rare one since you can get up to four Thunderbolt 4 ports onboard.
Thunderbolt 4 support unlocks the ability to use many accessories, including external GPU enclosures, get faster 40GBps data transfer rates, 100W of power delivery, and even connect two 4K displays at 60Hz at once, or one 8K monitor to boost your productivity. If you have Thunderbolt, here are a few accessories you can try.
This is a Thunderbolt 4 dock from CalDigit. It allows you to enjoy Thunderbolt 4 speeds over the ports on your Framework Laptop. You get extra ports like SD card readers, USB-A, a headphone jack, and the option to connect to multiple monitors.
This monitor from Lenovo uses Thunderbolt connectivity and will provide great color accuracy, a sleek design, and the option to charge your laptop with 140W of power.
This SSD features Thunderbolt-class speeds, ensuring that you can move files from your Framework Laptop to your storage quickly and efficiently.
Unfortunately, you won't get Thunderbolt if you opt for AMD CPUs. Thunderbolt is a proprietary technology and comes with certification costs, so it's mainly on great laptops, devices with Intel CPUs, and Apple's Macs. AMD Ryzen CPUs aren't Thunderbolt-certified, so don't support the feature. Instead, you'll get USB4 over the USB-C connector. It brings data transfer speeds close to what you get with Thunderbolt, but it lacks support for external GPUs since many of the Thunderbolt 4 features are optional.
So, there you have it. Depending on which model of the Framework Laptop you buy, you will or will not get Thunderbolt support. If Thunderbolt is what you want, you'll have to buy a model with Intel CPUs. Otherwise, AMD models will only get USB4.
The Framework Laptop 13 is one of the most modular laptops you can buy in 2023. You can swap out all the components right down to the mainboard. New on this year's model is the option for 13th-generation Intel CPUs, along with AMD Ryzen processors for the first time.
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