Lenovo Thinkstation P620 evaluate: The last word Threadripper workstation

MSRP $1,937.00

“The ThinkStation P620 is probably the most highly effective single-socket workstation round.”

Execs

Insane processor efficiency

Simply upgradeable

Instrument-free design

10Gb Ethernet

Suppose actually massive. In case you might put collectively a workstation with probably the most highly effective elements in the marketplace, what wouldn’t it appear like? Effectively, it might most likely look lots just like the Lenovo ThinkStation P620, a workstation kitted out with a Threadripper Professional processor that’s able to dealing with probably the most demanding workloads potential.

It’s the definition of overkill, designed to optimize a selected set of functions for efficiency. For most individuals, it’s an overpriced workstation that doesn’t make sense when you possibly can construct your individual laptop with cheaper elements you should purchase individually. For others, notably these concerned in deep studying and closely threaded functions, it’s the efficiency champion.

I’ve used the Lenovo P620 for a few weeks now — and by “used,” I imply examined for the reason that fan noise is an excessive amount of to cope with on a day-to-day foundation. It has proved again and again that it’s probably the most highly effective desktops in the marketplace, offered you might have the money for the appropriate hardware.

Design

The Lenovo ThinkStation P620 is remarkably small given the hardware you may pack inside. It’s 17.three inches lengthy, 6.5 inches extensive, and 18.1 inches tall — barely thinner than a mid-tower chassis, although about the identical peak. There’s a handy deal with on the entrance of the case so you may simply choose up the unit, and also you’ll have to make the most of it. The P620 can weigh over 50 kilos relying in your configuration.

No matter your configuration, the ThinkStation P620 comes with a three-year guarantee commonplace, in addition to certification for a number of software program distributors. Lenovo maintains a listing, which incorporates software program from Adobe, Autodesk, Bentley, and Siemens, to call just a few.

To open up the facet panel, Lenovo has a easy tool-free answer. You merely pop open a deal with on the facet panel with a press, then use it to carry the facet panel away. It’s a easy, seamless design that makes getting on the internals rapidly. The second my evaluate unit arrived, I popped off the facet panel with out even serious about it — no instruction required.

The facet panel additionally reveals one of many points with the P620. There’s no air flow on the edges, prime, or backside. As an alternative, the entrance of the case is nearly fully open for air to cross by means of. The issue is that the air is compelled out of the again by means of an 80mm fan and a few spare PCIe brackets (given that you just don’t have extra playing cards put in). A single 80mm fan handles consumption, too, even if there’s room for a a lot bigger fan.

That makes the P620 a little bit of an air tunnel, permitting large quantities of air by means of the entrance and forcing it out of restricted air flow within the again. Even at idle, the P620 is noticeably loud. The twin-80mm-fan warmth sink for the CPU doesn’t assist issues a lot.

The sound solely goes up when the machine is beneath load, however I’d’ve preferred to see a fan curve for when the machine is idle. You couldn’t work subsequent to the P620 with out getting distracted by the noise. The trade-off, and the excellent news, is that the additional noise means the cooling answer is working.

I admire the tool-free, smooth design of the P620, however not the noise that design creates.

Even in Cinebench, the processor by no means went above 70 levels Celsius, which is a full 20 levels decrease than its max working temperature. This isn’t an ideal cooling answer, but it surely’s an efficient one.

Some bigger followers would’ve helped the noise. Mud filters would’ve been good to see, too, particularly for a machine that’s pushing loads of air by means of it always. After only a week of use, the entrance fan was coated in mud. I took off the fan covers for the RAM, too — extra on that within the “Internals” part — and located globs of mud constructed up inside.

I admire the tool-free, smooth design of the P620, simply not the noise that design creates. It’s constructed like a server — and sadly, it appears like a server, too.

Connectivity

The P620 comes with sufficient ports to accommodate nearly anybody. Up entrance, that features twin USB-C ports and twin USB-A ports, all of which help USB three.2. The again of the case consists of an extra six USB-A ports, 4 of which help USB three.2 and two that help USB 2.zero. Sadly, the AMD chipset means no Thunderbolt on this machine.

On the again, you even have entry to PS/2 ports for legacy peripherals, audio/microphone ins and outs, and a 10Gbit Ethernet port. That’s a giant win for the P620, permitting you to hook it as much as a high-bandwidth community with out fussing round with an add-in community card. If you wish to go wi-fi, you need to use the Intel AC 9260 chip that’s onboard, which incorporates Wi-Fi and Bluetooth.

For storage, you might have room for as much as two 2TB M.2 drives and as much as 4 4TB spinning arduous drives. A built-in RAID controller offers you entry to RAID zero and 1 on the SSDs, in addition to RAID zero, 1, 5, or 10 on the spinning drives.

I can’t think about a scenario the place the P620 doesn’t supply sufficient connectivity. There are many USB ports and area for arduous drives, and something you may’t join on to the system, you’d doubtless run by means of the community. And the 10Gbit Ethernet port provides loads of bandwidth to take action.

Internals

CPU
AMD Ryzen Threadripper Professional 3995WX
GPU
Nvidia Quadro RTX 8000 48GB
Reminiscence
128GB octa-channel DDR4-3200 ECC
Storage
1TB M.2, as much as two M.2, as much as 4 HDD
Energy provide
1000W 80+ Platinum
USB ports
10, eight USB-A, two USB-C
Thunderbolt ports
None
Networking
10Gbit Ethernet, Wi-Fi
Ports
Headphone/microphone jack, PS/2, audio in/out

My evaluate unit got here tricked out with a number of the highest-end elements accessible as we speak, displaying simply how a lot energy you may pack contained in the ThinkStation P620. On the coronary heart of the system is a Threadripper 3995WX, which is a large 64-core, 128-thread processor that may enhance as much as four.2GHz.

All P620 configurations are primarily based round these Threadripper Professional processors. They’re constructed on the identical structure as the traditional Threadripper vary, simply with just a few key variations. They help octa-channel reminiscence as a substitute of quad-channel reminiscence, and you need to use as much as 2TB of ECC RAM, in comparison with solely 256GB non-ECC on the usual vary. As well as, they help 128 PCIe four.zero lanes, matching AMD’s Epyc server CPUs.

Lenovo provides right down to the Threadripper 3945WX, which is a 12-core, 24-thread half with a lift clock of four.3GHz. Though there are 4 Threadripper Professional choices accessible, the value and efficiency between them varies broadly. The highest-end 3995WX comes at almost an $11,000 premium.

Though these CPUs are the very best of the very best now, they won’t be for lengthy. Threadripper 5000 chips are rumored to launch later in 2021, and they’re going to virtually definitely outperform these ones.

The AMD chip is notable as a result of the P620’s direct opponents virtually solely use Intel. The HP Z8 and Dell Precision workstations use Intel Xeon chips, not Threadripper. There isn’t a Xeon chip that will get near the Threadripper 3995WX when it comes to core depend. For that, you’d have to choose up a dual-socket system.

Along with a beefy processor, the configuration Lenovo despatched got here with 128GB of DDR4-3200 reminiscence and an Nvidia Quadro RTX 8000, which comes with a staggering 48GB of video reminiscence. Regardless of being a $10,000 improve, this card suits in the course of Lenovo’s choices. You may scale right down to a 2GB Quadro P620 and all the way in which as much as twin Quadro GV100s (with a $35,000 premium).

I used Lenovo’s configurator to get an thought about how a lot the rig it despatched out for evaluate would value. On the time of publication, it might value $14,861.92 because of a coupon on Lenovo’s web site. With out it, it might value $25,624.

I specced out the same rig utilizing the bottom costs I might discover for each element, and the value got here out about $1,000 cheaper in comparison with the Lenovo worth with a coupon. Have in mind, nevertheless, that the Quadro RTX 8000 can value as a lot as $2,000 greater than the bottom worth I discovered, so the distinction comes out within the wash.

If you may get the P620 on sale, it’s truly an ideal deal. A Lenovo rep confirmed that the coupon isn’t fixed, nevertheless. At full worth, my evaluate unit is about $11,000 costlier than shopping for the elements individually and placing it collectively. At this worth, I can cope with a $1,000 distinction, however an $11,000 hole is a special story.

There are different techniques on this class which might be additionally cheaper. A equally configured system from Puget Methods runs about $16,000 and sure has higher airflow and cooling provided that it makes use of a Fractal Outline 7 case and Noctua CPU cooler. Equally, an similar system at Boxx runs about $20,000 — a full $5,000 lower than the P620.

Remember the fact that this worth is for the configuration on Lenovo’s web site — in a real-world scenario, firms will doubtless order just a few of those machines by means of one other channel. For one machine, the P620 is just too costly, however worth doesn’t play as a lot of a task whenever you’re speaking about a pc that may value tens of 1000’s of .

Contained in the Lenovo P620

The P620 is nearly fully tool-free Upgrades ought to solely take a matter of minutes, with useful levers round all important elements that mean you can simply swap them out. That features a bracket for the PCIe slots and 5.25-inch bays, in addition to levers for the facility provide, consumption fan, and RAM covers.

Every of the levers are coated in crimson, too, making them stand out towards the black and silver internals. The motherboard is custom-designed for this machine and comes with eight slots for DDR4-3200 ECC reminiscence, in addition to two M.2 slots. There are just a few passive warmth sinks cooling varied factors on the motherboard, in addition to covers for the 2 banks of RAM slots.

These covers are only a little bit of plastic with a fan on prime, which doubtless contributes to the noise. It’s not very best, however most ECC kits don’t often include warmth sinks, they usually sit very near a power-hungry processor.

On the underside of the case, you’ll discover the 1,000-watt 80+ Platinum energy provide, which you’ll be able to swap out by flicking down the lever. The ability provide doesn’t have any cables; as a substitute, it slots into the case with a single connector, offering 1000W of energy with out the mess of cables that comes together with it.

What would usually take 15 to 20 minutes solely takes a couple of minutes within the P620.

Subsequent to it, you’ll discover both one or two drive cages relying in your configuration. The default configuration comes with a single drive cage for 2 extra arduous drives. In case you occupy these slots in your preliminary configuration, it’ll include an additional drive cage.

This degree of upgradability is probably going part of why the P620 is so costly. Swapping out elements is a breeze. What would usually take 15 to 20 minutes solely takes a couple of minutes within the P620, which is one thing that techniques that use off-the-shelf elements can’t declare.

Processor efficiency

There’s no doubting the facility contained in the P620, particularly if you happen to go for a top-spec rig. With the appropriate elements, it’s simply probably the most performant machines in the marketplace, however the bloated worth and top-end elements are solely helpful in a slender subject of duties. In case you’re on the lookout for normal compute efficiency with the P620, you’re overspending.

PCMark 10 gives a transparent have a look at that. My evaluate unit earned an total rating of seven,172, which is definitely under the eight-liter Intel NUC 11 Excessive I not too long ago reviewed. That’s not too shocking, although. PCMark is a normal benchmark that assessments day-to-day apps, and most apps aren’t optimized to make the most of 64 cores and 48GB of video reminiscence.

Cinebench R23 reveals a clearer view of how highly effective the Threadripper 3995WX is. It earned a good single-core results of 1,242, which is a step under client Ryzen 5000 processors. Threadripper is constructed for multi-core efficiency, although. Within the multi-core check, the Threadripper 3995WX earned a rating of 61,261, which is method above something we’ve ever examined. For reference, the Ryzen 9 5950X earned a multi-core rating of 23,539.

There’s no doubting the facility contained in the P620, particularly if you happen to go for a top-spec rig.

Multi-core workloads are the place Threadripper shines. It doesn’t dominate in duties that require a single core, however in the case of distributed work that leverage all 64 cores on the identical time, there’s nothing fairly just like the Threadripper 3995WX in a single-socket system.

Geekbench 5 informed the same story. Within the single-core check, it fell in need of most up-to-date client desktop chips, and even some laptop computer chips. Within the multi-core check, nevertheless, nothing got here shut.  The buyer Ryzen 5950X earned about half the multi-core rating, in keeping with the Geekbench browser.

Geekbench additionally gave me the possibility to see how the Threadripper 3995WX stacks up towards its non-Professional sibling, the 3990X. The Professional chip I examined earned a multi-core rating of 32,517. On the high-end, the Threadripper 3990X scored about 28,000 on Home windows, and on the low-end, it scored about 22,000. On Home windows, at the least, the Professional mannequin reveals some clear enhancements.

Merely put, the Threadripper 3995WX is the benchmark. In any consultant check, the one processors that run sooner are different Threadripper 3995WXs. The Professional vary comes at a premium, but it surely reveals efficiency benefits over the Threadripper 3000 vary, in addition to help for extra PCIe four.zero slots, octa-channel reminiscence, and rather more reminiscence.

Content material creation

With the horsepower offered by the P620, you may deal with all the things from deep studying to knowledge science to dense content material creation. For me, large-scale content-creation workloads appeared like an apparent match given the beefy GPU and CPU contained in the my evaluate unit. This can be a machine that may generate, edit, and render sooner than absolutely anything else.

As Cinebench confirmed within the final part, the Threadripper 3995WX is a monster in multi-core workloads. I turned to a set of benchmarks from Puget Methods for Premiere Professional, After Results, and DaVinci Resolve to see how the P620 would carry out in a real-world use. It stacks up effectively, however content material creation isn’t the P620’s true calling.

I began with Premiere Professional, the place I ran the prolonged check. This check isn’t for much longer, but it surely consists of 8K testing — one thing the P620 on this configuration ought to have the ability to deal with. It handed with an total rating of 1,235. A system rocking a current 32-core Xeon managed 1,001 in the identical check, although with a weaker graphics card and rather more reminiscence.

This check confirmed some weaknesses, too. In comparison with techniques with a less expensive Threadripper 3990X, my evaluate unit trailed by about 200 factors. Most of those techniques used an RTX 3090, too, which is less expensive than the Quadro RTX 8000. You’re paying a premium for workstation-class elements, and PugetBench for Premiere Professional reveals that.

The After Results check confirmed that, too, with no clear distinction between the 3990X and the 3995WX. The identical was true in my Handbrake check, the place the P620 matched the render time of a machine with a consumer-grade Ryzen 9 5950X.

Blender confirmed a larger distinction. The RTX 3090 was round twice as quick because the Quadro RTX 8000 utilizing CUDA for rendering. DaVinci Resolve was somewhat totally different, nevertheless. In comparison with a system with a Threadripper 3970X and RTX 3090, my evaluate unit was about 9% sooner, totally on the again of 4K media dealing with.

As these assessments present, a giant a part of the asking worth comes right down to software program and options. The 3995WX is extra highly effective than the 3990X, however extra reminiscence, extra reminiscence channels, and extra PCIe lanes are a giant a part of why it’s costlier. Equally, the Quadro RTX 8000 is costlier as a result of it comes with a large quantity of video reminiscence, but additionally as a result of it has rock-solid driver help.

The Quadro RTX 8000 just isn’t constructed for gaming, however I’d be remiss if I didn’t put a $6,000 GPU to good use. Hearth Strike Extremely confirmed simply how massive of a waste the Quadro RTX 8000 is for gaming, because it earned an total rating of eight,667 — within the backside 1% of outcomes in comparison with the RTX 3090. It managed a strong physics rating, although nonetheless under most RTX 3090 outcomes.

At 4K Extremely with ray tracing turned on, the Quadro RTX 8000 managed 37 frames per second (fps) in Cyberpunk 2077. The RTX 3090 will get nearer to 60 fps (although nonetheless struggles to hit it). In case you want proof that a Quadro isn’t constructed for gaming, right here it’s — however you may nonetheless have somewhat enjoyable as soon as your work is completed, offered you flip down just a few settings.

Though my evaluate unit was kitted out, the P620 is restricted to Threadripper Professional processors and Quadro graphics playing cards (in addition to a few AMD workstation GPUs). The Threadripper Professional chips are extra highly effective than their non-Professional counterparts, however not by a lot (particularly in content-creation duties). The benefits largely present up in different areas, so maintain that in thoughts.

Our take

The Lenovo ThinkStation P620 is a top-tier workstation with a worth to match. It provides a number of the quickest elements in the marketplace and a sensible tool-free design that makes upgrades straightforward. It’s too noisy, and the additional energy will go to waste in loads of conditions, however there’s no denying how a lot the P620 has to supply to those that can make the most of it.

Value is the principle situation, as there are almost similar techniques from smaller system builders for much less. However in comparison with the Dells and HPs of the world, Lenovo is the one one presenting workstation choices with Threadripper Professional elements. Plus, you may doubtless rating a deal on the P620 if you happen to’re ordering a number of techniques.

Are there any options?

Sure. Outdoors of the case, motherboard, and energy provide, the P620 makes use of elements you should purchase and put collectively your self, which can prevent some huge cash. System builders like Puget Methods and Boxx have related choices, too, which value lower than the P620. Opponents like Dell and HP are locked to Intel processors for the time being.

How lengthy will it final?

Relying in your hardware configuration, the P620 can final you a few years — perhaps even a decade. It’s a computing powerhouse that’s simply upgradable, and the facility provide is massive sufficient to accommodate even probably the most power-hungry elements.

Do you have to purchase it?

Sure, if you happen to can rating a deal. On sale, the P620 is a superb. At full worth, there are alternatives from different system builders which might be cheaper and include off-the-shelf elements.

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