Lenovo ThinkStation P620 gives AMD Threadripper PRO its first workstation win

Chris Davies - Jul 14, 2020, 11:30 am CDT
Lenovo ThinkStation P620 gives AMD Threadripper PRO its first workstation win

Lenovo has revealed the first workstation to use AMD’s Threadripper PRO, with the ThinkStation P620 promising easier deployment of the potent pro chips. Offering up to 64 cores from a single CPU, the ThinkStation P620 slots in-between Lenovo’s existing single-slot P520 and dual-slot P720 machines, though the AMD filling in this Intel sandwich could make some users consider a change.

For a start, it’s the only 64 core, 128-thread workstation that you’ll be able to buy, at least for the moment. That means up to 4.0 GHz core speeds or up to 64 cores overall, CPU depending, pairing the Threadripper PRO with AMD’s 2019 Premium Chipset BXB-B.

In short, you’re looking at a surprisingly compact powerhouse. The CPU supports up to 128 lanes of PCIe 4.0 bandwidth – though the P620 doesn’t use all 128 in this chassis – and 8-channel memory for up to 1TB of DDR4, 3200 MHz memory across eight DIMM slots. Storage is up to 4TB of M.2 PCIe SSD and up to 16TB of 3.5-inch SATA 7,200rpm drives. There’s support for RAID 0/1 for M.2, and 0/1/5/10 for SATA. Lenovo fits a 1,000W PSU.

On the graphics side, there’s support for up to two NVIDIA Quadro RTX 8000 or four Quadro RTX 4000 cards. That can power up to sixteen displays in total, with up to a 96GB frame buffer.

Lenovo has included 10GB ethernet on the motherboard, to free up a PCIe slot. That’s important, since – with twice the transfer speeds per PCIe lane of the old standard – you’ll want to make the most of those PCIe Gen 4.0 slots.

Compared to Intel workstations, AMD and Lenovo are making some big promises. Pitting the P620 against a dual-core Intel-based workstation with two CPUs, the 64-core Threadripper PRO 3995X can apparently deliver 20-percent more performance. Usable graphics performance should be higher when paired with high-end GPUs, too.

While the media and entertainment audience are expected to be interested – with Epic Games already said to be onboard – Lenovo expects to see interest from a number of different verticals. That includes finance and insurance, the energy/oil/gas industry, AI and software development, and more. Basically, anybody who doesn’t want to necessarily have to choose between high core counts or high clock speeds.

Lenovo packages it all into a familiar chassis. The 33 liter tower is basically that of the P520, with the same basic cooling system: that means air cooling alone, rather than liquid-cooling. AMD and Lenovo worked together on a custom heat-sink for the Threadripper, along with channel cooling in the chassis. That way it can avoid the liquid-cooling requirement that the high-end Threadrippers demand on the consumer side.

You get two USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-A ports and two USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-C ports on the front, along with a mic/headphone combo jack. On the back, there are four USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-A, two USB 2.0 Type-A, two PS/2, a 10 Gigabit ethernet, audio line-in, audio line-out, and microphone in. Inside, there’s an Intel PCIe WiFi card with Bluetooth.

A slim optical drive, 15-in-1 media card reader, and front-accessible storage enclosure are also available. There’s space for up to six total drives, and up to 4 internal storage bays.

If you’re interested, there’s a wait involved. Lenovo may be announcing the ThinkStation P620 today, but the workstation won’t actually ship until the end of September. Pricing will start at $4,599.

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