Lenovo Thinkstation P620 evaluation: The final word Threadripper workstation

Lenovo Thinkstation P620 review: The ultimate Threadripper workstation

Lenovo Thinkstation P620 evaluation: The final word Threadripper workstation

MSRP $1,937.00

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

Execs

Insane processor efficiency

Simply upgradeable

Device-free design

10Gb Ethernet

Suppose actually large. Should you may put collectively a workstation with essentially the most highly effective elements available on the market, what wouldn’t it seem like? Nicely, it will most likely look so much just like the Lenovo ThinkStation P620, a workstation kitted out with a Threadripper Professional processor that’s able to dealing with essentially the most demanding workloads attainable.

It’s the definition of overkill, designed to optimize a particular set of functions for efficiency. For most individuals, it’s an overpriced workstation that doesn’t make sense when you could possibly construct your personal laptop with cheaper components you should purchase individually. For others, significantly 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 take care of on a day-to-day foundation. It has proved again and again that it’s one of the highly effective desktops available on the market, offered you’ve gotten the money for the proper .

Design

The Lenovo ThinkStation P620 is remarkably small given the you’ll be able to pack inside. It’s 17.three inches lengthy, 6.5 inches vast, 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’ll be able to simply choose up the unit, and also you’ll must reap the benefits 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 normal, 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 aspect panel, Lenovo has a easy tool-free resolution. You merely pop open a deal with on the aspect panel with a press, then use it to carry the aspect panel away. It’s a easy, seamless design that makes getting on the internals rapidly. The second my evaluation unit arrived, I popped off the aspect panel with out even interested by it — no instruction required.

Internals of Lenovo P620.

The aspect panel additionally reveals one of many points with the P620. There’s no air flow on the perimeters, high, or backside. As a substitute, the entrance of the case is sort of totally open for air to move via. The issue is that the air is pressured out of the again via 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, although 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 via 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 below 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 resolution 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 resolution, 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 a whole lot of air via it always. After only a week of use, the entrance fan was lined 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 feels like a server, too.

Connectivity

Ports on Lenovo P620.

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 assist USB three.2. The again of the case consists of a further six USB-A ports, 4 of which assist USB three.2 and two that assist 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 an enormous 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 should use the Intel AC 9260 chip that’s onboard, which incorporates Wi-Fi and Bluetooth.

For storage, you’ve gotten room for as much as two 2TB M.2 drives and as much as 4 4TB spinning exhausting 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 provide sufficient connectivity. There are many USB ports and area for exhausting drives, and something you’ll be able to’t join on to the system, you’d possible run via the community. And the 10Gbit Ethernet port gives 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 evaluation unit got here tricked out with among the highest-end components out there as we speak, displaying simply how a lot energy you’ll be able to 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 assist octa-channel reminiscence as an alternative of quad-channel reminiscence, and you should use as much as 2TB of ECC RAM, in comparison with solely 256GB non-ECC on the usual vary. As well as, they assist 128 PCIe four.zero lanes, matching AMD’s Epyc server CPUs.

Lenovo gives 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 out there, the value and efficiency between them varies extensively. The highest-end 3995WX comes at practically an $11,000 premium.

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

The AMD chip is notable as a result of the P620’s direct rivals 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 by way of core rely. 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 matches in the midst of Lenovo’s choices. You’ll be able to 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).

Lenovo P620 in front of a window.

I used Lenovo’s configurator to get an concept about how a lot the rig it despatched out for evaluation would price. On the time of publication, it will price $14,861.92 due to a coupon on Lenovo’s web site. With out it, it will price $25,624.

I specced out an identical rig utilizing the bottom costs I may discover for each part, and the value got here out about $1,000 cheaper in comparison with the Lenovo worth with a coupon. Remember, nonetheless, that the Quadro RTX 8000 can price 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 excellent deal. A Lenovo rep confirmed that the coupon isn’t fixed, nonetheless. At full worth, my evaluation unit is about $11,000 costlier than shopping for the components individually and placing it collectively. At this worth, I can take care of a $1,000 distinction, however an $11,000 hole is a special story.

There are different techniques on this class which can be additionally cheaper. A equally configured system from Puget Programs 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.

Understand that this worth is for the configuration on Lenovo’s web site — in a real-world scenario, firms will possible order just a few of those machines via one other channel. For one machine, the P620 is just too costly, however worth doesn’t play as a lot of a task once you’re speaking about a pc that may price tens of hundreds of dollars.

Contained in the Lenovo P620

The P620 is sort of totally tool-free Upgrades ought to solely take a matter of minutes, with useful levers round all important elements that help you 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.

Power supply outside Lenovo P620.

Every of the levers are coated in pink, too, making them stand out in opposition to 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 numerous 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 high, which possible contributes to the noise. It’s not very best, however most ECC kits don’t often include warmth sinks, and so they 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 swap out by flicking down the lever. The facility provide doesn’t have any cables; as an alternative, 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 further exhausting drives. Should 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 components can’t declare.

Processor efficiency

Threadripper logo on Lenovo P620

There’s no doubting the facility contained in the P620, particularly for those who go for a top-spec rig. With the proper components, it’s simply one of the performant machines available on the market, however the bloated worth and top-end elements are solely helpful in a slim area of duties. Should you’re in search of basic compute efficiency with the P620, you’re overspending.

PCMark 10 gives a transparent have a look at that. My evaluation unit earned an general 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 basic benchmark that assessments day-to-day apps, and most apps aren’t optimized to reap the benefits 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 decent 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 manner 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 for those who 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 similar time, there’s nothing fairly just like the Threadripper 3995WX in a single-socket system.

Geekbench 5 advised an identical 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, nonetheless, nothing got here shut.  The patron Ryzen 5950X earned about half the multi-core rating, in response to the Geekbench browser.

Geekbench additionally gave me the possibility to see how the Threadripper 3995WX stacks up in opposition to 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, not less than, 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 assist for extra PCIe four.zero slots, octa-channel reminiscence, and way more reminiscence.

Content material creation

With the horsepower offered by the P620, you’ll be able to deal with every part 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 evaluation unit. It is 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 collection of benchmarks from Puget Programs for Premiere Professional, After Results, and DaVinci Resolve to see how the P620 would carry out in a real-world use. It stacks up nicely, however content material creation isn’t the P620’s true calling.

Lenovo logo on P620.

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 be capable of deal with. It handed with an general 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 way more reminiscence.

This check confirmed some weaknesses, too. In comparison with techniques with a less expensive Threadripper 3990X, my evaluation 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 components, and PugetBench for Premiere Professional reveals that.

The After Results check confirmed that, too, with out a 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 better distinction. The RTX 3090 was round twice as quick because the Quadro RTX 8000 utilizing CUDA for rendering. DaVinci Resolve was a little bit totally different, nonetheless. In comparison with a system with a Threadripper 3970X and RTX 3090, my evaluation unit was about 9% sooner, totally on the again of 4K media dealing with.

As these assessments present, an enormous 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 an enormous 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 assist.

The Quadro RTX 8000 isn’t constructed for gaming, however I’d be remiss if I didn’t put a $6,000 GPU to good use. Fireplace Strike Extremely confirmed simply how large of a waste the Quadro RTX 8000 is for gaming, because it earned an general 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.

RAM inside Lenovo P620.

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). Should you want proof that a Quadro isn’t constructed for gaming, right here it’s — however you’ll be able to nonetheless have a little bit enjoyable as soon as your work is finished, offered you flip down just a few settings.

Though my evaluation 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 gives among the quickest elements available on the market and a wise tool-free design that makes upgrades simple. It’s too noisy, and the additional energy will go to waste in a whole lot of conditions, however there’s no denying how a lot the P620 has to supply to those that can reap the benefits of it.

Worth is the principle difficulty, as there are practically 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 components. Plus, you’ll be able to possible rating a deal on the P620 for those who’re ordering a number of techniques.

Are there any options?

Sure. Outdoors of the case, motherboard, and energy provide, the P620 makes use of components you should purchase and put collectively your self, which is able to prevent some huge cash. System builders like Puget Programs and Boxx have comparable choices, too, which price lower than the P620. Rivals like Dell and HP are locked to Intel processors in the intervening time.

How lengthy will it final?

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

Must you purchase it?

Sure, for those who can rating a deal. On sale, the P620 is a good. At full worth, there are alternatives from different system builders which can be cheaper and include off-the-shelf components.

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