Lenovo, AMD Partner to Introduce the First Ryzen Threadripper PRO Workstation

17 Jul, 2020 By: Cadalyst Staff

Based on AMD’s new workstation-specific Threadripper PRO processor, the ThinkStation P620 is a high-core-count, single-socket platform that promises performance for multithreaded and lightly threaded workloads alike.

This week, Lenovo launched its ThinkStation P620 tower workstation, the first — and for the time being, the only — professional workstation powered by AMD’s new Ryzen Threadripper PRO processor. The new machine targets architecture and engineering professionals, those working in artificial intelligence and virtual reality, and 3D artists and game developers — a demanding lot when it comes to computing power, and growing more so all the time. “These industries are changing, they’re getting more complex, projects are getting bigger,” said Jennifer Ramsay, worldwide desktop workstation product manager at Lenovo, during a press briefing.

Lenovo asserts that the new single-socket (i.e., accommodating a single CPU) workstation supports smooth interactivity with 3D assets and real-time 8K streaming, and speeds tasks such as rendering, simulation solving, and assembly rebuilds — and possibly offers a particular advantage over dual-socket models. “Putting one CPU instead of two in it, compared to a two-socket system you should see a very noticeable price difference,” said Ramsay.

Ramsay explained that Lenovo and AMD had partnered for this project to address demand from companies intrigued by the consumer-oriented Threadripper options on the market: “Our customers really wanted to see what this technology could do.” The sticking point was that their IT staffs weren’t comfortable implementing computers that lacked workstation-level design and components. These customers require enterprise-class management, reliability, and stability features, Ramsay said; “that’s why they use workstations and not consumer products.” With the P620, “they’re very excited to have something they can actually manage and secure,” she said.

Threadripper Goes Pro

The new Ryzen Threadripper PRO processor lineup is specifically designed for professional workstations from OEMs and system integrators. (In contrast, the non-PRO Threadripper processor range, now in its third generation, is available for direct purchase by consumers.)

Threadripper PRO is also bolstered by “AMD PRO technologies,” explained Jason Banta, corporate vice president and general manager of AMD’s OEM client business unit. These include: 

  • layers of built-in security features, such as Memory Guard real-time encryption of system memory and Secure Processor, which validates code prior to execution;
  • simplified deployment, imaging, and management, with support for features such as Asset Inventory and Remote Management Firmware Updates; and
  • 18 months of planned software stability and 24 months of planned product availability, to assist enterprise IT planning.

Ramsay made it clear that the ThinkStation P620 is not replacing any existing models in Lenovo’s lineup, but rather adding a seventh desktop model to the P Series family and providing an additional option for customers who want higher core counts than what were already available from the P Series.

Threadripper PRO offers up to 64 cores, and clock speeds as fast as 4.0 GHz (base frequency, up to 4.3 GHz boost). “This is going to be the first 64-core professional CPU ... it outperforms two of the best the competition has to offer,” said Andy Parma, MNC Workstation CPU segment director at AMD.

The Ryzen Threadripper PRO processor is available with:

  • 12, 16, 32, or 64 cores
  • Up to 2 TB of UDIMM, RDIMM, LRDIMM, or 3DS RDIMM memory with error-correcting code (ECC) support
  • 8x DDR4-3200 memory channels
  • Up to 128 lanes of PCIe 4.0 bandwidth, to support next-generation GPUs and storage.

“Not only are there more lanes on that memory highway, but they also run faster,” said Parma. Having this very high-performance memory “is going to really accelerate” workloads such as automotive design and crash simulation, he predicted. “Whatever a customer can throw at this processor ... we really believe that AMD Threadripper Pro is the best processor ever designed for professional workstations.”

Components of an Enterprise-Focused Package

By incorporating the Threadripper PRO, the ThinkStation P620 is able to accommodate multi-threaded workloads in a single-socket platform “rivaling competing dual-socket solutions,” according to Lenovo. But of course, there’s more to a workstation than the processor. The ThinkStation P620 also features:

  • 10 GB of built-in Ethernet
  • Support for up to two NVIDIA Quadro RTX 8000 or four RTX 4000 graphics processing units (GPUs). “For GPUs, we will be supporting obviously the full Quadro RTX line,” Ramsay confirmed; Lenovo will introduce the fourth-generation cards once NVIDIA has a timeline for those. “This platform is completely Quadro RTX–certified,” she said. Support for as many as four Quadro RTX GPUs means the P620 can power as many as 16 displays.
  • Up to 1 TB of 3,200-MHz memory; 8-channel memory architecture. With eight channels running from the CPU to memory, said Ramsay, “it’s going to be a lot faster, and the most on the market right now.”
  • Up to 20 TB of storage, in as many as 8 total M.2 PCIe SSD and 3.5" SATA drives. “A lot of people are moving to the smaller faster drives from the bigger spindle drives,” Ramsay observed. “At the end of the day, a lot of customers are moving around large chunks of data, large projects they need to access quickly.”
  • Six PCIe slots with fourth-generation PCI Express (PCIe) technology, and up to 128 PCIe lanes. Ramsay hailed the P620 as “industry’s very fist PCIe gen 4–supported system,” which provides twice the bandwidth of PCIe 3.0 and data rates of 16 gigatransfers per second (GT/s).
  • ThinkStation Diagnostics 2.0, ThinkShield support, upgrades to Premier Support, and a three-year warranty.
  • An air-cooled 33-liter chassis including a custom-designed heat sink. “We are not using liquid cooling in any of our systems ... that’s definitely going to be a plus for a lot of customers,” said Ramsay. “We only have a few fans — nothing loud, nothing complex.”

“All these things combined are what makes this a professional workstation,” Ramsay concluded.

ThinkStation P620 Availability, Pricing, and OS

The Lenovo ThinkStation P620 will become available starting in September 2020, and will ship late that month or in early October. The starting price will be $4,599 for a configuration including the AMD Threadripper Pro W3945W.

“This will be the only workstation in our main portfolio that will ship with Windows 10 pro — the non-workstation version,” clarified Ramsay, who noted that the operating system (OS) choice provides some cost savings, and may change in the future. “I don’t think there’s any features in the workstation version that we’re going to miss in this particular version,” she said. A Linux Ubuntu preload option will also be available.

According to Banta, after an exclusivity period beginning with the launch of the P620, AMD will make the Threadripper PRO available to other OEMs.

For more on CAD workstations and other related hardware, check out Cadalyst's CAD Workstation Resource Center.

About the Author: Cadalyst Staff

Cadalyst Staff

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