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Lenovo unveils ‘world’s first Threadripper Pro workstation’

Wednesday, July 15th, 2020 | Posted by Jim Thacker

 
Lenovo has announced the ThinkStation P620, the “world’s first AMD Ryzen Threadripper Pro workstation”.

The system, which slots between the P720 and P920 at the high end of the ThinkStation P-Series, Lenovo’s professional workstation line-up, will initially be the only way to buy AMD’s new Threadripper Pro CPUs.

The four new CPUs – the Threadripper Pro 3995WX, 3975WX, 3955WX and 3945WX – offer the high core counts of their consumer counterparts, and are being marketed against dual Intel Xeon systems.

Lenovo also pitches the ThinkStation P620, which is targeted at graphics and engineering professionals and is expected to ship in September 2020 with a base MSRP of $4,599, as the “first PCIe Gen 4 workstation”.

 

 
So how do the new Threadripper Pro CPUs differ from existing Threadripper processors?
The ThinkStation P620’s main selling point is that it will initially be the only way to get hold of AMD’s Threadripper Pro CPUs, which were also announced yesterday.

The new CPUs provide firms interested in building very high-performance workstations with an alternative to server CPUs, such as AMD’s own EPYC product range.

As well as support for PCIe 4.0 – about which, more later – they offer network monitoring and security features not available in existing Threadripper chips, including memory encryption as standard.

You can see their key specifications in the table above: for further analysis of the processors and their position in the market, AnandTech has a good overview.

Initially available only via the ThinkStation P620
Unlike their ‘consumer’ counterparts, AMD’s third-gen Threadripper CPUs, the Threadripper Pros will not be sold directly, only being available via system builders like Lenovo.

While Lenovo only has a limited exclusivity period, AMD says that future workstations from rival manufacturers are unlikely to offer significant new functionality.

In Lenovo’s press briefing, AMD segment director Andy Parma commented that for anyone looking to use the Threadripper Pro CPUs in production, there was “no need to wait for future product offerings”.

AMD’s benchmark results showing the performance of its new Threadripper Pro 3995WX relative to dual Intel Xeon Platinum 8280 CPUs in DCC apps like Blender, Maya and UE4. Click the image to see it full-size.

 
So how will the Threadripper Pro CPUs perform with DCC software?
Like standard Threadrippers, the Threadripper Pro CPUs combine high core counts with high boost clock speeds, raising performance in both highly threaded tasks like rendering and in lightly threaded DCC apps.

While AMD hasn’t announced pricing publicly, making price/performance comparisons impossible, the firm claims that that the chips are cheaper than dual Intel Xeon CPUs with the same total core count.

AMD’s own benchmark tests (above) show the 64-core Threadripper Pro 3995WX outperforming dual 28-core, $10,000 Intel Xeon Platinum 8280 CPUs in a range of 3D applications.

As well as Blender and Maya, that includes the CPU engines of renderers like Arnold, Corona Renderer, KeyShot and V-Ray, plus other key DCC tools like After Effects and Premiere Pro.

You can get some idea of how that may translate to other apps from our review of the Threadripper 3990X, the consumer equvalent of the Threadripper Pro 3995WX, which also has 64 cores and similar clock speeds.

Other ThinkStation P620 specs: PCIe 4.0 support and up to dual Nvidia Quadro RTX 8000 GPUs
Another selling point for the ThinkStation P620 is its support for PCIe Gen 4. The system features six PCIe 4.0 slots: four full-length x16 slots and four x8 slots.

PCIe 4.0 provides higher data throughput between the motherboard and connected devices like GPUs and SSDs than the PCIe 3.0 slots currently standard in professional workstations.

The other specs are more conventional for a high-end system: up to 1TB of 3,200MHz DDR4 RAM; up to 20TB of storage, spread across up to six drives; and up to dual Nvidia Quadro RTX 8000 GPUs.

The P620 uses the same 33L air-cooled chassis as the ThinkStation P520, and has one 10 Gigabit Ethernet port, 10 USB ports (2 x USB 3.2 Type C, 6 x USB 3.2 Type A, 2 x USB 2.0 Type A) and standard audio ports.

As you would expect of a system targeted primarily at larger studios, you will need deep pockets to buy one: even the base configuration, with an AMD Threadripper Pro 3945WX CPU, 16GB RAM, a 256GB M.2 SSD and a single Nvidia Quadro P620 GPU, has an MSRP of $4,599.

Pricing and availability
Lenovo’s ThinkStation P620 workstation is expected to ship in September 2020 with a base MSRP of $4,599. Expect higher-end configurations to cost significantly more.

AMD’s Threadripper Pro 3995WX, 3975WX, 3955WX and 3945WX CPUs are only available via OEMs: initially only Lenovo. AMD hasn’t announced prices for the CPUs publcly.

 
Read more about the ThinkStation P620 on Lenovo’s website

Read more about the new Threadripper Pro CPUs on AMD’s website

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