Dell Precision T7920 Dual Intel Xeon Workstation Review

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Dell Precision T7920 Workstation SPECworkstation 3.0.2

SPECworkstation 3 has been updated to 3.0.2 which measures the 3D graphics performance of systems running under the OpenGL and Direct X application programming interfaces. As a result of the new update, we cannot compare between past version 3 results so we will show the screenshot of the results here and graph them in later reviews.

Dell Precision T7920 Workstation SPECworkstation 1
Dell Precision T7920 Workstation SPECworkstation 1
Dell Precision T7920 Workstation SPECworkstation 2
Dell Precision T7920 Workstation SPECworkstation 2
Dell Precision T7920 Workstation SPECworkstation Part 1
Dell Precision T7920 Workstation SPECworkstation Part 1
Dell Precision T7920 Workstation SPECworkstation Part 2
Dell Precision T7920 Workstation SPECworkstation Part 2

In SPECworkstation 3.0.2 the Intel Xeon Platinum 8260, NVIDIA Quadro RTX 8000 plus storage options of the Dell Precision T7920 workstation all combine to give great benchmark results for SPECworkstation 3.0.2.

Dell Precision T7920 Workstation PassMark 9

PassMark Performance Test allows you to benchmark a PC using a variety of different speed tests; it tests the entire PC and all its components.

Dell Precision T7920 Workstation PassMark
Dell Precision T7920 Workstation PassMark

Passmark 9 was a benchmark that prefers Intel-based processors and NVIDIA graphics cards so it does very well with the Dell Precision T7920. As with many of these benchmarks, you can compare them to our Intel Core i9-10980XE review to see how a lower-end desktop fares in comparison.

Dell Precision T7920 Workstation PCMark 10

PCMark 10 is another system benchmark that we have not run to date but will start doing so in future reviews.

Dell Precision T7920 Workstation PCMark 10
Dell Precision T7920 Workstation PCMark 10

This is good, however, again PCMark10 is not the ideal use case benchmark for a higher-end workstation like this. SPECworkstation 3.0.2 is a much better gauge of performance.

Dell Precision T7920 Workstation Blender Benchmark

The benchmark consists of two parts: a downloadable package which runs Blender and renders on several production files, and the Open Data portal on blender.org, where the results will be (optionally) uploaded.

Dell Precision T7920 Workstation Blender Benchmark
Dell Precision T7920 Workstation Blender Benchmark

With Blender Benchmark the dual Intel Xeon Platinum 8260 processors effectivity half the completion time when compared to single socket systems. Rendering is generally a task that scales across multiple cores and to multiple sockets well. Having high-end CPUs can mean tangible hours of additional productivity.

Python Linux 4.4.2 Kernel Compile Benchmark

This is one of the most requested benchmarks for STH over the past few years and we wanted to pull in some dual Intel Xeon comparison results to this review using Ubuntu Linux. The task was simple, we have a standard configuration file, the Linux 4.4.2 kernel from kernel.org, and make the standard auto-generated configuration utilizing every thread in the system. We are expressing results in terms of compiles per hour to make the results easier to read.

Dell Precision T7920 Dual Xeon Platinum 8260 Linux Compile Benchmark Performance
Dell Precision T7920 Dual Xeon Platinum 8260 Linux Compile Benchmark Performance

For software developers, the dual Intel Xeon Platinum 8260 configuration performs almost to the level of the top-end Platinum 8280 results, yet at lower initial cost as well as power consumption.

Next, we are going to look at some deep learning inference and training performance.

12 COMMENTS

  1. I’ve got one of these in the office – great machine, and I love the layout of the motherboard (lenovo is also using a layout like that now too), but theres some things to look out for depending on what you’re using it for and how you’re using it:
    1- if you have nosy coworkers who like looking at the hardware in the chassis, just show them the machine before its turned on, since opening the chassis during operation will shut the machine down while triggering a chassis intrusion alarm. At least on my early model, it also bugged out the dell support assist feature so it permanently thinks a fan is broken, when that fan was never installed on that model.
    2- in order to keep the overall width of the unit within reason for product dimensions and cooling reasons, the clearance for cards is roughly equivalent to a 3U server. In places, that is actually slightly less, because the side panel latch has an internal bump running the height of the server. Tall cards like some consumer GPUs will not fit in this case, nor will short-length consumer GPUs that have outward/side facing (as opposed to front facing) pcie power plugs, as the bump will be in the way of the cable. Long standard height consumer GPUs with side facing pcie power plugs will fit, but you might have to squeeze the cabling a bit
    3- There were 3 included pcie 8/6pin cables. If you are using consumer GPUs, you may need to buy additional cables from dell or use splitters. At the time I bought my unit, dell did not have the cables for purchase individually, but I managed to cludge an equivalent cable together out of adapters, since the PSU breakout board’s connectors for the pcie power plugs have the same pinout as (cont in next)

  2. 3 (cont)- the plug would on the pcie card as well.
    4- If you want NVME support, you’ll need an adapter. You can bifurcate the lanes, but not explicitly – there is a setting in the bios (i forget which, but it has to do with pcie ssds), that you can toggle. Out of the box it was set to a setting where it would not detect dell’s own quad nvme adapter card, and dell’s enterprise support doesn’t have enough experience with those cards (or even the product specifications on hand) to do more than manually walk through trial and error experimentation of figuring out how to use the card in this machine. Turns out its that bios setting.
    5- If you need audio for the work you intend to do on this machine and are expecting to get by with the motherboard audio since its usually ‘good enough’ on highend prosumer motherboards, you will be disappointed. Get a soundcard for this – I didn’t need amazing audio or anything, just audio good enough to listen to people speaking during meetings and checking the contents of files I was processing or working with, but the built in audio was really bad.

    It should be kept in mind that my forewarnings are based on a very early unit (I got it within a month of launch, since I needed something more powerful right then in order to complete a project)
    Despite these issues I encountered, I still very much like this machine, and they wont be problems for everyone.

  3. Thanks for the info Syr. I am curious about your point #3 — I have avoided Dell workstations because they only offer 8/6 pin PCIe power connectors, while most consumer GPUs (e.g. 2080 Ti) require 8/8 connectors. It would be great to learn more about how you figured this out.

  4. Hi Michael – to clarify what I had meant by 8/6 was that the cables included with the system supported the full 6+2 connector, but only 1 per cable. The system came with 3 such cables pre-installed, but had 4 available headers, thus I was able to determine the pinout by simply matching the cables on the card side to the PSU breakout board side. It helped that Dell used standard cable color codes (yellow for +12 and black for 0).
    I’m using 2x 1080ti cards in the system with 2x 8-pin plugs on them for a total of 4 plugs required, so I had to cobble together a cable out of adapters to power the second plug on the second card from the 4th empty plug on the PSU breakout board.

  5. Syr–thanks for the reply! So it sounds like there are a maximum of 4 x 8 PCIe plugs available. That’s enough for 2 consumer GPUs. A 3rd GPU may not be possible.

  6. I hope this will help someone who is considering the purchase of a Dell workstation make a better decision. I loved my old T7600 – it worked perfectly for close to 6 years. There was no question in my mind when I replaced it – I was going with a Dell Precision Workstation. Since purchasing the T7920 in the summer of 2018, Dell has replaced it twice and replaced several major components in those replacements.
    Today, a Dell level 3 tech told me they have known of systemic issues with the T7920.

  7. I have Dell 7920 Workstation , purchased in March 2018. Although , There was a problem in the begining , now working OK. Can some one advise , how to add Thunderbolt card ? It does not have TB header . Although a area is marked TBT , but no socket on it.

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