The Lenovo ThinkStation P620 is re-introducing the company’s workstation line to AMD. At the AMD Ryzen Threadripper Pro launch, the primary launch partner for the new chip is Lenovo. This is a big announcement since AMD is landing a major OEM partner for Threadripper Pro. Lenovo said that its customers have requested an AMD-powered solution, so we get a unique new system.
Lenovo ThinkStation P620
The Lenovo ThinkStation P620 is one of the smaller tower workstations from Lenovo, but it is going to pack a lot of power. This can handle an AMD Threadripper Pro CPU which currently range from 12-64 cores. One also gets ECC RDIMM and LRDIMM support and a real workstation chassis. For those who are looking for a Threadripper/ EPYC workstation with EPYC like features (8-channel memory and more PCIe Gen4 lanes) and Threadripper attributes (such as higher clock speeds), this is likely what you want.
One nice bit is that aside from Windows 10 Pro, Lenovo plans to add support for Ubuntu Linux pre-installed from the factory. We are told that 10GbE is via Aquantia (now Marvell) NICs in this unit for 10Gbase-T networking. The ThinkStation P620, has all of the normal higher-end workstation features we see on standard Lenovo boxes. This also includes air cooling for the 280W TDP Threadripper Pro parts.
One of the very interesting developments on the joint Lenovo and AMD briefing was highlighting NVIDIA Quadro RTX support. One of the unique features we are seeing with this generation is AMD CPUs now leaning heavily on NVIDIA GPU support. While that seems strange since AMD makes competitive GPUs, NVIDIA Quadro is extremely popular. With this generation, the NVIDIA DGX A100 has to use AMD EPYC Rome CPUs due to Ice Lake Xeon delays, so now we see NVIDIA and AMD working more closely on GPU support.
Speaking of GPU support, the ThinkStation P620 will support up to dual NVIDIA Quadro RTX 8000 GPUs which we recently reviewed. Those are the current top-end GPUs for a lot of applications. Since we get a lot of questions around specs, here is the official spec table:
Interesting here is that we have the “AMD 2019 Premium Chipset BXB-B” despite this being a new 2020 platform. Also, we see RHEL is certified along with a number of ISV certifications already in the spec sheet. There are features here that we typically do not see with EPYC platforms such as the USB 3.2 Gen2 Type-C ports and onboard audio. Between the hardware and software certifications, this is going to be a strong option for many markets.
While this is not in the specs, it would be fun if we saw the NVIDIA Quadro P620, popular on lower-end Lenovo workstations, supported in the ThinkStation P620. Undoubtedly, that would bring one to a state of “P620 nirvana.”
Lenovo ThinkStation P620 in the Portfolio
Checking out the overall portfolio, here is what the lineup looks like. As a quick note, we are hoping to get a P340 Tiny for STH Project TinyMiniMicro we announced this week. We do have older AMD-Lenovo Tiny platforms.
Lenovo is using a modified version of the chassis we saw in the Lenovo ThinkStation P520 Professional Workstation Review for the P620. There is added cooling for the faster memory.
Lenovo shared the positioning in terms of Intel workstations along with the workloads and software platforms. The Lenovo platform will span between the ThinkStation P520 (1P) and P720 (2P) workstations in Lenovo’s lineup. One will note that the ThinkStation P620 also is being slightly crossed into the top-end ThinkStation P920 simulation realm.
Some may think that with 64 cores it should cover all high-end 2P use cases. That is not true. Dual Xeons can still support more memory along with high TDP/ lower core count parts. If you have per-core licensing, it can be significantly better to have two 16 core CPUs each fed by 6-channel DDR4-2933 and 768GB of RAM with 205W TDP headroom each than a single 280W TDP part.
Aside from the Lenovo ThinkStation P520 mentioned earlier, we have the to-end Lenovo ThinkStation P920 review going live soon. That is Lenovo’s top-end dual Xeon solution. On the Lenovo ThinkStation P620 pre-briefing we were told that the solution will go on sale at the end of Q3, so if you are reading this the day it is announced you will likely have to wait two months or more for the system. Still, we are told it is coming and in the meantime, Lenovo will be working with ISVs to get software certifications.
Overall, this is great for Lenovo. For customers who are looking for a workstation certified for professional applications and with higher memory bandwidth/ footprints, AMD management features, and potentially lower costs consolidating two sockets to one, this is going to be very interesting.