Dell Precision 7865 Workstation Tower ReviewAugust 24, 2023
The Dell Precision 7865 Workstation Tower runs a single AMD Ryzen Threadripper Pro 5900WX processor with up to 64 cores. It’s also capable of supporting up to 1TB of DDR4 memory, 56TB of storage, and 2x high-performance GPUs. Running a single 64-core CPU, it can easily compete with a dual Intel-processor based system.
This is Dell’s first foray with an AMD Ryzen Threadripper PRO CPU in one of their Precision workstations. This platform is ISV certified. Independent software verification ensures this system has been tested to run industry-leading software applications in a number of different fields. All good!
The thing about a workstation, compared to some rigs you put together on the side to do a little gaming and work, is the reliability. This system boasts not just enterprise-grade hardware capable of running 24-7 but the ECC memory, and the other security measures built into the silicon of that AMD CPU. This one runs the Threadripper “PRO” after all, not just a Threadripper. In other words, support for more memory, 128 PCIe lanes instead of just 88 on a regular Threadripper, plus the additional security features manufacturers insist on. Kind of like that extra turn of the dial to take it up to 11 instead of just 10. Of course, in that movie it really meant nothing. In this case it really does go up to 11.
The case has been redesigned but the DNA from the previous generations is still visible… Maybe it’s just the logo on the front. It is a little more rounded. Actually, it’s a lot different. At the top of the chassis are 2x lockable 3.5-inch drive bays, or flexbays. They can be outfitted with SATA or NVMe drive options—even self-encrypting drives. The drive bays will accept 3.5-inch or 2.5-inch drives but only 2x drives can be installed. One in each of the two slots.
Two hot-swap NVMe Gen4 M.2 drive cages can also be installed in those top slots, a very cool feature that was present on the previous generation.
Below that is a space for an optional optical drive, then a power button, HD activity LED, universal audio port, 2x USB 3.2 Gen 1 ports, 2x USB 3.2 Gen 2 ports, and an SD card reader. It features integrated handles so you can lug this around with you wherever you go… it’s only going to be like 50 pounds fully configured.
On the back of the system the single power supply unit at the top of the chassis. That little lavender colored port is for a keyboard and the green for a mouse. Below that, a serial port, audio line out, two RJ45 network ports with one providing 1Gb Ethernet and the other 10 Gb Ethernet.
The lower portion has 3x USB 3.2 Gen2 type C ports offering 10Gb/s connectivity, plus 3x USB 3.2 Gen1 ports, one of which is equipped with Smart Power On for charging a smart phone or tablet. Those ones provide 5Gb/s. PCIe slots at the bottom. And, yes, you will need a graphics card for monitor support.
The motherboard supports the AMD WRX80 Premium chipset for support of a single AMD Ryzen Threadripper PRO 5900WX CPU with 12, 16, 24, 32, or 64 cores. Double those core counts for virtual threads. That single processor has 8x memory channels, and with 8 memory module slots, so each memory module can have its very own memory channel for maximum throughput. Processor speeds will range from 2.70 GHz to 4.55 GHz. The 5995WX has the most cores at 64 and will support a cache of 256MB. DDR4 RDIMMs will provide up to 1TB of memory using 128GB memory modules and operate at speeds of up to 3200MT/s. Not sure why this system caps out at 1TB of memory but that is what Dell has listed in their specifications. All of this is powered by a single 1350W 80 PLUS power supply unit.
As a workstation potentially for an individual, you can install Windows 11, Windows 10, and a few Linux flavors. Management tools are provided through AMD DASH, offering a simple user interface for both users and IT Administrators. The system also features the Dell Optimizer for Precision to make all of those programs you install run better with a built-in AI that follows your every keystroke and adapts to how you work to personalize the experience. Sounds a bit like Big Brother but pretty sure it’s benign. Similarly, another AI can help Data Scientists get more out of their systems with optimal performance with the data science applications they use the most. And they there are the basis management tools available through the OS.
Keeping it all cool are 4x fans mounted in the chassis and one in the CPU fan shroud. There’s one in the lower front and another just behind the flex bay storage area to pull fresh air in. Two positioned at the back of the chassis pull the GPU and DRAM scented air through the case and out the back. The one integrated with the CPU shroud blows air over that towering heat sink and just gives that heated air an extra kick to the curb. The fans can be automated or controlled in BIOS to provide better cooling and noise reduction in certain instances depending on how the system is outfitted.
Two internal 3.5-inch drive bays can be configured with 3.5-inch or 2.5-inch SATA or NVMe drive options. There is also a heat sink on the system board that hides two PCIe 4.0 x4 slots that can be outfitted with NVMe gen4 M.2 2230 drives for another super-fast storage option. The specs list these with capacities of up to 256GB but micron just came out with a 2TB version.
So perhaps there are more storage options. But this is just conjecture… If you’re wondering what that other little black anodized heat sink just above the CPU is, it’s not for an M.2 drive. It’s actually the voltage regulator heat sink. For even more storage you can install either an ultra-speed Duo or Quad card with 2x or 4x NVMe M.2 drives, respectively. To reach full potential, you will install the Quad card in one of those PCIe x16 slots as each of the drives will need a x4 lane for optimal throughput. The Duo Card will be quite happy with one of the x8 slots. At maximum capacity the Quad card can support up to 16TB of NVMe storage.
There are 5x PCIe 4.0 slots for expansion. 2x are full-height x16 and the other three are full-height x8. That is not only the physical length of the slots but also the supported PCIe link bandwidth. Those 2x PCIe 4.0 x16 slots can be used to support a maximum of 2x 300W high-performance double-wide GPUs. They fit snug right below the CPU/memory air shroud. Retainer clips front and back support the GPU if you do decide to cart it off to the coffee shop for a relaxing latte while you’re working on that critical simulation of aerosol-based disbursement of airborne diseases in an enclosed area. Dedicated power cables are included for the GPUs as the sockets will only provide up to 75W of juice. The system can also be outfitted with a thunderbolt 3 card. You know the one that was supposed to be available on the previous generation just a few months after launch but you could never find any information on it. Yeah, that one. You can also install a WiFi adapter card because that is another option, not a given. There is however a built-in speaker. It may not produce stereo quality sound but will do the trick at a bare minimum.
This platform supports a bunch of AMD Radeon and NVIDIA GPUS, including the top-of-the-line Nvidia RTX A6000 with 48GB of GDDR6 memory and the Radeon RX 6900 XT. But it will also support the NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3090 and 3080 cards with 24GB and 10GB respectively. You know, gaming cards. The RTX A6000 is an Ampere-based card with 48GB of GDDR6 memory and is based on the GeForce RTX 3090 but everything is unlocked on that card. It is a superlative card for graphic simulation, rendering and immersive entertainment. It is a little thinner than say that fat triple-wide 3090 card and has a pleasing aesthetic in addition to blazing performance. But enough of NVIDIA this is an AMD platform after all. The AMD Radeon RX 6900XT is no slouch in performance. Offering 16GB of dedicated GDDR6 memory and super graphics, this card is good for both content creation and gaming. It’s definitely less expensive than NVIDIA’a top-of-the-line RTX 3090. Like half and much less than the RTX A6000 but that one is truly a workstation graphics card.
The Dell Precision 7865 Workstation Tower workstations are interesting, and we want one, even with AI tracking our every move. On another note, if you are interested in this Precision workstation, then check out IT Creations.com. We have everything your IT dreams are made of and maybe we can get rid of those IT related nightmares at the same time!