Lenovo ThinkStation P620 AMD Threadripper Pro WorkstationJanuary 28, 2021
We’ve done several mainstream workstations from Dell, HPE, and Lenovo always with the inevitable comments saying, “Wow, it would be really cool if they made a workstation powered by AMD processors!” Guess what? Here it is! The Lenovo Threadripper P620 (SHOP HERE). Actually, it’s called the Lenovo ThinkStation P620 AMD Threadripper Pro Workstation and it has a single AMD Threadripper Pro CPU, plus an Nvidia RTX 6000 GPU!
The confusing part, is when we searched for P620, we came up with the NVIDIA Quadro P620 graphics card with HP bracket also sold by Lenovo. But make no mistake, we are going to be talking about the Lenovo ThinkStation P620 AMD Threadripper Pro Workstation.
From the outside appearance, it looks like the rest of the P-Series workstations with the familiar honey-comb pattern on the front, and then there’s the two media bays up top with a control panel on the side. We’ll admit that we were looking forward to something that looked slightly different than what has been their staple aesthetic for a few years now. That said, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. We suppose there is a minor change, but we’ll look at that soon.
As we mentioned, the P620 looks like the other P-Series workstations, specifically the P520, but with the addition of this new graphic just under the media bays that says “AMD Threadripper Pro P620.”
You still have the integrated handles, which we’ve come to love. At a little over 50 pounds fully loaded, it’s a nice feature. To the right of the two media bays is the control panel with Power On button on top. There are a few diagnostic LEDs for Power and Storage, there’s even a four-character diagnostic screen for displaying error codes. An optional photoelectric sensor is for diagnostics and is activated by a flash light sent by Lenovo that works with a PC Diagnostics application you can install on a smartphone. Then there’s a headset connection and two USB 3.2 connectors, one for changing, and a USB-C port. Yes, you can still turn that ThinkStation graphic on the front panel to match the orientation of your system.
The real news is that Lenovo truly listened to their customer base. We’re telling you, geeks across the world just had their collective minds blown just by the mere existence of this mainstream Lenovo AMD workstation. What’s next? A two-processor AMD Ryzen Threadripper Pro system?
AMD Threadripper Pro
Taking the newness of this system to a new level, it’s not just running those standard Threadripper 3000X series, but a brand-new processor: the new Threadripper Pro 3000WX series. The Threadripper Pro 3000WX series supports more memory and PCIe lanes than its Threadripper 3000X counterpart. The “W” is for workstation because this processor is designed for architects, engineers, artists, financial analysts, and game developers. The Threadripper PRO line features 12, 16, 32, and the current core king—the AMD Threadripper Pro 3995WX at 64-cores and a whopping 128 thread count. We’re not talking linen sheets for your bed! You also get a boost clock surpassing 4GHz plus 128 PCIe lanes, PCIe 4.0 lanes to be exact! And as you may or may not know, with each successive iteration of PCIe, bandwidth has doubled!
On the back of the Lenovo ThinkStation P620 there’s a standard assortment of connections: microphone, line out and line in connection, and serial connector. But why would you connect old tech? Presumably because you spent your cash on the Lenovo ThinkStation P620 with the idea to upgrade everything else over time. Below that knockout connector are two old school PS2 mouse and keyboard connectors and then there are several USB connectors and a 10Gb/s RJ45 Ethernet connection. Then we have the PCIe slots. There is a removable power supply unit delivering 1000W of power, and a Kensington lock slot so you can secure your system to you desk or just wrap that cable around your wrist. The case cover also has an optional integrated lock.
Once we remove the cover panel, it’s laid out very similar to Lenovo’s other P-Series workstations. Our system has a massive dual fan heatsink for the CPU and a single drive cage on the bottom with two 3.5-inch storage bays, which can be doubled up with 2x 2.5-inch storage devices in each carrier.
A second storage cage can be installed to the right of the first one. There’s also the option to convert one of those upfront media bays, or Flex Bays as Lenovo calls them, to support one storage drive and a slimline optical drive supported by the multi-drive conversion kit. You can install a few other items in there too like a 15-in-1 card reader or just your basic slimline optical device.
The board also has two slots for optional M.2 storage cards with a nice little heatsink. You can also use one of those x16 PCIe 4.0 slots to support a M.2 drive adapter with up to 4x M.2 cards. Lenovo has indicated a storage potential of up to 20TB, but fear not this drive capacity is described in the manual as less than the nominal capacity.
The AMD Ryzen Threadrippers WX Pro series processors are designed to compete against the Intel Xeon W CPUs, which are specifically for workstations. It’s not really a contest. Threadripper Pros offer up to 64 physical cores and 128 threads plus a clock speed of up to 4GHz. Our platform features the 3995WX processor. They also support 8-memory channels for up to 512GB of memory if all slots are loaded with 64GB DDR4 ECC memory modules.
We will mention that other Lenovo materials have this memory count at 1TB. Let’s go with 1TB as the manuals are always the last thing to be updated it seems. With only one memory module in each memory channel, memory performance is optimized utilizing the full bandwidth available. One more thing, 3200GHz memory module support, compared with the top speed of 2933GHz currently supported on just about everything else, including those Intel W processors.
Even the memory modules on this system have an active fan with a small duct. Operating at up to 3200MHz can definitely build up some heat! Once you remove that cover you can see 4x memory module slots to either side of the CPU heat sink, which again, is a gigantic dual-fan monstrosity. With 8 channel memory, each module gets maximum throughput to the CPU. In comparison, the 3990X only has 4 memory channels compared to 8 on the 3995WX. By the way, on the Threadripper 3990X workstation we did a few months ago, several sources indicated that to get the most performance out of that CPU it needs to be adequately cooled as heat buildup will impact performance.
The system holds 6x PCIe 4.0 slots and 128 PCIe lanes which is twice as many as on the 3990X CPU. Given the number of lanes available, you have a bunch of options for additional hardware and really don’t need to make any compromises given the bandwidth on each slot. You will need a card for Wi-Fi, which also supports bluetooth if you plan on going wireless on some of your external devices.
Slots 4, 5, and 3 are x16 while the other two support a x8 PCIe lane, but again we are talking a PCIe 4.0 lane featuring twice the bandwidth compared to PCIe 3.0. The GPUs we’re putting in this system are not even PCIe 4.0 compatible. There are not many on the market that are. Except perhaps for Nvidia’s latest king of the hill GPUS—the GeForce RTX 3080 and 3090. This system will also support Thunderbolt shortly after launch.
Outfitted with an Nvidia Quadro RTX 6000 card the system will support up to 4 displays. You can actually install two Nvidia Quadro RTX 8000 cards or four RTX 4000 cards for support of up to 16 displays. This one features Nvidia’s RTX 6000 GPU and you will only be able to install two of those given it matches the Max power consumption of 295W just like the RTX 8000.
The RTX 6000 features Nvidia’s Turing architecture, with real-time ray tracing in professional graphics. New Tensor cores for AI inference combine to deliver photorealistic graphics with global lighting. For rendering film effects it’s up to 30x faster than CPUs. Connecting two RTX 6000 GPUs using a Quadro RTX NVLink HB bridge will provide a combined 48GB of GDDR6 memory and a bandwidth of up to 100GB/s! Compared to Scalable Link Interface (SLI), NVLink theoretically provides more than 10X the bandwidth with bidirectional communication. Of course, you can only do that if whatever application you’re using will support NVLink.
It’s important to mention that we’re a little disappointed AMD didn’t create a next generation card to go with this Lenovo Thinkstation P620 AMD Threadripper workstation. We think we’ll be seeing some interesting GPUs coming out of AMD in the coming months. But for now, Nvidia is king. It’s good to be king… The RTX 6000 also supports a VirtualLink port for the newest generation of high-resolution, head mounted VR displays so creators can see what they are working on in real time 3D!
With an updated ThinkStation Diagnostics 2.0 and AMD Pro Manageability, you have the tools at your disposal for remote diagnostics, repairs and upgrades. Not to mention the built-in level of security offered by the AMD Secure Processor that will analyze your code before execution, and AMD Memory Guard will protect against a physical assault, like if someone walks off with it.
Lenovo ThinkStation P620 Conclusion
The last thing we’ll mention is that this Lenovo ThinkStation P620 Threadripper system is loud, much louder than the P520. Definitely get a water-cooling solution if you like a quiet Zen-type atmosphere as you work or play.
When Lenovo had this opportunity for market disruption with the first Threadripper workstation they grabbed it. Think about it. This single processor Lenovo Thinkstation P620 Threadripper Workstation delivers more cores, more memory, and more PCIe lanes when compared to a dual Intel Xeon 8180 processor workstation like say the HP Z8 G4 or Dell T7920! This system is aimed directly at software developers, finance, oil and gas and a host of other applications.
If you’re interested in purchasing this server, click here! Or, if you’re interested in other servers or components, click here for IT Creations’ homepage.