This week Lenovo has a trio of new ThinkStation workstations. The flagship product is the Think Station PX (P10), which can be configured with extraordinarily powerful components, followed by the ThinkStation P7 And ThinkStation P5.
Let’s focus on the ThinkStation PX as it best represents the potential of this new series of workstations as it can pack “up to”. 120 CPU cores (2x 4th Generation Xeon Scalable ‘Sapphire Rapids’), 2TB RAMAnd four Nvidia RTX 6000 48GB graphics cards. Power is supplied via up to two 1800 W power supplies.
“NVIDIA offers the world’s highest-performing GPUs for visual computing for desktop workstations,” he said Bob Pette, Vice President of Professional Visualization at NVIDIA. I don’t think anyone will disagree with this statement. NVIDIA rides along at this level, even if the competition like AMD or Intel has ambitions.
The maximum storage capacity is the sum of seven M.2 drives (28TB) plus two 3.5 inch drives (24TB) or 52TB total. Of course, popular variants of RAID arrays are also supported. An integrated 10Gb Ethernet adapter is used to quickly move data across the network. A classic 1GbE adapter and a built-in WiFi 6E MIMO radio complement it. Note that the antenna is integrated into the chassis and does not protrude.
That’s a lot of hardware for a computer the size of a massive PC gaming rig. However, this is far more powerful than anything players use, and for good reason. This workstation is used in professional high-end visualization workloadssuch as B. Cinematic graphics production and rendering.
That’s why Lenovo has teamed up with DreamWorks to bring these new workstations to market. DreamWorks will equip its creative staff with these workstations in the future. It’s not widely known, but Lenovo already supports the latest additions to the DreamWorks rendering server farm with theirs Liquid-cooled Neptune servers which are a hit in the HPC area (high-performance computing).
I’ve worked in computer graphics myself
, I can vouch that no amount of processing power is “good enough” for the kind of stuff DreamWorks creates. If anything, such developers are limited by the computing power available to them.
As you can imagine, such hardware is destined to be run at maximum hardware utilization as often as possible, and it’s an incredible amount of processing power per cubic inch, so the next challenge is without a doubt… cooling.
Thermal management is one of the great added values Aston-Martin brings, not just the aesthetics. If you think about it, high-performance cars are massive heat generators, whether it’s the engine, exhaust, brakes, etc. And most of it is air-cooled, just like these workstations.
According to Lenovo and Aston Martin representatives, Aston Martin brought a wealth of knowledge and experience in airflow, thermal management, industrial design, manufacturing, and materials that were very useful in the development of these computers. And of course they also know how to make things production-friendly and budget-friendly.
“We’ve spent the last 110 years controlling the heat in cars,” called Cathal LoughnaneHead of Aston Martin Partnerships at Aston Martin, explains why there is some overlap between high-end cars and high-end computers.
Interestingly, Aston Martin is also a Lenovo customer and the next few ThinkStations were designed using the current generation ThinkStations workstations.
The cooling system is based on a meticulously designed and orchestrated airflow based on the positioning of the components inside the case and tight control of the incoming and outgoing airflow.
You can see prominent control surfaces like the air intake baffle, but the airflow simulations even went into details like B. how the air flows between the RAM modules or around the CPUs. When the team received the hardware prototypes, real measurements accurately validated the predicted digital simulation.
This is certainly the simulation-driven “future of design” advertised by NVIDIA digital twinsalthough I don’t think it was used in this project.
The design (aesthetics) is exquisite, and Aston Martin drew inspiration from the design language and physical attributes of the $333,000+ car Aston Martin DBS car‘s grille (and red paint).
While gaming PC grilles were primarily designed just for aesthetics, sports cars and now workstations, grilles also significantly affect how air enters the hot area by stabilizing airflow. The more stable the airflow, the more controllable it will be afterwards. The ThinkStation 5U chassis is also rack-mountable if you want to neatly stack your computing gear and can afford to buy several (the computer weighs 70 pounds fully loaded).
I’ll let you judge the beauty of the tool-less chassis design, but I think it’s gorgeous and looks more luxurious in the real world than the marketing renders.
I mentioned jokingly Rob Herman, VP & GM, Workstation & Client AI Group at Lenovo that Lenovo would probably make a lot of money selling the empty case to gamers. Interestingly, one of the first comments was on the official Youtube video “Amazing PC case design!.”
DreamWorks will procure these workstations as desktop computers for its creative staff, as having a supercomputer on the desk results in increased productivity as highly skilled staff does not have to wait (as long) for renderings or animations to be computed.
However, when employees are not using the workstations, the desktop workstations can combine their computing power with others over the network in a “rendering farm,” which is a group of computers working together [3D] rendering job. This allows DreamWorks maximum hardware utilization to recoup its investment.
The Lenovo ThinkStation P7 And P5 are smaller and more compact versions of the new ThinkStation series that cover a wide range of perhaps less extreme computing requirements. However, they remain very capable systems with much of the same design DNA.
You can check the full specs to see the minute details, but at a high level, the ThinkStation P7 has ~65% of the processing power of the PX, while the P5 has ~65% of the processing power of the P7.
All workstations pursue a similar goal of maximum productivity, reliability and future-proofing (with good expansion options), but at different prices and footprints.
The workstations will be available in May and will likely replace some of the existing if you want to speculate on how much they cost. At this time, no official prices have been announced by Lenovo.
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