Lenovo ThinkStation P620 Review: Ryzen Threadripper PRO 5995WX Beast
Not your average tetrahexaconta-core workstation
This review isn’t routine in any way, shape, or form. The Lenovo ThinkStation P620 Tower Workstation in for review is just that – a work station; the sort of computer purchased by one’s business after a procurement request. The slim tower design may look unassuming, but the performance is anything but.
AMD has partnered with Lenovo to power these ThinkStation P620 models since the introduction of the Ryzen Threadripper Pro processors in 2020, and the version sent our way is the latest iteration – and featuring the fastest Ryzen Threadripper PRO ever made (as of this writing, anyhow).
This particular review loaner was configured for very high-end workstation use, and has a price tag to prove it. Are you sitting down? This particular configuration – MTM (model number) 30E000QAUS – carries a list price of over $18,000 USD! But don’t worry, some quick googling of that model number revealed street prices as low as $16,338 these days.
- Model Number: 30E000QAUS
- Chipset: AMD WRX80
- Processor: AMD Ryzen Threadripper 5995WX
- Graphics Card: NVIDIA RTX A6000 48 GB
- Memory: 128 GB (8 x 16GB) DDR4-3200 RDIMM; up to 1 TB supported
- Storage: 2 TB Samsung PM9A1 Gen 4 NVMe SSD
- Power Supply: 1000 W 80 Plus Platinum PSU
- Networking: 10 Gigabit Ethernet
- Operating System: Windows 11 Pro
- Dimensions: Height: 17.6″, Width: 6.5″, Depth: 18.1″
- Weight: ~53 lbs
$16,338 – $17,469 USD (current pricing as of 1/25/23)
Game-changing power. Limitless possibilities. Powered by AMD Ryzen Threadripper PRO
- Choice of operating systems
- Up to 2 NVIDIA RTX graphics cards
- Combines legendary reliability & innovation with professional manageability and enterprise-class support
- Performance-tuned and ISV-certified for multithreaded application environments
- An air-cooled thermal system
- Built-in suite of security solutions
- Perfect for architects, engineers, scientists, geophysicists, and more
Let’s get right into it, beginning with a breakdown of the major components found in our review loaner. For reference, our configuration carries the Lenovo “MTM” (model number) “30E000QAUS”.
AMD Ryzen Threadripper PRO Processor
Our ThinkStation P620 review unit shipped with the AMD Ryzen Threadripper PRO 5995WX processor, a 64-core, 128-thread part featuring Zen 3 architecture for the sWRX8 LGA socket. It has a base frequency of 2.7 GHz, with a max boost clock of up to 4.5 GHz.
The Ryzen Threadripper PRO 5995WX offers a total of 292 MB of cache, divided between 4 MB of L1, 32 MB of L2, and 256 MB of L3 cache. The default TDP for this part is 280 watts, and Tjmax is 95°C.
Lenovo has outfitted the processor with a compact, dual-tower cooler (possibly 4U, but I’m not a server guy) outfitted with a pair of 80 mm Foxconn PVA080G12Q fans. These are hydraulic bearing PWM fans with an operating range of 900 – 4600 RPM.
As of this writing, the AMD Ryzen Threadripper PRO 5995WX can be purchased separately from the usual online retailers, if you are the kind of DIY builder with the budget for its $6,499 USD list price.
NVIDIA RTX A6000 Graphics Card
Lenovo went with the (then) fastest-available option from NVIDIA for a workstation GPU, as we find an RTX A6000 graphics card within. This design features a dual-slot, blower-style cooler, and has a bracket attached for secure mounting in the case.
This model offers 48 GB of 384-bit GDDR6 memory, and sports 10752 CUDA cores. The RTX A6000 is based on NVIDIA’s Ampere architecture, and max power consumption is 300 watts. The card has a list price of $4,650 USD.
Of course now that I’m writing this review there is a brand new replacement RTX 6000 (without the A) workstation card, featuring NVIDIA’s current-generation Ada architecture and a higher CUDA core count (among other things), and a list price of $6,800 USD.
While there is nothing glamorous about registered DIMMs with green PCBs, the eight 16GB 3200 MT/s DDR4 RDIMMs results in an impressive 128 GB of memory for your high-performance computing needs.
This much memory does not come cheap; even the lowest-cost option I could find for 16GB DDR4-3200 RDIMMs comes out to $700 when you buy eight. The official Lenovo modules are three times that price.
You won’t see this memory, even with the side panel removed, as they are under the cooling shrouds required for this configuration.
Our review unit was equipped with a 2TB Samsung PM9A1 NVMe SSD, model MZVL22T0HBLB-00B00. This is a PCIe Gen 4 x4 drive, and is the OEM companion to the 980 PRO.
You can check out our review of the Samsung 980 PRO here to get an idea of how this OEM drive performs, and pricing for the 2TB retail version starts at $179.99 USD right now (the 990 PRO launch brought the cost down).
As you would expect, the board is a proprietary design for AMD’s WRX80 platform. It is hard to say just how much of the total system cost is in this component, but DIY solutions for these sWRX8 socket Threadripper PRO processors start at $900 USD.
Expansion options include four PCI Express 4.0 x16 slots, a pair of PCI Express 4.0 x8 slots, a pair of PCI Express 4.0 x4 M.2 slots, and six SATA ports. There is also an onboard Marvell AQtion 10 GbE controller.
Looking at available I/O between the front and back panels we have the 10GbE LAN, a total of six USB 3.2 Gen 2 ports, 2x USB-C 3.2 Gen 2 ports, a pair of USB 2.0 ports, PS/2 keyboard and mouse ports, and standard 3.5 mm audio.
The front panel I/O is modular, and slots neatly into the board with no cables. Here we have those USB-C ports and two of the Type-A ports (including a charging port). The second expansion unit houses a multi-card reader in our configuration, connected via USB 3.0 header on the board, but the space for a slim SATA optical drive is covered with a blank.
Lenovo chose to route all PSU power through this board, as we will see in a moment, and this required additional layers. The board seems quite robust, and it is quite convenient have things like the 8-pin PCIe power connectors positioned just where they are needed.
This is one of the more interesting aspects of the system (in my opinion), and, along with the system board, the most proprietary. It is an AcBel unit rated for 1000 watts, and certified for 80 Plus Platinum efficiency.
Eschewing cables or modular cable plugs, there is simply an edge connector on this unit. This PSU slots into the motherboard just below the expansion slots, and it is the system board itself that routes power to the various components (including the GPU). You can’t have one without the other.
The PCIe cables included have a single 8-pin at the board, and split into two 8-pin connectors at the other end – somewhat amusing considering that the RTX A6000 card then uses a dual 8-pin to single 8-pin adapter. (A sturdy 8-pin-to-8-pin cable would have been a nice touch here for the A6000.)
Before looking at a few benchmark results, here’s a look at the system configuration as reported by HWINFO64:
It does seem a bit curious to run Windows on a 64-core workstation, but I’m testing it as received (after running Windows update and installing the latest available drivers for the chipset and graphics card).
I was pleased to note that Windows 11 Pro has no problem taking advantage of all 128 threads, and while I don’t have any other recent Threadripper results I will slot in the ThinkStation P620 results to some recent CPU performance charts anyway:
It is almost comical how much higher the multi-core result is in Cinebench R23 with this 64-core processor. The Threadripper PRO excels at multi-threaded workloads, naturally, with single-threaded performance falling far short of lesser options. Maybe someday we can have both.
Let’s move on to Blender, and again see the might of the 5995WX:
It’s pretty safe to say that Blender scales with core count. It’s just unfair how far behind even the flagship desktop Ryzen 7950X is in comparison, and it has the newer Zen 4 architecture! Now, there isn’t anything wrong with desktop Ryzen parts, but if you can lower render times by this much, you’d never look back.
The unfairness continues. AMD’s Ryzen 9 7950X was easily the fastest CPU on our charts – until now. It will probably take a Zen 4 Threadripper to best this result.
Finally, in the x264 benchmark – yes, I know it’s old but it scales with core count – we find a bit of a mixed result. This is to be expected, as the first pass in this benchmark scales with clock speed, and the second pass pushes all cores to their limit. That ~160 FPS average is phenomenal for pass 2 in this benchmark.
I’ll stop here, but for those curious I’ve added a gallery with a few more results below. Suffice it to say, the AMD Ryzen Threadripper PRO 5995WX is very, very fast. As far as the RTX A6000 goes, I didn’t get very far with testing, but it’s a stock RTX A6000. There are better resources out there for CUDA testing and the like. I was disappointed when I discovered that I couldn’t run DirectX 12 Ultimate benchmarks – the NVIDIA driver doesn’t support it. So much for RTX gaming on this expensive workstation…
Power, Thermals, and Noise
Under a full CPU load (Blender, five consecutive runs of the Classroom render test), the highest number I saw was 461 watts at the wall. 435 watts was a typical draw under CPU load, with lighter workloads under 400 watts, total. When the graphics card was doing most of the work, the power draw topped out at 501 watts at the wall.
As to thermals, I focused on the processor here, as this was cooled using a Lenovo solution, and the NVIDIA graphics card used its own stock cooling. The Threadripper PRO 5995WX is a very power-hungry part, and when all cores were stressed for a while (the same five consecutive Blender Classroom tests from the power draw testing) average core temperatures hit 75.3 C (~17 C ambient).
As to noise, under full CPU load the system stayed below 40 dBA, with the highest observed noise level at 39.3 dBA with the meter positioned just 12 inches from the front panel. I was a bit worried when I saw that the CPU fans were only 80 mm (and the case fans aren’t much bigger), but the system is well balanced and the fans don’t spin faster than necessary.
The ThinkStation P620 is a very well engineered workstation, with a delightfully tool-free construction for very easy component swaps. Yes, there is enough of the proprietary to require genuine Lenovo parts down the road (the system board and power supply in particular), but that is to be expected.
As to value, it may seem crazy to read this, but if you can find this exact configuration (model 30E000QAUS) for the ~$16,338 it is currently available for, you are actually getting something of a bargain. Hear me out. In the next paragraph.
To put the system price into perspective, consider that just two of the components (CPU and GPU) make up over $11k of the total, and when the rest of the components – including the motherboard, 128 GB of 3200 MT/s registered memory, a 2 TB Gen4 NVMe SSD, and the 1000 watt 80 Plus Platinum PSU – are considered, along with the OS license and 3-year factory warranty, the price actually makes sense.
An artist at work with this powerful workstation (image via Lenovo)
No, this is not a consumer desktop. It is a workstation. And it is powered by AMD’s Threadripper PRO 5995WX, which is an absolute beast. You would have to move up to a multi-CPU solution to get better multi-threaded performance right now.
But, honestly, as thoughtfully designed and well-constructed as the system is (and it really is), and as impressive as the performance is, perhaps my favorite part of the ThinkStation P620 experience was the set of IBM-style keys hanging on the back. I’m just nostalgic, I guess.
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How Product Was Obtained
The product was on loan from Lenovo for the purpose of this review.
What Happens To Product After Review
The product is being returned to Lenovo.
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