Lenovo ThinkStation P920 and P720 unleash Xeon power

AMD's Ryzen Threadripper brought up to 16 cores and 32 threads to the PC party. Intel's Skylake-X Core X CPUs have up to 18 cores and 36 threads in their back pocket. For some sensitive workloads, even the might of the latest high-end desktop chips is woefully insufficient. Lenovo's ThinkStation P720 and ThinkStation P920 pack dual Xeon Bronze, Gold, or Platinum processors for those in need of serious horsepower.

The machines offer support for six channels of ECC DDR4 memory along with multiple M.2 and PCIe slots for adding fast storage and workstation graphics cards. Each of the LGA 3647 sockets can ensconse a CPU with up to 28 cores and and 56 threads. Lenovo says the core count and memory bandwidth make the two ThinkStations up to 43% faster than their forebears. The list of optional graphics cards includes Nvidia's exquisitely expensive Quadro P6000 and Quadro GP100. 

The ThinkStation 920 is Lenovo's top-of-the-line workstation. The machine has five PCIe x16 slots plus three PCIe x4 slots, and enough room for up to three dual-slot graphics cards. Up to 2 TB of 2666 MT/s DDR4 memory can fit into the whopping 16 DIMM slots. Buyers can fit a pair of NVMe storage drives in the two RAID-capable M.2 slots on the motherboard.

The chassis has room for four 3.5" drives and a pair of empty 5.25" external bays that can be rigged to fit two more 3.5" devices. All the hardware is powered by a 92%-efficient 1400 W power supply. The front of the machine has audio jacks and four USB 3.0 ports. The rear of the chassis has a pair of Ethernet jacks, four more USB 3.0 ports, two USB 2.0 ports, two PS/2 connectors, and more audio jacks. The gear fits into a chassis measuring 7.9" wide, 24.4" deep, and 17.6" tall (20 cm x 62 cm x 45 cm).

Lenovo's ThinkStation P720 fits most of the hardware its sibling contains into a more compact chassis that measures 6.9" wide, 19.1" deep, and 17.6" tall (18 cm x 49 cm x 45 cm). The expansion card layout changes to three PCIe x16 slots, one PCIe x8 connector, one PCIe x4 slot, and one regular PCI slot. The smaller chassis is limited to fitting"only" two dual-slot Quadro cards cards inside. The number of DDR4 memory slots falls from 16 to 12, and the maximum memory capacity plummets to a "mere" 384 GB. Buyers can choose between 690 W and 900 W power supplies. Despite the machine's smaller size, the storage options are nearly identical, with the only loss being one 5.25" external drive bay.

The prices on the ThinkStation P720 and ThinkStation P920 haven't been announced, but they're sure to be heart-stopping. Lenovo says the machines are focused at the architecture, engineering, construction, and oil and gas exploration industries who are all willing to pay large sums for access to immense computational resources. The manufacturer expects to start shipping systems in late October.

Comments closed
    • Wirko
    • 2 years ago

    What’s the RAM configuration for LGA 3647 Xeons? I’ve checked the Supermicro boards and they have either 6 or 8 DDR4 slots per CPU. Where they’re 6, they’re all blue. Where they’re 8, the two closest to the CPU are black. Does this mean that two of the six channels support two DIMMs while the other four only support one DIMM?

      • yuhong
      • 2 years ago

      I believe so.

    • shank15217
    • 2 years ago

    Just take an EPYC server and turn it on it’s side and shove under the desk, BAM, workstation

    • dpaus
    • 2 years ago

    Dual PS/2 connectors?? WHAT in God’s name for??

    And where the hell do I connect my parallel port printer, hunh??

      • WayneManion
      • 2 years ago

      Parallel and serial ports are available options.

      • titan
      • 2 years ago

      There’s some legacy equipment that isn’t quite legacy because nobody’s bothered to move them to USB.

      “This here machine works just fine with this DB-9 connector. Why do I need to buy a whole new machine just to get PS/2? I don’t trust that USB technology yet. It’s too finicky. There’s a 100% chance of hooking it up wrong the first time with only a 50% chance of getting it right the second time,” say crotchety manufacturing guys who are accustomed to he slower pace of metalworking.

    • Chrispy_
    • 2 years ago

    That’s a 3U server in a desktop case.

    Heart-stopping prices is probably not far wrong….

      • kuraegomon
      • 2 years ago

      For most of this audience, yes. For the audience who really, truly have use cases for this level of gear?
      [quote<] architecture, engineering, construction, and oil and gas exploration industries [/quote<] Umm, yeah. They have 7 or 8 figure departmental budgets for this stuff. And no one mentioned the financials (read quant hedge funds) ...

    • ptsant
    • 2 years ago

    The P910 goes for $3800 new where I live, but with “only” 32GB RAM and a 512GB SSD.

    It’s like a Porsche. The base package does not look obscenely expensive, until you start maxing the options…

    • POLAR
    • 2 years ago

    “I find your lack of CPU specs disturbing”
    “I find your lack of EPYC cpus disturbing”
    – pick any

      • srg86
      • 2 years ago

      I pick neither.

        • POLAR
        • 2 years ago

        -4. For a joke. Geez.

    • ozzuneoj
    • 2 years ago

    2TB of RAM eh?
    [url<]https://www.hpe.com/us/en/product-catalog/servers/server-memory/pip.hpe-ddr4-smartmemory.1009007004.html[/url<] If $11,000 is the going rate for a 128GB stick of DDR4-2666, that's like $176,000 in RAM. Imagine finding one of these systems for sale on the used market 10 years from now for a pittance...

      • ptsant
      • 2 years ago

      Given that I equipped my AM3+ system with 4x4GB ECC for ~$250 5 years ago and looking at RAM prices today, I don’t feel that prices fall as quickly as they used to. I highly doubt that a system with 2TB RAM will sell cheaply, even in 10 years.

      Hardware prices don’t fall as fast as they used to… Then again, hardware lasts much longer.

        • Anton Kochubey
        • 2 years ago

        I bought a server (HP DL380 G7) with 32 GB DDR3 ECC and dual Xeons for $200 on eBay last month.

        He’s talking about sales on the used market, remember.

      • yuhong
      • 2 years ago

      I believe it also require special Xeon models too, exactly because they are very expensive.

      • Wirko
      • 2 years ago

      That’s some serious density tax. If you can distribute the load and have enough room, it’s probably cheaper to buy THREE of these workstations, each with 1 TB memory and dual 16 or 18-core Xeons.

      Also, ha ha, product segmentation everywhere. If you’re spending the money on 128GB modules, you can’t get away with the [i<]basic[/i<] Xeon Platinum 8180, as yuhong noted. It's too cheap at 10,000 EUR and is limited to 768GB RAM. You'll need the 8180M. 30% more money.

    • blastdoor
    • 2 years ago

    Does a ThreadRipper + Linux analog exist to this machine from any reputable OEM?

      • K-L-Waster
      • 2 years ago

      For this market it wouldn’t be ThreadRipper. It would be using EPYC instead.

        • blastdoor
        • 2 years ago

        Fair enough.

        So…

        Does an Eypc+Linux analog to this machine exist from any reputable OEM?
        And if not, how about ThreadRipper+Linux?

    • Aranarth
    • 2 years ago

    By the power of GREYSKULL!!!!

    • chuckula
    • 2 years ago

    The 5 figure price is almost completely justified by the lack of any RGB LED bling whatsoever.

      • blastdoor
      • 2 years ago

      I give you thumbs up for that.

        • K-L-Waster
        • 2 years ago

        “I will pay you serious money to rip the blinkenlitz off that thing.”

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