Lenovo’s new Thinkstation PX workstation has up to 120 CPU cores but misses a crucial feature

A ThinkStation PX workstation from Lenovo
(Image credit: Lenovo)

Lenovo has released three new ThinkStation workstations, with the PX being the top-of-the-range model, one that can take two 4th generation Intel Xeon Scalable CPUs (formerly known as Sapphire Rapids). With a pair of $17,000 Intel Xeon Platinum 8490H processors, users can access 120 cores (240 threads) and 225MB cache. 

The other highlight of the new PX range is its ability to support four Nvidia RTX 6000 Ada Lovelace GPU cards with 48GB memory each, which makes it a great choice for traditional creative and data use cases (animation, data visualization, simulation, rendering, and video editing) but also for VDI (Virtual Desktop Infrastructure) applications. 

As expected, it can support up to 2TB DDR5 RAM (registered ECC) and up to nine storage drives (a mix of SSD and HDD). Not surprisingly, all this requires a hefty PSU (a 1.85kW model is bundled with optional redundancy) and Windows 11 Pro for Workstation, a special edition of Windows 11, is installed. 

Aston Martin tie-up for the next Bond?

The dual-socket machine comes with a rack-optimized 6U chassis, meaning that 7 of these can be stacked high in a 42U rack. Lenovo has partnered with Aston Martin - incidentally one of its customers - for the design of these workstations.  

Elsewhere, the P5 and the P7 are single-socket models with less expansion capabilities. Like the PX, they also lack Thunderbolt 4 connectivity which can prove to be an issue for creative professionals that want to access DAS (direct attached storage) devices like an external SSD. Expect the three models to take over from the current P920, P720 and P520 series from May 2023 with a huge performance boost.

The Intel Xeon Platinum 8280 which powers the current P920 not only has less than half the number of cores than the 8490H, it is also almost four years old. But a fully laden ThinkStation PX won’t come cheap; a P920 with 1TB memory, a pair of Platinum 8280, two Nvidia RTX A6000 and five 2TB SSD will cost almost $90,000. 

No EPYC or Threadripper Pro news yet

All eyes will now be on the follow up to the award winning ThinkStation P620, which is currently powered by the 64-core ThreadRipper Pro 5995WX, one that was launched back in July 2020 and has yet to get an update. Of particular note, is the fact that several smaller rivals to Lenovo have rolled out EPYC-based workstations including BroadBerry, ThinkMate, Supermicro, Velocity Micro and AVADirect.

Current EPYC models still use PCIe 4.0 and DDR4.0 but when the 4th generation AMD Epyc processors (Genoa, 9004 series) become more widely available in the coming weeks, one could expect workstations with 192 cores and 384 threads (two EPYC 9654) to go on sale very soon.  

Desire Athow
Managing Editor, TechRadar Pro

Désiré has been musing and writing about technology during a career spanning four decades. He dabbled in website builders and web hosting when DHTML and frames were in vogue and started narrating about the impact of technology on society just before the start of the Y2K hysteria at the turn of the last millennium.