Lenovo is building a workstation that James Bond would love
Lenovo is building a workstation that James Bond would love
Lenovo has knocked it out of the park lately. Even its smartphone unit, Motorola, seems to have recovered, and in servers and PCs, Lenovo is a real force to be reckoned with.
But last week, Lenovo launched a new line of ThinkStation workstations co-engineered with Aston Martin that cemented its lead in this market. That’s impressive performance, using up to two of Intel’s most powerful processors and up to four of Nvidia’s most powerful professional graphics cards. They draw so much power that you’d probably need to rewire your office or home office to get the thing to work.
Let’s talk about some of the ways Lenovo has found to circumvent its competition, which has allowed it to gain market share and generally be ranked number one in a growing number of categories. We’ll end with my product of the week, GrammarlyGO, a solution that adds generative AI to its line of automated editing products.
The Aston Martin workstation
What prompted this column was a job posting at DreamWorks, which was once the former HP’s largest referral account. But when Meg Whitman spun off the company, neither HPC nor HP could make mixed bids for workstations. A significant advantage with either system would cause, or apparently would have caused, DreamWorks to switch to Lenovo.
Based on discussions with DreamWorks, it was probably the servers, not the workstations, that forced the change. Lenovo’s early recognition of the unique performance advantage of AMD’s Threadripper platform led Lenovo to take market leadership in high-end servers, which turned out to be another brilliant move by Lenovo. the society.
Aston Martin co-engineered the workstations Lenovo launched last week. That alone is interesting. Not because James Bond’s gunsmith Q had a fondness for these cars (there’s an interesting story here), but because, like Porsche and BMW, Aston Martin has become a design house that can be engaged to design other things.
From left to right: ThinkStation PX, P7, P5 (Image credit: Lenovo)
Like BMW, which HP has used for workstations in the past, Aston Martin is good at combining a clean external design with optimized airflow to create an attractive workstation platform, tall performance and air-cooled. Frankly, he got me at the Aston Martin workstation because, while it’s doubtful I could ever afford the car, the workstation is something I could buy.
As noted above, the highest performance configuration features two of Intel’s most powerful pro CPUs and four of Nvidia’s most powerful pro GPUs, which together require a dedicated 20 amp circuit to operate. So if you want incredible levels of power, you’ll probably have to pull a dedicated 20 amp circuit to get the thing hooked up.
The increase in your electricity bill will be substantial if you leave this workstation running. But for those who need ultimate performance, as far as I know, there’s nothing more powerful until an anticipated dual-socket AMD Threadripper offering comes along.
Hot water cooling
DreamWorks said it switched to Lenovo servers because they could be cooled with hot water. This unique approach, developed at IBM, has resulted in energy savings of more than 30% for DreamWorks’ render farm and has earned the company several environmental awards, according to DreamWorks.
It still amazes me that hot water cooling is unique to Lenovo, given its massive performance and cost advantages. With hot water cooling, you don’t need a water chiller, which makes it much cheaper to install, and you don’t get condensate, which can create corrosion issues.
Over the years, Lenovo has developed better and faster water connections, swivel connections that allow for easy maintenance. The resulting servers run much quieter and make the server room friendlier than usual.
While it still has air-cooled components like power supplies, the plan is to make them water-cooled, eventually promising a near-silent server room. If you’ve never been there, a typical server room feels like you’re inside a windstorm or a vacuum cleaner. They tend to be excessively noisy, making them undesirable places to work.
The rack-optimized ThinkStation PX provides flexibility for use in office and data center environments, allowing for a convenient transition between the two. (Image credit: Lenovo)
Interestingly, Lenovo showed off both what DreamWorks was using – a four-socket Intel server – and what the next generation would likely look like – two AMD sockets and up to 4 GPU accelerators. They will have issues, given that GPUs ship as socketed parts. The latter suggests that there is an opportunity for AMD or another graphics vendor (Intel?) to create a socketed GPU solution that could lead to some interesting market share changes and performance improvements.
For now, we’ll call it a missed opportunity.
At Nvidia’s big GTC conference next week, there will be plenty of generative AI content. DreamWorks said it was slowly increasing its generative AI capabilities, which these new Lenovo workstations and servers are expected to improve.
I expect this to be a game-changer for filmmaking, as these increasingly capable AIs introduce physics and better allow animators to create and move characters in a film in real time, with capabilities game-type that automatically cause clothing, hair, and scene elements. move as if they were in the real world.
Once implemented, I bet this technology will greatly improve the productivity of DreamWorks and allow it to hire more animators who are not good at drawing but have strong special skills to create more balanced and interesting images. using these generative AI tools.
In short, the future of DreamWorks, thanks to suppliers like Lenovo, looks surprisingly bright!
Lenovo is showing considerable strength in all of its segments. Last week, it made a name for itself with its Aston Martin-designed workstations and hot-water-cooled servers. Lenovo pitched some of it to DreamWorks, a performance-driven company, which backed up Lenovo’s claims of efficiency, cost, and industry-leading performance, lending great credence to those claims.
Frankly, I thought having the James Bond automaker design a new line of servers, which Aston Martin uses for its car designs, was an impressive way to make the case that Lenovo not only has the best values in those segments, but also the most powerful and efficient. solutions.
Now if I could just get them to lend me an Aston Martin SUV, preferably the DBX, that was at the event, that would be fine.
GrammarlyGO — Generative AI for the Rest of Us
Generative AI, like ChatGPT, is all the rage right now, but these tools generally don’t integrate well into your workflow, and Microsoft hasn’t yet explained how it will implement generative AI in Office.
Last week, Grammarly announced its next gen-AI implementation called GrammarlyGO – which should integrate with any Grammarly-supported platform, including multiple browsers, Word, and Outlook.
Using easy-to-understand prompts, you can set the tone of a room, set the subject, and note internal elements.
GrammarlyGO will write an article or column for you, help you solve the writer’s problem, or create full emails from a few short sentences. I think Steve Ballmer would have loved that last part, because he tended to treat email responses as if every word he wrote was life-threatening.
Existing Grammarly customers will have access to this feature in beta form starting in April, with the final version likely to be released later in the year. Using the combined Grammarly toolset should improve both the quality and quantity of your writing and allow you to do a lot more in a lot less time.
Since this will have a significant impact on my productivity, GrammarlyGO is my product of the week.
The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of ECT News Network.