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World first compute and graphics – from the kitchen table

April 12, 2021
Ian Main

Ian is Teradici's Technical Marketing Principal. Ian has over 10 years of experience at Teradici, involved in performance benchmarking, architectural aspects of PCoIP design and customer requirements analysis, with a particular focus on the media and entertainment industry. Follow Ian on Twitter! https://twitter.com/PCoIP_Ian

Teradici recently announced several exciting performance milestones both in office and at home, in conjunction with our technology partners, Lenovo and NVIDIA. This post describes 4K60 remote workstation capabilities that Teradici is rolling out in mid-2021, offering a compelling solution for creative studios and CAD houses seeking to solve the technical and security conundrums of hybrid workplace flexibility.

New tech means new potential for creatives

The Lenovo ThinkStation P620, the world’s first AMD ThreadRipper PRO workstation, paired with the new NVIDIA RTX A6000, the world’s most powerful desktop graphics processor, offers a 64-core compute behemoth that taps into NVIDIA Ampere architecture-based CUDA cores, second-gen RT cores, third-gen Tensor Cores and 48 GB DDR6 memory via PCIe GEN4—that’s the largest framebuffer offered for a professional graphics card.

But what exactly do these fine print specs mean to production directors, content creators and designers?

We see directors obsessed with immersive experiences once again pushing creative boundaries in specialties like visual effects, game development, 3D design and video production. For those pressed by production deadlines, we see tremendous opportunities to shrink production schedules too—whether leveraging the increased CPU threads or the enhanced 10,752 CUDA cores for more efficient offline rendering, or whether leveraging NVIDIA RT cores and real-time photo-realism for more efficient peer collaboration and project iteration.

A creative supercomputer for the new normal

COVID-19 put the brakes on deskside workstation capital acquisition, and a machine of this stature poses some practical deployment challenges. Firstly, work-from-home environments are challenging enough without the heat exhaust, power consumption and noise burden of any tower workstation footprint, no matter the brand or particular specifications.

Secondly, while some corporate IT allowed temporary exceptions at the onset of the pandemic, corporate assets on home computers have increased vulnerabilities and are in violation of most security policies. VPNs offer partial mitigation of security concerns, but high-performance applications running on home computers get substantially throttled by slow VPNs that need to pull content from remote datacenters.

Home-based creative workstations are simply not an option for security-compliant post-production studios or AAA game developers engaged in multi-million-dollar productions.      

I installed the Lenovo ThinkStation P620 at the Teradici headquarters (where I hope to return soon!) and configured my home office with a 4K display and Lenovo ThinkStation P340 Tiny—the P340 leverages all the features of PCoIP Ultra™.

 

Lenovo ThinkStation P340 Tiny configured with Teradici PCoIP Client at home

 

I used Teradici CAS (version 21.07 preview), which offers beta support for 4K60 display topologies to execute and benchmark demo workloads, including Maxon Cinebench and Epic Games Unreal Engine.

First up, the Cinebench CPU benchmark scored the 64-core AMD Ryzen 3995WX a whopping 58,393—nearly twice the highest score previously recorded…ever!

 

In-session Cinebench score using PCoIP Ultra™

 

Next up, I used the recently launched PCoIP Ultra Auto-Offload feature to run Unreal Engine (version 4.26) real-time cinematics at several viewport resolutions, including 1080p and 1440p formats—the P340 endpoint (configured with Ubuntu 20.04 and Teradici PCoIP Linux Client 21.03) makes Unreal Engine super-responsive, even over a last-mile home connection and 4K display.

PCoIP Auto-Offload leverages NVIDIA NVENC for efficient encoding of the cinematics—just 11 Mbps on average at 1080p and 18 Mbps for 1440p. The combined NVIDIA RTX A6000 RT cores and PCoIP Ultra delivered buttery-smooth interactive photo-realism to my home desk at 60 frames per second.  

An explanation of this work-from-home environment summarized in this three-minute video:

Lenovo ThinkStation P620 and PCoIP Ultra PART A: Work from Home

Back at the office – Dual 4K and 60 frames per second

The beauty of the Lenovo ThinkStation P620 configured with Teradici CAS is that it can be securely back-racked in a corporate machine room in compliance with enterprise security practices for content delivery networks and remotely accessed by an endpoint, such as the Lenovo ThinkStation P340 Tiny, either from your desk or at home as shown above.

The second part of my demonstration entailed an out-of-routine visit to our corporate headquarters with the P340 Tiny in my backpack—none of the hazards of a P620 workstation in the trunk of a car!

I’m not scheduled to return to the office for a while, so I configured a quick desktop network with the Lenovo ThinkStation P620 workstation perched on the left and ThinkStation Lenovo P340 Tiny located between the two 4K displays.

 

Lenovo ThinkStation P620 as PCoIP Ultra host (left), ThinkStation P340 Tiny (center) as client at the office

I ran several tests comparing PCoIP Ultra CPU-Offload mode to PCoIP Ultra Auto-Offload mode with CPU-Offload offering highest quality cinematics but at a bandwidth premium compared to Auto-Offload.

 

 

1080p Viewport

1440p Viewport

4K Viewport

Total CPU Consumption

CPU-Offload mode

4%

6%

7%

Auto-Offload mode

3%

3%

3%

Network Bandwidth

CPU-Offload mode

40 Mbps

112 Mbps

150 Mbps

Auto-Offload mode

6 Mbps

14 Mbps

22 Mbps

PCoIP Ultra CPU Offload vs. Auto-Offload

The ThinkStation P620 offers so much compute performance that the PCoIP AVX2 encoder hardly registers as a service load—less than an additional 3% for 4K full-screen playback at 60 frames per second, and a small fraction of that for typical application interaction.

See below for a summary video of the in-office dual display configuration:

Lenovo ThinkStation P620 and PCoIP Ultra PART B: In-Office

4Kviewport

A match made at home… or back at the office. Your choice.

In summary, Lenovo, NVIDIA and Teradici are bringing a world-first, winning solution for the new normal! You can grab the 21.07 (development build) of Teradici CAS with 4K 60 fps capabilities from our website.

Lenovo ThinkStation P620 Dual 4K Desktop accessed from ThinkStation P340 Tiny

Ian Main

Ian is Teradici's Technical Marketing Principal. Ian has over 10 years of experience at Teradici, involved in performance benchmarking, architectural aspects of PCoIP design and customer requirements analysis, with a particular focus on the media and entertainment industry. Follow Ian on Twitter! https://twitter.com/PCoIP_Ian