Armari Magnetar S16-TRT1000G2
A brilliant showcase for AMD’s Threadripper and Vega, providing a huge amount of power
SCORE ✪✪✪✪✪ PRICE £3,795 (£4,554 inc VAT) from armari.com
Our first taste of the AMD Ryzen Threadripper comes in the form of Armari’s Magnetar S16-TRT1000G2. This uses one of Armari’s custom chassis designs, but it’s far from the small form factor of the V25 ( see issue 270, p82). Instead, this is the kind of system that may house multiple graphics cards and storage devices during its life.
The system includes the top Ryzen Threadripper 1950X installed in an ASRock X399 Taichi motherboard. Armari partners AMD’s 16-core processor with 64GB of PC3200 Corsair Vengeance LPX DDR4 memory in four DIMMs. This takes advantage of the quad-channel memory architecture provided by Threadripper, while four additional empty slots allow room for a future upgrade to the 128GB maximum of the motherboard. The CPU is kept cool by Armari’s custom SPX-A57LX water-cooling system.
The second piece of cutting-edge AMD hardware in the Magnetar is its Radeon Vega Frontier Edition graphics ( see p55). This member of AMD’s professional Radeon Pro range sports 4,096 stream processors and 16GB of HBM2 memory, promising high-grade performance and support for large 3D texture sets.
Armari’s storage choice follows the norm: solid state disk for OS and apps, regular hard disk for general storage. However, the choices in both cases couldn’t be much better. The SSD is a 480GB Kingston KC1000 M.2 NVMe unit. This pushes the boundaries of NVMe with sustained reading rates of over 2.9GB/sec, and writing over 2.2GB/sec. The 4TB Western Digital Gold Datacenter hard disk is a 7,200rpm SATA unit offering commendable reading and writing speeds above 200MB/sec.
There’s plenty of room for upgrades, too. The motherboard has another two NVMe-capable M.2 headers, and six further SATA connections. The chassis has three hot-swap bays free supporting 3.5in or 2.5in drives, and two 2.5in bays free for SATA SSDs. The chassis, despite its size, only has room for a slimline optical drive – Armari includes a LiteOn 8x DVD writer – but there’s no space for a multi-format memory card reader.
The AMD Ryzen Threadripper 1950X powered the Magnetar to a phenomenal Maxon Cinebench R15 rendering score of 3,346, and an overall PC Pro benchmark score of 414 – one of the highest we’ve ever seen. Its SPECviewperf 12.1 scores show that its 3D modelling abilities are top-notch too, with 151.6 in the 3dsmax-05 test and 116.5 in maya-04, although only 118.1 in sw-03. The Magnetar is also a whizz for OpenCL, managing 5,556 in LuxMark 3.1, so GPGPU rendering software using AMD’s ProRender plugin will fly on this system.
Although the Armari Magnetar S16-TRT1000G2 is hardly a budget system at £4,554 inc VAT, you get a huge amount of workstation for your money. Its rendering and encoding ability is close to systems costing twice as much, and it’s very capable for modelling too. Armari shows, beyond doubt, that AMD now has a viable contender in the workstation market.
SPECIFICATIONS 3.4GHz AMD Ryzen 7 Threadripper clocked to 4GHz 64GB 3,200MHz DDR4 SDRAM AMD Radeon Vega Frontier Edition graphics with 16GB HBM2 memory 480GB Kingston KC1000 M.2 NVMe SSD 4TB Western Digital Gold Datacenter 7,200rpm SATA hard disk LiteOn 8x DVD writer 1,000W PSU Windows 10 Professional 64-bit 3yr warranty (1yr on-site plus 2yr RTB)