Lenovo leaps into AI limelight with Intel's Emerald Rapids

Incoming datacenter chips will power new ThinkAgile, ThinkSystem boxes

Lenovo is the latest vendor to unveil systems aimed at the wave of interest in AI, but the China-based tech giant is also among the first to say its boxes will feature Intel's Emerald Rapids Xeon chips featuring AMX technology for AI acceleration.

Intel officially launched Emerald Rapids – the 5th Gen Xeon Scalable processors – and its Core Ultra processors for PCs (Meteor Lake) at an "AI Everywhere" event it livestreamed from New York yesterday.

The Emerald Rapids chips feature Advanced Matrix Extensions (AMX), which Intel describes as a built-in accelerator to improve the performance of deep learning and inferencing work.

Lenovo isn't wasting any time in saying that it will use the datacenter chips in updated versions of its ThinkAgile and ThinkSystem servers, which it naturally claims are engineered to boost AI performance by bringing more compute power and faster memory to its portfolio.

The company said that for compute-intensive workloads, it will feature Intel's new chips in the ThinkSystem SD530 V3, SD550 V3, and SD650-N V3 systems. The SD530 is a 2U multi-node enclosure for four separate compute nodes, while the SD550 is a dual-socket system and the SD650-N is designed to fit four Nvidia A100 GPUs.

Other new systems comprise the ThinkSystem SR650 V3 and SR630 V3, 2U and 1U rack servers, respectively, while for branch offices Lenovo has the ThinkSystem SR250 V3 rack server and ST250 V3 tower server, which it said will use Xeon E-2400 processors.

Lenovo is additionally rolling out 5th Gen Xeon Scalable processors into its ThinkAgile hyperconverged system lines. These are the ThinkAgile VX with VMware Cloud Foundation (VCF), the ThinkAgile MX450 with Azure Arc for AI inferencing at the edge, and ThinkAgile HX AI with the Nutanix platform for AI workloads at the edge.

Availability and full configuration details for these new systems have yet to be disclosed.

As well as updated hardware, Lenovo said it is offering new Professional Services for AI to help enterprise customers with their AI strategy. The company claims it can guide organizations to the most suitable infrastructure and solutions to achieve their desired business outcomes.

In this, Lenovo is following in the footsteps of the other major infrastructure providers such as Dell and HPE. Dell has already launched validated designs for both inferencing systems and customizing AI models this year, backed by professional services to help customers get up and running.

HPE is also betting big on AI, announcing an enterprise computing solution for generative AI at its recent Discover event in Barcelona, as well as discussing how it will integrate AI with its Greenlake hybrid cloud platform.

Lenovo has also been having something of a bad year due to slowing demand for systems, personal computers in particular. For the second quarter of its financial 2023/24, the IT giant reported revenue of $14.4 billion, down 16 percent on the same period last year, while net income was down 54 percent. Its results for the previous quarter told a similar story. ®

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