3D Artist

Fujitsu announces CELSIUS C740 rack workstation

News & Features
Steve Holmes

We speak to Fujitsu about its latest foray into the rack workstation market, the extremely powerful Celsius C740

Fujitsu announces CELSIUS C740 rack workstation

On 16 March it was announced that world-renowned IT corporation Fujitsu is to release a successor to its Celsius C620 rack-mounted workstation, the Celsius C740.

Offering support for 18 CPU cores, M2 solid state drives, 256GB of memory, SATA DOM solutions and a host of graphics options, the C740 promises to be a strong contender in the burgeoning rack workstation market.

It also promises to be a viable option for CG applications.

“With the C620 we had some successes but, on the other side, we were closely listening to our customers and they told us what they want even more from a product like this,” Fujitsu tells us.

“This brought us to improving the platform. The C620 was based on a Xeon E3 platform, which was perfect in remote CAD scenarios, but with 32GB of memory there’s not much headroom for large models that you want to design or [much scope to] use the machine with more than one user. So that was one of the potential improvements for a successor product that we noted from our customers.

“This made us improve the platform, going from Xeon E3 to Xeon E5, which gives us more memory in the latest platform – 256GB”

“So now you can work on really big model data and you can also think about using the machine with more than one user.”

This is a key new feature of the Celsius C740 – the fact that it’s so easy for multiple users to work from the same hardware, something that is becoming increasingly efficient and economical in the demanding VFX industry.

“If you think about virtualisation, going from a one-to-one connection to a one-to-many connection, you can put in an Nvidia K2 graphics card and then you can divide this graphics card and partition it into smaller graphics cards and pin them to certain users. So more than one user can use this machine,” according to Fujitsu.

“This improves rack space that is needed for the users and also productivity in a company. Also the return on your investment will be higher now you can use this machine with more users.

“The other benefit of the Xeon E5 platform is that the CPUs used there have more cores. In an E3 you only have four cores, which is okay for one user, but if you’re talking about sharing the machine then you need much more than that.

“In the Celsius C740 we have the opportunity of using up to 18 cores in the CPU, so you can very easily distribute these cores to different users.”

Fujitsu announces CELSIUS C740 rack workstation

As well as CPU improvements that look set to increase productivity and viability in the modern CG world, Fujitsu has worked hard to include other features based on direct feedback from its consumer base.

“We also improved the storage media that you can use. In the past we’ve simply had SSDs and HDDs, and now we’ve also included I/O performance by using M2 SSDs,” says Fujitsu.

“You get PCI Express performance here, and this is a big step forward we think”

“These modules give you up to five or six times more speed than an SSD. There are two possibilities [as to] how you can put these into the system – one is directly on the motherboard and we have an additional card where you can put two more modules if you like.

“There’s another storage opportunity, which is a relatively cheap way to install more storage – the SATA DOM module. This is a small module that you plug directly into a SATA connection that also brings some power to the system.

“This is mostly meant for hypervisors. You can very easily put your hypervisor on this module, and these modules come in 32GB, 64GB and 128GB [configurations]. So you can boot up the machine with your hypervisor on this module, having no storage media inside the device itself, only the SATA DOM module.

“And then you can get your virtual machines directly from storage over the network, so if you have a 10GB network card in the system you can get your virtual machines directly from the storage system.”

It all sounds extremely impressive, and yet rack workstations aren’t the first choice for many VFX artists or students, most opting for desktop or mobile solutions.

Fujitsu, on the other hand, sees it as an important market sector, and one that it feels the C740 will complement, with its 1U architecture a key selling point.

“When talking about the rack workstation market, we have to say it is still kind of a niche market,” Fujitsu reveals.

“The market share of rack workstations when looking at the complete workstation market is, according to IDC, around one to two per cent.”

A small proportion of the wider workstation market, then, but one that shows signs of growth.

“What we see out of the market figures from IDC, for example, is that the CELSUS C620 was growing in 2014 above the market growth for rack and blade workstations, and indeed we have had much success, especially in the automotive and mechanical engineering segments among others.”

“When coming to the C740 we want to continue this success of course, but want to open up more opportunities that we have not seen with the C620.”

“Going from the C620 to the C740 gives you not only the possibility to have a one-to-one connection, but also gives you the opportunity to make a one-to-many connection, and still in the same small 1U housing,” Fujitsu tells us.

“This is very important for us because the 1U chassis housing is unique to Fujitsu for a machine of this type, so especially in a one-to-one scenario, this gives you the best space utilisation you can have.”

For more information on the Fujitsu Celsius C740 and other Fujitsu products, please visit www.fujitsu.com/fts/products/computing/pc/workstations