Hands-on: Comino Grando RM-S
The Comino Grando RM is a beast of a machine that contains not one, not two, but four RTX 3090s under the hood
Comino describes the Grando RM-S as a ‘Liquid-Cooled Multi GPU Workstation / Server’. It’s the kind of computer that can be anything you could possibly want it to be. A server, a multi-user workstation, a four-GPU simulation machine. The possibilities are almost endless, with the sheer amount of horsepower packed under its hood.
The most surprising thing about the Comino Grando RM is that it is 100% water-cooled from all four of its RTX 3090s, in addition to its monstrous Ryzen Threadripper Pro 3975WX. The Grando RM promises to stay cool no matter the workload, even with chips that get as hot as the RTX 3090 and Zen 2-based Threadripper Pro.
You can take a look at the Comino Grando RM-S and what other products Comino has to offer here
What is Comino Grando RM-S used for?
This system is designed to compute any and all conceivable workloads, whether that be video rendering, scientific computing, simulations, or set up as a server. Regardless of what you may want to throw at it, the Grando RM is more than capable of filling the role. Packed with the latest technology and top-of-the-line components, the Comino Grando RM is designed to slot right into most servers. This is due to the system being built upon a standard form factor server rack chassis.
GPU, CPU, RAM, motherboard & PSU
As we briefly alluded to earlier, the Comino Grando RM-S contains a staggering four RTX 3090s. The AIB card used is the Gigabyte RTX 3090 Turbo, with its amazing 10,496 CUDA cores, all clocked in with a boost clock of 1.7GHz. In GPU terms, there’s nothing on the market quite as powerful. We’re just glad they removed that awful blower cooler usually used on this model of card and managed to mount a sturdy custom water block.
The CPU powering the Comino is none other than the Ryzen Threadripper PRO 3975WX. This $2,500 CPU blazes through all workloads, even though the Zen 2 architecture is a couple of years old at this point, and sitting pretty in the sWRX8 socket.
The 3975WX is equipped with 32 hyperthreaded CPU cores, totaling 64 logical processors with a max turbo speed of up to 4.2GHz. This 7nm CPU is blazing-fast, and more often than not has more cores than you’d know what to do with. With a default TDP of 280W, this behemoth of a CPU is befitting of a monolithic workstation.
All that CPU power needs a phenomenal kit of RAM supporting it and we were very happy to discover the Grando RM-S contains a whopping 256GB of 3200MHz Gigabyte Designare DDR4 RAM. This is more than suitable for the Threadripper Pro 3975WX, even though it might not have the blistering clock speeds offered by a DDR5 kit.
All these incredibly flash and powerful components couldn’t do anything without a solid, reliable, and high-performance motherboard to be built upon. The Comino Grando RM-S contains an ASUS Pro WS WRX80E-SAGE. This motherboard really deserves a review all of its own, but we’ll go over the basics. The AMD sWRX8 socket is ready for Zen 2-based AMD Ryzen Threadripper Pro CPUs, and features ultra-fast connectivity with USB 3.2 Gen 2×2, Type-C port, 10x USB 3.2 ports, and 3x PCIe 4.0 Hyper M.2 x16 Gen 4 cards.
Multi-GPU support was the name of the game when the WS WRX80E-SAGE was conceptualized. With seven PCIe Gen 4.0 x16 slots available, this board is more than capable of processing the frankly ludicrous amount of data transfers required. For context, many high-end ‘gaming’ boards usually top out at around three PCIe Gen 4.0 x16 slots.
With the WRX80E-SAGE being a server/workstation orientated motherboard, the full ECC memory supports up to 2048GB, offering full error check and correction functionality to stamp out those pesky bit-flips. An additional 16 power stages cater to the Threadripper within, which demands only the most efficient and clean power, and this motherboard is more than up to the task.
SOC and DRAM heatsinks are configured with mass and airflow in mind, manufactured with skived high aspect ratio thin fins. The aluminum SOC heatsink is paired with a semi-passive fan to draw heat away from the dual 10G LAN ports.
Three Comino SFX 750W power supplies occupy the rear of the chassis. These work independently powering the sheer number of components the Grando RM consists of, and we found no issues with power during our testing.
Internal display & storage
A Winstar display is perched below the 450ml reservoir at the front of the chassis and displays the information captured by the Logika thermal controller. Seven points of information are crammed into this screen and can be cycled through with two front-mounted buttons.
A single 2TB Gigabyte Aorus m.2 drive houses the Ubuntu LTS operating system. Additional storage includes one Samsung PM1733 8TB SSD. This provides a total of 2TB each for our virtual machines. With read speeds in the PM1733 topping 7000MB/s and sequential write speeds hitting 3800MB/s, data is clearly meant to be read off this drive, and its impressive PCIe gen 4 speeds.
The Grando RM-S is completely water-cooled, with a singular full loop configuration, feeding into a single, thick 360mm radiator. The 360mm Alphacool radiator is a little over two inches thick and has significant fin density, increasing the surface area further to more efficiently dissipate heat, with three Noctua 140mm 3000RPM fans to aid in keeping the coolant at manageable temperatures.
The fully custom AMD TR4/SP3 CPU and VRM water block keeps high temperatures at bay with an impressively large copper cold plate, which cools the 16 power stages loaded onto the WRX80E-SAGE and the CPU. This water block is the most important component of the cooling loop itself and comes with it, an eye-watering TDP of 280W.
In addition to this, there is a rectangular Comino custom 450ml reservoir situated above the front-mounted LCD screen. An additional two fill/drain ports are situated just beside the reservoir for easy fluid and loop maintenance. With thick tubing and jubilee clips to help keep leakages at bay, this system is pretty simple to maintain.
There’s also a distribution plate at the bottom of the chassis. This helps spread the liquid more thinly inside the system and helps to improve the efficiency of the entire loop. This is one of the most intricate and well-considered cooling systems we have ever seen here at WePC, and that shows through in our thermal testing.
Armed with a 1400W cooling capacity, the Comino Grando RM-S manages to stay cool under load through our rigorous thermal testing process. We put the Grando RM through its paces with a Furmark GPU test and simultaneous CPU burner.
The Grando RM’s idle temperatures barely break 40°C, which is impressive considering the total TDP of all the components packed into the system. Running at idle then you can see the 3975WX CPU sitting at 37.18°C. All four 3090s stay under 30°C with temperatures stable at the 27°C range.
During the stress test, we do start to feel the heat with the CPU hitting 85°C and all four RTX 3090s hovering between 68°C and 64°C. This is a massive thermal load, considering the total TDP of all the components. The fact the 3090s still stay cooled under maximum load when they’re all sandwiched together with barely a slot between them is incredibly impressive, and a testament to the extensive cooling solution of the Comino Grando RM-S.
Contained in the Comino Grando RM is a Logika thermal controller. it keeps track of the thermal performance of the system and analyzes the cooling performance and thermal efficiency of the Grando RM.
It then displays the results on a front-mounted LCD screen, which is very reminiscent of Aida64’s sensor panels. The stress test average tertiary results are as follows:
- Coolant IN average temperature 55.4°C
- Coolant OUT average temperature 50.8°C
- Air IN average temperature 28.3°C
- Air OUT average temperature 47.7°C
- Radiator FANs Input average RPM (3x fans) 2735 Rpm
- Pumps average RPM 4534 Rpm
Our unit of the Comino Grando RM-S came set up with four Windows 10 Virtual machines. Each of these has an almost equal split of resources. Three of the VMs get 16 cores of the 3975WX, 64GB of RAM and an RTX 3090 each. The fourth VM only receives 14 cores and 50GB of RAM and still possesses its own discrete RTX 3090. This discrepancy is due to some resources being dedicated to running Ubuntu LTS. This manages all of the VMs, and without it, none of these powerful VMs would be able to function at all.
Software and hardware is directly managed through Ubuntu LTS installed onto a 2TB drive. This is the beating heart of the Comino Grando RM-S, and you’re able to further manage the configuration from here, which is incredibly complex. The native Linux LTS package offers the opportunity to monitor each VM’s usage and resources individually for full control over maintenance and diagnostics, giving you easy access to resolve any issues.
With all of the VMs already configured and set up with Windows 10 Pro, you have native access to all the Hyper-V goodness that Windows 10 Pro offers. Especially if you want to use it for virtualization workloads.
With so much power under the hood, it’s easy to think that performance may be affected by virtualization. We’re going to run it through Cinebench R23 and the most demanding game of the decade so far, Cyberpunk 2077.
For this, we chose to build a system comparable to the VMs inside the Comino Grando RM-S is hosting to see if there is any discernible loss in performance running components through a VM.
The ‘Control’ system consists of :
- CPU: Ryzen 7 3700X
- GPU: MSI Gaming X Trio RTX 3090
- Motherboard: Aorus Pro X570
- RAM: 64GB Corsair Vengeance RGB PRO (3200MHz)
Our control testing system scored fairly well, with a respectable score of 1,226 in the single-core benchmark and 11,390 in the multi-core benchmark.
However, VM1 through to VM3 in the Comino Grando RM-S performed slightly better. Multi-core performance is a different story, with vastly higher scores with differences of over 700 points in some instances. It’s down to the 3975WX’s superior design, power consumption and core optimizations that it was able to beat the comparable-by-scale Ryzen 7 3700X.
VM4 scored 1,258 points in the single-core benchmark and 10,719 points in the multi-core benchmarks. VM4 did suffer a little at the hands of the Ryzen 7 3700X when it came to multi-core performance, as it wasn’t able to keep up with the core count of the 3700X. However, it was better in single-core performance down to the 3975WX’s superior core utilization.
Gaming performance – Cyberpunk 2077
We put both the Grando RM and the control testing system through their paces, with a 20-minute gaming benchmark.
At 4k and ultra settings in Cyberpunk, all VMs and the comparative system performed pretty much the same across the board with an average FPS of 39. Numbers for the 1% and 0.1% fps readings tell a similar story. This is due to the 3090s in both systems, which is much more important in most gaming workloads than the CPU discrepancies we saw in the Cinebench testing.
The fact that under load, the Comino Grando RM-S can run four instances of Cyberpunk 2077 at 4k and ultra settings above 30fps is a feat in itself and speaks to the sheer power of the machine.
The Comino Grando RM-S in this configuration is a machine specifically tailor-made to split its resources between four fully functional virtual Windows 10 machines, and it’s done beautifully, and passed all that we threw at it with flying color. In fact, it shattered our expectations for just how far you can take (and thermally manage) the power contained within to be split out into four extremely powerful VMs.
Though some components may be older than the latest cutting-edge components, the Grando RM is still armed with an astonishing amount of power. Considering its form factor and relative ease of use, it’s a revelation for consumers looking to create multiple and extremely powerful systems.
The Comino Grando RM-S is the final boss of workstation computing, and this is reflected in its performance, thermal load, and form factor, which can be slotted into a server rack with ease. Obviously, a machine of this caliber isn’t cheap and comes at a hefty $28,000 in our exact configuration.
If you chose to DIY comparative machines with off-the-shelf parts, it would not fit into a server rack, won’t have a custom-made Logika controller to monitor every last inch of measurable data and won’t have a full four GPU custom water cooling loop.
Comino has really outdone itself here. Despite the Grando RM being an intimidating proposition on paper, it’s intuitive, simple to use and a whole lot of fun to play around with.
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