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Xserve Xeon

An Intel based Xserve was first announced at WWDC 2006, ending the PowerPC to Intel Transition along with the Mac Pro. The new Xserve, based on Intel's Xeon processor, was touted by Phil Schiller as 5 times faster than its predecessor, and allows up to 2.25 TB of internal storage. Pricing starts at $2999 USD for a base configuration.

Specifications Apple lists one highly customizable base configuration with the following equipment standard:

  • Two 2GHz Dual-Core Intel Xeon 5100 processors
  • 1.33GHz frontside bus per processor
  • 4MB shared L2 cache per processor
  • 1GB of 667MHz DDR2 ECC FB-DIMM memory
  • 3 drive bays with one 80GB 7200-rpm SATA drive installed
  • 1 Firewire 400 port, and 2 Firewire 800 ports
  • 2 USB 2.0 ports
  • 1 DB-9 serial port
  • 2 built-in Gigabit Ethernet interfaces (10/100/1000BASE-T)
  • Built-in ATI Radeon X1300 PCI Express graphics with 64MB of GDDR3 SDRAM
  • 2 open x8 PCI Express slots
  • 24x Combo drive (DVD-ROM/CD-RW)
  • Mac OS X Server 10.4 "Tiger" Unlimited-Client Edition

Xserve G5

The Xserve G5 was released in 2004 and represented a significant advance over the previous models. The Xserve was upgraded to the powerful 970FX G5 processor from IBM, and made this server especially attractive for low cost, high power computing, or clustering into a supercomputer. Due to the increased heat given off by the G5 processor, Apple was forced to remove one of the hard drive bays to allow for cooling ducts. In addition, the Xserve G5 featured ECC RAM which allows for error correction during complex computing operations, which is vital when being used in clustered computing environments. The Xserve G5 underwent two revisions, and was available in 3 different configurations.


Specifications The first revision of the Xserve G5 had the following:

  • Single 2.0GHz G5 processor, or dual 2.0GHz G5 processors with a 1.0GHz System Bus
  • 1 80 GB SATA Hard drive, expandable to 720 GB with 2 open hard drive bays
  • 512 MB RAM or 1 GB RAM expandable to 8 GB PC3200 DDR400 ECC SDRAM
  • 1 Firewire 400 port, and 2 Firewire 800 ports
  • 2 USB 2.0 ports
  • 1 DB-9 Serial port
  • 2 10/100/1000Base-T Ethernet jacks
  • 2 Full Length 64 bit PCI-X Slots
  • Slot Loading CD-ROM Drive or Combo Drive
  • Mac OS X Server 10.3 "Panther" Unlimited-Client Edition

The Xserve G5 was updated in January 2005 at Macworld San Francisco. The Superdrive was made available as a BTO option.

  • Single processor 2.0GHz G5 with 3 hard drive bays
  • Dual processor 2.3GHz G5 with 3 hard drive bays
  • Dual processor 2.3GHz "Cluster Node" with a single hard drive bay

The "Cluster Node" model is a more cost efficient solution to the standard dual processor configuration, containing only the single hard drive bay, and no optical drive.

Xserve G4

Introduced in 2002, the Xserve G4 marked Apple's first dedicated server system since the Network Server 500/700. Previously, Apple offered Power Macs with server software, but no special hardware modifications. The Xserve G4 defined Apple's commitment to the server market, and paved the way for future Xserves.


Specifications The Xserve G4 came in two models with either one 1.0 GHz G4 processor, or two 1.0 GHz G4 processors, in addition the Xserve G4 came with these standard features

  • 256 MB RAM in the single 1.0 model, and 512 MB RAM in the Dual 1.0 model, both models could be expanded to 2 GB PC2100 DDR
  • 60 GB ATA Hard drive with 3 open bays for additional hard drives
  • 32 MB ATI Graphics card with VGA out
  • 2 USB ports
  • 3 Firewire Ports
  • 1 DB-9 Serial port
  • 24x CD-ROM drive
  • 2 10/100/1000Base-T Ethernet jacks
  • 2 Full Length 64 bit PCI Slots
  • Mac OS X Server 10.2 "Jaguar" Unlimited-Client Edition

The Xserve G4 was later updated in 2003 with a slot loading CD-ROM or optional Combo Drive, either one or two 1.33 GHz G4 processors, PC2700 DDR RAM, and dual Firewire 800. This revision also offered a cluster node which only had one hard drive, and only used dual processors.


Xserve RAID

The Xserve RAID, announced alongside the Xserve G4 and first shipped in 2003, offers massive redundant storage in a rack-optimized storage enclosure. The first model supported up to 14 180 GB hard drives, and the current model supports up to 10.5TB of data when 14 750 GB hard drives are configured in a RAID0 configuration. The Xserve RAID uses Fibre Channel for high speed transfers between an Xserve with a Fibre Channel PCI card installed. When both Fibre Channel ports are used, this allows a guaranteed delivery of 400MB/s (full duplex).

On February 19th, 2008, Apple discontinued the Xserve RAID in favor of a Promise VTrak E-Class Fiber Channel RAID sold by Apple [1].


1100 Dual 2.3 Ghz Xserve G5's make up Virginia Tech's current System X Supercomputer. System X was the first Macintosh system to ever be in the top 10 fastest supercomputers, and was initially constructed with 1100 dual 2.0 Ghz Power Mac G5's. The current System X is ranked 14th on the 24th Top 500 list with a speed of 12250 Teraflops [2].



Models with Intel processors

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