Apple Upgrades Xserve; Dual 1.33 GHz G4s and FireWire 800

Apple today upgraded its Xserve 1U rack servers to deliver incredible price performance through dual 1.33 GHz PowerPC G4 processors, up to 2GB of 333 MHz Double Data Rate (DDR) memory and up to 720GB of hot-plug storage, with configurations starting at just $2,799 (US). Building on the success of its predecessor, the new Xserve delivers even greater performance at a more affordable price and is designed to be the perfect complement to Apple’s new Xserve RAID storage system.

“Just six months after we shipped the first Xserve, we’re now offering more power and more storage at an even lower price,” said Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Product Marketing. “Xserve is already in use at over 100 Fortune 500 companies and hundreds of universities and schools across the country, and we’re making it even better based on their feedback.”

“Apple did their homework about thin servers, and they got it right,” said Jean S. Bozman, research vice president with IDC’s Worldwide Server Group. “Xserve has all the ease of use that Mac customers expect, plus it has the familiarity and power of UNIX that draws the respect of network administrators who haven’t looked to Apple in years. IDC has already noticed an uptick in Apple’s server shipments since the Xserve first shipped in July, 2002.”

“We were originally looking at a Linux cluster but when Apple announced Xserve, with its promise of great management tools on a UNIX foundation at an affordable price, the decision became easy,” said Michael Giddings, assistant professor, Departments of Microbiology/Immunology and Biomedical Engineering, UNC-Chapel Hill. “Xserve offers significant processing power and ease of use without the management challenges of Linux or the high price of Sun.”

Now equipped with dual 1.33 GHz PowerPC G4 processors, 2MB of dedicated L3 cache memory per processor, and up to 2GB of 333 MHz DDR memory, the new Xserve packs phenomenal computational power and a rich feature set into an affordable 1U rack-optimized enclosure. Xserve enhances the power of its processors with a 167 MHz system bus and up to 2GB of PC2700 DDR SDRAM for running demanding applications and working with huge files. Two full-length 64-bit, 66 MHz PCI slots provide up to 533 MB/s throughput and allow easy expansion to external SCSI and Fibre Channel devices including virtually unlimited storage with Apple’s new Xserve RAID system. One half-length PCI/AGP slot provides additional PCI expansion or connectivity to a high-performance graphics card. Dual independent Gigabit Ethernet ports and FireWire 800 interfaces offer high-performance connectivity.

Xserve comes with the unlimited client edition of Apple’s Mac OS X Server software with built-in file and printer sharing and a robust new journaled file system that enhances availability by providing rapid file system recovery following an unplanned shutdown. Xserve with Mac OS X Server features a number of powerful remote management and monitoring tools that allow administrators to easily set up and manage all key Mac OS X Server network services remotely. Xserve is the ideal server solution for file and print, workgroup management, video streaming, database applications, computational clustering and web and mail serving. When combined with Apple’s professional video and film editing software Final Cut Pro, Xserve becomes the ultimate video workstation with flexible storage that can scale as digital media files grow.

Third party developer momentum for Mac OS X Server continues to build with recently announced solutions including Macromedia’s JRUN J2EE Application Server and their popular ColdFusion scripting tool; Stalker Communicate Pro’s Mail Server; network, file and printer sharing tools from Helios; and a clustered failover solution from HA Tech Solutions.

Xserve connects easily to the newly introduced Xserve RAID storage system using the dual channel 2Gb Apple Fibre Channel PCI Card sold separately at a industry breakthrough price of $499 (US) (SRP). This high-speed industry standard storage interface offers dedicated bandwidth with a throughput of up to 400MB/s. Apple?s PCI card comes with two high-speed 2.9-meter copper cables and accepts SFP (Small Form-factor Pluggable) coppor or optical transceivers for use with fiber-optic cables.

Apple offers a choice of world-class services and support programs for Xserve including 4-hour on-site response, 24×7 technical support, AppleCare Service Parts Kits and the AppleCare Professional SupportLine and Tools program.

The new Xserve will be available in March through the Apple Store and through Apple Authorized Resellers. Xserve comes in two standard configurations or can be fully customized to meet specific customer requirements. Build-to-order options can include memory, storage, optical drives, graphics cards and SCSI and Fibre Channel cards.

The two standard configurations are:

Single 1.33 GHz PowerPC G4 processor, 256MB DDR 333 RAM, 60GB ATA/133 Apple Drive Module, dual Gigabit Ethernet, CD-ROM and Mac OS X Server with unlimited clients for an estimated retail price of $2,799 (US); and

Dual 1.33 GHz PowerPC G4 processors, 512MB DDR 333 RAM, 60GB ATA/133 Apple Drive Module, dual Gigabit Ethernet, CD-ROM and Mac OS X Server with unlimited clients for an estimated retail price of $3,799 (US).

Apple’s Xserve page is here.


  1. Nice going, Apple.
    Any ideas on management software for setting up a SAN ( with prefereably both OS X, Win2k and Solaris clients)?
    Any ideas on FC-switches suitable for this?

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