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Xserve is the name of Apple Inc.'s Macintosh 1U rackmount line of server computers. When the Xserve was introduced in 2002, it was Apple's first designated server hardware design since the Apple Network Servers of 1996. It initially featured one or two PowerPC G4 processors, but was later switched over to the new PowerPC G5, and now runs on dual dual-core Xeon CPUs

. The Xserve can be used for a variety of applications, including file server, web server or even high-performance computing applications using clustering - a dedicated cluster Xserve, the Xserve Cluster Node, without a video card and optical drives is also available. If additional hard disk space is needed, its companion external RAID array Xserve RAID can be connected to it via Fibre Channel.


[edit] Xserve G4

Apple introduced the Xserve on May 14 2002. Originally, it had one or two PowerPC G4 processors running at 1.0 GHz and supported up to 2 GiB of PC-2100 memory on a 64-bit memory bus. Three FireWire 400 ports (one in front, two in rear), two USB 1.1 ports (rear), an RS-232 management interface (rear), and a single onboard gigabit port (rear) were provided for external connectivity. Two 64-bit/66 MHz PCI slots and one 32-bit/66 MHz PCI/AGP slot were provided; in the default configuration the two PCI slots were filled with an ATI Rage video card and an additional gigabit ethernet card. Up to 4 UATA/100 hard disk drives (60 or 120 GB) fit into hot-swap bays in the front, allowing software RAID-0 and 1 arrays to be created. A tray-loading CD-ROM drive was mounted in the front.

Initially, two configuration options were available: a single-processor Xserve with 256 MiB of memory at $2999 and a dual-processor Xserve with 512 MiB of memory at $3999. Both shipped with a single 60 GB disk and Mac OS X v10.2 "Jaguar" Server.

On February 10 2003 Apple released an improved and expanded Xserve lineup. Improvements included one or two 1.33 GHz PowerPC G4 processors, two FireWire 800 ports (rear), faster memory (PC-2700), and higher capacity UATA/133 hard disk drives (80 or 160 GB). Also, the front plate was redesigned for a slot-loading CD-ROM. A new model, the Xserve Cluster node was announced at the same price as the single-processor Xserve, featuring two 1.33 GHz processors, no optical drive, a single hard drive bay, no video or ethernet cards, and a 10-client version of "Jaguar" server.

On April 2 2003 the Xserve RAID was introduced, providing a much higher capacity and higher throughput disk subsystem for the Xserve.

[edit] Xserve G5

On January 6 2004 Apple introduced the Xserve G5, a redesigned higher-performance Xserve. The 32-bit PowerPC G4s were replaced with one or two 64-bit PowerPC 970 processors running at 2 GHz. Up to 8 GiB of PC-3200 ECC memory was supported on a 128-bit memory bus. One FireWire 400 port (front), two FireWire 800 ports (rear), two USB 2.0 ports (rear), an RS-232 management interface (rear), and two onboard gigabit ethernet ports (rear) with TCP offload provided greater connectivity. A 133 MHz/64-bit and a 100 MHz/64-bit PCI-X slots rounded out its expansion options. Ventilation issues restricted it to 3 SATA hot-swap drive bays (80 or 250 GB each), with the original space for the fourth drive bay used for air vents. The front plate and slot-loading optical drive (CD-ROM, DVD-ROM/CD-RW optional) were retained from the last Xserve G4.

Three configuration options were available: a single-processor Xserve G5 with 512 MiB of memory at $2999, a dual-processor Xserve G5 with 1 GiB of memory at $3999, and a dual-processor cluster node model (with an unchanged appearance from the G4 cluster node) featuring 512 MiB of memory, no optical drive, a single hard drive bay, and a 10-client version of "Panther" Server at $2999.

The higher memory capacity and bandwidth of the Xserve G5 as well as the stronger floating-point performance of the PowerPC 970 made it more suitable for high-performance computing (HPC) applications. System X is one such cluster computer built with Xserves.

On January 3 2005, Apple speed bumped the Xserve G5 with 2.3 GHz PowerPC 970 processors in the dual-processor configurations. 400 GB hard disks were made available for up to 1.2 TB of internal storage. The slot-loading optical drive was upgraded to a combination DVD-ROM/CD-RW standard, DVD-/+RW optional.

Recently, Apple updated the Xserve and Xserve RAID to allow the use of 500 GB Hard Drives.

Mac OS X v10.4 "Tiger" Server is now available for the Xserve.

[edit] Intel Xserve

The Intel-based Xserves were announced at the Worldwide Developers Conference on August 7 2006. They use Intel Xeon ('Woodcrest') processors at 2 GHz, 2.66 GHz, or 3 GHz, FB-DIMM DDR2, ATI Radeon X1300 graphics, a maximum storage capacity of 2.25 TB, redundant power supplies, and a 1U rack form factor.

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