Computerworld - For the past two weeks I have been the proud user of Apple's newest assault on the enterprise: a dual-processor Xserve G5 and an Xserve RAID. For those of you who already have a G4 version of the Xserve, you will still be in awe of this box. For those who have never had one, keep a chair handy to faint into.
First, let me talk about some of the basic specifications of this new server, which is only now beginning to trickle into the hands of buyers.
In order to accommodate the higher temperature output of the G5 processors, the new G5 Xserve was designed with only three drive bays instead of the four offered in earlier G4-based Xserve. That provides room for the venting ports. To offset that change, however, Apple's engineers wisely increased the maximum size of the bay drives to 250GB, so the server can provide 750GB of storage, a modest jump above the 720GB offered in the G4 version.
Apple also added new sensors to show the temperature of the room air coming into the box, the temperature of the processor and the temperature of the air being exhausted. Looking at those sensors shows that the vent ports improve the airflow dramatically. The result: The new server stays substantially cooler than its predecessor. That's noteworthy because the cost of powering and cooling a data center is rising with the increase in energy prices, so device heat output and power consumption are increasingly significant factors in product selection.
You can see the multiple points of temperature monitoring here.
fig 4 box temp monitoring fig 5 processor temp
The Apple Xserve sports 8GB of 400-MHz ECC RAM, a 128-bit memory bus and more than twice the overall throughput of an Intel Itanium 2 system. Yet a fully loaded server running at maximum CPU and disk output uses less than 300 watts and outputs less than 1,000 British thermal units. That's another variable managers should add into their cost of ownership calculations when evaluating the Xserve. The chart below shows the details:
My review can be summed up easily: The Xserve is fast -- really, really fast! This box screams, yet it's incredibly quiet in operation. Although it has eight fans, all run quietly, and only when necessary. I could put this on my desk and not hear any noise except for the gasps of fellow techies when they see it.
The inside of the G5 Xserve shows Apple's usual attention to detail. My particular configuration has 4GB of RAM and dual 2-GHz processors. Both Ethernet ports
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