Mac clone maker ventures onto Apple's server turf

The knock-off Xserves, when bundled with Leopard Server, are 12.5% cheaper

The Florida Mac clone maker that first attracted attention in April unveiled knock-offs of Apple Inc.'s Xserve servers yesterday.

Psystar Inc., which made headlines two months ago when it introduced Intel-based computers able to run a modified version of Apple's Mac OS X, started selling its OpenServ systems Thursday. The servers, which closely resemble Apple's rack-mounted Xserve, come in two configurations: the 1U-format 1100 and the 2U-format 2400.

Although the base price of the less-expensive OpenServ 1100 is $1,599, when tricked out with an unlimited-client version of Mac OS X 10.5 Server to better match the Xserve's specifications, the price tag is $2,624.99 — about 12.5% less than the $2,999 Apple charges.

The base OpenServ models feature a quad-core Intel Xeon processor that runs at 2.5 GHz, 4GB of RAM and a 750GB hard drive. The four drive bays of the 1100 and the six in the $1,999 2400 can be filled with up to 4TB or 6TB of disk storage space, respectively.

Apple's stock Xserve comes with a quad-core 2.8-GHz Xeon CPU, 2GB of memory and a relatively small 80GB drive. The 1U-format server sports three drive bays, which can hold up to 3TB of storage.

"We want to serve the entire market, not just the mainstream or niches, but everyone," Christian Infante, director of sales and marketing for the Doral, Fla.-based company, said in a statement yesterday. "We want to offer a relevant product for every user, regardless of their needs."

Although the Mac OS X end-user license agreement bans its use on non-Apple hardware, the company has taken no known legal action against Psystar.


Copyright © 2008 IDG Communications, Inc.

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