Apple guns Xserve and Mac Pro to 11
Er, make that 8
Screw all the namby-pamby gadgets being dished out by weaklings at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. Big Iron - not gizmos - is where it's at, as far as Apple is concerned.
Apple has popped fresh four-core chips from Intel into a new Xserve and new Mac Pro. The eight core, dual processor machines may not count as Big Iron at, say, SGI or Sun Microsystems, but they do at Steve's house.
The revamped 1U Xserve should show double the performance of its predecessor, according to Apple, which used the SPEC jbb 2005 benchmark for internal testing. The system ships with up to two 3.0GHz quad-core Xeon 5400 series chips from Intel that include 12MB of L2 cache per chip and 1600MHz front side buses. In addition, customers will see two PCI Express 2.0 expansion slots to provide up to four times the I/O bandwidth over previous Xserve models, support for 3TB of internal storage (73GB or 300GB SAS drives or 80GB and 1TB SATA drives) and support for 4Gb Fibre Channel and 10Gb Ethernet cards.
Apple is also patting itself on the back for shipping the Xserve with an unlimited client edition of the Leopard Server operating system.
A standard configuration of the Xserve starts at $2,999, but that's with a single 2.8GHz Xeon.
Tower of Power
The eight cores of Intel goodness have made their way to Apple's desktop line as well with the arrival of the "fastest Mac (Apple) has ever made."
The new Mac Pro runs on a pair of 3.2GHz Xeon 5400 series chips with up to 12MB of L2 cache and that same 1600MHz front side bus. Once again, Apple claims a performance doubling over the previous Mac Pro models.
The system also ships standard with the ATI Radeon HD 2600 XT graphics card (256MB of memory) and has a new PCI Express 2.0 graphics slot that brings twice the bandwidth over previous gear. Customers can pop the latest and greatest Nvidia graphics card into that slot.
"The Mac Pro is the most expandable Mac ever, featuring four internal hard drive bays with direct-attach, cable-free installation of four 1TB Serial ATA hard drives, totaling 4TB of internal storage and support for two SuperDrives," Apple said. "With optional 15000 rpm SAS drives that can deliver up to 250MB/s of RAID 5 disk I/O performance, the Mac Pro is ideal for film and video editors. Combined with SATA or SAS drives, using an optional Mac Pro RAID card offers the ultimate data protection and disk I/O performance on the Mac Pro."
The fresh Mac Pro runs Leopard as well and starts at $2,799 with a pair of 2.8GHz Xeons.
It should be noted that the price for the Mac Pro escalates quickly as you add 800MHz FB-DIMMs. Apple is shipping 2GB standard and then adding $500 for 4GB, right on up to $9,100 extra for 32GB. Even by vendor mark-up standards, that's quite a hike for Apple to do the memory labor. As we say in the office, Apple uses the same price scale for add-ons that airports use for food and booze.
We sent out a carrier pigeon to retrieve a statement from Apple about its excessive component prices but have yet to receive a "no comment" from the company's driven PR department.
Anyhow, you can configure the hell out of a Mac Pro here.®
How is it that Apple feels the need to brag about "The fastest Ever Mac Pro" every 6-8 months when they add a new cpu to the lineup? Thats even less news than when they released the "World's first Mac Pro!". Was someone else going to release it first?
And the most expandable Mac ever has 2 optical drive bays and 4 hdd bays? Every PC mini tower since the dawn of time has been able to do that. I could never believe that Apple some how got away with 2 (of the all-time most difficult to access) harddisc bays in their G5s.
"""2 large drives in Raid1 or perhaps 3 large drives in Raid3 configuration."""
Who in the hell uses a raid 3? I thought that concept only existed to make it easier to explain what a raid 5 was. Then again, if you're buying an xserve for a file server you might just think a raid 3 is brilliant.
""" One thing I would say about Apples stupidly expensive RAM is that it *is* ECC, which tends to be a whole lot more exensive that non-ecc."""
You have to realize that Apple's prices are extreme even compared to other workstation / server vendors', and they pretty much all use ECC memory. Hell I don't think that you can (or ever have been able to) use non-ECC ram with an Opteron, which I hear are used in the occasional server and workstation.
I was pricing up a Mac Pro at the request of one of the Profs. at work yesterday and they obviously boosted the specs sometime between when I first looked and when I went back to order it. So now he'll have an octo-core machine to handle his e-mailing, word processing and a spot of Powerpoint.
The dual 2.8GHz quad-core actually came in cheaper than the dual 2.66GHz dual-core that was listed earlier in the day. Still 'spensive tho.
I recently purchashed a MacBook Pro 17" Intel 2.4Ghz Core2Duo with 2Gb of RAM from the Refurb part of the Apple store, saved myself $500 on the regualar list price, I asked Apple if it was possible to up the memory... It was if I splashed out $1000.00 for the kit (2x2Gb dimms) but they'd ship them free! but I'd have to fit them myself...
Online I found the same chips for $100.00 - I did have to pay shipping ($15.00 for second working day - big deal) oh - and I had to fit them myself...
I got the same excellant service and saved myself a cool $885.00 and now have 2x1Gb dimm for a MacBook Pro (Apple originated) that I'd be delighted to sell to anyone - at Apple prices of course!!!