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Apple Serves Up Hardware

By David Needle (Send Email)
Posted Aug 8, 2006


Apple capped a speedy move to Intel processors with the announcement here of a new server and workstation based on the latest Intel Xeon 5100, a.k.a. "Woodcrest" chips.

With a new quad Xeon server and workstation, Apple is primed to compete on price.

"Our transition to Intel is complete," Apple  CEO Steve Jobs told a packed hall of developers at the company's Worldwide Developer's Conference. The performance hungry members in the audience applauded several new features and specs of the new systems which run several times faster than Apple's earlier PowerMac G5 systems.

Apple announced its first systems based on Intel processors on January 10. With today's news, Apple beat its own forecast of taking the rest of the year to move from PowerPC to Intel. Jobs said three-quarters of all the Macs shipped last quarter were Intel-based.

Available now, the new Mac Pro desktop workstation is based on Intel's quad Xeon 64-bit processor and priced at $2,499. Apple claimed a comparably priced Dell system would cost $3,488.

Thus, with today's announcement "The PowerMac fades into history," said Apple Vice President of Marketing Phil Schiller. Although the Mac has long had the reputation of being more expensive than comparably-equipped PCs, Schiller claimed it's "a myth" Apple is determined to beat with its latest offerings.

Apple's other hardware announcement is a new Xserve for Mac workgroups, based on the quad Xeon 5100. Available in October, it’s the first multicore Xserve and as much as five times faster (depending on application) than the earlier model. A standard configuration is priced at $2,999.

Features like the redundant power supply and hard disk capacity of up to 2TB drew applause from the packed hall of developers.

"Apple's performance enhancements over the G5 are quite impressive as is the pricing," Nathan Brookwood, analyst with Insight64, told internetnews.com.

"I could envision customers who might have called Dell, being tempted to call Apple just to run their Windows stuff in a less expensive way."

The newly designed Mac Pro includes a direct attach storage solution for cable-free, snap-in installation of up to four 500GB serial ATA hard drives. Maxed out, the 2TB of storage is the most ever on a Mac. The system can also support two optical drives to simultaneously read and/or write to CDs and DVDs.

Other features include three full-length PCI Express expansion slots and one double-wide PCI Express graphics slot. The system runs on two dual-core Xeon processors running up to 3GHz, each with 4MB of shared L2 cache and independent 1.33GHz front-side buses.

The quad Xeon Xserve runs up to 3.0GHz, and, according to Apple, is its most customizable server to date, with options that include faster processors, larger hard drives and dual power supplies.

The Xeon processors are available in 2.0, 2.66 and 3.0GHz speeds with support for up to 32GB of 667 MHZ DDR2 ECC FB-DIMM memory with twice the capacity and three times the bandwidth of the earlier Xserve G5.

This latest Xserve will be the first to ship with a preinstalled unlimited client edition of Apple's Tiger Server software. The latter includes over 100 open source projects and standards-based software applications and management tools that Apple said makes it easy to deploy for Mac as well as Windows and Linux clients.

This article was originally published on internetnews.

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