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View Full Version : Should I buy a Xserve?




iGrant
Jun 19, 2010, 08:37 AM
Hey Guys,

I have the opportunity to buy an Intel Xserve on the cheap from one of my dad's colleagues which I would use primarly as a file server and the bigger one as a video conversation machine, I just got the equipment, EyeTV 500, a really nice VCP (Video Cassette Player, its not a VCR, just a player) to convert about 50 ~ 100 vhs cassettes of me and my brother to digital so I don't have to worry about the vhs tapes getting destroyed.

I'd be getting the Xserve cheap and I would be able to slap some big hard drives that I already have into the unit so I'm not relying on usb/firewire enclosures. Biggest problem I have with external enclosures are they take up more power and they seem to randomly disconnect from my Mac Mini.

Right now I have a Mac Mini Solo which I upgrade to a Core Duo to act as my media hub/file server/video box and I can tell I'm seriously pushing that machines limits. I like the Xserve because I can easily mount it in my basement which is unfinished, but its underground and the warmest it ever gets in the summer in my basement is like 68 degrees.

Also there a few other projects I would like to try which would greatly benefit from a dual xeon dual-core and the extra ram I could add. I think the Xserve I'm looking at getting can have up to 32gb of ram, but it comes with 3gb, my little Mac Mini is already maxed out.

All opinions are welcome!

Thanks
iGrant



Les Kern
Jun 19, 2010, 10:00 AM
I don't see why not if the price is right. Make sure though, you get the model number and find out the max size hard drive you can use. Can't just slap a 1TB in some older models like you can with towers. I made that mistake a little while ago.

paduck
Jun 19, 2010, 10:10 AM
depends on how cheap. Also consider the powerdraw of an Xserve versus something smaller. Each watt of difference is going to cost you a dollar/year+.

It is most certainly overkill for what you want to do.

gilkisson
Jun 19, 2010, 10:13 AM
depends on how cheap. Also consider the powerdraw of an Xserve versus something smaller. Each watt of difference is going to cost you a dollar/year+.

It is most certainly overkill for what you want to do.

This, and this.

Also consider, some of those old Xserves are really, and I mean annoyingly, loud. The fans. Like a wind tunnel.

iGrant
Jun 19, 2010, 10:14 AM
I don't see why not if the price is right. Make sure though, you get the model number and find out the max size hard drive you can use. Can't just slap a 1TB in some older models like you can with towers. I made that mistake a little while ago.

Actually I was going to install the Sata drives I already have which are a 500gb and a 640gb, I think this Xserve is limited to the 750gb, but honestly if I need more space, I can replace the 80gb drive with a 750gb. I only have like 300gb of content at the moment but that is about to explode to about 1tb.

-iGrant

iGrant
Jun 19, 2010, 10:15 AM
This, and this.

Also consider, some of those old Xserves are really, and I mean annoyingly, loud. The fans. Like a wind tunnel.

I did some research, I thought only g4 and g5s were plagued with the load fans, are the intel ones super load as well?

-iGrant

gilkisson
Jun 19, 2010, 10:19 AM
I did some research, I thought only g4 and g5s were plagued with the load fans, are the intel ones super load as well?

-iGrant

To be honest, G5s were those to which I referred. I've not had the pleasure(?) of having my head near a newer Xserve, so good point. I will hereby take the "duh" slap...:D

Les Kern
Jun 19, 2010, 10:20 AM
Actually I was going to install the Sata drives I already have which are a 500gb and a 640gb, I think this Xserve is limited to the 750gb, but honestly if I need more space, I can replace the 80gb drive with a 750gb. I only have like 300gb of content at the moment but that is about to explode to about 1tb.

-iGrant

I don't know... maybe consider the Drobo FS then? Cheaper than an Xserve, easily extensible, solid. I am VERY happy with it.

http://www.drobo.com/products/drobo-fs.php

iGrant
Jun 19, 2010, 10:21 AM
depends on how cheap. Also consider the powerdraw of an Xserve versus something smaller. Each watt of difference is going to cost you a dollar/year+.

It is most certainly overkill for what you want to do.

I'm not sure I would label it overkill, video conversation takes a ton of CPU, even with the Turbo.264 and Turbo.264 HD (which I use for my HD Camcorder), the Xserve seems ideal for this purpose. I have looked into a Mac Pro, but its actually cheaper for my to get the Intel Xserve. Also the fact that I can get a small rack mount and mount it to the ceiling in my basement is very nice, it will be out of the way and i don't have to worry about my cats chewing on the cords.

However if you have a better solution, I would love to hear it!

-iGrant

paduck
Jun 19, 2010, 10:23 AM
To be honest, G5s were those to which I referred. I've not had the pleasure(?) of having my head near a newer Xserve, so good point. I will hereby take the "duh" slap...:D

I think the sound issue may be irrelevant for iGrant since the Xserve will be in the unfinished basement on a rack where, presumably, he doesn't hang out that often.

I think all the other issues, including age of the machine, power consumption, overkill, etc. are probably the real issues.

I want a server in my basement, but I want it to draw almost no power and serve out media/TimeCapsule to my Macs. The mini would be great if you could put a bunch of hard drives in it. Which you can't.

iGrant
Jun 19, 2010, 10:30 AM
I think the sound issue may be irrelevant for iGrant since the Xserve will be in the unfinished basement on a rack where, presumably, he doesn't hang out that often.

I think all the other issues, including age of the machine, power consumption, overkill, etc. are probably the real issues.

I want a server in my basement, but I want it to draw almost no power and serve out media/TimeCapsule to my Macs. The mini would be great if you could put a bunch of hard drives in it. Which you can't.

I have a Mac Mini now, granted its old and I have upgrade the crap out of it over the years. I like the Mini, I truly do, its been running as my main media machine for 2+ years without ever crashing, but when it comes to do serious video work, it lags, now I will say that its Core Duo 1.66ghz and it was originally a Core Solo so its not the latest and greatest mini every made.

Basically I can pickup this Xserve which has the following specs:

2006 Intel Xserve
2x 2.0Ghz Xeon Dual Core
3gb ram
80gb hard drive

*EDIT* Yet I honestly have not given much thought to the power consumption, I have gotten use to just leaving my Mac Mini running, and its does that just great with no issues and it doesn't seem to affect my power bill. Maybe I should look into upgrading to a Core 2 Duo Mac Mini.

What I would do for a freaking quad-core Mac Mini . . .

-iGrant

Les Kern
Jun 19, 2010, 10:41 AM
Basically I can pickup this Xserve which has the following specs:

2006 Intel Xserve
2x 2.0Ghz Xeon Dual Core
3gb ram
80gb hard drive

*EDIT* Yet I honestly have not given much thought to the power consumption, I have gotten use to just leaving my Mac Mini running, and its does that just great with no issues and it doesn't seem to affect my power bill. Maybe I should look into upgrading to a Core 2 Duo Mac Mini.

-iGrant

It WILL up your bill a bit, but there are other things to consider. My 35 XServes range from new to 6 years old. "Things" on the older ones are starting to go. Had a processor got out on a 2006, a few power supplies here and there, two disk drives.... You might factor in those possibilities. If the Xserve was FREE or close to free that's one thing, if not free, think hard on why you want a machine that will be five years old and not something new.

iGrant
Jun 19, 2010, 10:44 AM
It WILL up your bill a bit, but there are other things to consider. My 35 XServes range from new to 6 years old. "Things" on the older ones are starting to go. Had a processor got out on a 2006, a few power supplies here and there, two disk drives.... You might factor in those possibilities. If the Xserve was FREE or close to free that's one thing, if not free, think hard on why you want a machine that will be five years old and not something new.

ehhh I didn't think about that at all . . . .

-iGrant

Les Kern
Jun 19, 2010, 10:51 AM
ehhh I didn't think about that at all . . . .

-iGrant

Most don't as the common belief is that Apple stuff never breaks. It certainly does. Thank god I have about 4 dead Xserves to take parts from.

iGrant
Jun 19, 2010, 10:53 AM
Most don't as the common belief is that Apple stuff never breaks. It certainly does. Thank god I have about 4 dead Xserves to take parts from.

I must just be lucky then, I got a Original Mac Mini Solo that is still running great and a Rev. A Macbook Air that has never given me any issues other than buying a new battery (which I consider a wear it, it will always have to be replaced eventually)

Honestly I'm now considering a Core 2 Duo Mac Mini and hope I have the same luck I have had with my current Mac Mini . . .

-iGrant

Les Kern
Jun 19, 2010, 11:17 AM
I must just be lucky then, I got a Original Mac Mini Solo that is still running great and a Rev. A Macbook Air that has never given me any issues other than buying a new battery (which I consider a wear it, it will always have to be replaced eventually)

Honestly I'm now considering a Core 2 Duo Mac Mini and hope I have the same luck I have had with my current Mac Mini . . .

-iGrant

They are not XServes though. I still have the first Mac made and it works. As for the Mac mini, I think it might be the greatest unsung computer made. I've never had one fail and I may have purchased 30 of them over the years at work, and have the first Intel one at home as my web server. The new Mac Mini server looks like something I'd like to have for sure. I'd personally go with that before a 5 year old XServe. I might add that the Drobo would be a close second, at least for my use.
Good luck whatever you decide on.
Peace,
LK

lightage
Jun 21, 2010, 03:24 PM
What sucks about the xserve is you can't use any hard drive at the stated working capacities put it in their drive sled and have it work. I've tried it and failed. Only apple xserve hard drives will work in their sleds. The xserve out of the box only comes with one sled to put a hard drive in, the others are just dummies.