Should I buy a Xserve?

Discussion in 'Mac OS X Server, Xserve, and Networking' started by iGrant, Jun 19, 2010.

  1. macrumors 6502a

    iGrant

    Joined:
    Sep 20, 2006
    Location:
    Abingdon
    #1
    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
     
  2. macrumors 68030

    Les Kern

    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2002
    Location:
    Alabama
    #2
    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.
     
  3. macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2007
    #3
    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.
     
  4. macrumors 65816

    gilkisson

    #4
    This, and this.

    Also consider, some of those old Xserves are really, and I mean annoyingly, loud. The fans. Like a wind tunnel.
     
  5. thread starter macrumors 6502a

    iGrant

    Joined:
    Sep 20, 2006
    Location:
    Abingdon
    #5
    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
     
  6. thread starter macrumors 6502a

    iGrant

    Joined:
    Sep 20, 2006
    Location:
    Abingdon
    #6
    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
     
  7. macrumors 65816

    gilkisson

    #7
    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
     
  8. macrumors 68030

    Les Kern

    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2002
    Location:
    Alabama
    #8
    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
     
  9. thread starter macrumors 6502a

    iGrant

    Joined:
    Sep 20, 2006
    Location:
    Abingdon
    #9
    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
     
  10. macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2007
    #10
    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.
     
  11. thread starter macrumors 6502a

    iGrant

    Joined:
    Sep 20, 2006
    Location:
    Abingdon
    #11
    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
     
  12. macrumors 68030

    Les Kern

    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2002
    Location:
    Alabama
    #12
    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.
     
  13. thread starter macrumors 6502a

    iGrant

    Joined:
    Sep 20, 2006
    Location:
    Abingdon
    #13
    ehhh I didn't think about that at all . . . .

    -iGrant
     
  14. macrumors 68030

    Les Kern

    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2002
    Location:
    Alabama
    #14
    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.
     
  15. thread starter macrumors 6502a

    iGrant

    Joined:
    Sep 20, 2006
    Location:
    Abingdon
    #15
    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
     
  16. macrumors 68030

    Les Kern

    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2002
    Location:
    Alabama
    #16
    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
     
  17. macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2010
    #17
    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.
     

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